The Importance of pH Balance in Natural Hair August 25 2018
Wondering why you should bother with the pH balance of your natural hair? Using pH balanced products is often overlooked among naturals.
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Haircare manufacturers don’t usually list whether a product is pH balanced and it can be difficult to get a straight answer if you ask. This can be confusing, especially if you’re new at pH balancing your hair and are unsure about the importance of using pH balanced products.
In this post, you’ll find out about pH balancing and how to use it to improve the health of your hair and scalp.
What is pH Balance?
pH means the potential hydrogen, and it is a scale that refers to the acidity or the alkalinity of our bodies, foods, products and other organisms. We use a range of numbers to state the acidity or alkalinity. A pH of 0 is acidic, 7 is neutral, and 14 is alkaline.
Different components on your body have a different acidity level, and it’s important to measure the pH of your body as a whole to determine health.
However, the skin and scalp are unique because they’re affected not only by the foods we eat, but by the beauty products we use.
You should have your doctor test your body’s pH during a physical exam, but you should also pay close attention to the pH of your scalp and hair at home.
Your hair and scalp should have a pH range of between 4.5 and 5.5, which is on the acidic side.
Why Should I Care About the pH of My Natural Hair?
When we’re pH balanced, we can thrive. When we’re unbalanced, medical conditions and other issues take over. Every component of your body has a pH balance and disrupting it can cause a host of problems.
Your hair and scalp are no different. Here is a list of what can happen if you don’t monitor the pH levels:
Dry Hair. Using products that are too alkaline can cause the cuticle to open, and this can cause your hair to lose too much hydration throughout the week. And on the other hand, using products that are too acidic can cause the cuticle to shut. This means water won’t be able to move in through the cuticle to hydrate the shaft.
Scalp Fungus. When you put alkaline products on your hair, it may disrupt your scalp’s acidity and cause scalp fungus and dandruff. Your scalp’s sebum has a pH range of 4.5 to 5.5, and this slightly acidic structure helps to fight bacteria, fungi, and other predators.
Itchy, Irritated Scalp. Throwing off the pH balance can cause your scalp to become dry, oily, itchy, or irritated as it reacts and overworks itself trying to fight microbes and bring the skin to a better range. Dandruff is also a sign that your scalp’s pH may be unbalanced.
What Causes the Scalp and Hair to Become Unbalanced?
If you’re looking for reasons your scalp and hair are itchy, dry, irritated or oily, you should examine your products first.
You’re probably concerned primarily with performance and chemicals like sulfates when it comes to shopping for your natural hair. However, that’s not all you should be worried about.
One of your primary concerns should be to investigate the pH of the products you use on your hair and scalp.
How to Find Products that are pH Balanced for Curly Hair
Manufacturers who are knowledgeable and concerned about pH balancing will hire a chemist or lab to ensure that their formulas are pH balanced. Their products will say “pH balanced” somewhere in the labeling.
If a certain product does not say whether it is pH balanced, do a search on the internet by writing the product name along with the words “pH balanced”. Often, you can find information that others have written and posted online.
Sometimes, you’ll find no information about a product’s pH balancing at all. This is cause for concern. You can contact the manufacturer to ask. However, if they don’t know or they claim the information is proprietary, you should seriously think about discontinuing use. This is especially true if you have scalp issues, breakage, or dry hair.
Another option is to test the pH of the products yourself. Conducting your own tests can be helpful for both store-bought products and your DIY recipes.
How to Test pH of Hair Products
Testing the pH of products is not as hard as it sounds, and it may save you a lot of money in the long run. You’ll be able to better purchase products that are good for your hair and scalp if you look at the pH first.
To test your products, you’ll first need to buy pH test strips. You can buy test strips online at Amazon or from beauty supply shops.
You can follow the instructions on your specific test kit, but here are some guidelines:
1. Pour a little of the product into a clean glass container.
2. Submerge one test stick into the product.
3. Read the results. Product pH readings should always be between 4.0-7.0.
Ingredients That Help to Correct pH for Natural Hair
If you have dry, itchy or irritated scalp, certain ingredients may help, and you can use them alongside your pH balanced products to get your hair and scalp to a healthier state.
Here are two ingredients which are popular for controlling the pH of your hair and relieving scalp conditions.
Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV). ACV has a pH level of 3, but you should always dilute it with water to make it less acidic. Use one part ACV to 2-3 parts water to dilute. You can use this mixture as a final rinse to return the hair to health on wash day or you can place it in a spray bottle and use it throughout the week.
Aloe Vera Juice or Gel. Aloe vera has a pH of 4.5-5.5, and it is very healing. You can use the juice as a spray and you can use the gel in your products or directly on your hair. Aloe will help to normalize your hair’s pH and relieve the scalp of irritation.
Normalizing the pH of your natural hair is one of the most important things you can do during your natural hair journey.
Have you thought about the pH balance of your natural hair, and will you be implementing any of these techniques?