News flash: Vinegar is a potent odor and not a recommended fragrance.
And a news flash right back: Conditioning your hair with vinegar (no matter how formidable its scent may seem) will not make you smell like an Easter egg.
I’ve been using my homemade hair remedy of baking soda shampoo and vinegar/lemon conditioner for two days now, and I can tell you truthfully that I have yet to catch a whiff of vinegar off my dry hair.
Of course, you would never believe me if you stood downwind while I was conditioning. Just open the recycled shampoo bottle that now contains my homemade concoction and it emits an odor that would make a bloodhound do a double-take. I must admit that using the recipe for the first time sent my heart sinking into my toes at the thought of my ruined locks. But I am here – blonde head intact – to relay the golden rule of vinegar conditioner: RINSE WELL. As long as you put your hair through an enthusiastic rinse cycle, the vinegary odor will not linger.
But at the same time (and you’ll recognize this complaint from my homemade deodorant posts), I found that hair washed with baking soda and vinegar/lemon has absolutely no fragrance whatsoever. You may be wondering what happened to the coconut and vanilla I added to my conditioner. Well, that was completely drowned out as soon as I added the vinegar, and no amount of 24-hour steeping could temper the odor.
So, I’ve added a Part III: The perfume cycle. I’ve conjured up a sweet-smelling mixture of vanilla, mint, lemon, orange and peppermint that I spray on and rinse out as the final leg of my hair routine.
Part III: The Perfume Cycle
- 10 fl.oz. peppermint tea
- 1tsp vanilla extract
- ½ tsp peppermint extract
- ½ tsp orange extract
- ½ tsp lemon extract (or lemon rinds)
You may think that this challenge would have me wild-goose chasing around all-natural supermarkets looking for “pure” ingredients like essential oils or hemp. Actually, there is probably an entire shelf of potent potables right under your nose in the baking aisle of your everyday grocery store just waiting to be used as fragrances. I bought all my scents from the McCormick spice rack, using products that contain only alcohol, oil and water – seems natural enough to me.
Finally – another bizarre revelation about vinegar: It’s an awesome detangler. I had read this on the internet, but hesitated to believe it, especially after putting it on my hair. It’s nothing like the store-bought conditioners I’ve always used that feel like a slippery lotion, and I can’t slide my fingers through my hair like a comb while it’s working. But somehow, the vinegar/lemon conditioner works better to straighten out my rat’s nest than any conditioner I’ve ever used.
My dear friend, baking soda, I’d like you to meet my new friend, vinegar. I’m sure we’ll all be very happy together.