Baking Soda Experiment

Having been without shampoo for several months, I decided to try out baking soda, thanks to advice I found at life less plastic

 My head was getting very itchy for some reason and I was scratching it a lot and didn’t like the wads of gunk under my fingernails.

So I tried using a couple teaspoons of baking soda.  In France, baking soda comes in small paper envelopes, and I haven’t found the big boxes as you have in the states yet.  I used one envelope which is about two teaspoons.

I just wet my hair and put the powder all over my head and then scrubbed away.  There was a very pleasant tingling sensation which I enjoyed quite a bit, so I left it to sit for a couple of minutes.  Then I rinsed and put some lemon juice on my hair (vinegar is smelly).  That was it.

There was no extra sebum, but there was still some natural oil left. I read about baking soda, or sodium bicarbonate, on wikipedia and found information which does indicate its history as a kind of soap. For whatever reason, it behaves on the scalp as a kind of emulsifier, and so is probably the perfect solution.


My head was still itchy, which was the only reason I washed in the first place! So I did another wash with baking soda and then, one morning, my wife spotted a nit in my hair! My girls all had lice from school, so I must have gotten it from them.

I had to use some lice medication and then shampoo to wash it out (it was an oily lotion).  So now my hair and scalp are dry as a desert I can’t wait for the oil to build up again.

So, my advice would be to treat baking soda as a kind of mild shampoo. I don’t see anything particularly different about it.  My advice is still: don’t bother using anything unless you have to, and then, perhaps once or twice a month, try the baking soda and lemon approach.

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5 thoughts on “Baking Soda Experiment”

  1. “My head was still itchy, which was the only reason I washed in the first place!”
    Do you mean it was useless washing it, or just useless because you just used it once?
    “So I did another wash with baking soda…”
    Was it better(not itchy) after the second time washing your hair,
    or after some more times using baking soda?
    I also have another question:
    I’m not shampoo free already but I think about it.
    I like my hair(male,around 6inch long)sticking a bit together in strands so i don’t use a brush.(Cobain-like)
    But when i have all this stuff on my scalp, and I don’t dispense it all over my hair, is that a problem, or is it enough scraping my skin a bit with my fingers?
    Hope you can help me, otherwise: trial and error 🙂
    Thx and greetings from Germany


  2. Hey Chris,
    The reason my head was itchy was the nits! The point of the whole thing was that your hair shouldn’t be itchy. If it is, there is something else going on.

    For a full report on exactly how to go noShampoo, read the latest post, the definitive guide to going noshampoo.

    Using shampoo at all will really ruin the whole project. The basic idea is that your body really knows how to take take care of itself. The only thing you need is a little perfume occasionally, if you like it.

    If, as you said, you like thick strands of hair, noshampoo will certainly work.


  3. Hello,

    My guess: you used baking powder, not baking soda. I’m French too. In little enveloppes, it’s baking power, eg sodium bicarbonate plus tartar cream… you don’t want that acid tartar cream on your head! Go to Chinese supermarkets, they have baking soda. Just ask for plain “bicarbonate de soude”. You can as well as to your pharmarcist.

    Best regards.


  4. Hi Guen,

    Actually I tried both. I found bicarbonate de soude and it is very different than using baking powder (which is bicarb de soude mixed with cream of tartar). I quite enjoyed the baking powder version, but it seems stronger than just bicarb de soude.

    I will give the baking soda another try and see how it goes…

  5. If ever you get nits/lice again, use Olive Oil! No need to use the nasty pesticide in your hair. The Olive Oil, which is an awesome conditioner too, smothers the lice. Adults and eggs get smothered and die. The trick is lice and their eggs absorb oxygen out of the air to stay alive (go look at a chicken egg and notice the texture, the shell is porous to allow air flow), by smothering them in oil they suffocate. One treatment does it, no follow-up shampoo treatments or anything. Just come them out as normal after that.

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