Minimalist Washday With Just Baking Soda & Vinegar

Last Wash day, I tried another ‘No Poo’ method.

What’s that?

A No-Poo method is a way of washing hair without shampoo as you know it.

I haven’t used actual shampoo in a bottle since my Big Chop. Most shampoos contain Sodium Lauryl Sulfates (SLS) and this chemical is really harsh on Natural hair. There are Sulfate-free shampoos but I haven’t tried any. Before last Wash day, I’d used only Dudu Osun (African black soap) and Natural Nigerian‘s Aloe + Coconut Clay Bar to ‘poo’ when I had to.

I don’t shampoo/clarify often but when I do, I often feel like my hair is really stripped. It’s so squeaky clean, and it feels like all my moisture’s gone. I’d been reading that baking soda is gentler than most shampoos, so I decided to try it.

So what did you do?

I did something really simple. Instead of the native soap/shampoo bar, I used Baking Soda and instead of conditioner, Apple Cider Vinegar.

WORD ON THE STREET ABOUT BAKING SODA & APPLE CIDER VINEGAR

Baking soda (bicarbonate of soda)

In addition to being good for baking, making pancakes, and as a cleaning agent, this simple powder is also useful in the hair department. It opens the cuticles, it makes hair appear thicker and it cleanses the hair, lifting accumulated product build-up from your hair shaft.

People of all hair types Natural and relaxed have used baking soda on their hair and they love it, but some people feel it should have no business on your head. There are arguments for and against- but going as far as Google page 2 when you search ‘Baking soda for hair’, you will see that there are more people for it than are against it.

Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV)

Many naturals have testified to the goodness of this slappy sour juice derived from fermented apples. It can be used to clean your fridge, or make a tonic or a quick salad dressing, it is also a cuticle sealer. When used as a hair rinse, it seals cuticles shut and it adds sheen to your hair.

Why ACV and not white vinegar? They say: ACV is less acidic than white vinegar. You could use white vinegar, but in much more diluted form. They also say: white vinegar can dry your scalp over time.

To understand why you would want to open or close your hair cuticles, you could read this post.

Washday!
Wash day!

ROAD TO WASH DAY

1. The night before: I intended to do an overnight pre-poo with coconut oil after I removed my kinky twists, but the hair for the most part was well moisturised and even a little oily (I had moisturised just the day before while it was in twists with this method) so I only put castor oil on my ends before I went to bed.

Pre-pooing is the act of applying oils and/or conditioners on your hair before shampooing, to protect your hair from being stripped of it’s moisture and oils.

SO, WASHDAY

2. First, a little deep conditioning which also doubled as a pre-poo. I mixed a bit of the Suave Naturals Conditioner with Olive oil and put it on my hair.

Pre-poo/ DC. Conditioner + olive oil on my hair.
Pre-poo/ DC. Conditioner + olive oil on my hair.

I wanted it to sit for like an hour- but I also wanted warm water to wash, and PHCN didn’t give us power till evening. So after about three hours of waiting for them, I proceeded to the next step.

3. Clarifying: Baking Soda Wash.

You can do this by

i. sprinkling baking soda on your wet hair or sprinkling on dry hair and adding water

ii. mixing baking soda in water and using the mixture to wash.

Well, I did a bit of both. I put two tablespoons of baking soda in a bowl of water (Sorry, I don’t really measure one part this, one part that) and it didn’t dissolve properly. So I washed with the mixture and had to take out the baking soda that had sunk to the bottom of the bowl after, and put it directly on my hair- which was now wet.

I was pretty surprised to see it lather. It lathered like any shampoo. My hair wasn’t smelly or anything after I took out my twists and it did not look dirty at all but ah, the initial baking soda lather wasn’t white. It was more in the cream/beige category. I was happy anyway, I felt like my hair was getting a thorough cleanse. The lathering wasn’t supposed to happen though. So I really don’t know- maybe it’s the way it combined with my conditioner and pre-poo oil, idk idk.

I massaged my scalp gently (don’t scratch!) as I would with a regular shampoo and then I rinsed my hair with plain water.

4. Conditioning: Apple Cider Vinegar rinse.

I mixed some Apple Cider Vinegar with water. They say you can mix as you like; 1 part ACV to2 or 3 parts water. I think I mixed in the 1:3 ratio. I used the mixture to rinse my hair. Be careful, it stings when it gets into your eyes. You’re done, do not rinse with plain water. This is the conditioning step yes, but do not comb your hair at this point- as you would with a regular conditioner. Just leave it and moisturise/comb after.

So now. RESULTS

  1. Well, my hair was really clean, dark and shiny.
  2. I plucked a strand in a fine area and it appeared thicker (thanks to the baking soda). Evidence that my cuticles were penetrated?
  3. My hair did not feel stripped at all. For this, I think baking soda has to share the credit with the pre-poo/ deep-conditioning conditioner + olive oil treatment.
  4. I didn’t use a towel on my hair and for the first time, I realised how long it takes to dry. I think it’s a long time for a twa.
  5. After a long air dry, I did a quick moisturise & seal with my leave-in and some coconut oil.

I’m going to keep this up, try it a few more times and see if over time it’s something that really works for me. I made a silly mistake with my post-wash moisturise & seal and I really believe it set my hair back a bit after the good gentle treatment. I didn’t need to comb my hair until after my wash. I’ll tell you about my mistake soon.

P.S.

Don’t be worried about the smell of the Apple Cider Vinegar. It’ll be gone by the time your hair is done drying.

Remember- Apple Cider Vinegar is acidic. Too much use and it could dry out your hair. You can’t do an ACV rinse every day. Maybe once a week? I think I’m going to do ACV rinses only on days I clarify. I clarify once a month.

You can get baking soda at any shop that sells ingredients for baking- any store really. I got a small cup for 85 Naira only at SPAR.

Apple Cider Vinegar isn’t hard to find either- check the next supermarket. The 32 OZ/946ml bottle is available at Garki Supermarket for 830 Naira. The manufacturers also make a small bottle I’ve seen for about half the price.

Has anyone else tried this No-Poo method? What’s your Washday routine like?

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