Baking Soda for Hair: Benefits and How to Use It

Baking Soda for Hair

These days, natural cures for our hair and skin are all the rage, and you can credit YouTubers, threads on natural hair forums, and the growing need for non-toxic product options for this trend. And when it comes to a natural solution to combat dryness, gently remove buildup, and develop hair, there is one component that pops up over and over again on curly girl hair threads: baking soda. Baking soda has been shown to be effective in all three of these areas. Redditors and communities of curly girls alike swear by the use of baking soda (followed by apple cider vinegar) to help reset your scalp’s pH. This is said to stimulate hair growth, remove product buildup, and even soften individual hair strands. In addition to that, it is present in a number of our favorite powdered shampoos.

In order to differentiate between the two, we enlisted the help of scientist and trichologist Dominic Burg, as well as dermatologist Dr. Anna Guanche, M.D., who is board-certified. Both of them explain the science behind baking soda, the benefits it has on your hair, and the substances you should seek for when it comes to the health of your scalp and hair.



The primary benefits include resetting the pH of your scalp, reducing dandruff and inflammation on the scalp, and providing assistance with dryness on the scalp.

WHO SHOULD USE IT Baking soda can be applied to a wide variety of hair types without causing damage.

HOW OFTEN CAN YOU USE IT? Depending on the texture of your hair, you can use baking soda once a week or once a month on your hair.

WORKS WELL WITH: This component is not recommended for use with essential oils due to its poor compatibility.

DO NOT MIX: Baking soda should be applied first, and then apple cider vinegar should be used, but the two should not be used together.

Baking soda has a number of advantages for hair.

Baking soda, which is also known by its chemical name, sodium bicarbonate, is a substance that is recognized for its exfoliating properties. When used in conjunction with apple cider vinegar, baking soda can also help balance the pH levels of your scalp.

According to Burg, your body’s natural pH has a tendency to be slightly more on the acidic side. However, a pH that is too high (i.e., more basic than normal) causes brittleness and a pH that is too low (i.e., more acidic than normal) damages color. Both of these extremes can be avoided by maintaining a pH that is somewhere in the middle. As a consequence of this, restoring the pH balance of your hair and scalp to its normal baseline can assist in the treatment of a variety of problems, such as dandruff, irritation of the scalp, and dryness, amongst others.

Baking soda can be used in your hair to remove buildup, which is one of the most significant benefits of using baking soda in your hair: This is what Guanche claims, “Because it helps remove the buildup of oils, soaps, and any other leftovers of hair care products, using baking soda for the hair can leave it clean, shining, and soft. Other benefits of using baking soda for the hair include adding volume to the hair. Baking soda has the ability to remove any excess oils or products from the hair and skin, leaving the skin clean, smooth, and shining.”

She goes on to say, “Baking soda does not promote the growth of hair, contrary to what many people believe; nonetheless, it does clean the scalp and hair, avoiding the buildup of oils and other hair care products. Be aware that baking soda has a pH of 9, which is greater than the pH concentration of our hair. This is a crucial fact to keep in mind. When utilizing a material that has a higher pH than the hair, the substance needs to be used in moderation since you do not want to strip the natural oils from the hair, which can lead to the hair becoming more brittle and susceptible to breaking.”

Considerations Regarding the Types of Hair

Guanche claims that baking soda is suitable for usage on a wide variety of hair types. On the other hand, it is important to be aware that prolonged exposure to the component may be harmful. “When it comes to putting baking soda on hair, there is not one particular type of hair that is either recommended or discouraged. The one and only thing you need to keep in mind while using baking soda is that prolonged and repeated use can make your hair more brittle, leading to increased dryness and breakage due to the fact that it can strip the natural oils from your hair “she explains. “Baking soda, when used in moderation, can be used to clean the scalp as well as the hair, as well as exfoliate the scalp and lessen the effects of semi-permanent hair dye. It is vital to recognize that it will not affect the rate at which hair grows because there is a lot of misconceptions circulating about the positive effects that baking soda is said to have on the hair.”

The Proper Way to Apply Baking Soda to Your Hair

“You may periodically work baking soda into your hair care routine to clean and exfoliate the scalp and hair, which is especially beneficial if you have an oily scalp. Baking soda is particularly effective at removing buildup on oily scalps. It is not intended to be used on a daily basis “explains Guanche.

