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How to balance the pH level in your hair for a healthier look

ph level hair

Is it possible to balance pH in your hair naturally? Yes actually, and you will not believe how easy it is. Just follow these 5 simple steps and your hair will be eternally grateful.

How to balance pH level in your hair naturally

As mentioned in a previous article, pH, is the measurement of how acidic or alkaline a substance is. The scale is between 0 and 14 where anything between 0 and 6.9 is acidic, 7 is neutral, and anything between 7.1 and 14 is alkaline. Human hair and scalp oil, sebum, has a pH level of between 4.5 and 5.0. This natural hair acidity prevents fungi and bacteria in the hair and scalp, leaving the cuticle closed and healthy. Now, many of the hair products that people use disrupt the natural pH of the hair, which can leave hair looking dry and brittle. If a substance is too alkaline, it will cause the hair cuticle to open. And if a substance is too acidic, it will cause the cuticle to contract. These five simple steps will tell you how to balance that pH in your hair.

1. Take a good look at your hair

Before you rush of to balance your hair to a healthy level, it is important to establish its pH level. Luckily for you, there are a number of conditions that can indicate the pH of your hair.

  • Is your scalp flaky, itchy, or/and dry and you have problems with eczema, fungi or bacteria, it is likely that your scalp and hair are too alkali. Usually, this means that you are using a product that has a high pH above 7. And that is stripping away your naturally acidic sebum that fights bacteria. Shampoos with lower pH on the other hand, may cause less frizzing and breakage. But choosing a shampoo with a pH of 6 or 7 is always a safe bet.


  • If you have permanently dyed or relaxed hair, your hair was first treated with a highly alkali substance to expose and change the hair’s cuticle, and then, it was neutralized with a highly acidic substance to flatten the cuticle again. This is a damaging process and slightly acidic hair products are needed to keep the hair cuticle lying flat.


  • Having curly hair means that your cuticle is already partially open. So making sure your hair has a slightly acidic pH level is very important. This because the open cuticle prevents natural acidic sebum to keep the entire hair at a pH level between 4.5 and 5.5.


  • Is your hair straight? Then you should use hair-care products that are pH balanced. Straight hair does not require that you apply extra products. The sebum moves through your hair, creating a natural pH balance on its own. That is why it is enough to apply the pH balanced products just once.

2. Read, read and read

Pay good attention to your current hair products and read the labels. If they do not say they are pH balanced for your hair, then they should be tested to see how they affect your hair. 4 to 7 is usually a pH that works well on hair.

  • The easiest why to test it is to buy test strips online or from beauty supply stores. Pour your liquid product into a glass, stick the test strip into the glass for the amount of time the strip directions indicate. When you remove the strip, make sure to compare it to the diagram to find the pH of the product. If any test indicates that the product have a 4 to 7 range, stop using it.


3. Choose wisely

Pick a pH balanced shampoo and conditioner to wash your hair with. Rinse your hair. This will set your hair in a neutral pH level, and not a acidic one. Water has a pH level of 7, which makes it more alkali than your hair.

ph level hair
Juice made from aloe vera is good to use when you try to balance the pH level in your hair.

4. Au naturel

If you want to bring your hair into an acidic pH range, use a natural acid. Aloe vera juice is good to use for that. Pour in a bottle and mist over your hair. This will also close the cuticle and remove frizz.

5. Leave in a leave-in-conditioner

Your hair will return to the 4.5-5.0 natural acidity if you apply the leave-in-conditioner when wet. Why not use a homemade leave-in conditioner composed of the following recipe.

  • Pour 2 tbsp. (30 ml) of a silicone-free conditioner, 2 tbsp. (30 ml) of whole-leaf aloe vera juice and 2 tsp. (10 ml) of jojoba oil into a bowl. Mix well with a spoon and use a pH test strip to ensure the pH is not under 4.5.
  • Apply the mixture to damp, washed hair. Allow it to dry and style as usual.


Photo: Tess Watson via Flickr.