Baking Soda Shampoo Followed With Vinegar Spritz

Close-up of baking soda
Aqua Mechanical / Flickr / 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)

I am wary and I mean very wary of shampoos these days because sulfates, the chemical in shampoo that causes them to foam up into delicious bubbles, is also touted to be dangerous (see my list of the best sulfate-free shampoos).

So when I read that many women are bypassing the bottle for their homemade baking soda shampoos followed by apple cider vinegar rinse, I thought, "sounds ineffective. And smelly."

I was wrong. I tried this formula replacing 3 shampoos and I found my hair looked just as good as it does when I shampoo with my $80 bottle of Kerastase shampoo. My hair was left bouncy, shiny and clean. I've done a lot of research on this method and women swear by it. They claim it works even better than shampoo. I have to admit, there are downsides to this method. It does take some time to prepare (the water activates the baking soda so you need to prepare it right before you use it). It also took a few rinses to get the apple cider vinegar smell out. And even then, I did miss the smell of Kerastase and at first, I really missed the foaming action of my shampoo. But still, the savings I'd spend on shampoo is HUGE and I'd guarantee I'm not putting poison into my body.

Note: It may take your hair more than a week to adjust to this new method, but after a few shampoos and rinses the oiliness should go away.

My hair was oilier than usual the first time I tried this, but after the 3rd shampoo, it was great.


  • Use 1 part baking soda to 3 parts water. Two tablespoons baking soda works if you have short to medium length hair. Use 3 or 4 tablespoons if hair is longer.
  • If you use 2 tbsp of baking soda, then use 6 tbsps water. For 3 parts baking soda, use 9 tbsps of water.
  • For the vinegar rinse, use apple cider vinegar or white vinegar, which I understand isn't as smelly. Put into a spray bottle 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar and 2 cups of distilled water. Add 3 drops of any essential oil. Lavender, rose, geranium are all nice oils, but keep in mind you can skip this step.
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Total Time: 5 minutes


Mix the baking soda and water into a paste.

Rinse hair thoroughly in the shower. It's important to make sure every strand of hair is damp.

Turn off the water in the shower and work the paste from the scalp to the ends of hair. Leave it in for 5 minutes before rinsing. (I put a shower cap on and shave and wash my body while I wait).

Follow this with the vinegar rinse. Simply spritz vinegar spray all over hair, starting again at the scalp and making your way down through the ends of hair.

You can keep this formula for up to a month in your shower.

More on hair:

Hair Mask Recipes Hub
Best Store-bought Products for Frizzy Hair
Damaged Hair? 7 Rules to Live By
18 Ingenious Beauty Uses for Average Kitchen Items