With all of the hair terms that you’ve been hearing recently, you might be wondering what most of them even mean. Hair porosity, hair protein, hair moisture, and in walks another term: Hair pH. A few of us might have a basic idea on what hair pH means, but for those of our folks who are new to hair care routine, they might be searching on Google about hair pH and this is probably why you’re reading this right now. So let’s break it down to basics and explore everything there is about the hair pH.
What is pH?
Let’s start with a fun fact that every solution that contains even a drop of water has a pH level, and is either acidic, basic, or neutral. pH, or “Power of Hydrogen” is a parameter that measures the acidity, or alkalinity of a solution through the amount of hydrogen ions. The pH has a scale of 1-14, with 1 being the most acidic and 14 being the most basic. For example, soap is alkaline in nature and has a pH level of 9-10; vinegar, on the other hand, is acidic and has a pH level of 2-3. Water has a neutral pH of 7, since it’s neither acidic nor basic.
What is the pH Level of Hair?
Now that the concept of pH is clear, let’s talk about the pH level of hair. Our hair has a pH level of 4.5-5.0 and our scalp has the pH level of our skin i.e. 5.5 (yes, our skin contains water and has a pH level). These natural pH levels of hair and scalp play a very crucial role in maintaining hair health.
The Role of pH in Hair Health
Hair pH has a big role to play when it comes to keeping your hair healthy. A balanced pH means your hair cuticles are perfectly in place, and that there’s no threat of possible scalp infection, excessive frizz, tangles, friction, hair loss, and such. Experts claim that sebum (aka natural oil produced by human scalp) is a little acidic in nature and has a pH of 4.5-5.5, as it helps in keeping the hair cuticles sealed and doesn’t allow gaps leading to moisture loss. This is the reason many clarifying shampoos have a higher pH than ordinary shampoos, i.e., around 8, as they open up the cuticles and remove dirt particles, impurities, and unwanted product buildup from hair. The pH of sebum perfectly matches that of our hair and scalp which keeps the hair health intact.
What is a pH Balanced Shampoo?
Hair products have varying pH levels which can make or break the health of your hair. A pH Balanced Shampoo is the one which has a pH level between 5 and 7 (i.e., close to the pH of hair). A pH Balanced Shampoo, when used on hair, doesn’t mess with your hair’s natural pH and keeps it balanced and well-maintained. pH Balanced Shampoos are typically on a slightly acidic/neutral side of the scale, and keep your hair’s cuticle layer in its ideal state.
Why is It Important To Use A pH Balanced Shampoo?
It is important to pick hair products that have a pH level close to that of human hair. If a shampoo is more basic in nature, it will raise hair cuticles, allowing the moisture to escape and leaving your hair dry, brittle, and frizzy. On the contrary, if the shampoo is more acidic in nature, it will seal the cuticles too tight, not letting any good nutrients penetrate the hair shaft for its own good. Hence, be sure to pick pH balanced products for your hair to avoid any unwanted consequences.
Benefits of A pH Balanced Shampoo
A pH Balanced Shampoo has many benefits when it comes to retaining hair health and keeping everyday hair concerns at bay.
- Since a pH Balanced Shampoo falls in the category of slightly acidic shampoos, it is ideal for dry, curly and frizzy hair types as it smooths the cuticles, giving the hair a healthier, more luminous look.
- For high-porosity hair that is unable to retain any moisture, a pH Balanced Shampoo is a good choice. Its slightly acidic nature will help seal the cuticles, closing the gaps in between and allowing the hair to absorb and retain moisture more effectively.
- If you have color-treated hair, using an alkaline shampoo might not be a good idea as it will lift the cuticles, causing the color to bleed out. On the contrary, a pH Balanced Shampoo will increase the longevity of the hair by sealing the hair color.
- Alkaline shampoos are designed to strip your hair off sebum and natural oils, which often results in dry hair and flakes. A pH Balanced Shampoo instead maintains the production of sebum in your hair, and relieves itching and flaking.
How Do I Find The pH Level Of My Shampoo?
The easiest way to find the pH Level of your hair is using pH testing strips. These strips allow you to measure the pH level of your hair products and help you decide your hair care products more accurately. Although many of the shampoos in the market are now already labeled as “pH Balanced”, pH testing strips are a good way to go if you’re not sure about your hair aid.
The Best pH Balanced Shampoos
Let’s have a look at some of the best pH Balanced Shampoos that serve different purposes while maintaining hair health:
With a perfectly balanced pH, pH+ Shampoo has a gentle clarifying formula that cleans impurities, dirt and buildup off of your hair without stripping away natural oils.
With a slightly acidic formula, Moisturizing Shampoo is ideally designed for dry, frizzy, damaged, and textured hair types as it helps seal the hair cuticles and improve moisture retention.
Balancing Shampoo is ideal for oily, greasy hair who have trouble dealing with excessive oil production. This gentle formula helps in balancing the pH level of hair and controls the excessive production of sebum, which results in healthy, nourished and oil-free hair.
For the hair that’s a combination of dry and oily, this pH Balanced Shampoo cleans off dirt and sebum while delivering a gentle hydration boost to the hair.
Q1: What is the importance of understanding the pH of hair?
Answer: Understanding the pH of hair is crucial because it affects the overall health and appearance of your hair. The natural pH of hair is slightly acidic, around 4.5 to 5.5. Maintaining this pH balance helps to keep the hair cuticle closed, preventing issues like frizz, breakage, and dullness. Products with a pH close to the hair's natural level can contribute to healthier and more vibrant-looking hair.
Q2: How do I know if a hair care product is pH-balanced?
Answer: To identify pH-balanced hair care products, check the product label or description. pH-balanced products are designed to be close to the natural pH of hair, typically mentioning a pH range of 4.5 to 5.5. Look for terms like "pH-balanced" or "pH-friendly" on the packaging. Using products within the hair's natural pH range helps maintain its integrity and health.
Q3: What happens if I use hair care products with a high or low pH?
Answer: Hair care products with a high or low pH can disrupt the natural pH balance of your hair. High pH products, like some traditional soaps, can raise the cuticle, leading to dryness and frizz. Low pH products, such as some acidic treatments, may cause the cuticle to contract excessively, resulting in potential damage. It's essential to choose products within the pH range of your hair to maintain its health and appearance.