Understanding the pH level for healthy hair
What is the Right pH Level for Your Hair Products?
by Viviscal Hair Expert on April 4th, 2018
For many of us, thin or sparse hair is the reflection we see staring back at us in the mirror on a daily basis. And yet, it doesn’t have to be this way. Healthy, strong, thick hair is possible, no matter your age or your gender. Start by choosing the right premium products that help promote healthy-looking hair. In particular, getting hair products with the right pH level is one of the key factors to attaining your healthiest-looking hair yet.
Let’s find out why!
pH 101: What Is pH level?
First things first, it’s important to understand what a pH level is.
The acronym pH stands for “power of hydrogen”, or the hydrogen ion concentration in a solution. When you’re dealing with a solution that has a high hydrogen ion concentration, this is considered to have a low pH level, meaning it’s an acidic solution. On the other hand, if you have a low hydrogen ion concentration, then you have a high pH level, or an alkaline solution. The pH scale ranges from 0-14, where acids are at the low end (from 0 up to 7), alkalis are at the high end (from 14 down to 7), and a pH of 7 is considered neutral.
Why Should You Care About pH-Balanced Hair Products?
Understanding pH is great overall, but what is the best pH for hair?
Naturally, human hair and sebum (the natural oils on your scalp) have a pH level of between 4.5 and 5.5. This slight acidity actually helps prevent the growth of fungi and bacteria on your hair and scalp, keeping the cuticle (the outermost layer of the hair strand) sealed and healthy.
When a hair care product is “pH-balanced”, that means that its pH is within range of the natural pH of your hair and scalp. So it won’t disrupt pH levels and will actually help to maintain your scalp and hair’s natural pH levels.
What Happens If You Don’t Use pH-Balanced Hair Products?
So, let’s say that you’re not using pH-balanced hair products. Undeniably, by doing this, you could be disrupting your hair and scalp’s natural pH level. This disruption could lead to dry and frizzy hair that is prone to breakage.
Scientific Proof for pH-Balanced Hair Products
In a study published in the International Journal of Trichology, researchers concluded that an alkaline pH (high pH level) increases the negative electrical charge within the hair, which increases friction between hair fibers. This increased friction causes the hair fibers to rub against each other, which leads to breakage and increased hair loss. Therefore, the researchers concluded that to balance pH in your hair naturally, you should seek hair care with a lower pH, closer to your hair’s natural pH level.
Determining pH Levels of Hair Products
Good shampoo and conditioner are vital to maintaining a clean scalp, adequate moisture levels, and protecting strands from tangles and breakage. So they’re essential for healthy-looking, strong hair. Having said that, simply picking just any shampoo or conditioner is not going to cut it. It’s important to find hair products with the right pH level for your hair type and specific hair needs so that you will get the best possible results.
Sometimes it can be hard to know the pH of hair products. If it’s not stated on the label, visit the brand’s website or call their toll-free customer service number. Or, if you’re someone who yearns for your grade school science fairs, take the DIY approach and try an at-home pH testing kit. But read customer reviews carefully before buying because not all DIY pH tests will be accurate.