After going to only two locticians in 4 years, I started doing my own hair last summer (save a few interlocking sets by my friend Yonna). The biggest problem I’ve had is being able to get my hair as clean as I’d like it to be. Locs hold on to EVERYTHING: Lint, dust, pollen and any type of product you put in them (which is why I try to use the lightest and most natural things I can find in my hair). I’ve tried all kinds of shampoos, conditioners and rinses and still struggled with yucky build-up in my locs, especially at the base of the individual locs.
I got an idea while cleaning my kitchen, using baking soda to clean the stove top and some cookware that had stuck-on grease: “I wonder if I could use baking soda in my hair to break down that build-up?”Yes, I’m crazy, I know. But I’m sure if you’re an intelligent person that has any experience with baking soda, you can see the logic in this!
I went straight to Google and searched “washing locs with baking soda” and I found a post entitled “Natural Clarifiers” on this blog called Loc Diaries. The young lady who writes the blog pulled five hair clarifying recipes from different sites as remedies for the kind of build-up I deal with in my own locs. The first two involved Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) which most Loc Rockers have at least heard of as a rinse, if they haven’t used it already. The second one is the one that intrigued me, because of the baking soda factor. I was reluctant to try it because the article she linked back to was written by a non-black person and they went on to mention the use of beeswax for locs. I disregarded that thinking that must be a necessity for non-blacks with locs, but something told me that there was some merit in the baking soda/ACV combo.
For a proper cleanse, a combination of vinegar and baking soda should be used. First, pour the baking soda into the palm of your hand. It should be enough to cover your palm. Then, place both palms together and then release them over and into wet hair. Rub the baking soda around and into your dreadlocks. Then, get your vinegar spray bottle and spray it all over the head. This will cause the baking soda to bubble up, which causes a deep cleansing. If no bubbling up occurs, add more baking soda and spray the vinegar again. Now, rinse out the vinegar and baking soda thoroughly with water. Purified water works best, but many people would rather not buy water for each time they wash their hair. Once the dreads are rinsed, shampoo following the instructions on your clarifying shampoo. The clarifying shampoo will clean away any residue left from the baking soda, as well as bring the hair to the consistency needed to keep the dreads locked and healthy.
I sat with this kitchen-ass combo up on my hair for about 15 minutes. In that time, I went back and took a look at the third recipe. This one involved adding some vodka (!!!!) to a clarifying shampoo and washing your locs with that:
Add a bit of vodka into your shampoo! It’ll help to detoxify your hair, removing buildup from products and minerals in your water. You’ll notice an increase in shine and a vast improvement in flat, lifeless hair.
The vodka also deep cleanses the scalp, which can stimulate the follicles and promote healthy hair growth. So this is an inexpensive practice to possibly ward off hair loss by keeping the scalp ultra-clean and free of growth-retarding buildup on the follicles.
Condition afterwards with a quality moisturizing conditioner to restore softness and manageability to the hair.
Nothing about that sounded like anything I’d tried before. It sounded strange, yet attractive. So, I tried it. I got my shampoo and my standby bottle of Absolut…
I didn't have a lot of vodka left, so I definitely felt some kinda way about putting some in my hair.
mixed a little bit in a plastic cup and headed for the shower. I made sure to rinse as much of the baking soda/ACV prewash combo out of my hair first and then washed twice with the “Clarifying Cocktail” (yes, I’ve given it a NAME) and followed up with a deep conditioner. Here are my results:
This part of my hair & scalp are usually the dirtiest. Not anymore!
Scalp looks good, doesn't it?
Base of my locs, all clear.
My locs have NEVER been as clean as they are now. My scalp felt revitalized and my hair is light and shiny. It looks absolutely gorgeous. I don’t know what chemical reaction popped off with that shampoo/vodka combo, but it was like the vodka was some type of booster! I towel dried my hair, applied some tea tree oil and let it be. I could not be more pleased.
I know some people don’t like to use “kitchen products” in their hair, but historically speaking most of women’s beauty/hair products started out in SOMEBODY’S kitchen when a lady somewhere got tired of nothing out in the stores working for her. Ain’t nothing wrong with getting creative with some basic stuff in the house. Don’t be afraid!