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  3. What Does pH-Balanced Shampoo Mean? – Understanding the Basics
What Does pH-Balanced Shampoo Mean? – Understanding the Basics

What Does pH-Balanced Shampoo Mean? – Understanding the Basics

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There’s so much to talk about pH in the haircare world. We look for a myriad of factors before purchasing a product but often forget to consider the pH level. Believe it or not, it largely affects the health of your scalp and hair. Choosing a pH-balanced shampoo indeed gets you one step closer to a damage-free mane.

pH of hair and scalp

Coming back to high school chemistry, pH is the level of acidity and basicity of a particular formulation. It is the “potential of hydrogen,” a quantitative measure of free hydrogen ions in the solution. The range goes from 0 to 14. Here, 7 is neutral, higher is basic, and lower is acidic. The pH of natural hair is between 4.5-5, which comes in the acidic family. Meanwhile, most regular shampoos have pH levels ranging from 6 to 8.


Also Read - Guide On Clarifying Shampoo

Hair is healthy when it’s in a semi-acidic state. When you use a hair care product that lies in the base spectrum, several signs of damage may show up. According to the International Journal of Trichology, “Alkaline pH may increase the negative electrical charge of the hair fiber surface and, therefore, increase friction between the fibers. This may lead to cuticle damage and fiber breakage. It is a reality and not a myth that lower pH of shampoos may cause less frizz, generating less negative static electricity on the fiber surface.”

The acid mantle on the scalp effectively blocks moisture loss and prevents external bacterial attack. Using an alkaline shampoo can neutralize this acidic environment, making hair more prone to infections and flakiness. To sum up, it can worsen conditions like:

  • Scalp itching — Breakouts and itching are the most common concerns of disturbed pH. You may experience symptoms such as sensitivity, greasiness, irritated skin, and scalp acne.
  • Breakage — Despite the many hair care tips and products available on the Internet, hair breakage is almost everybody’s concern. This is because it starts from the scalp, and we don’t usually pay attention to its health. pH is one reason that can increase friction between hair fibers, causing breakage.
  • Flaky or dry scalp — Imbalanced hair pH can result in flakiness and dryness. It can impact the production of sebum and natural oils. Inflammatory conditions like eczema and dandruff may occur in some cases.
  • Frizzy hair — A more alkaline pH level is linked to frizz, flyaways, and tangles. It can cause raised cuticles, a dull appearance, and knots in the strands.

Also Read - Moehair Protein Shampoo vs. Clarifying Shampoo

What is pH-balanced shampoo

If a shampoo is labeled as pH-balanced, it means it has roughly the same pH as hair. It’s like your mane’s perfect match made in heaven. Hairdresser Sadi Evans told Byrdie, “A pH-balanced shampoo can help to keep your hair looking cleaner for a longer period of time. An improperly balanced shampoo will strip away too much of your hair's natural oils. Your scalp will then overproduce oil to compensate, making your hair oily and possibly dirtier quicker.”

Simply put, poos with a pH of around 4.5 to 5 boost strand vitality by maintaining an optimal environment on the scalp. In turn, hair cuticles stay closed, locking in moisture and shine. As processed mane is exposed to dyes, bleaching powders, and harsh chemicals, a pH-balanced shampoo restores its ideal pH level by neutralizing alkalis. It also keeps the hair color fresh for a longer time.

Also Read - How To Use Anti Dandruff Shampoo

Benefits of pH-balanced shampoo

Water has a pH of 7, which is more basic than your mane. Thus, rinsing hair with water after shampooing may create an off-balanced situation. This is where a pH-balanced shampoo comes into action. Where the product stands on the pH scale tells about its efficacy in restoring scalp and hair health. Let’s understand how a balanced shampoo can help transform your lackluster strands.


Also Read - Guide On Sulfate Free Shampoo

Prevents frizz and breakage

One of the best hair care tips for preventing frizz and breakage is to opt for nourishing products. Shampoos with a balanced pH can help retain moisture levels by smoothing and closing cuticles. They fight static electricity in strands, reducing flyaways and unruliness. These unique formulations deeply hydrate, seal follicles, and combat hair thinning

Reduces scalp itching and infections

An itchy scalp is often a result of excess oil production, dryness, and dandruff. Indulge in the goodness of balanced shampoos, which keep the cuticle closed, regulate sebum secretion, and reduce inflammation. They also relieve scalp dryness and manage signs of dandruff.

Boosts hair color longevity

Invest in pH-balanced shampoo to extend the lifespan of your hair color. It fortifies strands against external aggressors like dust, dirt, grime, heat, and pollutants. It cleanses and conditions your colored hair without losing moisture and nutrients. Preventing tangles and knots, this shampoo keeps the mane fresh and the color vibrant.

Suits all hair types

Balanced shampoos, known for maintaining the natural pH level of the scalp and hair, are gentle enough for all hair types, including those that are color-treated or chemically processed. This quality makes them ideal for providing effective cleansing without causing damage.

Determining the pH of a shampoo

Now that you’ve explored the benefits of a pH-balanced shampoo, you must be eager to determine if your regular shampoo is close to the mark. Here’s how you can determine the pH level of your shampoo.

  • Read the label — Poo products generally come with labeled pH levels or phrases like “pH balanced.” Some brands specify the rough number, indicating its usage for specific hair types.
  • Contact the manufacturer — It’s best to reach out to the brand or manufacturer directly via mail or customer service. Being Sherlock Holmes is no crime until you get the best for your locks.
  • pH testing at home — Get ready for a chemistry experiment: DIY pH testing. Purchase pH strips online or at your local pharmacy, wet a strip with your shampoo, compare the color to the chart, and there you go.


Q1. What is a pH-balanced shampoo?

A pH-balanced shampoo has an optimal pH level, similar to that of your hair and scalp. It helps maintain the acidic mantle on the scalp, keeping the mane healthy and happy.

Q2. Does high pH damage hair?

An off-balanced pH level can lead to concerns like scalp itchiness, dandruff, yeast infections, breakage, and brittleness.

Q3. Can you use a pH-balanced shampoo every day?

While a balanced shampoo is gentle and safe for frequent application, it might not be a good idea to use it every day. Shampooing hair daily can lead to dryness and strip off essential oils and nutrients.

Q4. Is pH-balanced shampoo safe for colored hair?

Absolutely! The pH-balanced shampoo is safe for all hair types, including colored and chemically treated. In fact, it preserves the hair color and tends to improve its longevity.

Q5. How to maintain the pH of your scalp?

If you feel your scalp's pH level is disrupted, use pH-balanced hair care products. You can also try home remedies using apple cider vinegar or lemon juice.


How we reviewed this article:

Our experts continually monitor the fashion and beauty space, and we update our articles when new information becomes available.

    • Current Version

  • Jun 24, 2024

Written By -

Upasana Kakati is a lifestyle writer with 7+ years of experience in writing in the beauty and haircare industry.

Edited By -

Saima Ahmed with 8+ yrs of experience, specializes in crafting engaging content focused on Hair care, lifestyle, and beauty.

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