3: Apple Cider Vinegar and the Negative Effects on your hair
From the FutureDerm.com Facebook page:
What can you tell us about the no ‘poo trend (washing with baking soda in place of shampoo, and apple cider vinegar in place of conditioner)? Is it actually better for our hair? I works well for me- but I would like to learn if it has actual benefits before I make it my regular regime.
Hair can be thought of like a fine leather: With improper treatment, it can become stripped of its natural oils, resulting in a dried, limp, colorless remnant of what used to be.
Thankfully, like fine leather, hair can be maintained and restored. One common belief is that natural ingredients like baking soda and apple cider vinegar leaves hair softer, cleaner, and more healthy than traditional shampoo. However, keep the following in mind:
Problems with Using Baking Soda and Apple Cider Vinegar to Wash Your Hair
1. Baking soda is a known irritant that will cause your hair to dry out and break over time.
With a pH of 9 — 100 times more basic than water — baking soda is a known alkaline irritant (Journal of Cutaneous Pathology, 1989). According to renowned dermatologist Dr. Audrey Kunin, M.D., “The first principle of shampooing: make sure your shampoo says it is pH-balanced and avoid those that are alkaline. Alkaline shampoos strip the hair’s natural oils and disrupt the acid mantle, causing dehydration and leading to porous, fragile hair” (The DermaDoctor SkinStruction Manual, 2005).
Yes, it’s true that baking soda helps regulate pH — keeping a substance neither too acidic nor too alkaline. When baking soda comes in contact with either an acidic or an alkaline substance, its effect is to neutralize that pH. However, as any cosmetic chemist can tell you, this effect occurs when baking soda is in solution with other chemicals. When baking soda is in water alone, guess what the pH of the solution is? You guessed it: A very basic 9, much more alkaline than plain ol’ water.
Apple cider vinegar arguably has more going for it as a hair rinse than baking soda. While I can’t find conclusive evidence to prove that apple cider vinegar is great at fighting dandruff, it can fight certain fungal infections. Studies have shown that apple cider vinegar is effective in fighting Candida albicansand Aspergillus niger. (Thi-Qar Medical Journal, 2011)
Due to the slightly acidic pH of apple cider vinegar mixed with 2-3 parts water, some experts believe it can also extend the life of hair color when applied immediately after hair dye is rinsed off. Most hair dyes are alkaline, which opens up the hair cuticle. When hair color is applied, it can then penetrate to the hair’s inner cortex, where it can react with the hair’s pigment molecules to produce a color change. Acidic solutions applied after, like apple cider vinegar, may reseal the cuticle. This flattening may not only help hair color last longer, but also flatten the cuticle, making your hair easier to comb and a bit shinier.
Still, overdoing it with apple cider vinegar can cause more damage than it is worth. Anyone who has applied lemon juice to their hair can tell you that acidic solutions will cause your hair to become lighter, drier, and more brittle over time. Those “blessed” with black hair, like myself, can tell you that the acidity will also bring out the brassy tones in your color, leaving you with lovely orange hair Zoe the muppet would envy. If you still don’t believe me, keep in mind that many perming solutions have an acidic pH, breaking disulfide bonds within straight hair.
3. You’re depleting your hair of natural oils.
One terrible thing about using baking soda and apple cider vinegar alone on your hair is that these do not contain any oils that can be beneficial for your hair. The best shampoos replenish natural sheen to the hair which they have just stripped as a part of the cleaning process.
There are a number of moisturizing ingredients in shampoos that can replenish your hair’s natural oils; these include (but are not limited to):
But by taking the “do-it-yourself” approach, you are taking away the ability for shampoos to gently replenish oils from root to tip. Instead, you’re drying out your scalp, and likely replenishing oils only on the ends of your hair. Not cool.
The Real Source of the Misunderstanding
If I hear one more “expert” say that “chemicals” are ruining your skin, hair, or the environment, I’ll scream. Chemicals have prolonged many more lives than they have cut short, in the form of potent antibacterials, antifungals, antibiotics — you name it. Just 100 years ago, the average life expectancy was 51 for men and 56 for women (Berkeley.edu). The reason we’re living 25-30 years longer isn’t improved nutrition or more “natural” products — it’s medicine, pharmaceuticals, chemicals.
That said, I’m not going to defend the deplorable actions of some companies for the last few decades, either. By including known irritants like sulfates and phthalates into some of their products, the beauty and cosmetics industry has lost the trust of many of their more health-conscious consumers.
But instead of turning to the solid research that lead to life-extending drugs and medicines for possible replacements, we instead believe somehow big pharma and major cosmetics companies are “bad.” For instance, we’ve turned to plant extracts. Ask any natural product advocate on the street about white willow bark and aspirin, and she’ll tell you white willow bark is “good” and aspirin is “bad.” Yet the active compound in white willow bark is exactly the same as in aspirin. Scientists can extract the active parts of many plants of white willow bark, isolate it, and shazam! — you have the same active ingredient as in aspirin.
My point in addressing this is one of caution: Do not trust products just because they are “natural.” It may fit in more with a natural, holistic lifestyle, but you can actually be putting yourself in more danger. Some people I know dreamed of becoming a cosmetic chemist from the time they were a child. They studied hard, went through years of schooling, some got PhDs, then got tons of formulation experience, and made fantastic shampoos — and you’re mixing baking soda and putting it on your scalp like your great-grandmother?! It doesn’t make sense. New technologies and their chemicals are not all bad. Some, in fact, are fantastic for your hair.
