Apr 16, 2012

Ashiya's Hair Diary: Are My Locs Arm & Hammer Tough?

What makes my locs happy?  Apparently, baking soda. A few years ago while sharing hair rituals with a friend, I learned of the occasional baking soda bath she gave her locs.  At some point, I had used baking soda to brush my teeth, clean and do laundry, so I decided to try it on my locs at least once.

I was not prepared for the first time I used baking soda with my conditioner.  I rinsed my hair for 45 minutes.  I was shocked, and a bit horrified, to see so much dirt flow from my locs.
It seemed to release every bit of leftover product, dust, pollen and dirt that was trapped in my locs.  Between seeing a loctitian regularly and my own efforts, I felt confident in our maintenance routine.  At some point, during the second hour of washing my hair, I knew this deep cleaning would be a permanent part of my ritual in some way.

To create this mixture, I simply pour out the amount of conditioner needed for my hair and mix in just enough baking soda to keep it smooth and easy to apply.  I usually use one of my staples, the Enchanting Herbal Conditioner by Taliah Waajid, as the base.  After applying the mixture, I sit for about 15 minutes and rinse until the water runs clear followed by my normal washing routine.

In researching the use of this mixture on natural hair, I've read many concerns about the pH of baking soda as a shampoo replacement. Even though I use the baking soda as an additive for my conditioner and not as a shampoo replacement, I still use it sparingly.  I tend to use it when my hair feels weighed down my product or to keep my hair pollen free in the Spring. To help avoid issues, I make sure to wash my hair thoroughly and rinse completely so that no product is left behind. Right now, my locs are happy with the occasional deep cleansing and My Beloved is no longer allergic to me.  And that makes me happy.

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