The BSV Hair Treatment

Remember that time I tried an at-home avocado hair treatment and it yielded ... um ... less-than-stellar results?

It's OK, I forgot it too, which I why I approached another make-at-home hair recipe without an ounce of trepidation last week.

I did it for a couple of reasons.

One, with my current employment status and the expense of having a human garbage disposal er ... I mean, an adorable, hungry son that won't stop growing ... I am looking for ways to save cash.

Two, I've written before about my quest to use less toxic beauty products. Many shampoos and conditioners have chemicals in them that have been linked to cancer and reproductive and developmental issues. Blech.

Even the "natural" or organic hair care options aren't always stupendous when it comes to their ratings in the Skin Deep cosmetics database. And most of those natural shampoos and conditioners I've tried are incredibly expensive and don't always leave your hair feeling or looking all that stellar.

So when I came across a grist blog post on washing your hair with baking soda and rinsing it with apple cider vinegar (hence the title BSV hair treatment)—and the girl who wrote tried it out gave it rave reviews—I decided to try it myself.

I followed her directions to a T, mixing a tablespoon of baking soda with a bit of water to make a paste in one cup and about a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar with a tablespoon of water in another cup.

Then I took my little cups in the shower with me. I started by massaging the baking soda into my scalp really well, then rinsed. Then I poured the apple cider vinegar through my hair. Because I'd read the warnings about making sure you rinse well so you don't smell like vinegar, I rinsed and rinsed and rinsed a bit more. (I must have rinsed enough, as I did not, in fact, smell like salad dressing all day. At least that I could tell.)

The moment when I set about combing my hair post-shower was the ultimate test, as my locks are usually a bit on the tangly side after I use most natural shampoos and conditioners.

After my BSV treatment, my tresses weren't any more tangly than before—and they were perhaps even a bit less so.

I didn't see the miraculous difference in my hair the Grist blogger raved about. But my hair combed, dried, and styled pretty much the same as it always does.

That, as tame as it sounds, is a ringing endorsement. You know why? Because it means I don't have to spend a zillion dollars on natural hair products, because baking soda and apple cider vinegar yield the same results.

The only downside—and the reason I haven't used the treatment more frequently—is that it's a bit of a pain to prep the ingredients before each shower. And sometimes I forget all about it until after I step in the shower, at which point it's too late to hop out and mix a shampoo and conditioner cocktail.

Luckily, I just came across an Ask Umbra video (also on grist) that gives you the ratios for making up an entire bottle of the baking soda shampoo and another of the vinegar conditioner. I have a bunch of partially used shampoos and conditioners in the bathroom closet I'll probably never touch again, so I think I'll empty them out and use the bottles for this precise purpose.

Now you go give it a try and tell me what you think.


CosmoSapien said...

I tried it as well. I used a plastic baking soda sprinkler cup with lid. I used the vinegar right out of the bottle, it was almost empty. When you use pure vinegar on very wet hair it dilutes enough to not burn but it also detangles your hair enough to get your fingers through your locks as you rinse. Any vingar smell will go away when your hair dries. It works. I also recommend a daily brushing with a natural boar hair bristle brush. You can also massage in a drop of argon oil or rosemary oil into your scalp and then brush thoroughly with your hair brush is excellent.

Julie said...

Thanks for the great advice, CosmoSapien! I'm still using the baking soda and vinegar every other day but I happen to have some rosemary oil so might have to try that, too.

Jenn said...

The baking soda has a reaction when it comes in contact with water, so if you premix a large bottle of baking soda and water, it'll lose it's effectiveness after some time (not sure how long tho..). So, I do premix my vinegar and water 'conditioner' and I just mix the appropriate amount of baking soda in with some water in the morning before I head into the shower.

You can also brush your teeth with baking soda to whiten them.. I wouldn't replace toothpaste with baking soda all together, but it's a cheap natural way to whiten your teeth, if needed!

Jenn said...

Also, you can add a couple drops of an essential oil like peppermint or lavender to your vinegar mix and the scent will stay in your hair. I only had peppermint on hand, and it does smell pretty weird mixed with the vinegar, but once my hair dries, only the peppermint scent remains!

Julie said...

Thanks, Jenn. Awesome advice! I have some lavender essential oil and am definitely going to try that.

Boo said...

I have tried this treatment and am absolutely amazed at the results. My hair feels and looks gorgeous. It feels better than ever and feels and looks even better than when I had a keratin treatment that took 3 hours and cost £100, not to mention it contains none of the nasty chemicals that were in the keratin treatment. I implore anyone to try this you will not be disappointed. I'm never going back to shampoos and conditioners. Thank-you for saving my hair!

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