Skip to Content

Washing Hair With Baking Soda Side Effects

It’s no secret that baking soda has long been a natural and inexpensive way to clean your hair. However, while it may seem like a harmless natural remedy, washing your hair with baking soda does come with several side effects.

I’m going to share the washing hair with baking soda side effects, sharing the potential risks associated with washing your natural hair with baking soda and how these effects can be minimized.

Washing Hair With Baking Soda Side Effects

Washing Hair With Baking Soda: The Process and Benefits Of Using Baking Soda

To start, mix a small amount of baking soda with water to create a paste.

You can adjust the consistency to your preference, just make sure it’s smooth enough to apply easily to your hair. Typically, one tablespoon of baking soda to three cups of water should suffice.

Removing Product Buildup and Oils

Baking soda effectively helps remove hair product buildup and excess oils from your hair. Simply apply the mixture to your hair, paying special attention to the roots and scalp.

Gently massage the mixture into your hair for a minute or two to make sure it reaches all areas. This helps break down the stubborn buildup on the hair shaft, allowing you to achieve cleaner and lighter hair.

Promoting Hair Health and Shine

By using baking soda, you’re not only removing buildup and oils, but also promoting hair health and shine of your hair strands.

Baking soda’s alkaline properties help balance the scalp’s pH levels, making it a safer alternative to harsher hair care products. This natural treatment leaves your hair feeling refreshed and rejuvenated.

Remember to follow up with a gentle, natural conditioner, as baking soda can be slightly drying to the hair. 

Washing Hair With Baking Soda Side Effects

Scalp Irritation and Dryness

You might notice some scalp irritation when using baking soda as a hair cleanser, especially if you have sensitive skin.

Some research suggests that baking soda can strip away natural oils on your scalp, leading to dryness and itchiness.

If you experience skin irritation or excessive dryness, it might be best to reconsider the use of baking soda or reduce the frequency of application.

Hair Breakage and Damage

Hair Breakage and Damage

Baking soda’s abrasive nature could potentially cause hair breakage and damage. Your hair might feel more brittle and prone to frizz, as baking soda can open up the hair cuticle, leading to cuticle damage.

To minimize the risk of damage, you should try using a diluted solution of baking soda and water, or consider incorporating a moisturizing conditioner after rinsing out the baking soda.

Altering pH Balance

One major concern with using baking soda is its effect on hair pH levels. Hair and scalp naturally maintain a pH balance between 4.5 and 5.5, while baking soda has a much higher pH of around 9.

An altered pH balance might cause your hair to become more porous and prone to damage, especially if you have chemically treated or colored hair.

Hair Type Specificity

Lastly, it is essential to consider your hair type when deciding if baking soda is right for you. Some hair types might be more susceptible to the side effects of using baking soda as a hair cleanser, while others can tolerate it with minimal issues.

To avoid potential problems, conduct a patch test on a small section of your hair to observe any adverse reactions before fully committing to the baking soda hair treatment.

Natural Alternatives and Enhancements

There are several natural alternatives and enhancements that can be used to complement or replace washing your hair with baking soda. These alternatives offer many benefits without the risk of potential side effects.

Apple Cider Vinegar Rinse

An Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) rinse is a fantastic alternative to using baking soda on your hair. It helps to restore your hair’s natural pH balance and promotes a healthier scalp.

To prepare an ACV rinse, simply mix one part ACV with two parts water and apply it to your hair after shampooing. Let it sit for a few minutes, and then rinse thoroughly.

Coconut, Jojoba, and Argan Oils

Natural oils like coconut, jojoba, and argan oil can be incredibly beneficial for your hair health. These oils can effectively moisturize and nourish your hair, leaving it soft and shiny.

Coconut oil is known for its antimicrobial properties, which can help to fight against dandruff and other scalp issues. Jojoba oil is a great option for those with sensitive skin, as it closely resembles your hair’s natural sebum.

Argan oil, also known as “liquid gold,” is abundant in antioxidants and essential nutrients, providing your hair with nourishment and protection.

Can I Mix Baking Soda with Shampoo?

Aloe Vera

Aloe Vera is a soothing, natural alternative to nourish and moisturize your hair and scalp. It contains vitamins, minerals, and enzymes that promote healthy hair growth and help to soothe an irritated scalp.

Simply apply aloe vera gel to your hair and scalp after shampooing, leave it on for a few minutes, and then rinse thoroughly.

Essential Oils

Essential oils offer a range of benefits for your hair and scalp, depending on the type of oil used.

For instance, tea tree oil has antimicrobial properties, which can help combat dandruff, while lavender oil can promote relaxation and reduce stress-related hair loss.

To use essential oils, add a few drops of your preferred carrier oil (such as coconut, jojoba, or argan oil) and gently massage the mixture into your scalp.

Leave it on for 30 minutes or overnight before washing it out with a gentle shampoo.

Can I Mix Baking Soda with Shampoo?

It is possible to mix baking soda with shampoo to create a natural, deep cleaning option for hair.

Baking soda works as an exfoliant that helps remove dirt and excess oil from the scalp, while simultaneously providing much needed hydration.

The combination of ingredients can also help balance out pH levels on the scalp, and ensure healthier strands over time.

To make this mixture, simply add one tablespoon of baking soda into a small bowl of shampoo and mix together until it becomes well combined.

It’s important to note that if you have a dry or sensitive scalp, adding too much baking soda could potentially cause irritation or damage due to its drying effects.

For this reason, it is best to try out the mixture on a small patch of skin before applying it all over your scalp.

Otherwise, when using this mixture on your hair be sure to leave it in for no more than 1-2 minutes and then rinse thoroughly with water.

