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Baking Soda Hair Rinse…?

Is a baking soda hair rinse for you?


So, you’re thinking about stepping away from shampooing? You’ve heard about the “no-poo” trend and are starting to research alternatives?

Maybe you’re concerned about how much plastic you’re using, or you’re worried about product build-up restricting your hair growth or affecting its health? 

If it’s the latter, then perhaps a baking soda hair rinse is for you (more so if you have oily hair)!

Baking soda hair rinses are touted as a great excess oil buster, and help restore the hair in shine and softness. But, that’s when it’s used in moderation. Due to the high PH level of this staple kitchen ingredient, some users of baking soda hair rinses have reported hair damage when used too regularly.

Let’s take a look at whether baking soda hair rinses are right for you…

What are the benefits of using a baking soda hair rinse?

The main attraction of a baking soda hair rinse is that it’s just one ingredient! Sodium Bicarbonate. It’s paraben-free, sulfate-free, diethanolamine free, and contains no dye or fragrance.

Baking soda naturally clarifies both scalp and hair, banishing dandruff and product build-up, and thus freeing and revitalizing the hair follicles so they can get on with their natural growth cycle. It’s also incredibly cheap!

What are the risks of using a baking soda hair rinse?

After prolonged use (we’re talking a couple of years here), hair can become brittle, weak, frizzy, and start to break. The scalp can also become irritated. Baking soda is a heavy alkaline (PH Level 9) and hair’s natural PH is 3.7, with the scalp being 5.

If you’re intending on using baking soda rinse for the long term, and as a shampoo replacement, you may reap the benefits first but gradually it could strip your hair of its natural oils (sebum) and cause the scalp to feel sore.

What should I expect when starting to use a baking soda hair rinse?

All risks considered, some commercial shampoos can also strip your hair of its natural oils, causing the hair to start churning out extra sebum! In the short term, baking soda shouldn’t do this but the fact is, it is abrasive and may leave your hair and scalp feeling dry.

When you first start to use a baking soda hair rinse, you might experience a little excess grease for a bit whilst your hair adjusts. Eventually, you’ll find you need to wash your hair significantly less!

As with all haircare and skincare products, always, patch-test on your skin before using, to see if baking soda causes you any irritation or reaction.

You should always use a good conditioner when using a baking soda hair rinse. Conditioner helps seals the hair cuticles and hydrates it, helping it feel softer and aids frizz control.

If you’re really wanting to keep it natural, use coconut oil as a hair mask, pre or post conditioner. Simply massage softened coconut oil into your scalp and cover your hair strands from root to tip.

Keep the hair wrapped in a towel for a minimum of 15 minutes, or leave in your DIY hair mask as you sleep overnight for an even deeper condition. Then, wash the hair out with your baking soda hair rinse.

Read up on the many uses of coconut oil here.

How to make a baking soda hair rinse

Another perk to baking soda hair rinses is that they are so simple to make!

  • Mix together a tablespoon of baking soda with 250ml of lukewarm water.
  • Massage the mixture into your scalp and down the length of the hair.
  • Let it rest in the hair for a couple of minutes and rinse clean with water (as cool a temperature as you can bear is best for hair!)

Finish with sulfate and paraben-free conditioner, a coconut oil mask, or an apple cider vinegar rinse.

Apple Cider Vinegar Hair Rinse

An apple cider vinegar hair rinse can help rebalance the pH level of the scalp and hair after using a baking soda hair rinse. Simply mix together a tablespoon or two of apple cider vinegar (or even lemon juice) with 250ml of warm water. Pour through the hair and over the scalp, leave for a couple of minutes and rinse out with cool water. Ta-da!

Cel Pro Tip: If you live in an area with hard water, boil it first and let it cool before using. This will reduce the effect of the high mineral content on your hair!

Final thoughts...

In general, using baking soda as a shampoo replacement is more likely to be effective for people with particularly oily hair. In some cases, baking soda can be a little too drying if used as a total replacement for your everyday shampoo.

Our pro advice here at Cel would be to use a baking soda hair rinse occasionally, but rely on a clarifying shampoo for your more regular usage that serves and protects your hair without causing build-up, like Cel’s Microstem Cell Shampoo.

Cel’s Microstem Cel Shampoo formula is a powerful blend of scientifically optimized plant extracts, including Ginseng and Biotin, which cleanses the hair while giving the appearance of healthier, thicker-looking hair!

The biotin will help clear build-up (the layer of dead skin cells and product blocking the hair follicles in the scalp resulting in dandruff) which prevents the natural regrowth cycle of your hair.

The inclusion of glycerin in the formula works as a moisture sponge to keep the scalp and hair hydrated. This will prevent any skin irritation which again can be caused by build-up.

Happy hair rinsing!



Sarah Milton

A passionate content writer, with a specific interest in the science behind hair care. Having created content for several years, I’ve grown my knowledge exponentially in the science behind hair growth, quality and texture, and what ingredients our tresses need to thrive. When not in the office, I’m walking my dog along the beach or invested in a brilliant television drama.