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The Power of Understanding the PH Balance for Hair

Hair Products- What you MUST know!

OH the galore of hair products! Name brands to generic, natural to synthetic, wonderful smells, attractive packaging, celebrity-hype, and let us not forget the multitude of promises and guarantees! Honestly, who can blame the “product junkies” or “totally confused” with the never-ending list of choices? Instead of getting played by marketers and distracted by aesthetics, let’s zero in on what really matters in hair products.


There is one main thing you should focus on when dealing with hair products; yes one thing. That is pH. Don’t let the trip back down chemistry lane intimidate you; it’s merely a breeze with some specifics, but nothing too tough for us natural babes to handle. No more wishing luck playing the lotto with hair products; put those goggles on and let’s take a dive!

Staying Healthy with pH

Knowing the pH of your hair products is the most important step to keep your hair healthy. pH is a simple scale that measures the acidity or alkalinity of a liquid. The scale ranges from 0 – 14.0; 0 – 6.9 means that a liquid is acidic while 7.1 – 14.0 means that a liquid is alkaline. A value of 7.0 indicates the liquid is neutral. Take a peek at the photo below for a colorful interpretation of the pH scale.

*Photo taken from Acids, Alkalis, the pH scale and Neutralisation

Did you know that our hair is naturally acidic?  Yes, our scalp produces its very own oil, sebum, which has an acid range of 4.5 – 5.5 causing our hair strands to be acidic as well.  For this reason, we must use hair products that have a pH consistent with our natural pH; 4.5-5.5.  This will single handedly boost your hair health, keeping your cuticles strong and intact!

Using alkaline hair products tragically raises the hair cuticles making the hair extremely vulnerable to damage.  Do you remember this pathway to damage?

Raised Cuticles =>High Porosity => Rapid Moisture Loss => Brittle Hair Strands => Damaged Hair

Using the wrong products will damage your hair, period.  The trick is to use acidic hair products in the 4.5 – 5.5 range while simultaneously avoiding alkaline hair products whenever possible.   One tidbit we should keep in mind is that pure water is neutral, its pH being 7.0.  After using water on your hair (or any alkaline product), it’s crucial to use hair products in your acidic pH range to restore your hair’s health.

How to test the pH of hair products?

Testing the pH of hair products is painless and will save your hair health!  Keep in mind that you can only test the pH of a product if it is liquid based.  The easiest way to perform this test is by using pH strips. They can be purchased at your local pharmacy store (e.g. CVS, Walgreens, Wal Mart, etc.) or online.  Read the instructions on the pH strips (in order to interpret the results), dip a pH strip into your hair product, and wait for the results.  Easy peasy!

*Natural Guru Tip: You can repeat the pH strip test multiple times to confirm results; the best way to do this is by using pH strips of different brands to see if the readings match.

Tiffani Davis, founder of the Natural Hair Guru, is an enthusiastic hair lover who has even been described as a total hair geek! Intrigued with hair ever since she was rocking pigtails, she is ever so eager to help any and everyone on their hair journey. Tiffani aims to help people show off their true potential with amazing, vibrant hair for as she says “There’s gorgeousness in every hair strand, the trick is to unlock it; I have the key.” Visit the Natural Hair Guru Facebook page or contact her at

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About The Author

Vissa Studios celebrates hair care and fashions. We love to share the latest hair trends, celebrity hairstyles, tips, how to's and more information on ethnic hair through web, video, events and other multimedia platforms.


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