Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Experiment Fail?

With no experimenting for my research occurring still for a few weeks, I think I've been a bit bored. As such, I've become quite a bit more experimental at home, mostly with cooking. That is, until I came across this blog. Here, a (by all appearances) sensible not-crazy person decided to stop using shampoo and conditioner and start just using bicarb soda (AKA baking soda) and vinegar. I have to say her hair looks actually quite nice, and when I read some of the comments, and found other blogs also saying this is what they did, and perhaps coupled with the fact that I'm still kind of dizzy and going a bit stir crazy stuck at home, I decided - well perhaps this is for me!?

The ingredients I used (though I realised the items are out of order)
From a (sort of) scientific standpoint, the reason behind it kind of makes sense. Bicarb soda is a super weak alkaline and is well known as a gentle cleaning agent, so it can potentially be used as a shampoo when mixed with water. Some people even use it for toothpaste. To stop the scalp from going dry you can also add a bit of tea-tree oil. Vinegar (also known to be used in cleaning) is then used as a detangler/conditioner to counteract the alkalinity of the bicarb and restore the hair's pH. You can then add essential oils to make it smell a bit less vinegar-y.

So after purchasing all the necessary ingredients, I decided to test it out Monday night. As with many of my experiments, Husband allowed me to go ahead, and nicely kept most of his strange looks and incredulous comments to himself. That is, until I came out of the shower after trying it saying "something happened!"

My skin seemed to have a super bad reaction to one of those ingredients (my suspect is one of the oils), because my face and neck became extremely itchy and was bright red with welts. I was pretty concerned, as I had a meeting with a lot of people today, and as post-grad rep I am meeting all the new students for orientation tomorrow. I didn't want to be known as "the one with the weird skin". Thankfully, after a couple of hours the redness and itch disappeared, so it must have been an allergic reaction, and not some sort of burn. It was then that I remembered to actually check my hair, and I have to say - it's actually quite clean and really soft!

I might change the quantities around a bit, and try it one more time. I'll just be a bit more careful to miss my face/neck (since my scalp didn't get itchy or red) now that I know I probably won't die. So for right now, I will say it isn't a total failure, but I'll also be a bit more cautious in future.

Questions for you:
- Has anyone else tried this?
- Do you now see me as a crazy hippy?
- Do you have any similar mishaps to share?  
- Are you relieved or secretly disappointed I didn't share a picture of my skin freak out? 


  1. I've been using about 1.5 tbs of baking soda mixed in about 2 cups of water. I rinse my hair really well with hot water first, use half the mixture starting at the back of my head upside down, allow that to sit a few minutes. Rinse with hot water, use the other half of the mix focusing on my more oily areas. And about once a week I use lemon juice as a "conditioner" I usually just bring a lemon wedge in she shower with me and squeeze the juice on my ends-- avoiding the scalp. Using baking soda and living in a hot humid climate I have to wash my hair about 3 times a week.. With is about the same as when I used shampoo but my hair looks way better with the baking soda/lemon routine.

    1. Good to know someone else does that and it works pretty well! Thanks for the suggestions :)

  2. Have you been acquainted with Joyful Sparrow? She's a fellow 20SBer who recently did a post about going without deodorant: http://thejoyfulsparrow.blogspot.com/2012/02/so-i-havent-worn-deodorant-for-year.html. Her and Miss Adair up above me are very knowledgeable when it comes to all-natural cleaning methods. I know nothing about the topic, but if you're looking for other opinions I would definitely talk to them.

    Good luck! Hope you avoid more allergy breakouts when you try this again.


  3. LOL. Oh no. This is funny (because you did not in fact die.) Homemade products are an adventure, ja.

  4. LOL. Am I a horrible person for laughing at this story? "Haha horrible skin itchiness."

    Anyhoo...I am very happy that you tried this! I too have heard this baking soda/vinegar rumor going around. All I can think is baking soda + vinegar = volcano! Volcano head! LOL.

    If you keep trying this please keep us updated. I tried to not use shampoo for a week (just messaging conditioner into my scalp to try to get it clean)...it was horrible. I guess my hair was softer, but my scalp felt so itchy and gross I couldn't handle it.

  5. Ugh, my internet freaked out and I lost my comment. Let's try again :) I haven't braved the shampoo thing yet (my hair is really high maintenance), but I do use apple cider vinegar as an astringent/toner for my face. Once when I blow dried my hair while my face was still damp, the cidery areas got pretty red for a little while. I don't know if any heat was involved with your snafu, but that's my two cents :) And in response to your comment - a little running accountability might do me good! Shoot me an email if you really want to ;) I'll confess publicly on your blog that I'm GOING to run tomorrow morning. No matter what!


Hooray! Thanks for commenting :)

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