How to: Baking Soda Wash & Apple Cider Vinegar Rinse

7:55 AM

Below I list the step by step instruction of what I did. You can see the result here.

The BS wash & ACV Rinse is every 2-3 month for me. If you have really bad dandruff, then you welcome to do this every month. Just make sure you condition your hair/locs.

After you have done your Baking Soda Wash & ACV Rinse, you can do a quick test to see if it was successful. Most blogger call it the "Scratch Test". Scratch your scalp, and your finger nails should come away clean, without any build up.

Baking Soda Clarification

With some silicone-based products, clarification must be done to remove the product that builds up over time on the hair shaft. Rather than resort to sulfate-based shampoos to remove this build-up, which can damage and dry the hair, a baking soda cleanse is preferable:

1 tablespoon baking soda
3 tablespoons silicone-free conditioner

Apply mixture to the scalp and massage firmly, then continue to massage the mixture down the hair shaft to the ends. Work into hair well. Rinse thoroughly with warm water and follow IMMEDIATELY with an apple cider vinegar rinse.

Note: you MUST follow any baking soda cleanse with an apple cider vinegar rinse. Baking soda is alkaline -- meaning it will raise your cuticle and open up your hair shaft. The apple cider vinegar is acidic and will close your cuticle back down. If you don't follow the cleanse with an ACV rinse, you'll be leaving your hair shaft open and setting yourself up for more frizz than you'd probably like.


Apple Cider Vinegar Rinse

There is some debate on whether or not an apple cider vinegar (ACV) rinse alone can clarify the hair; however, it is helpful to bring the hair back into balance after an alkaline solution has come into contact with the hair and will shut the cuticle back down. Repeated use of ACV rinses can be drying, so limit use to once per month at most:

1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 cup warm water

Pour the mixture over the hair after cleansing (do not rinse out), then condition as usual. Any lingering smell will dissipate as the hair dries.


Set UpBS (left) ACV(right)

After I do the BS wash & ACV Rinse, I apply the Sisterlocks Moisture Treatment. "How to:" for Sisterlocks Moisture Treatment can be found here.

Close Up (Next Day)Back (Next Day)

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  1. I really appreciate this post. I will getting my Sisterlocks in one week. I currently follow a routine similar to this for my natural hair. I'm glad to know that this will also work for my Sisterlocks eventually.

  2. Thanks for the comment! I really appreciate that. Most of the routine you did for your natural hair can be kept.

  3. I have been locked for about three weeks. I was wondering if I did this, would it cause my lock to slip. I washed it for the first time last week and the sisterlock shampoo burned my scalp. Afterwards, I did the ACV rinse and that help the itching a little. Eveymonring I spray my hair with distill water and ACV, that helps a little but my scalp is driving me crazy.

  4. If you are locked for only three week then I would not recommend using this. If you scalp itch allot then I would recommend getting Sea Breeze and not use the ACV (since the ACV tend to dry our scalp). You mix your Sea Breeze with distil water and spray it directly to the scalp. That should help. Another thing that I found helps allot with the itchiness is letting my hair loose (without braiding or curling the night before). Good luck and I hope this information helps.

  5. Kreyola, I have 2 month old micro sisterlocks, is it safe for me to do this rinse? I really need a scalp remedy.

  6. @dis.enchanted No I don't recommend it on baby install sisterlocks. You will have to thoroughly wash out your hair, and plus this mixture has conditioner on it. If you want sometime to battle the itchiness try SeaBreeze for now, and if you have an issue with dry or dandruff, try a dilute mixture of tea tree oil, and rub it in the scalp where the problem exists.

  7. Hi Kreyola, do you only suggest doing the ACV rinse if I plan on doing a conditioner afterwards? I would love to try a BS wash/ACV rinse but not sure I'm ready to use conditioner on my hair yet (just reaching the one year mark).

  8. @hairgrease I only do a BS Wash follow by an ACV for a deep clarifying wash. The ACV is good for an itchy scalp, so if that is the only issue you have, you more than welcome to do so (minus the conditioner). I found that I don't need the BS as much, since the amounts of product I use are now very little. Before I was testing a lot of products on my sisterlocks before I finally found the right mix.

  9. Nice! Thanks for your response. I will definitely give the ACV rinse a try to combat the dry, itchy scalp. :)

  10. Hi, I have a "silly" question. When applying the baking soda clarification, should my hair be wet first, or am I applying this to dry hair?

  11. @Devin there is never a silly question. You want to have your hair wet before applying this. The BSW replace your Shampoo for that time. 

  12. I have a "bad scalP" (can't use relaxers cuz it causes sores and it is very dry and has BAD dandruff. It runs in the family). Will this help my situation? I seriously hate my hair.

  13. @Briana I would not recommend this to you at all. This can make your scalp worst because it is extremely drying. If you have a really bad scalp issue then I suggested visiting a Dermatologist to give you a better solution on how to correct it. Your scalp issue can be cure and you should NOT hate your hair because of it. If you can't visit a Dermatologist, then I highly recommend you try T-Gel or Head & Shoulder to treat your scalp issue. I also have an oil mixture you can use to help maintain a clear scalp. Just search for dandruff on the search box. If you received any improvement please share what you did. Thanks!

    Note: If you have locks and the dandruff is stuck in your locks, you can try the solution above but I would skip the conditioner and just filled your sink with water and baking soda and soak your locks in it. Once you are satisfy your hair is thoroughly clean you can then rinse it out with the ACV rinse.


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Big Chop - January 24, 2009
Install - August 18-20 2009
Retighten Time - 4 - 4 1/2 hr
Total Locks - Over 750
Pattern - Double 3
Texture - 4 A/B (Thick & Coarse)

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