[Please see the follow-up post to item #2 here and also know that after several years of no-poo I abandoned that system in favor of co-washing because no matter what I added to my vinegar rinse I couldn’t get back the curls that slowly faded away during no-poo. Lots of curlies do no-poo, though, so don’t let this discourage you from trying.]
I was more than a little surprised to find, when I searched the archives of the blog this morning, that I hadn’t written about either of my two favorite uses for baking soda. Better late than never.
1) Shampoo. I am a “no-poo” convert. I haven’t used shampoo or conditioner in months. I get in the shower with two plastic containers: one contains a few tablespoons of baking soda and the other a few tablespoons of cider vinegar. I wet my hair, add about 1/2 cup of water to the baking soda container, shake, and pour it over my hair. Massage it in, then rinse it out. I then add about 1/2 cup of water to the vinegar container and pour it over my hair but I leave it in. Yes, I smell a little like pickles for a while, but by the time I’m dressed and ready to leave (15-30 mins after toweling off) the smell has evaporated.
It really works – even on really messy, greasy hair. And it doesn’t seem to affect my color. (I confess: I have given in to vanity and I dye away the gray.) If you are going to do this be forewarned that there is a hard first week to get through in which your hair will be suddenly, unreasonably, embarrassingly greasy. But it does pass and after that your hair will be soft and compliant and shiny.
I follow this up with homemade hair gel. I blogged about this some time ago but I have since refined (and seriously simplified) the recipe to just 1/2 tsp unflavored gelatin to 1/2 cup of boiling water.
2) Deodorant. I also haven’t slathered on deodorant in months. I was even more skeptical about this working than I was about the no-poo method but it works magnificently and without an adjustment period.
I keep 1/4 cup or so of baking soda in a washed-out tin (one of those giant tuna fish cans, truthfully) with an over-sized store-bought facial puff on top (but there are dozens of patterns online for making your own). When I get out of the shower I pat the puff in the baking soda and then pat it under my arms. It only takes a pinch. Done right you can’t see the stuff on your pits and it there shouldn’t be any excess to shed all over your clothes. But most importantly: absolutely no smell what-so-never. Diddly. Even after a backbreaking miserable horrid hard day in the woods with Matt.