Balancing pH Levels In Natural Hair | Best Products, Shampoos, Conditioner
The Science Behind pH and Natural Hair Growth: A Guide to Restoring & Balancing pH Levels for Healthy Natural Hair Growth & Scalp Care
I have been asked many times what is the PH of our products. As with any question asked I would prefer to write a blog about it as PH is quite an interesting topic worth learning about. So this article is more or less created as a guide to balancing the PH in your hair. It will include the science behind Ph, why a balanced Ph is important for the hair and scalp, and the best ph balanced products for natural hair.
Continue reading and don’t forget to visit the natural hair shop online by clicking the image below. You can find a range of luscious black hair products to maintain and grow healthy hair.
What is pH?
The pH is a unit of measurement that serves to establish the level of acidity or alkalinity of a substance. The meaning of the letters “pH” results from the “p” (“potential”) and “H” (hydrogen), that is, the hydrogen potential. The pH, measures the degree of acidity or alkalinity of a substance (concentration of hydronium ions).
When it is obtained by a measure of pH that a product, substance or element is acid, it means that it has a high or low amount of hydrogen ions (depending on the level). On the other hand, if the measurement shows that a substance is alkaline (base), it means that it does not have these concentrations of hydrogen ions.
How Is pH Measured?
We can measure it in three ways:
- Digital pH-meter: it is a digital device consisting of an electrode with a membrane through which the different concentration of protons (H + ) or hydronium ions (H3O + ) present in the solution of the product
- we want to measure will pass. On how it works it is more technical and I will not go into the subject, but what interests us is the number it gives us.
- Strips: they change color according to the pH, it measures from 1 to 14 but it is not as precise as the digital one.
According to the concentration of our product, if it has pH 7 it is what we call neutral, if it is lower than 7 the product will be acidic and if it is higher than 7 it will be alkaline.
Phenolphthalein: the least accurate way to measure pH since it only colors the solution with a pH of 8 to 10 in pink to violet tones.
To test the pH of your hair care products at home, I recommend strips that are economical and easy to use.
How pH Levels Affect Our Natural Hair
Human hair and scalp fat, sebum, have a pH between 4.5 and 5.5. This natural acidity of the hair prevents fungi and bacteria in the hair and scalp, and keeps the cuticle closed and healthy.Human hair is a complex structure constituted, among others, by a series of layers formed by a protein called keratin. Both the hair and the skin have an acidic nature, being its pH 5.5, under normal conditions.
A pH of 7 is chemically neutral. hair, since a soft surface reflects more light; however, strong acids damage the hair.
When the pH value becomes alkaline (above 7.0) the cuticle layer softens and expands like a pine cone. When colouring hair, an open cuticle is necessary as part of the colouring process, in order to deposit pigments inside the hair structure. Hair with a porous structure, very alkaline, will not retain the colour correctly. In this case, the cuticle will not retain the new pigments, which will eventually be eliminated prematurely with the washings. However if the pH becomes too alkaline, it can damage the hair.
If your hair has been chemically altered, it is important to understand that post-treatment is crucial to restoring the acidic pH of the hair.
How pH Levels Affect Our Cuticles
A healthy cuticle would have a pH of 4.5-5.5 – this ensures your hair healthy, shiny and strong hair. Our virgin hair, which has resisted the temptation of dying, smoothing or permanent tends to have this pH level. With a pH of 5.5-7 and the cuticle begins to open and needs more care. With a pH 7-8,5, our hair becomes dry and damaged.
With a pH higher than 8.5, the cuticle is very open and tends to be very damaged, dry and very fragile. Weekly masks and forget chemical dyes, permanent, smoothed, irons and dryer. The hair will notice these cares and will improve little by little. The hair is very resistant, I would say the most resistant part of the body but we have to take care of it and more if you do chemical treatments. We have to pamper it as much as we can to keep it healthy.
What is the Correct pH of The Scalp?
The scalp is a sophisticated structure that performs many essential roles for our general well-being. The most important role it plays is that of a protective barrier between our body and the outside world, the pH of the scalp being one of its key protective mechanisms.
