Some places I read the it's just fine for hair and scalp, other sites I read say the ph is much too alkaline, regardless if you mix it with water. Not sure how to go about this or what info is correct.
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It seems like some people love it, others have trouble with it after the initial "Oh wow, this is great!" Some people swear by rinsing with ACV to balance the pH in your hair and others don't see it working.
It can't hurt to try it; if your hair feels dry and brittle, just stop doing it and tweak your system. I would say use as little as possible, as infrequently as possible (like only when your hair feels truly nasty) and "shampoo" with water only in between and see how it goes.
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I think what it comes down to is getting the right pH balance -- so the "right" amount of BS and the right amount of ACV so your hair stays healthy. I guess the debate is that it does the same type of damage that shampoo does -- you strip your hair too much with shampoo and then have to add the moisture back in with conditioner v. you make your hair too alkaline with BS and have to acidify it with ACV.
I think that if you take it slow, you'll find yourself using the BS/ACV less and less and doing water-only more and more. There is a transition period where your scalp wants to produce more oil since you're taking it away with the shampoo you've been using, but it's short for most people. (I was a rookie and thought more would be more, so it took me a long time to figure it out -- LESS is more! Feel the pain for a couple of weeks and get it over with.) Really "wash" your hair every day or every other day with water only and only use BS/ACV when you're feeling desperate (like even a pony tail or bun won't hack it). Good luck!
ETA: Short version -- it's not good for your hair, but neither is shampoo/conditioner....
Yeah I did it for like 18months before going back to a silicone-free (decidedly NOT natural) shampoo and conditioner because my hair was always dirty looking. And then I tried to go no-poo again with mixed results. I've decided to do a combination of both things now essentially. I wash every other day with a silicone-free shampoo and conditioner and once every 2-3 weeks I do the baking soda and vinegar to strip off all the crap that shampoo and conditioner leave on my hair. I rarely brush since I have wavy/curly hair but I make sure to really scrub my scalp with my fingertips every time I wash. I think the key for nice hair for ME at least is to make sure that I don't wash too often. Every other day, every 3rd day sometimes.
I tried it for a couple of weeks, my hair really didn't like it. At all. I like the idea and I like how bubbly the baking soda and vinegar felt on my scalp but it really did a number on my hair. I went back to my normal (pretty healthy shampoo) after that.
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I think it depends on personal factors. It's way too harsh for me to use regularly, but other people apparently use it daily without even a vinegar rinse with no issues. I use it about once a month when I feel like my hair is starting to get problematic. The rest of the time I use just water, and conditioner once a week.
I've been doing no-poo in some form or another for 8 years now, and BS didn't work for me until I got this explanation. Make a paste. Rub it into the scalp, focusing on any particularly greasy areas. Let it sit for a few minutes until it starts to feel slippery. That's the baking soda saponifying the sebum, which both forms a mild soap and makes it easy to wash off. When it gets slippery, rub it around a little like you would shampoo, then rinse it out as best you can with plain water. Once it is well rinsed, do the vinegar rinse - your goal is to neutralize any remaining baking soda and make the scales on the hair shaft lie flat, not clean via chemical reaction between the BS and ACV.
When I do this, my hair looks and feels like I used shampoo. That wasn't the case when I was just dumping baking soda solution on and then immediately rinsing. However, I also lose some hair each time - not tons, but enough that it would add up if I were using it frequently. I'm sure that doing so would have the same effect of increasing scalp oil production that shampoo does, since you're washing off the sebum. In fact, the only reason I do this instead of occasional shampoo (which I tried for a while) is that shampoo always makes me break out - I don't think it's any better for my hair, and I'm not all that concerned with the chemicals in shampoo with only occasional use, except for the immediate effects.
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The baking soda doesn't bother my hair, but it has left sores on my scalp. I've known people who do it, but just do very little baking soda with a lot of water, and would never do a paste. I find the vinegar really makes my hair softer after I've used the baking soda, but I usually use a lot of that until I achieve the desired feeling.
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