Making a paste with baking soda and water until it reaches the desired consistency is the simplest method for applying it to your hair. You should rub it into your scalp and then work it through your damp hair from root to tip. After waiting anywhere from one to three minutes, you should give it a good rinse to remove any residue.

The combination of Baking Soda and Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple cider vinegar is often recommended as a method for rinsing baking soda out of hair because of its effectiveness. What is the purpose of apple cider vinegar?

“Baking soda and vinegar, regardless of where they come from, are both composed of two reactive chemicals: sodium bicarbonate (NaHCO3), which is alkaline because it is a weak base, and acetic acid (CH3COOH), which is also alkaline because it is a weak acid. After thoroughly combining these substances in amounts that are equivalent to one another, you will be left with water (H2O), carbon dioxide gas (CO2), and sodium acetate (CH3COONa) “says Burg. “This is a straightforward reaction that, due to the fact that it causes fizzing, might be useful in performing straightforward tasks related to cleaning the house. Both the acid found in vinegar and the alkaline nature of baking soda have the potential to be useful on their own as cleaning agents.”

The pH of your scalp is 5.5, while the pH of the hair shaft is sitting at about 3.7; adding an excess of acid or alkali might push them too far beyond their capacity to regulate themselves, according to Burg. “Your scalp and hair pH are slightly acidic,” he explains. A low pH can damage color, while a high pH can open the cuticle layers and cause brittleness. A pH that is too high can cause the cuticle layers to open. In addition to this, he mentions that “On the scalp, pH imbalances can upset the balance of good and bad bacteria, which can lead to various problems, such as irritation of the scalp and dandruff.”

Nevertheless, there are methods available for regulating the pH level of your scalp and hair. According to Burg, “the primary concern that we ought to have is with the follicles; they are the little organs that are responsible for the growth of your hair.” “Because the hair follicles are located in the scalp and are sensitive to changes in their surrounding environment, it is essential to keep the scalp in good health in order to have healthy hair. The follicles are responsible for the production of hair in a precise pattern that is referred to as the hair cycle. This pattern includes distinct periods of growth, rest, fall, and regrowth that occur repeatedly throughout your life. This cycle can be thrown off fairly easily, leading to an imbalance that, in most cases, manifests itself as a shortened growth phase and an excessive amount of shedding “—which could be remedied by the addition of a home remedy.

According to Burg’s knowledge and experience, in order for a homemade shampoo made with baking soda to be effective, the proportions of the ingredients must be precisely calculated. There is no harm in carrying on with the usage of a baking soda cure you have developed at home if it is successful for you in treating your condition. However, if you notice that your scalp or your hair are not feeling like themselves, Burg’s advice will come in very handy.

And as a general rule of thumb, Burg takes into consideration the fact that the fact that a component is natural does not necessarily mean that it is not dangerous. “Some allergens found in popular essential oils, for instance, are capable of causing a reaction in some individuals. Burns from chemical reactions can be caused by acids regardless of whether they were produced by fermentation or synthesis “he explains. Natural treatments nevertheless contain chemical components, and improper administration of these substances can result in adverse effects.

Baking Soda Alternatives

According to Burg, if you want to relax your scalp and encourage overall healthy of your scalp, you should seek for products that contain substances like green tea, rosemary, mangosteen, and lavender. And if you’re in luck, there is a shampoo out there that contains all of those components in one convenient package.

In order to maintain healthy hair, Burg recommends using power elements such as flaxseed oil, vitamin E, ylang-ylang oil, and baobab oil. You should try conditioning your hair with this solution from Renpure that is rich in vitamin E.


  • Can baking soda damage your hair?

“There is a possibility that you will observe some short-term results of cleansing, but in the long run, there will be a detrimental impact on both your hair and your scalp. You will either have too much of one of the ingredients or not enough of the other if you do not combine the ingredients in the precise amounts called for in the recipe “Burg explains.

  • If you use baking soda on your hair, what are some of the benefits that you can expect to see?

It helps with dryness of the scalp, lowers dandruff and irritation of the scalp, and resets the pH level of the scalp.

  • When applying baking soda to your hair, what should you try to stay away from doing?

Baking soda can be used after applying apple cider vinegar, but the two should not be combined together. It is not recommended to use it with apple cider vinegar.