What Does Baking Soda Do for Your Hair?

WrittenbyLuat Duong
Last updated

In the world of natural haircare, baking soda has emerged as a versatile and budget-friendly ingredient with multiple benefits for maintaining healthy, vibrant locks. From cleansing and clarifying to treating various hair concerns, this household staple has found its way into many DIY hair routines, offering an eco-friendly alternative to conventional haircare products.

What Does Baking Soda Do for Your Hair?

Baking soda, also known as sodium bicarbonate, is a gentle abrasive and alkaline substance that can provide several benefits for your hair, including:

  • Cleansing and removing buildup
  • Balancing the scalp's pH
  • Enhancing shine and manageability
  • Treating dandruff and scalp issues
  • Promoting hair growth

Cleansing and Removing Buildup

One of the primary benefits of using baking soda for hair is its ability to gently cleanse and remove buildup from products, hard water minerals, and environmental pollutants. The fine abrasive nature of baking soda helps to exfoliate the scalp and lift away residue, leaving hair feeling fresh and clean.

Balancing the Scalp's pH

Maintaining a balanced pH level on the scalp is essential for healthy hair growth. Baking soda has an alkaline pH, which can help neutralize excess acidity on the scalp caused by factors like sweat, pollution, or product buildup. This can create a more optimal environment for hair follicles to thrive.

Enhancing Shine and Manageability

By removing buildup and restoring the scalp's pH balance, baking soda can help enhance the natural shine and manageability of your hair. The gentle exfoliation also helps to remove dead skin cells and unclog hair follicles, allowing for smoother, more manageable strands.

Treating Dandruff and Scalp Issues

Baking soda's antifungal and antibacterial properties make it an effective treatment for dandruff and other scalp issues. Its alkaline nature can help neutralize fungal overgrowth, which is often the cause of dandruff, while its exfoliating properties can help slough off excess flakes and soothe an irritated scalp.

Promoting Hair Growth

By maintaining a healthy scalp environment and unclogging hair follicles, baking soda can potentially promote hair growth. A clean, balanced scalp allows for optimal nutrient absorption and circulation, which can support healthy hair growth cycles.

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How to Use Baking Soda for Hair

To incorporate baking soda into your haircare routine, you can follow these simple steps:

  1. Mix 1-2 tablespoons of baking soda with enough water to form a paste-like consistency.
  2. Gently massage the mixture onto your scalp and work it through your hair.
  3. Rinse thoroughly with water.
  4. Follow up with an apple cider vinegar rinse (optional) to help restore the pH balance and add shine.

It's recommended to use baking soda as a hair treatment no more than once or twice a week, as overuse can lead to dryness and potential damage.

Precautions and Considerations

While baking soda can offer numerous benefits for your hair, it's important to keep the following precautions and considerations in mind:

  • Dilution: Always dilute baking soda with water before applying it to your hair. Using it undiluted can be too harsh and potentially cause irritation or damage.
  • Hair type: Those with color-treated, chemically processed, or very dry hair should use baking soda sparingly or opt for gentler alternatives, as it can potentially strip color or further dry out the hair.
  • Follow-up conditioning: Baking soda can be drying, so it's essential to follow up with a nourishing conditioner or hair mask to replenish moisture and prevent dryness.
  • Patch test: Before using baking soda on your entire head, conduct a patch test on a small section of hair to check for any adverse reactions or sensitivity.

Other Uses for Baking Soda in Haircare

Beyond its cleansing and clarifying properties, baking soda can be utilized in various other ways for haircare, including:

  • Dry shampoo: Sprinkle a small amount of baking soda onto your roots and brush it through to absorb excess oil and refresh your hair between washes.
  • Hair lightener: When combined with other ingredients like hydrogen peroxide or lemon juice, baking soda can help to gradually lighten hair in a more natural way.
  • Clarifying rinse: Add a tablespoon or two of baking soda to your regular shampoo or conditioner for an occasional clarifying treatment to remove buildup.


Baking soda is a versatile and affordable ingredient that can offer numerous benefits for your hair, from cleansing and removing buildup to balancing the scalp's pH, enhancing shine and manageability, treating dandruff, and potentially promoting hair growth. However, it's essential to use baking soda properly, diluting it with water and following up with nourishing conditioners to prevent dryness. By incorporating baking soda into your haircare routine with care and moderation, you can enjoy the benefits of this natural, eco-friendly alternative while maintaining healthy, vibrant locks.

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Luat Duong

Luat Duong is a Copenhagen-based writer and content strategist specializing in hair loss and health. His work has been featured in MyHealthGuide, The Right Hairstyles, and Woman's Era. He is a graduate of Vaasa University. You can connect with him on LinkedIn.