When it comes to choosing your hair care products, you’ve already got the color safe and the frizz control is taken care of, but what about the pH level of your treasured tresses? Huh? Exactly. Most people don’t realize how their pH level impacts the hair and the way the scalp handles hair products and even hair growth. And guess what? Frizz and color fading are all directly related to your hair’s pH levels.
The pH level measures how acidic a substance is on a scale of 0-14, with zero being the most acidic. A healthy pH level for hair is somewhere between 4.5 and 5.5 and products low on alkaline will help maintain the proper acidity your hair needs to be healthy. A healthy pH level will protect your hair from bacteria and fungus by sealing the hair’s cuticles to retain moisture and natural oils. It also helps prevent pesky breakage.
With a healthy pH level, your hair will maintain its elasticity. A pH imbalance will see the weakening of the hair as it loses its ability to retain moisture and sebum, the hair’s natural protective conditioner responsible for maintaining that moisture. If you color or straighten your hair and maintain a healthy pH level, you will suffer less dryness, breakage, and damage to the hair that is typically caused by certain harsh chemicals. A healthy pH level will also keep the color from fading.
But all this hair worry means nothing if your scalp is suffering. Chemical changes to the hair can directly impact scalp cell health. Damaged scalp cells caused by the removal of the acid mantle caused by high alkaline chemicals will affect hair growth. Chemicals strip the hair of necessary nutrients. A pH balancing shampoo will help reverse such damage after about 10 to 14 treatments strengthening the hair while extending color life and locking in straightening or perm treatments by closing the cuticle and cutting it off to the factors that damaged it in the first place.
A pH balancing hair products will repair broken hair bonds and reverse damage to the scalp from various chemical and environmental factors. The overall health of the hair and scalp will improve with each use. California dermatologist Tsippora Shainhouse told GQ that a ph balance leave in conditioner is especially important in maintaining healthy hair and scalp.
“Hair conditioner is actually a ‘toner,’ in that it can pH balance the hair after it is altered by alkaline tap water,” Shainhouse said.
But not all hair products are created equally and not all hair products will make your hair look as bouncy and brilliant as the models in the commercial. And it’s not because you don’t have a stylist at your fingertips to transform your hair from lackluster to lusty.
Cosmetic scientist chemist Dr. Barbara Olisio says it’s all about the pH. “The scalp and hair have an efficient mechanism to protect itself that is based on lipids, functioning at its best at low pH. At low pH, the hair cuticles are well sealed so that the hair is stronger and shinier.” And pHabulous.