What to Use Instead
That said, I can’t fight millions of dollars in marketing for all-natural products. So, if all-natural is what you seek, I have found the following all-natural products, formulated by cosmetic chemists, with replenishing oils and non-harsh non-detergent cleansers:
- Chaz Dean’s Wen line (update January 09, 2016: no longer recommended)
- Sea Chi Organics Leave-on Moisturizing Treatment and Hair Growth Formula
- Avalon Organic Botanicals Clarifying Shampoo (good for once/month or so)
These are the products if you’re looking for “all-natural,” but if that’s not necessarily what you’re looking for, then I’d recommend checking out our post How Do I Make My Hair More Youthful, Shiny, Full, and Thick? for even more options.
Three take-home points:
- Please never use baking soda on your hair. It is associated with breakage and damage.
- You can use apple cider vinegar (1 tbsp/1 cup of water) occasionally, meaning twice/month or less. I do not recommend using it before going out in the sun or for those with dyed dark hair — the acidity can bring out brassiness.
- Please try to consider the fact that “chemicals” are not always “bad” and “natural” is not always “good.” If you don’t believe me, consider the fact that we’re living 25-30 years longer now than 100 years ago due to medicine, drugs, and chemicals. Please stop trying to make your own products, unless you have a degree in the sciences and a job at a lab!
Hope this helps!
Credit to above state author. Can be found at the following link: https://www.futurederm.com/3-reasons-why-baking-soda-and-apple-cider-vinegar-destroy-your-hair-and-what-to-use-instead/
2: The Science behind Straight and Curly Hair in less than 8 minutes.
1: I AM MY HAIR
“TO SEE HER IN HER NATURAL STATE, IS A GIFT FROM GOD. TO CHERISH HER IS YOUR DUTY. YOU ARE MAN: CARE FOR WOMAN JUST AS SHE NATURALLY DOES FOR YOU.”- T
I went from one bald head beauty to rocking a bush and the transition has been
B E A U T I F U L.
You look better with long hair… THEY SAY. Straighten your hair once in a while… THEY SAY.
SHUT THE FUCK UP! I SAY. 🙂
Tea. No Lye: The start of my natural journey was an accident.
2012-2015: You wouldn’t catch me without a slick relaxer and a fresh cut. My hair was what I was using as a new defense mechanism. I had been so sick and tired of hearing that I could only be attractive if I had long hair. It’s only pretty if you can flip and figure 8 it. That middle school mentality I had was for the birds, so I cut the shit off. I was fine without it and I was going to prove it. The first cut in undergrad that was the defining moment.
My hair was colored, teased, shaved, slicked, bowled, clipped, waved, YOU NAME IT! I even spiced it up enough to throw some weave in my hair game. My hair made me feel bold. For normal people, calming mechanisms were simple. It was shopping for a new bag and a mocha latte. For me, it was scissors, tattoos, piercings, and my friend MISTY (Arbor to be exact). I was coming into myself and I used my hair and other parts of my body to display that transition. Being that I was 16 when I entered undergrad, and 17 when I started cutting my hair, I made some stupid mistakes. As a result, my roots stopped responding to me. I mean, my roots hit me with a “LOOK HOE, WE IS TYED”.
Fortunately, transitioning was my beautiful mistake. I was wigged out for graduation and that same night I was naturally embracing the new challenges ahead and it all started with my hair. That night I confronted enemies and exes, expressed my love to someone I knew I couldn’t ever be with, and for a split second I stopped caring what everyone else thought about me. I was daring. It was all or nothing. I was even more optimistic than the first time I introduced my hair to a pair of scissors. It felt so good. It felt so real. I felt a release and I never looked back.
My hair has taught me peace, patience, and perseverance. If you want to meet a more patient black woman, find a natural woman. It takes time and effort to look this good, TRUST ME. If anyone knows me there are two odd things are super important to me: Chemistry and my natural journey. This page will be filled with the things I find interesting as I travel through my natural journey. It will combine things chemistry related as well as areas covering hygiene, fashion, and love for self. Hopefully, it can be of some help.
Welcome to Kinks and Khemistry!
Just Keep Sipping,
“A WOMAN IN HER NATURAL STATE IS NAKED AND VULNERABLE. IN A MIRROR, SHE SEES ONLY HER IMPERFECTIONS AND MAKES LIGHT OF THEM. THE CURLS AND KINKS THAT POKE FROM HER ROOTS ARE SYMBOLS OF STRUGGLE AND FRUSTRATIONS BOUND TO HER AS SLAVES WERE BOUND TO SHIPS, BUT HER HANDS HOLD POWER. HER HANDS PIK, PART, TWIST, LOCK AND CONTORT TO GAIN CONTROL OF THE SEEDS SHE TAKES THE TIME TO REAP. SHE CREATES NEW IMAGES OF HERSELF; MANY IMAGES. TRANSITIONS OF IMAGERY THAT CAN ONLY BE FOUND IN THE CONNECTIONS BETWEEN THE LINES IN HER HANDS AND HER HEAD. “-T