Thursday, March 26, 2015

Why I Switched to Using Baking Soda as Shampoo

Photo by Galaxies & Hurricanes
Shortly after graduating high school, I developed a skin condition on my scalp. I will forewarn you that I'm going to describe it, after the jump...

My scalp both looked and felt like psoriasis mixed with cradle cap for adults. It was horrible. My whole scalp was full of lumps and bumps. It itched and burned. On top of it all, the only way to get the scalp build up off of my head was to gently pick it off, which caused my hair to be ripped out and small bald patches to appear. It would get a little better in the summer months, but into fall, winter and spring my scalp was in the worst condition. 

After living with it for about two years, I went to a dermatologist. He told me that it was just dandruff, then sent me off with a few samples of different types of medicated shampoo to use. Thanks, doc. 

Over the course of about six months, I tried those samples. None of them worked. I tried more shampoos for severe dandruff along with other over the counter medicated shampoos. I tried soaking my head in green tea because I read that it was suppose to help with the PH of your scalp. I tried coconut oil, olive oil, honey, eggs. Over the course of six years, I tried everything.

In 2013, I read on article written on how much of the topical products used on your skin are actually absorbed into your body. Well, it made sense to me. Just like lotion or face cream is absorbed into dry or wrinkly skin, chemicals in shampoo can be absorbed into your scalp. I switched from medicated shampoos straight to 'all-natural' shampoos with tea tree oil. Switching to all-natural products was the first time in six years that I saw a positive change in the health of my scalp. But, I needed to take it a step further.

Finally, just about a year ago in May of 2014, I stopped using shampoo. Yes. Stopped using shampoo.

At first it was not pretty, more like a hot greasy mess. My scalp was still producing mass amounts of oil to help make up for what the shampoo was stripping from my hair. Instead of going cold-turkey, becoming a grease ball and joining the traveling fair, I started using two natural products to help clean it up a bit. Baking soda and apple cider vinegar.

Flickr by Cottage Revolution
Baking Soda Scrub
Start by mixing an equal ratio of baking soda and water. This will make the mixture liquid enough to pour on the top of your head, then be able to scrub from your roots all the way to the end of your hair. 
When newly switching from shampoo, it's necessary to let the mixture soak on your head for 1-3 minutes so it can suck out that extra oil. 

Apple Cider Vinegar Rinse
Combine 1 part apple cider vinegar to 4 parts water, then let sit for about 30 seconds. The vinegar rinse acts as a conditioner and leaves your hair softer and silkier than you might imagine. You may be cringing to think 'Who wants to smell like vinegar all day?' I can promise, the vinegar smell only lasts while your hair is wet. It's very odd. Once your hair dries, there's no longer even a hint of vinegar. The apple cider vinegar rinse acts as a sort of conditioner. 

After using this combination of the baking soda scrub followed by the vinegar rinse, my scalp healed itself 100%. To reiterate, that's one hundred percent. As in, all better. 

The healing didn't happen immediately. It took about five months of me sticking with the program, but on that sixth month, my head was clear. 

I'm now going on almost a whole year of being shampoo free and am so very happy to say that my scalp has never been healthier. I am down to using the baking soda scrub about every three or four days, and I no longer need to use the vinegar rinse. 

Have you tried the 'no poo' method? Do you recommend any good, all-natural shampoos? If you've ever had scalp issues, I'd love to hear about what worked for you.

PS. I like to buy my baking soda in these bulk, 13.5 pound bags. 

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