True or false: The pH of the products I put on my hair don’t matter…Believe it or not, the pH of the products that we use are very important! This summer I picked up a copy of The Science of Black Hair by Audrey Davis-Sivasothy which is a book that I would highly recommend to women who truly want to learn more about the science behind black hair care and how to put it in its healthiest state. In her book, she talks about the importance of pH. Here are some of the things that I learned:
>Healthy hair has a pH between 4 -5.5
>Shampoo has a pH of around 4-6 and conditioner has a pH around 3.5-5
>Products that are more basic(7.1-14 on the pH scale) have the ability to lift the hair cuticle, exposing the cortex. This can produce dry hair that tangles and doesn’t shine.
>Products that are more acidic(0-6.9 on the pH scale) have the ability to tightly close the cuticles, which lay like shingles on a roof, and allow the cortex to be protected, creating free flowing, more shiny hair.
>The lower the pH of the final product, the better constriction, sealing and smoothing that happens to the hair cuticle.
Doesn’t this make so much sense?!
Knowing this helps me understand the reason and importance of conditioner. I knew that it had great benefits to the hair such as strengthening and softening, but I didn’t know why. I’m all about the why! Knowing pH also helped me understand why using an Apple Cider Vinegar rinse works, because it’s very acidic!! Does this mean that shampoo is bad? No. I try to stick to using sulfate-free shampoo. I hope to replace co-washing with shampooing one day, once I figure out how to eliminate residue on the scalp. Now are you the type of person that buys a shampoo from one brand and a conditioner from another brand? If so, I would suggest you sticking to a single brand for your shampoo and conditioner. As I learned in The Science of Black Hair, companies specially formulate and set the pH in shampoo and conditioners to work together, which is optimal. If you do decide to use products from different lines, use pH strips to check if they are in the 4-5.5 range.
I hope you feel a bit more educated on the products that you use. For a more in-dept discussion on pH, consider snagging a copy of The Science of Black Hair.