The best brands of pH-balanced shampoo are important to use for the health and well-being of your hair. The outside of your hair shaft is made up of overlapping scales, called the cuticle. Alkaline shampoos, and even water, will cause the scales to open, which exposes the interior of your hair shaft., called the cortex. A slightly acidic shampoo will balance this and close the cuticle, thereby protecting the inner cortex from abuse and keeping your hair looking and feeling healthy and vibrant. The cuticle helps the hair shaft to retain vital moisture. If that moisture dries up, then the hair will look brittle and dull.
When It's Important to Use pH-Balanced Shampoos
When you dye your hair, the hair coloring is designed to open up the cuticle so that the color can get into the cortex. You use a conditioner to close the cuticle once the color has been absorbed, but you should use pH-balanced shampoo to keep the cuticle closed to retain the color. Your scalp will, in fact, help in this process by producing oil that has a slightly acidic pH to keep the hair shafts closed naturally. When you use pH-balanced shampoo, it can wash these oils away, causing your scalp to compensate, by producing even more oil and giving your hair an oily appearance. Use of pH-balanced shampoo prevents this condition as well.
Shampoos Based on the pH Scale
The pH scale runs from 1 to 14, where 7 is neutral, or the pH of water. As the numbers get lower they are more and more acidic, while as the numbers increase they are more and more alkaline. The best pH level for pH balancing shampoo is between 5 and 7. Of the major shampoo brands, the one that hits the exact midpoint is Head and Shoulders at a pH of 6. Herbal Essences is at 6.08 and Vive smooth Intense is at 6.29. Dove Beautifully Clean is on the lower side at 5.48. The most acidic brand tested is Garnier Fructis with a pH of 3.41. And the most alkaline shampoo tested is Exact for Normal Hair with a pH of 8.52.
How the Ingredients of Your Shampoo Affect the pH Balance
It is useful to read the ingredients for any shampoo that you are considering purchasing. If your hair is naturally oily, then you want a pH-balanced shampoo that contains panthenol. It will increase the thickness of the hair shaft, thereby giving your hair more body.
Citrus is acidic and can wash away oil and dirt build-up. Tea-based elements, like tea tree oil, rosemary, chamomile or sage, are astringent and can wash away oil and dirt. And, if your hair is dry with split ends, look for a pH-balancing shampoo that contains fatty alcohols, like cetyl alcohol, oleol alcohol or stearyl alcohol. These ingredients will moisturize and maintain soft hair.
Other such moisturizing elements, like jojoba oil and vitamin E, are also antioxidants. These are the type of ingredients that are often present in shampoos that specialize in cleaning color-treated hair. Regular use of such pH-balanced products will keep your hair healthy and looking great!