I struggled with a dry scalp for my entire life and could never figure out what the problem was until I started a no-poo routine. Switching to a baking-soda paste "shampoo" and an ACV rinse changed my life. I used this methodology for around 3 years. This is the point where I began make and using soap shampoo bars and from that moment on I have never looked back! It's convenient, practically waste-free, and the texture/health of my hair and scalp has never been better.
What this all taught me was about the basic health and chemistry behind washing your hair. The hair is a two-part structure consisting of the follicle, located below the skin the houses the root of the hair, and the hair shaft. Below the surface are the sebaceous glands that secrete sebum through the follicle, which lubricate the hair and skin. This oil makes up part of the acid mantle, which is a very fine, slightly acidic film that maintains and protects the overall health of the hair and skin. The outer layer of the shaft, known as the cuticle, is made up of tightly packed overlapping scales. The acid mantle and the pH of the acid mantle are critical in having the scales lay flat, giving the hair a shiny, smooth appearance and holds in moisture. What causes the cuticles to stand up, losing moisture, shine, creating frizzy, dull, damaged hair is a pH is that is greater than it should be. The acid mantle has a pH of around 5, which is slightly acid and many products on the market, including soap, are more alkaline (pH >7), which disrupt the acid mantle layer. Even sweat and diet can cause changes in the acid mantle.
Constantly maintaining the pH of our hair creates great hair days and scalps that are free from scales. Organic apple cider vinegar (ACV) has potassium, pectin, malic acid, calcium, B vitamins, vitamin C, and potassium and is loaded with beneficial acids and enzymes. These are crucial for hair health and ACV has a pH of around 3, making it perfect to close the cuticle and lay those scales flat after using alkaline products like soap shampoo bars and baking soda. In addition to maintaining the pH balance of the hair and scalp, ACV can also help to remove buildup from styling products or hard water, soothe itchiness or inflammation, and promote hair growth. It's best to choose raw, unfiltered ACV that still contains the "mother" for the beneficial bacteria and enzymes.
Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) Rinse
2-4 tbsp raw apple cider vinegar
16 oz cool water
1-2 drops of your favorite essential oil
I like to add the water, vinegar, and essential oils to a glass before the shower and dump it on my head starting at the scalp and leave it on for at least 3-5 minutes. The
However, sing baking soda and soap-based shampoo bars is not for everyone. Both are quite alkaline and may cause dryness or damage if used too frequently or in high concentrations. It's also important to rinse it out thoroughly to avoid any residue buildup. Hair type, water quality, and other factors can all factor into how well your hair and scalp will respond to this method of cleaning your hair.
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