Does Baking Soda Damage Hair?

How Does Baking Soda Affect Different Hair Types (Curly Hair, Oily Hair, Dry Hair)?

Baking soda for hair is a popular household item that can have numerous benefits depending on the type of hair. For example, baking soda has a pH of 9 which helps to restore the scalp’s natural pH level and make it more alkaline. 

This helps to balance out oil production in oily scalps and helps to keep moisture in dry scalps. It can also be used as a mild exfoliant which helps remove any build-up from the scalp that could be clogging the pores.

Baking soda helps to clarify color-treated hair without stripping its essential oils or damaging its pigmentation. 

If you are considering using baking soda for your hair, it is important to note that regular use may cause damage over time if not done correctly.

Therefore, when using baking soda for your hair type, it’s best to do so sparingly and with caution.

Start by adding a few spoonfuls of baking soda into some warm water and apply it as a mixture onto wet strands after shampooing with a gentle clarifying shampoo – this will help minimize any potential damage caused by using too much baking soda at once. 

Does Baking Soda Damage Hair?

Baking soda can be harsh on your hair due to its high pH level. However, when used correctly and in moderation, it can clean and remove product buildup without causing significant damage.

If you experience anything like dryness or brittleness, you might want to consider reducing the frequency of use or diluting it more.

Is It Safe To Use Baking Soda Shampoo If You Have Color-Treated Hair?

Benefits of baking soda include its gentle cleansing action and versatility, making it an attractive choice for people with color-treated hair.

However, the harshness of baking soda can also create hair damage when used on delicate hair dye strands. 

While baking soda may make your hair free from dirt and oils, it is not ideal for regular use.

Depending on how frequently you use it, baking soda can strip the natural oils from your hair and scalp, leaving them dry or brittle in some cases. It can also begin to fade away color treatments if used regularly as a shampoo. 

It is possible to still reap the benefits of baking soda as a shampoo replacement, without damaging your color-treated hair, if used in moderation and accompanied by other forms of conditioning.

For example, using a clarifying shampoo every 4–6 weeks followed by a moisturizing conditioner helps balance out the stripping capacity of baking soda with hydrating elements that exfoliate the hair and scalp while keeping them nourished without fading away color treatments prematurely. 

How Often Should You Use Baking Soda To Wash Your Hair?

Applying baking soda to your hair should not be done every day. It is recommended to limit its use to once or twice a month, replacing your regular shampoo.

Using baking soda as shampoo will help remove any product accumulation and greasiness without causing excessive dryness or irritation to your scalp.

How Often Should You Use Baking Soda To Wash Your Hair?

Does Baking Soda Have an Effect on Hair Growth?

There isn’t any solid evidence that supports or disproves the effect of baking soda on hair growth.

It is known to remove product buildup on the scalp, which can encourage a healthier environment for hair growth. But remember, moderation is key, as overuse can lead to dry and damaged hair.

Should You Mix Baking Soda With Shampoo?

Mixing baking soda with your shampoo can uplift its cleansing properties. You can mix a small amount of baking soda with your regular shampoo to create a deep-cleansing mixture.

This blend will help remove stubborn buildup and accumulated oils, leaving your hair feeling refreshed and clean.

How Long Should You Leave Baking Soda In Your Hair?

When using baking soda as a hair cleanser, it’s vital not to leave it on your hair for too long.

After massaging the baking soda and water mixture into your scalp and hair, wait for about 1 to 3 minutes before rinsing it out thoroughly. This short contact time will help minimize potential side effects and irritation.

What Are the Benefits of Using Baking Soda on My Hair?

Using baking soda on your hair can help keep it clean without stripping away its natural oils. It can also help stimulate hair growth, reduce friction between the hair strands, and rebalance the scalp’s pH levels.

You can use baking soda in combination with other ingredients for healthier-looking hair.

What Should I Use Instead of Baking Soda for My Hair?

What Should I Use Instead of Baking Soda for My Hair?

If you don’t want to use baking soda on your hair, another option is apple cider vinegar, which has similar properties that will help cleanse the scalp without stripping away too many natural oils from the scalp.

You can also just use mild shampoo or even just plain water when washing their hair.

What Is the Science Behind Why People Use Baking Soda in Their Haircare Routine?

The main reason why people use baking soda in their haircare routine is because it helps open up cuticles that protect our hair.

So, you don’t damage your hair, while also helping break down grease/dirt buildup in our scalps/strands without stripping away all natural oil from our scalps/strands like many commercial shampoos do.

Plus, it has an alkaline base which means that it has a pH level higher than 7 (the human body’s optimal pH level).

This high alkaline pH level makes it easier for water molecules contained in this paste to penetrate into our strands more easily than if no paste was present at all.


Can Applying Too Much Baking Soda Damage My Hair?

Yes, if you overuse or misuse this product, then there might be some potential problems such as dryness or irritation caused by an overly alkaline solution on sensitive skin/scalps.

It’s best to start by applying small amounts and increase depending on what works best for you.


Washing your hair with baking soda can be an effective and inexpensive natural remedy to clear buildup and nourish your scalp.

However, it does come with some side effects such as scalp irritation, dryness, breakage, altered pH balance, and potential damage depending on your hair type.

The best way to minimize these effects is to use a diluted solution of baking soda with water or incorporate other natural alternatives afterward such as Apple Cider Vinegar rinses or coconut/jojoba/argan oils.

By using more conditioning products after washing with baking soda, you can help protect the integrity of your hair without sacrificing its cleansing benefits.

All products featured on Gemma Etc. are PR samples or gifted items, unless otherwise indicated. This post may contain affiliate links. If you wish to find out more, please see my Disclaimer within my navigation bar.