One day early last spring, I counted the ingredients of my shampoos. Each contained at least 20 ingredients—many of them unpronounceable—and three or four of them had suspected toxins. Two contained fragrances that made me sneeze. On that day, I decided to try an easy two-ingredient homemade shampoo that I’d read about for years but that had always seemed too hokey. I’ve never looked back.
Baking Soda and Cider Vinegar
My new strategy calls for an alkaline washing ingredient—baking soda—followed by an acidic rinse of apple cider vinegar. That’s it!
To my surprise, the two-ingredient method worked well, leaving my hair clean, shiny, and more manageable than any of the hundred products or combinations of products that I’ve used through the decades.
This was cheap, easy, remarkably effective, and probably a lot safer. I always have these ingredients on hand for various household uses.
Like me, you probably won’t believe that the baking soda method will actually clean your hair, so you’ll want to give it your first try on a vacation or weekend day when you have the time to repeat with your usual routine if you don’t like the results.
I’ve seen dozens of “recipes” for this natural approach to hair care. I don’t think that the exact proportions matter. I just fiddled around until I found what worked well for me.
How to Make Homemade Shampoo
Here’s how to both make and use the two-ingredient shampoo:
- I pour a bit less than half a cup of baking soda into a small bowl and ½ cup of cider vinegar into another.
- Then I add a couple of cups of warm water to each bowl.
- I pour the dissolved baking soda solution through my wet hair.
- Then I rinse my hair well.
- Finally, I pour the vinegar solution through. I usually don’t rinse it out, but you can. Either way, the vinegar smell disappears within minutes.
It took me a while to get used to the idea that just pouring a solution through my hair with no scrubbing or lathering could get it clean, but it really does. I haven’t found a need for conditioning, but I haven’t tested my new shampoo through a dry New England winter yet. But advocates of this hair care method suggest adding a few drops of olive, sesame, castor or some other oil to the washing solution for frizz or static control.
Some of my friends (who are now converted) use this shampoo along with another one to mix it up. That works, too. Do what works for you!
Check the safety rating on the personal-care products you use for yourself and your family. Environmental Working Groups staff scientists compare the ingredients on personal care product labels and websites with information in nearly 60 toxicity and regulatory databases.