What is Your Hair PH Level and Why Does It Matter?
You’ve heard about pH acidity in your food or water, but did you know that your hair has a pH level? Just as acidity levels affect our gut, our hair pH factors into how our strands look and feel. It’s easy to upset the balance of our hair’s pH with the products we use every day. If you know you have a good haircare routine, here are some secrets for how you can achieve even healthier hair.
What is Hair pH?
Before we dive into specifics, let’s do some quick chemistry revision. The pH level is a scale that is applied to understand the acidity or basicity of a substance. The letters stand for potential of hydrogen, and the scale ranges from 0 to 14, with 0 being the most acidic, and 14 being the most alkaline or basic. Naturally-healthy hair is slightly acidic and should sit at around 4.5 to 5.5 on the pH scale. The oils we produce from our scalp are slightly acidic, which maintains the condition of our hair.
What Happens If My Hair Is Too Alkaline?
If our hair becomes too alkaline, it affects our hair cuticles, causing rough texture, frizz, split ends and absorption. Studies found that using shampoos that are too alkaline increase the negative charge on the surface of the hair, causing friction between hair fibres that leads to breakage and frizz. The same study also observed that most popular drugstore haircare products are too alkaline for our hair. These chemicals can interact with our scalp in an equally disruptive way, destroying helpful bacteria and causing dandruff.
What Products Can Negatively Affect My Hair pH Level?
Any chemical that you apply to your hair has a chance to negatively affect your pH level. Most of the cleaning agents we rely on in shampoos, for instance, are alkaline. Bleach, dyes, conditioners and even hairspray are all alkaline and could tip your hair our of its healthy range. Hair oils, on the other hand, tend to be within the range of a healthy hair pH level. Below is a list of hair products and chemicals with the pH levels they will generally contain:
- Bleach: pH 10 – 13
- Hairspray: pH 8 – 10
- Semi permanent hair dyes: pH 7 – 9
- Permanent hair dyes: pH 9.5 – 10. 5
- Relaxation products: pH 11 – 13
- Alkaline Perm: pH 8 – 9
- Acid Perm: pH 4.5 – 6.8
- Baking soda: pH 8 – 9
How Can I Restore My Hair to A Healthy pH Level?
Luckily there are products out there with a balanced or even acidic pH level to help smooth down those cuticles and restore the state of our hair. Keep an eye out for products that advertise a low or balanced pH level, or ask a professional stylist for their salon-grade product recommendations. Products with acidity levels between 3 to 5 will tighten the hair cuticles, ensuring that moisture, proteins and acids are locked in.
Ready To Improve Your Hair Regimen? Visit Twidale
Hair pH isn’t the only secret to long, healthy and sustained hair growth. Moisture, using the right products for your hair type, avoiding environmental stressors, hydration and diet all affect the health of your hair and scalp. Creating the ideal routine for our hair can be difficult, especially if you’ve subjected your hair to lots of chemicals in the past. This is something a professional stylist can help you curate. Contact us at Twidale or book in for an appointment to revitalise your hair and talk about some treatments, colour options or haircare products that could benefit you.