The pH of our scalp is in constant danger due to various external aggressive agents such as pollution, changes in temperature and aggressive chemicals. Protect the scalp with superior quality products helps maintain its optimal pH value, so that it can perform its vital role, protect us.
The optimal pH value of the scalp ranges between 4.7 and 5.75. A pH of 7, that of pure water, is qualified as neutral. Any lower value would receive the category of acid, and if it were higher we would refer to it as alkaline. In this respect, we can all agree that the natural pH of the scalp could be considered as acid.
This slightly acidic pH of our scalp is a consequence of the acid mantle, the aqueous part of the hydrolipid film that protects the outer layers of our scalp.
The pH of the scalp varies slightly depending on the gender, male or female, and with the place of the body where you are. It also fluctuates depending on the different stages of life.
Remember, that our skins pH changes according to our age; It is more alkaline when we are a baby and in childhood, going through a more acidic pH in our adolescence until our skin becomes mature and returns to have a more alkaline pH. In short, babies and the elderly have a more sensitive and alkaline skin.
Why Is It Important to Balance The pH of The Scalp?
The pH of the scalp plays an important role in the condition of the scalp. The acid mantle is key to the creation of the protective barrier, neutralizes aggressive alkaline-based agents (such as strong humectants), inhibits the growth of bacteria and restores and maintains the optimal acid environment for the natural flora to thrive of the scalp.
If the pH of the scalp rises to alkaline values, its natural balance is altered. You can not synthesize essential lipids from the epidermis, and the scalp loses water and dehydrates. In this state, the outer layer of the scalp, or epidermis, cannot function as a protective barrier.
When the scalp barrier function is compromised, it may dry out, become sensitive or hypersensitive. It is susceptible to infections, diseases such as atopic dermatitis and rosacea, and its ability to protect the body is compromised.
The external factors that negatively affect the scalp’s pH are, among others:
- Changes in temperature and humidity
- Dirt and pollution
- Excessive frequency of washing
- Alkaline cosmetics
- Chemical products
Alkaline pH chemicals are particularly harmful to the pH of the scalp. They overwhelm the natural neutralizing capacity of the scalp and damage its protective barrier. Certain medications, for example, those used in chemotherapy, diuretics and antibiotics, and certain medical procedures, such as radiotherapy and dialysis, can also affect the defenses. of the scalp, alter its pH and deteriorate its protective barrier.
Our own genetics, age and hormones can also affect the pH of the scalp. The pH of the scalp of the man and that of the scalp of the woman differ slightly. The average pH of male scalp is lower because it produces more sebum. During the first weeks of life, the baby’s scalp has a higher pH, between 6.5 and 5.5, since its protective acid mantle is not yet fully formed. For more information, see: baby’s and child’s scalp . With the hormonal changes that occur in later phases of life, for example, during puberty, pregnancy and menopause, the pH level of the scalp can also be altered. For more information, see: scalp at different ages.
We can enhance the optimal pH of the scalp with care and a healthy lifestyle, daily scalp care habits and products that respect their natural pH and maintain their protective barrier.
The pH Scale: How We Know If Its Alkaline or Acid
EXAMPLES OF PH OF EVERYDAY PRODUCTS
- pH from 0 to 1: hydrochloric acid
- pH 2.2: lemon juice
- pH 2.5: vinegar
- pH 4: hydrogen peroxide, used in bleaching detergents
- pH from 3 to 5.8: hair conditioners
- pH from 4.8 to 5.5: healthy skin, our leave in creams have a pH of 5.5 to 6
- pH from 4.5 to 5.5: healthy hair
- pH from 6 to 6.5: dry skin
- pH from 4.5 to 5: oily skin
- pH from 6 to 8:
- pH 6: urine
- pH 7: distilled water, what we call neutral pH
- pH 7.5: blood and tears
- pH from 7 to 9: semi-permanent hair dyes
- pH from 8.5 to 10: soaps and shampoos ( Our shampoos are blended with natural acidic oils to balance the pH)
- pH from 9 to 10: permanent hair dyes
- pH 10: hair discoloration
- pH 11.6: ammonia
- pH from 11 to 13: treatments to soften the hair like permanent straightening
Why Is The pH Levels of Your Natural Hair Products So Important?
