Natural Hair and PH Balance
I have been doing more research for these past couple of days and came across a topic of pH balance. I never really knew about PH balance and what it truly means to our natural hair. I was watching a fellow youtuber, kimmaytube and obtained some very useful knowledge about getting to know the structure of our hair and the importance of pH balance. She has a 5 part video series, which goes into depth about our hair, what is PH balance, and the importance to our hair. I will share some of those tips for you guys!
Structure of Hair
A strand of hair has three components: (1) the cuticle - the outer layer, (2) the cortex - the middle layer, and (3) the medulla - the inner layer. The cortex gives flexibility and tensile strength to hair and contains melanin (giving hair its color). Without melanin, the partly hollow hair appears grey.
What is PH?
The PH level is one of the most important balance systems of the body. The term pH stands for the potential of hydrogen. It is the amount of hydrogen ions in a particular solution. The more ions, the more acidic the solution. The fewer ions the more alkaline (base) the solution. The pH level is a measure of acidity or alkalinity on a scale of zero to fourteen, with zero being the acidic, fourteen being most alkaline and seven being mid-range.
Water has a pH balance of 7, which is neutral. Battery is the most acidic, and sodium hydroxide, which is used as what we know as relaxer, is the most alkaline. These chemicals are DANGEROUS to our hair.
PH and Our Hair!
The natural oil that our hair secretes is a natural oil called sebum. Sebum maintains the moisture and balance in our hair. The hairs natural pH balance is between 4.5 and 5.5 scale. To know what products to use in your hair, you have to know the right level of pH for your hair. For example, the pH of hair(4.5 to5.5) is close to 2.9, which is the pH of Apple Cider Vinegar. Rinsing your hair with AVC will help balance the pH of your hair and remove the buildup from products. Some products such as sulfate shampoo, conditioners, hair colors, permanents and bleaches are strongly alkaline, which can put our tresses in a stressful state as the pH of these products is way off from the pH of hair.
Alkaline solutions opens the cuticles and acidic solutions close the cuticles. Basically, Alkaline solutions open the cuticles (the outer most layer of the hair) allowing the protein structure to changed causing it to loosen and retain too much water. Acidic solutions has the opposite effect, closing the cuticles, allowing moisture to be retained.
The goal you want to reach with your hair pH is choosing products that leave the pH of the hair alone or move slightly toward an acidic direction, in order for the cuticles to close (lay flat). So after washing, your hair, you want to use products that will keep your hair in the safe range of a pH balance of 4.5 to 6. Since water is more alkaline than you hair, with a pH of 7 (neutral), you want to use an acidifier to close the cuticles (retain moisture). Some great acidifiers are, Apple Cider Vinegar, when properly diluted has a pH of 4.0 and Aloe Vera Juice with a pH of 4.0-4.5. These products, after washing your hair, will bring your hair back to pH level.
Kimmaytube has a great leave in conditioner recipe that she uses to keep her hair pH balanced after washing.
1 oz Kinky Curly Knot Today
(you can substitute this with YOUR creamy base of choice- experiment! let me know what works for you)
2 tablespoons of Aloe Vera Juice
2 teaspoons of Jojoba Oil
2 teaspoons of Castor Oil
Mix well. The result is a very creamy leave-in that measures at 4.0pH according to my test strips. I use it immediately on wet hair right after washing and conditioning it, which I do once a week.
I will definitely be investing in getting pH test strips, since I do make my own homemade hair care products. I would love to experiment to see the pH levels of the products I am putting into my hair. This information was so helpful in learning about hair, not just natural hair. We must make sure that we are using products that does not disrupt the pH levels, which can lead to damaged hair. If we chose products that are pH balanced, it will lead to healthier and longer natural hair #WIN. I will also be trying Kimmaytube's leave in conditioner recipe and see how it will work for my hair. I will also make a video using the pH test strips on some of my homemade products and store bought as well, making sure I am treating my hair right.
Tell me your thoughts and if you do make your own products/mixtures/concoctions, I would love to know the pH levels of your homemade hair care products. If you want more of a visual demonstration of this topic, which goes further into depth, please visit Kimmaytube youtube site, this chick is the BOMB!! Here is her playlist on the structure of our hair. Enjoy.