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What is the pH of the Hair and Scalp?

Maintaining the correct pH value of the hair and scalp is essential for the overall health of hair. Hair products can control the pH of hair.

What is Neutral pH?
A pH of 7 is chemically neutral. Hair care products with a pH value in between 3.5 and 5.5 are considered as being beneficial for hair care products.

Variations in pH
When pH value drops below 6.0 the cuticle layer contracts and tightens. A mild acidic conditioner (lower than pH 7) can help to add shine to the hair, as a smooth surface is able to reflect more light; strong acids will however damage the hair. Acid conditioners should not be used when red/orange tones have been added to the hair, instead use a color-specific care range.

When pH value becomes more alkaline (above 7.0) the cuticle layer softens and expands like a pinecone. This is necessary as part of the coloring process in order to deposit pigments within the hair structure, however if the pH becomes too alkali, damage will occur. Also many form products make use of the effect of alkali pH values on hair.

Hair with a very alkaline, porous structure will not retain color effectively. In this instance the cuticle will fail to hold the new pigments, which will ultimately rinse out prematurely.

Following a thorough hair diagnosis a hairdresser is in a unique position to advise clients on how to manage the pH value of their hair and scalp. By recommending care regimes that are specific to the client’s hair type, hairdressers can help prevent damage and keep the hair looking fantastic and pH balanced.