How to clean your hair without shampoo:
1. The water-only method
You wash your hair with warm water only. Warm water helps to dislodge oils and and dirt. As you wash your hair, you massage the scalp and squeeze the hair gently to rinse out the dirt.
Who might the water only method suit?
- People with short hair
- People who don't use heavy products on their hair e.g. those with lots of petrolatum, any vaseline-like hair products e.g. Sulfur 8 or Blue Magic are heavy
- People who have just done some exercise and feel their hair needs a quick refresh; personally, my hair seems to love sweat so exercising alone won't cause me to wash my hair.
Is water-only a good idea?
I don't know, I have never tried it but here is one lady that had a negative experience with the water-only method.
2. The baking soda (or sodium bicarbonate) method
Under this method, a couple of tablespoons of baking soda are mixed with two or three litres of water and used to wash the hair.
The result/benefit of washing with baking soda:
- Hair feels soft, fluffy and clean
The disadvantage of washing with baking soda:
- The clean look and feel are mostly cosmetic
- Baking soda is rough, abrasive material. The Science of Black Hair describes it as "fine sand" and that "its grittiness is very damaging to black hair"
- Importantly, baking soda has a pH of 9 (it is weakly alkaline whilst healthy hair is weakly acidic with a pH from 4.0 to 5.5). Weak relaxers have a pH of 9. Alkaline substances cause hair to swell and become more porous thereby weakening the hair fibre
3. An apple cider vinegar (ACV) wash
I probably wouldn't use this weekly but if you wash your hair with water only you can use apple cider vinegar for a stronger wash when you have build up from hair products.
Mix half a cup of ACV with 3 or so litres of water then wash your hair with it. I usually use an old milk bottle for ease of pouring it onto my head.
Advantage of use ACV
- It makes hair look shiny
- The pH of neat apple cider vinegar ranges from 4.25 to 5.00 so it agrees with the pH of hair.
Ref: The Science of Black Hair, pages 74-75