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Baking Soda for Hair Growth: Miracle or Myth?

Hair growth is a primary concern for many men and women alike. Science tells us that in order to achieve hair growth, the scalp must be clean, healthy, and free of build-up or infection. One agent that has proven effective in achieving such results is baking soda.

This may come as a surprise because baking soda serves so many household uses, like deodorizing laundry, cleaning the oven, and whitening teeth when added to toothpaste. Nevertheless, baking soda also provides some profound effects on the hair that promote hair growth temporarily. As a result, several scalp and hair health experts continue to discuss and question the pros and cons of using baking soda for hair growth. This article explores what that discussion has revealed thus far.

What is Baking Soda?

Baking soda is a fine, white powder made up of the element, sodium, and the chemical compound, bicarbonate. Sodium and bicarbonate exist in the body individually, so baking soda is usually dissolved in water prior to being used. Sodium helps facilitate many biological functions like nutrient absorption in the intestines, signal transmission within and between nerve cells, and even heart rate regulation. It can also prevent blood from becoming too acidic which is essential for ensuring that enough oxygen and nutrients are delivered throughout the body.

Baking Soda For Hair Growth – The Pros and Cons

Several natural properties of baking soda make it potentially helpful for stimulating hair growth. For instance, baking soda:

  • Gently exfoliates the scalp as well as other areas of skin with its fine granules
  • Relieves scalp irritations that may cause excessive itching and hair loss
  • Reduces inflammation which makes certain scalp conditions, like dermatitis, so unbearable
  • Fights bacteria and fungi which can infect the scalp and limit hair growth
  • Removes excess oil, dirt, and hair product build-up which may be clogging the pores of the scalp
  • Eliminates odors trapped in the scalp and hair follicles
  • Soothes the scalp, softens hair, and adds shine

However, researchers question these effects for the long-term. They believe that using baking soda for hair growth can actually cause adverse effects like:

  • Irritating the scalp;
  • Damaging the hair cuticle;
  • Causing frizziness; or,
  • Inducing hair loss via breakage.

These issues are mainly due to baking soda having a very basic pH level of 9. On average, the scalp maintains a more acidic pH level of 5.5 whereas the pH level of the hair shaft is around 3.7. So, introducing an agent like baking soda with a high pH level will remove build-up and excess oil from places with a low pH level; but, ultimately dry out those areas.

Baking Soda and the “No Poo” Method

A popular trend among people striving to grow their hair is called the “no poo” method. “No poo” actually refers to “no shampoo”. Instead, another cleansing substance is applied to the hair and scalp instead of shampoo. The no poo method is considered a form of natural hair care because individuals are able to eliminate harsh chemicals found in some shampoos.

With its undeniable cleansing properties, baking soda is a popular shampoo replacement. You can use baking soda and the no poo method by doing the following:

  • Mix 1 tablespoon of baking soda with 6 tablespoons of water.
  • Stir 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar into 4 tablespoons of water.
  • Starting at the roots and working out toward the ends, massage the baking soda mixture into your scalp of with either wet or dry hair.
  • Allow the mixture to sit in your hair for 3 to 5 minutes.
  • Rinse the mixture out of your hair with warm water.
  • Tilt your head backward and rinse your hair once more with the apple cider vinegar solution.

This recipe is structured for an individual with shoulder-length hair. If you have shorter or longer hair, simply decrease or increase the measurements. Just be sure to maintain the 1 to 6 ratio of baking soda to water as well as the 1 to 4 ratio of apple cider vinegar to water. Also, if you do not feel comfortable eliminating shampoo completely, then you can just add 1 teaspoon of baking soda to your favorite shampoo to gain its clarifying properties.

Is Baking Soda ideal for all hair types?

Given the pros and cons of using baking soda for hair growth, it can be concluded that baking soda is most beneficial for people with an oily scalp or hair. Individuals with this hair type may have developed it genetically or from using a lot of hair products that naturally build-up in the hair over time. Either way, such individuals have the excess oil and dirt that baking soda so readily removes.

Nevertheless, people with naturally dry hair or those who do not experience a shortage or excess of oil in their hair may want to avoid baking soda all together. Since people with normal or dry hair lack an excess of oil, using baking soda in their hair could very well generate the cons mentioned above by removing oil that their hair actually needs to grow and remain healthy.

You may also want to avoid trying baking soda for hair growth if you:

  • Are especially vulnerable to sunburn.
  • Color or dye your hair.
  • Suffer from sensitive skin anywhere on your body.
  • Treat your hair with chemicals.
  • Use heat, such as blow dryers or flat irons, to style your hair.

What if you hair gets dried out?

Look for conditioners infused with keratin, argan oil or jojoba oil. Keratin is a protein that restores hair and prevents breakage by filling in breaks along the hair cuticle. Argan oil is a lighter oil that will seal the hair cuticle without weighing it down. Jojoba oil will also seal the hair cuticle but provides moisture to the hair and scalp as well. You can apply these oils directly to your hair as well. Other oils to consider for direct application are extra virgin olive oil and coconut oil. Extra virgin olive oil and coconut oil offer moisture for dry hair as well as anti-inflammatory and antifungal abilities to keep scalp irritation, itching, and dandruff away.

Conditioners will reduce any damage caused by baking soda and leave hair looking smooth and free of frizz. Applying coconut oil or olive oil directly to the hair will leave hair feeling soft, sleek, and more manageable. To enhance any of these effects, simply put a plastic cap over your hair while the conditioner or oil is in your hair and sit under a dryer or blow a blow dryer over the plastic cap for about 30 minutes. Then, rinse out the conditioner or oil with lukewarm or cool water.

Final Thoughts…

Overall, baking soda can be beneficial for cleansing the hair and scalp of build-up that may be hindering hair growth. However, extended use of baking soda can damage hair, especially in some hair types. So, feel free to try baking soda for hair growth once or twice, but do not overdo it; and most of all, pay close attention to how your hair responds.



Axe, J. (2018). 33 surprising baking soda uses & remedies. Retrieved from

Cespedes, A. (2017). Can olive oil & baking soda promote hair growth?. Retrieved from
Ciancio, S. G. (2017). Baking soda dentifrices and oral health. Journal of the American Dental Association, 148(11): S1-S3.

Scaccia, A. (2018). What you need to know about using baking soda on your hair. Retrieved from

Shaffer, L. (2018). Baking soda stops hair loss & promotes hair growth in no time!. Retrieved from

Smith, K. (2018). What years of baking soda “no ‘poo” did to my long, healthy hair {or, when a natural living experiment fails}. Retrieved from

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