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Are Baking Soda and ACV Really Good for Your Natural Hair?
by Jacqueline Samaroo
One natural haircare routine that’s been getting plenty of attention lately is the use of baking soda instead of shampoo. We know there are plenty of arguments out there for and against going the baking soda route – some swear by its benefits while others send out a warning to avoid it at all costs. So, which is true?
The fact is, when done right, baking soda (with the help of ACV- apple cider vinegar) can promote healthy, natural hair growth.
How Baking Soda Works
Baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) is an alkali – the opposite of an acid. Acids have a pH less than 7 and alkalis have a pH greater than 7. The pH scale runs from 1 to 14 and drinking water is usually somewhere between 6.5 and 8.5. Your scalp and hair have a pH of about 5.5 and 3.7, respectively.
Both acids and alkalis can cause skin damage, such as burns, if they are strong enough. Also, it is possible for an acid and an alkali to cancel out, or neutralize, each other. When mixed, an acid and an alkali form a salt and water.
So, what does that mean for haircare?
Baking soda has a pH of 9, making it very effective at deep cleaning your scalp and hair follicle. It can remove dirt, excess natural oils produced by your scalp, and product build-up from your hair. Without all the grime, your hair is able to grow healthier and quicker.baking soda and acv baking soda and acv baking soda and acv baking soda and acv baking soda and acv baking soda and acv baking soda and acv
Baking soda can, however, leave hair strands dry and damaged. This happens especially if it’s used too often or not diluted enough, or if any residue is left in your hair after use.
What about ACV?
No doubt, you’ve heard that apple cider vinegar (ACV) is frequently used as a part of the baking soda natural haircare process.
Remember earlier when we mentioned acids and alkalis reacting and neutralizing each other? Well, ACV is acidic. It has a pH somewhere in the region of 2.8 to 3. That’s why many DIY baking soda haircare routines include a follow-up ACV step. It’s a way to bring your scalp and hair back into the region of their natural pH levels
How is it done?
Before we begin, here are a couple of points to keep in mind if you decide to use baking soda and ACV to help you achieve your goal of healthy, gorgeous natural hair.
- Focus on your scalp. Baking soda is great for deep cleaning your scalp but it can damage natural hair strands.
- Don’t overdo it. Think of the baking soda/ACV method as a special treatment for your scalp. It’s quite sufficient to do it just a few (1 – 3) times a year.
1. Mix a teaspoon of baking soda with 8 ounces of distilled water in a squeeze bottle.
2. Apply this directly to your scalp and massage in.
3. Rinse (then shampoo and rinse again, if desired).
4. Mix 1 ounce of ACV with 7 ounces of distilled water in a spray bottle.
5. Spritz the ACV mix over your hair.
6. Run your fingers through your hair to evenly distribute the ACV.
Another method is to simply mix the baking soda with ACV and work with that. In this case, what you will actually end up using (as the acid and alkali react) is a DIY saltwater treatment with a pH much closer to what is considered safe for your scalp and hair shaft. You can also add a few drops of an essential oil of your choice depending on your natural haircare needs.
Do you use ACV or Baking Soda in your natural hair routine?