If you took a chemistry class in school, you’re probably familiar with pH (potential Hydrogen) levels. Believe it or not, but the same pH levels you learned about are important when it comes to healthy hair. If you wish to maintain the vibrant color, shine and overall health of your hair it is essential to know how pH levels in shampoo and other hair products can affect it.
A Brief Overview of the pH Scale
You don’t need a chemistry degree to understand pH levels. It’s pretty simple, but many people don’t know that shampoos have varying levels that can affect the health of your hair. It also doesn’t help that many shampoos don’t list pH levels on the back of bottles.
Here are the basics:
The pH scale ranges from 0 to 14 with 7 being “neutral”. The lower numbers are considered more acidic and the higher numbers are alkaline. The amount of hydrogen in a solution determines whether it is more acidic or alkaline. The higher the pH level the harsher the shampoo is on your hair. The best pH level for shampoo is between 5 and 7.
Now why does the pH level matter?
pH Levels and Healthy Hair
Your hair consists of tiny shafts which are made up of scales, called cuticles. Water and alkaline-based hair products cause these scales to open, exposing the interior of your hair shafts. Ideally, you want to close this cuticle to protect it from harmful elements. To do this you’d want to choose a slightly acidic shampoo to close the cuticle and help the hair shaft retain moisture.
When you dye your hair, the coloring opens up the cuticle so the color absorbs completely into the cortex (interior of the hair shaft).To prevent the hair from drying out, your scalp naturally produces oil with slightly acidic pH to close the hair shafts. However, frequent coloring can result in your scalp producing too much oil, leaving your hair greasy. A pH-balanced shampoo not only helps keep cuticles closed but prevents the scalp from producing too much oil after treating your hair. After all, oily hair is the last thing you expect to have after treatment.
pH Balancing Shampoos
pH-balancing shampoos aren’t just important to those who frequently color their hair. If you have a naturally oily scalp, dry brittle ends or thin hair – pH-balanced shampoos can help reverse damage and give you the healthy hair you deserve.
- For oily hair try a pH-balanced shampoo that contains panthenol
- For dry hair with split ends try a pH-balancing shampoo that contains fatty alcohols like cetyl alcohol
- For color-treated hair pick shampoos with elements like jojoba oil and vitamin E to maintain moisture
Ask a Stylist
Understanding pH levels and how it affects the health of your hair can help you choose which shampoo to buy and what services you get in a Salon. Before you get any treatment, ask your stylist about the health of your hair and what you can do to achieve shine, fullness and color.
Drop by Shaggin Salon today to talk to us about your hair. Our stylists are trained and committed to helping your look healthy and beautiful and will make recommendations that are right for you.