A pH Balanced Scalp May Be The Key To Healthier Hair

You can hide messy hair under a hat, but unhealthy hair sticks out like a sore thumb. From dull and dry to oily and limp strands, it is an issue that can take more than just shampoo and conditioner to fix. However, your products can also be causing the problem. Your beloved haircare routine can change your scalp's pH leaving your locks struggling to survive.

When it comes to pH, everything is within a zero to 14 scale. If something lands between zero and 6.9, it is acidic. From 7.1 to 14, it is alkaline or basic. Neutral ground is seven. For reference, lemons have a pH of two, water is seven, and soap falls at 12. The scalp is acidic. It has a natural pH of 5.5, and hair strands have a lower value coming in at 3.67. Curly tresses are even lower.

You want to use the right oils, gels, and treatments to keep your scalp and hair balanced. It can be the difference between gorgeous locks and Rapunzel's nightmare.

Why your scalp's pH is important?

Your scalp's pH level is all thanks to the sebum that excretes from its oil glands. Similar to mistaken blackheads, you shouldn't squeeze sebaceous filaments. The sebum keeps bacteria and viruses away from your scalp while retaining moisture.

It is normal for our pH to vary because of the environment, but when it is unbalanced — alkaline or extremely acidic — then dry scalp, dandruff, frizziness, and irritation come along. "If you're not using pH-balanced hair care, you're likely doing unintentional damage to your hair and scalp," professional hairstylist Jill Turnbull told The Everygirl. "When you use hair care that is not pH balanced, your hair becomes temporarily acidic or alkaline, depending on the pH level. This causes the cuticle to stay open and become more receptive to damage."

Luckily, getting your scalp and hair's pH balance on track starts with a wash. And the magic ingredients are probably already in your kitchen.

Products for pH-balanced haircare

If you have used alkaline hair products — pH of 7.1-14 — or experienced dry and brittle strands, your hair can benefit from some acidity. When your hair is too alkaline, the cuticles open, draining out the hydration and nutrients. You can make a homemade rinse with apple cider vinegar. Dilute three tablespoons of ACV with a bottle of water and wash your hair with this mix up to twice a week. You can also try apple cider vinegar hair products to lower your scalp's pH. However, too acidic is just as bad as too alkaline.

Lowering your hair's pH levels too low can shut cuticles, which won't allow moisture or nutrients to get in. This state can damage strands and change your hair's texture. You don't want to teeter too much between high and low pH, either. This intense fluctuation causes hygral fatigue — damage to your hair follicles — which can also lead to damaged ends. The key word is balance.

Aloe vera is another natural ingredient that restores the scalp's pH. You can create a pre-shampoo hair mask using a cup of aloe vera juice, one teaspoon of honey, and two teaspoons of ACV. Next time you invest in conditioner, moose, or gels, check the product's pH levels. Let them align with your body's natural pH and not the other way around.