Irrespective of curl pattern and texture type, all curls need hydration. To achieve this, we reach for "hydrating products designed to increase the moisture content in our hair strands."1 While this intuitive call-to-action makes sense, many curlistas are diving deeper into the internal health aspects of hydrating their hair, from the inside out.
Learn more in the CURLS 101 Series. Photo cred: PeopleImages for iStock
We all have heard the anecdote time and again: If you are dehydrated, your skin and hair are dehydrated, too.
So, we answer this problem with a solution: drink more water.
However, there is fancy-schmancy, newfangled water out there called "alkaline water." Merchants of this water tout it as a kind of miracle liquid for people with various ailments, from problem skin to kidney disease. Some people even believe that it is a reliable treatment for dry, breaking curls.
Finding this hard to believe, I did a little research to answer the question once and for all: Is alkaline water better for hair? My findings are listed below.
3 Surprising Truths about Alkaline Water for Curly Hair
1 - #NoFilter: Alkaline water is one step above tap water, and it is not a big deal.
That's right, my friend. Alkaline water merely has an 8.0 pH to 14.0 pH rating which is one tick higher than regular, ol' tap water which has a neutral 7.0 pH rating. What this means for you and hair is that depending on where the water comes from and its treatment before you consume and use it, the water may be more or less acidic.
Some people will tell you, especially those in wellness and homeopathic circles, that because of its alkalizing compounds such as calcium, silica, potassium, magnesium, and bicarbonate, alkaline water is better for you to consume and use. Well, my friends, the jury is still out on this claim. For now, you can get your slight daily traces of those elements mentioned earlier in your homegrown tap water.
- Still curious about pH levels and what it means for your curly hair? Read this NaturallyCurly article.
2 - The Proof (or disproof) is in the pH: Drinking, bathing in, and washing your curls with alkaline water will not hydrate your hair strands more than regular tap water.
If you have asked yourself, "Should I drink alkaline water? Isn't it better for my hair?"
I am here to tell you "Nah."
Well, at least, alkaline water has not proven to be a better alternative to drinking tap water. #NoShade to those of you drinking bottled and filtered water. I'm just saying that alkaline water gimmicks are just that: gimmicks. The more scientific evidence, the better for our natural hair community on this matter! If you want to debate me, let me take a sip of this ice-cold tap water real quick before we catch verbal and proverbial hands.
3 - Wash. Rinse. Risk it all?: Alkaline water might dry your curly hair, which will result in breakage.
None of us in the NaturallyCurly community are here for breakage so why would we risk the health of our curls by dousing them in alkaline water that may or may not benefit us? I know that I'm not alone on this. Read what Writer Tonya McKay says about alkaline products in this CurlyNikki.com article2:
Alkaline products cause the hair to swell, the cuticle to lift and remove oils from the air. This results in frizzy, dull, brittle hair that is prone to breakage and tangling. Extremely alkaline solutions cause the disulfide bonds between keratin protein molecules to break down and can eventually dissolve the protein completely. -Tonya McKay
Clearly, there is risk involved with alkaline water, and I don't know about you, but I am staying clear of it touching my hair. The day Neil deGrasse Tyson tells me it's okay, I will consider bringing it into my life. Until then, no thank you, boo!
Tell me in the comments because I think it's alllll talk. Photo by Max-Kegfire -- iStock
Got more water-based questions? Read more about water and regimens for your naturally curly hair:
- How Much Water Should You Drink
- How to Build a Hard Water Regimen for Your Hair
- This is the Best Water Temperature to Wash Your Hair
- Dealing with Damage Done to Your Hair by... Water?