The Shampoo pH can Affect the Hair?

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When it comes to hair care, there is a plethora of information and advice available, ranging from shampooing techniques to product recommendations. One aspect of hair care that has gained significant attention in recent years is the pH level of shampoos and its effects on hair and scalp health. But is the impact of shampoo pH on hair a myth or a reality? In this comprehensive article, we will explore the science behind shampoo pH levels and how it can affect hair health, along with expert opinions and recommendations for choosing the right pH-balanced shampoo for your hair type.

Understanding pH Levels

Before diving into the effects of pH on hair, it’s essential to understand what pH is and why it matters. pH, or potential hydrogen, is a measure of the acidity or alkalinity of a substance. The pH scale ranges from 1 to 14, with 7 being neutral. A pH value below 7 indicates acidity, while a value above 7 denotes alkalinity.

The Natural pH of Hair and Scalp

The natural pH of hair and scalp varies slightly between individuals but generally falls within specific ranges. The scalp’s pH is around 5.5, similar to the rest of the skin. In contrast, the hair shaft has a slightly more acidic pH, averaging around 3.67. This difference in pH levels plays a crucial role in maintaining the hair and scalp’s overall health.

The Impact of Shampoo pH on Hair

Research has shown that the pH level of a shampoo can affect the hair in several ways, including its texture, appearance, and overall health. Here, we will discuss the various effects of shampoo pH on hair and the scientific reasoning behind them.

Friction, Frizz, and Hair Breakage

An alkaline pH can increase the negative electrical charge on the hair fiber surface, leading to increased friction between hair fibers. This friction can cause cuticle damage and hair breakage. It has been found that shampoos with a lower pH can reduce frizz by generating less negative static electricity on the hair fiber surface.

Scalp Health and Hair Care Products

Dermatologists often prescribe shampoos for the treatment of hair and scalp disorders. However, little is taught in medical schools about hair cosmetics, leading to prescriptions that focus on scalp treatment while disregarding hair fiber health. It is essential for dermatologists to prescribe shampoos that minimize the risk of frizz and interfiber friction augmentation to increase patients’ adherence to treatments involving shampoos.

Shampoo pH Range and Hair Care Products

A wide range of shampoo pH values is available on the market, ranging from 3.5 to 9.0. A study found that only 38% of popular brand shampoos and 75% of salon shampoos had a pH of 5.0 or lower. Pediatric shampoos typically have a pH of 7.0 due to the “no-tear” concept. However, there is no standardized value for the final pH of a shampoo.

Experts believe it is essential to reveal the shampoo’s pH value on the label, but more studies are needed to establish the best pH range for both scalp and hair fiber health.

The Role of Surfactants and pH in Hair Care Products

Surfactants are cleaning agents used in shampoos to remove impurities and residues from the hair. They are classified into four groups: anionic, cationic, amphoteric, and non-ionic. The primary cleansing agents in shampoos are anionic surfactants, which can cause an increase in static electricity and reduce charge neutralization in hair due to their negative charge.

The Importance of pH Balance in Hair Care

Maintaining the right pH balance in hair care products is crucial for preserving the hair’s natural softness, shine, and manageability. When hair is exposed to an alkaline pH, it can absorb more water, leading to cuticle scales lifting and increased cuticle removal, cuticle fragmentation, and cracks in the hair fiber. On the other hand, a more acidic pH can help neutralize the existing alkalinity in hair and maintain its natural oil balance.

Benefits of Using pH-Balanced Shampoos on Natural Hair

Incorporating pH-balanced shampoos into your hair care routine can offer numerous benefits for natural hair, including:

Reduced Frizz and Breakage Prevention

Natural hair can be prone to frizz, breakage, and dryness. pH-balanced shampoos can help reduce these issues by maintaining the hair’s natural oil balance and sealing the cuticle to prevent breakage and tangling.

Managing Itchy Scalp

An itchy, dry, or irritated scalp can be soothed and healed using a pH-balanced shampoo. These shampoos can also help manage hormonal imbalances and excessive oil production in the hair, leading to a healthier scalp.

Hair Color Retention

For those with color-treated hair, using a pH-balanced shampoo can prevent color fading and hair breakage by maintaining the hair’s natural pH level and keeping the cuticle contracted.

Sealing the Hair Cuticle

Curly hair is naturally more dry than straight hair, making it essential to use a pH-balanced shampoo that can contract and partially close the cuticle, helping to retain moisture and maintain overall hair health.

How Often to Use pH-Balanced Shampoos

The frequency of using pH-balanced shampoos depends on your hair type and individual needs. Experts recommend washing natural hair at least once a week with a pH-balanced shampoo. In the meantime, co-washing can be an effective alternative for maintaining the hair’s natural acidity level and sealing the cuticle.

Top pH-Balanced Shampoo Recommendations

Here are some top pH-balanced shampoo picks for different hair types and concerns:

  1. Evolvh Ultrashine Moisture Shampoo – With a pH of 4.5-5.5, this shampoo is ideal for all hair types and leaves hair soft, glossy, and clean.
  2. Keracare Dry & Itchy Scalp Anti-Dandruff Moisturizing Shampoo – This shampoo has a pH of 6, making it perfect for natural hair types suffering from an irritated, itchy scalp.
  3. Kenra Professional Moisturizing Shampoo – This shampoo is ideal for dry, brittle hair that needs healing and moisture.
  4. Obia Naturals Coconut Shea Shampoo Bar – With a pH of 4.5-5.5, this shampoo bar from a Black-owned brand is perfect for nourishing natural hair and promoting a healthy scalp.

The Final Takeaway

In conclusion, the pH level of shampoos and hair care products plays a vital role in maintaining the overall health of your hair and scalp. By choosing pH-balanced shampoos and understanding their effects on your hair, you can enjoy a happy, healthy, and beautiful mane.

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