With so many shampoos to choose from, how do you know the shampoo you are using is right for you, and not actually causing more damage to your hair than good?
There are many things that we can look at as far as ingredients, but I believe the one thing that gets looked over often is the pH of the shampoo you are using in relation to your hair.
As you may remember from science class, the pH scale runs 1-14, with 7 neutral. Anything below 7 is considered “Acid,” and above 7 is Alkaline.
Using perms as an example, we have both Acid and Alkaline perms. An acid perm has a pH of 6-7, whereas an Alkaline perm is about 9.5. Of course, other ingredients go into a perm to assist in forming that curl, but without at least a pH of 6, the cuticle would not swell without heat to start forming those curls.
Our hair and skin have a pH of about 4.5 -5.5. When we use any products that have a pH higher than this, we are opening the cuticle.
Sometimes we want to open the cuticle up, such as when we are doing a detox treatment or some sort of chemical service. But in our day-to-day washing of the hair, this is not necessary and could very well be the culprit in your color fading and hair being frizzy.
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Many brands unfortunately do not list this information on their packaging. There are plenty of other ways to find out such as…
- Contact the company and ask. – I have done this on many occasions and unfortunately most brand reps do not know the information. They say they will look it up and get back to you and if you are lucky, they do
- Get ahold of the SDS- the Safety Data Sheet should have this information, but I have also pulled some that don’t so it is still not always an accurate way to find out.
- Buy a pH tester- Ok so you could always test it yourself. But you need to buy the tester, distilled water and have 30 mins on hand along with being willing to buy a bottle of shampoo you may not want when you are done
The reason a lot of these companies don’t have it listed is that it can be expensive. They must make their products in smaller batches and then test frequently to make sure their pH is what it says on the packaging.
As a hairstylist, I work hard to make sure when I am researching brands to bring into my salon the pH falls within this range. Your hairstylist should be doing the same. We should not be leaving it to you as the consumer to figure this out. The problem is most hairstylist forget about this when they get out of school, go work in a salon and told that “x” brand is the best for many reason that honestly doesn’t make a real difference for your hair.
I spend time asking the hard questions every time I see a new line advertised to me on FB and I only recommend products once I know they meet my standards. And that first check-off is the pH.