Whether you have dry, normal, oily, or damaged hair, each type of hair has a different pH. To have normal healthy hair it has to have an acidic pH (5.5), where the cuticle is closed and smooth, giving a healthy and shiny appearance. In damaged hair the pH is more alkaline (8) causing the cuticle to open and having more frizzy and weak hair.
Hair care products with a pH value between 3.5 and 5.5 are considered beneficial for the hair. When the pH value falls below 6.0, the layers of the cuticle contract and tighten. A mild acidic conditioner (with a pH less than 7) can add shine to the
Every time we use harsh chemical products to treat our hair, we must bear in mind that we are altering the chemical composition of our hair, which can affect the health of our hair, leaving it dry and lifeless if we consider the PH of our hair.
The Connection Between Damaged Hair & High pH Levels
Many chemical processes (dyeing, permanent, straightening, wicks, discoloration, etc.) significantly alter the pH of the hair and, in addition, the products used have a certain pH to achieve the desired effects. In all chemical substances the pH can be measured.
Any technical work, they have alkaline components, which dry out and damage the hair fiber. To rebalance the pH and close the hair fiber, to give shine and softness, we must always use acidic products. When a color or a permanent is made, for example, alkaline products are used that open the flat cells of the hair cuticle, so that they penetrate better. Once the process is finished, it is finished with acidic products that have the opposite effect, that is, they close the cuticles, allowing to preserve the product and its effect for a longer time. The permanent liquid has a pH between 8.5 to 10 (alkaline); Once applied and passed the corresponding time, it is neutralized with a neutralizer with a pH of 3 to 4, and washed, finally, with an acid shampoo with a pH of 5.5. As you can see, at the end of a chemical process, the products that are used on the hair must be acidic.
What is the Best Shampoo to Use for a Balanced pH
In the market we can find acid to alkaline shampoos, the most frequent usually have a pH of 5 to 7.5 for regular use. If we use a shampoo with a pH of 5 to 5.5 it is less cleansing, but it closes the cuticle and adds shine to the hair, decreasing the volume a little.
On the other hand, if we use a shampoo with a pH of 6 to 7, it is more cleansing and adds more volume, but the hair can be duller and the cuticle is not completely closed, so it is important to use conditioner even if the hair is straight. The good thing is that being open fiber allows the proteins and moisturizing oils of the conditioner to pass through and hydrates it in depth. The conditioner gives us hydration, a better disentangling and also restores our pH, closing our cuticle.
What Are the pH Levels of Jostylin Products?
It is always advisable to use shampoos with slightly acid pH. Our shampoos have a pH of 5.5 to 6.7 – it is necessary for shampoos to have a little higher pH so that the hair can be cleaned. As our shampoos are made from saponified oils blended with potassium, this creates a higher pH level. However, we have blended organic oils into the mix, that have very low pH levels, not only balance the pH levels, but also to moisturize the hair. After shampooing, you should always apply a conditioner to lower the pH of your hair.
Our conditioners pH levela are between 4 and 5. This ensure your cuticles are properly closed and protected from any damage.
Generally speaking, the higher the pH is, the more damage it can cause. However, too high alkaline shampoos (7 and 8) are very effective in the sense that they open the cuticle, allowing active agents to act throughout the hair structure. So if you have low porosity hair that cannot be moisturized effectively, they may be helpful. But it is not advisable to use them frequently, since they would destroy the cuticle.
Our advice is that, after an alkaline shampoo, apply a conditioner or acid mask, to close and seal the hair cuticle and rebalance its pH. Acid shampoos are more suitable for the majority of hair. These strengthen the cuticle and smooth it. This makes it bright and smooth.
Rinsing Hair With Vinegar to Reduce pH Levels
Since some waters are hard and thus neutralize the pH of the water, it is a great idea to rinse your hair with vinegar or lemon. If you choose this option you have to dilute it in water. I recommend always using conditioner because we know the pH, since by law it can not be less than 3.5.
