Photo Courtesy of Simply Cyn

We love science at NaturallyCurly. We take our hair seriously just as you do, so quite naturally we want to understand the different variables that contribute to a product’s performance, such as pH levels. If you did not know, pH is an abbreviation for potential hydrogen and the pH scale measures how acidic or alkaline a liquid is. They range from 0 to 14 with anything above 7 being alkaline and anything below 7 being acid. Water has a pH level of 7, making it neutral.  

Water has a pH level of 7, making it neutral…battery acid is 0 on the pH scale, human hair is 4.5-5 and drain cleaner is 14.

Too much acidity can lead to a variety of problems for our bodies as well as for our hair. For example, battery acid is 0 on the pH scale, human hair is 4.5-5 and drain cleaner is 14. It is easy to see why being somewhere in the middle with water is essential for a healthy body as a whole so it makes sense to want to use hair products that hover within that range too. A little acidity and even a little alkaline serves a great purpose for our hair, as mildly acidic products help to flatten the hair cuticle to help the hair retain moisture.

Alkaline products will lift the hair’s cuticle, allowing it to swell and remove the necessary oils it needs, so knowing a product’s pH balance can further assist in using only products that will keep the hair from getting frizzy and damaged. According to National Center for Biotechnology Information, “Alkaline pH may increase the negative electrical charge of the hair fiber surface and, therefore, increase friction between the fibers. This may lead to cuticle damage and fiber breakage. It is a reality and not a myth that lower pH of shampoos may cause less frizzing for generating less negative static electricity on the fiber surface.”

There are several brands that understand the importance of pH balance and even want to inform the consumer of this pertinent information. We consulted with a few as to why they choose to share pH information on their products, and the importance it plays in their formulation.

Obia Natural

“I choose to include the pH on the packaging so that consumers will be aware that the products they are using are pH balanced. Using pH-balanced products is important to maintain the moisture balance in natural hair. I want our products to be easily accessible for those consumers that are aware of the benefits or just look for pH balanced products.”

Luv Naturals

“We advertise the pH balance of products on our store’s website and packaging because it plays a key role in hair care. The pH balance of a solution can affect your hair’s appearance, texture and its ability to retain moisture. Human hair has a pH balance between 4.5 – 5.5, so it is best to keep it within that range whenever possible. Water typically has a pH balance of 7.0 which causes the hair’s cuticles to lift. When cuticles are lifted, hair strands absorb more water and this can lead to hair

feeling very rough on the surface.

All of our products are designed to mimic our hair’s natural pH range. They all fall within the range of 4.0 – 6.0pH. This helps cuticles on the surface of our hair to lie flat, which increases shine, reduces tangles and enhances its natural curl pattern.”

Curly Hair Solutions

“At Curly Hair Solutions, we understand that in order to create and maintain healthy curly hair you have to take into consideration the pH level. By nature, curly hair is extremely vulnerable to frizz because the cuticles are in an open position, and this ends up causing out of control frizzy hair. Therefore, curlies need to recognize that the pH level of a product is just as important as the ingredients. The level of pH of a product will determine the outcome of your curls. Products that have a high pH balance will raise the cuticles causing tangles, dullness, and frizz and makes the hair more susceptible to damage. Curly Hair Solutions and Curl Keeper products are all properly pH balanced to restore the hairs natural state to help eliminate frizz, and increase shine and strengthen the hair.

We have formulated our conditioners to have the lowest level of pH in order to close the hair cuticle, which makes it very effective in detangling and providing curl control and shine. Our shampoos have a pH of 4.5-5.5, which are very gentle to use and do not strip the hair. Our styling products are all designed to correct mild to severe frizzy conditions, keeping in mind that healthy curly hair should have pH balance of approx. 4.5-5. We at Curly Hair Solutions, understand that all types of curly hair needs to be effectively balanced with the proper pH levels to ensure healthy long lasting curls.”

Coco Curls Natural Hair Care

I added pH to my packaging because it’s a critical component for natural hair. When we were relaxed our hair could handle some of the higher pH products because in essence our cuticles were typically sealed. Now that we’re curly we can’t afford to use products above 6 on a regular basis. Products above a pH of 6 are more “basic” in nature vs acidic (below 4″> which at that range raise the cuticle. Products below 4 are also too acidic, it can in essence burn the hair and affect our texture. So long story short, I list the pH so customers can know that our products have been formulated with the health of their texture in mind. It sets aside us apart from most product companies, and it eliminates the guess work for consumers that are aware and concerned about that.

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Do you consider the pH balance of a product before you try it?  

Sabrina Perkins

Sabrina, founder of and contributor to several online publications, is a freelance writer who engages her audiences on the relevance of natural hair, beauty, and style.

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