The scalp/hair’s PH balance is super important in order to care for your hair the way it needs. Nevertheless, a lot of people are not aware of this balance and leave this out of their routine. In this article I will explain what it is, how you should use the knowledge and how to act on it.
PH stands for Potential of Hydrogen. PH balance expresses the balance on a scale from 1 to 14, respectively from acidic to alkaline.
To have healthy hair you must reach the balanced PH of your hair/scalp, which is between 4.5 and 5.5. A healthy PH balance will give you shiny, moisturised, elastic (so no easy breakage) and happy hair. It is very important to learn how to ‘read’ you hair’s state regarding the PH, so that you can achieve this state of a healthy balance!
”In general, our hair follicles have a more acidic base at around 4.5 – 5.5 on the pH-level spectrum. This acidity is due to a thin layer of oil (sebum oil), salt and water that occurs on each hair follicle on our head which we refer to as the mantle. This mantle helps keep cuticles down and protects hair from drying out or becoming frizzy and brittle.” (Mapleholistics)
So, as we had already perceived from the rather low PH level of hair, our hair is supposed to be acidic. Our sebum layer protects the follicles and therefore protects our balance of strength and moisture. This all has to do with porosity. You can read about porosity here and determine your porosity here! Makes sense, huh?
What is my hair’s PH balance?
I can almost hear you thinking it 🙂 of course I will explain the ‘expression’ of PH balance on hair. To be clear, I will explain the two extremes.
The acidic side is the side where our natural PH level is located: 4.5-5.5. As aforementioned our sebum is naturally acidic and therefore helps protect the hair follicles which protect our hair’s balance of moisture and strength. Beautiful how this works, don’t you think? 🙂
When in balance, the hair is characterised by strong, elastic, moisturised and healthy hair. You might consider this side to be the rather good side. This is the way you want to go with the hair balance!
The alkaline side is high numbered PH. The hair/scalp has a lack of acidity – which was needed for our natural sebum. Your hair is therefore out of balance and does not do the trick to protect the follicles and hair balance of maintaining oils etc. It is characterised by a dry and itchy scalp – or even dandruff. You may experience frizzy hair, because it is not keeping the right amount of ‘nutrition’ – the follicles are open because they are not well protected. It’s all a system really! 🙂
Hair with Alkaline PH is out of balance and when I have an imbalance I experience stiff, waxy and dry hair. That is when I know it is time to bring back the balance.
How do I maintain this PH balance?
It is really simple. When you have alkaline PH, you need to maintain the balance by adding acid. Seems logic? To maintain the acidic balance, you need to avoid too much acid and slightly alkali is good for outbalancing every now and then.
Since shampoos and other hair products have a (very) high PH, they destroy the hair’s PH balance. When you go no ‘poo, this interference is less. When water washing only, you are close to the hair’s balance (water is around 7). Below I listed some products with their PH level, so that you can determine on what low or high PH level your routine is.
Following some products that are considered to be acidic:
– Apple Cider Vinegar
– Lemon juice
– Apple (juice)
Following some products that are considered to be alkaline:
– Pure water (distilled) > 7
– Sea water > 8
– Baking soda > 9
– Bentonite clay > 9
– Soap > 10 to even 12
– Hair removers > 12.5
With this knowledge, you are able to determine your PH balance (this can vary often!), how to read this and finally what you can use to maintain the balance.
For instance, when your hair is alkaline, try an ACV Rinse, apple hair mask… Also, if you’re washing with a high PH level it is important to rinse/close off with an acidic product in order to keep the balance.
I hope you find this helpful and that I explained it in a clear way. If you have any questions, need for advice or just want to share your experience, please do so! You can contact us via here.