Why Chemical Treatments Damage Hair
As you can see in the list the hairdressing treatments such as dyes, straighteners and curling irons have alkaline substances such as ammonia to open the hair fiber and thus be able to change the structure or color it. In these cases it is advisable to use slightly acidic shampoos to restore balance after treatment.
We will talk in another post about the treatments, how the hair structure changes and the new processes that are in the market.
The Importance of Having A Deep Conditioner for Natural Hair Growth
ph Levels in hair can be balanced with proper deep conditioning treatments.
For more homemade remedies, have a read through the article called deep conditioner for natural hair growth to help prevent breakage and keep your hair in healthy conditioner.
More Hair tips to Balance Your Hair & Scalps pH and Grow Natural Hair
- Assess the current condition of your hair. There are many things that can tell you the pH of your hair. It is important to establish a general pH before you can balance it at a healthy level.
- If you have problems with fungus or bacteria on your scalp, it is because your scalp and hair are too alkaline. In general, this means that you are using a product that has a pH higher than 7 and is modifying the naturally acid sebum that fights bacteria.
- If you permanently have dead or relaxed hair, your hair was first treated with a highly alkaline substance to expose and change the hair cuticle, and then it was “neutralized” with a highly acidic substance that leveled the cuticle again. This is a harmful process and slightly acidic products are necessary to keep the cuticle relaxed.
- If you have curly hair, then your cuticle is partially open. It is especially important for people with curly hair to return the light level of acidic pH to their hair, since the open cuticle causes the sebum, which is acid naturally, to keep the whole hair at a pH level of between 4.5 and 5.5
- If you have straight hair, you should use pH-balanced hair care products, but you may not need to apply more products, as sebum is distributed throughout the hair, creating a naturally balanced pH.
- Read the labels of your hair products. If they do not say they are pH balanced for your hair, then you should try them and see how they affect your hair. A pH between 4 and 7 works well in the hair.
- Buy test strips online or at any beauty supply store. Pour your liquid product into a glass, immerse the test strip in the glass for the indicated time. Remove the strip and compare it with the diagram to find the pH of the product. Stop using any product that is outside the range of 4 to 7.
- Wash your hair with a balanced shampoo and pH conditioner. This will return it to a neutral pH level before it reaches an acid pH. The water has a pH of 7, so it’s more alkaline than your hair.
- You can pour aloe vera juice in a bottle and sprinkle it on your hair. This will also close the cuticle and eliminate frizz.
- You can also use apple cider vinegar. It has a pH level above 3. It should be diluted with water until it reaches a pH of 4. Many people prefer aloe vera gel because the vinegar has a very strong odor. If you rinse your hair after using a natural acid, the water will deactivate the acid.
Afro Hair Loss Treatment: Balancing PH Levels to Prevent Hair Loss & Breakage
Hair that sheds too much or is thinning is a warning sign of iron deficiency, so please consult your doctor immediately.
If you are experiencing breakage or hair loss which you suspect is caused by an unbalanced pH, some of the homemade conditioners or tonics above can help.
To read more about taking vitamin supplements to prevent hair loss, visit the article called: Best Vitamins for Natural Hair Growth. To also find out more about hair loss, read my article on Afro hair loss treatment.
More Information Oils & The Best Oils for Natural Hair Growth
- Coconut oil for natural hair growth
- Olive oil for natural hair growth on black hair
- Homemade hot oil treatment for natural hair growth
- Best oils for natural hair growth
- Castor oil for natural hair growth on black hair
- Hemp oil for natural hair growth
- Best oils for natural hair growth
Other Factors That Influence: How to Grow Natural Hair to Waist Length
Regardless if your scalp and hair is very healthy or is pH balanced, there are many factors that influence how fast and how long hair can grow. Some important factors that influence hair growth include:
- Are you transitioning?
- Your hairs level of hydration and moisture absorption.
- Is your hair dyed or chemically treated?
- Is your hair too greasy, dry, or damaged?
- How curly is your hair?
- What is your hairs texture?
- What is your hair porosity?
For more information on how to grow natural hair please read the article: How to Grow Natural Hair to Waist Length.