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March 28, 2012

The Importance of pH Balance in Beauty Products

by Dawn Michelle of MinimalistBeauty

I've used many many cosmetic products over the years. Being in the retail beauty business, I had the opportunity to try many more products for free and receive full size cosmetics as gratis. Regardless of what cosmetic company I was using, the best products overall were pH balanced and for health purposes organic and chemical free.

Once you decide that you are no longer going to use chemical laden beauty products, many of us look to what's in our kitchen to truly keep it natural and also keep the cost of our beauty regimen 75% to 80% lower than what we were spending before. We do our online research to see what others are using, and if you're like me even buy books to learn about herbs and natural beauty care. If you want to get consistent results with whatever you are using or making, the most empowering way to do this is to understand pH balance, and purchase pH testing strips.

The Problem With Many Skin Care Products

The skin is a miraculous organ, which lets us know that it is experiencing an internal imbalance with skin ailments. For many instead of looking at diet, water intake, stress levels, and prescription medicines, we turn to big selling skin care companies that may not be pH balanced, and in turn dry the skin out with high pH soap and chemical ingredients as well as overly acidic ingredients. You may at first see an improvement in your skin, then over time either notice that the product is no longer working, or that if you don't religiously use the product your skin is an absolute mess. So what just happened?

When skin is taken outside of it's natural pH levels, it no longer has its innate defenses from pollution, fungus, and other bacteria. This is also when you are more likely to experience acne, eczema, psoriasis, dermatitis, roseasca, and skin aging. Skin care products too acidic or too alkaline can throw the skin out of wack. When skin remains in it's natural pH zone of 4.5-5.5, it is able to heal itself and very well.

It is very important that if you are using a store bought skin care item, or making them yourself, that each and every products remains in this healthy skin pH range. You will then be working with your skin versus against it to improve your skins overall health and appearance. Other factors that will also help is drinking lots of purified or alkaline water, eating alkaline foods, and taking supplements balanced in omega fatty acids.

The Problem With Many Hair Care Products

The healthy pH of hair is between 4 and 7. That is a much broader range to work with than skin. I also believe that if you use a hair product that is higher in pH than a 7, and do not follow up with an acidic mixture like aloe vera juice, a tea/herbal rinse, or a diluted apple cider vinegar rinse, your hair will not be happy.

Many hair care products have so many synthetic ingredients that it is ridiculous! We rate the product based on how our hair feels not having any idea that our hair feeling soft and smooth may only be because the product that we use coated our hair strands with synthetic fillers. If you have used anything that chemically alters the hair, your hair literally won't survive without the chemical fillers since the hair dye, perm, relaxer, etc. has created tiny holes in the hair's cuticle. The synthetic fillers keep your hair "feeling" healthy.

Shampoos and other hair washes that have a high pH over 7 make our hair initially feel soft, but in turn will dry out the hair by leaving the hair cuticle too open and susceptible to the natural elements in the air. I learned this the hard way with natural shampoo bars last year. Following with an acidic hair rinse would have counteracted the problem which I later dealt with which was extreme hair dryness and breakage.

I believe not opening the hair cuticle with high pH products will in turn give you the best overall results. Using an acidic mixture no lower that the pH of 4 will keep you hair shiny strong and in beautiful condition. You will most likely experience a dry itchy scalp, dandruff, scalp eczema, psoriasis and brittle hair strands with high pH shampoos and conditioners otherwise. Instead of turning to another high pH product, store bought or natural, keeping the pH between 4 and 7 is your best bet.

pH Testing Strips

Finding out the pH of each of your beauty products will help you really understand how to maintain a consistent skin and hair care regimen that works. You can find Macherey-Nagel pH Testing Strips here. With every product that I now make or try out, I test the pH to have a better understanding of the results I will get for skin and hair care. It also gives me a better idea if the product that I'm making will give consistent results. Even testing products that I used in the past gives me a clearer understanding of why they worked, and why I did or didn't like it. Maintaining a beauty regimen with a balanced pH will overall give the best beauty results.

Minimalist Beauty-simple organic beauty with style "Peace, beauty, and creativity blossom from simplicity."


Are you mindful of pH?
What are your favorite pH balanced products for hair and skin?

21 Chime in!:

Stephanie said...

Thanks for the post, Dawn. Can you please back up and define pH? What does that term mean in the context of hair?

CURLYNIKKI said...

Stephanie, check out these previous CN articles on the matter for more info--

http://www.curlynikki.com/2011/10/how-do-i-know-if-product-is-ph-balanced.html

http://www.curlynikki.com/2011/04/ph-balanced-daily-leave-in-spritz.html

http://www.curlynikki.com/2011/07/real-scoop-on-vinegar-natural-hair.html

http://www.curlynikki.com/2012/01/does-roux-porosity-control-work.html

http://www.curlynikki.com/2011/04/what-is-ph-and-what-does-it-have-to-do.html


hth!

sammiegotsoul said...

Ii don't know what but, apple cider vinegar somehow aided my bad bad scalp dandruff ( self diagnosed contact dermatitis from when I used to relaxers ). I wonder if it is balancing my ph level on my scalp and aiding to create a healthy environment with less fungus

Anonymous said...

Thank you for posting this!

I HATED KCCC because of how gummy or hard it left my hair. But my hair remains supple and smooth when using it. I try other products but always come back to KC. Kimmaytube has a comparison video & states KCCC has a pH of 4.5.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2G5qnxMUkVA


I look forward to reading the viewers recommendations!

Anonymous said...

Dear Stephanie - pH stands for the latin phrase "per Hydronium".

Water is known as H20 (two Hyrdrogens and one Oxgen) but these elements can also form as H30 or H0. H30 is known as Hydronium. When there is an equal balance of each form present, the liquid is considered pH balanced. That number is represented by pH 7.

If a product has more Hydrogen ions present, it is considered more acidic, and the pH number dips lower. If something has fewer Hydrogen ions present, the pH number elevates higher and the product is considered alkaline.

pH is relative to what you need it to do. The blood's ph is 7.35-7.45 and as long as it stays in this range, the body is fine. Outside of this range is a medical emergency. Several organs in the body work to keep the blood's pH balanced (lungs, kidneys, etc)

The pH of the stomach contents is lower than 4. It can be from 0 to 4, but averages pH 2. The stomach needs a pH below pH 4 to dissolve the food and release it's nutrients. Any higher than pH 4, and the intestine will have nutritional absorption problems.

As the dissolved food leaves the stomach, the pancreas and gallbladder release bile and bicarbonate to raise the pH to a neutral level (pH 7)so the intestine isn't eroded by the acidic stomach contents.

I could go on and on, but you get the gist. pH is good when it's at the right pH level at the right time and right place.

HTH

JackieC said...

Actually checking the pH of my products is too much work for me. I'll just continue to surf the net and see the results of other people's tests.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
moya said...

Well after watching kimmay love on Ph balancing I seriously thing this thing works and it is true. Only problem is when u get a product that ais a 7. Who do u get it to be between a 4-5. I have tried it and my hair feel look good. Curls look a little bit more define. Soft as well and b4 she said use the Knot today. But now she recommends any sillicone free conditioner and I like the feel it gves my hair...

Sydni_Michelle said...

I know what pH is however I am not conscious of it. Im not to the point yet where I pay attention, to the pH of the water and products I use on my hair. Maybe one day, but right now Im just like "blahhh". I just finished taking a chemistry class last semester, so its kind of the last thing I want to focus on. lol

Sydni_Michelle said...

I know what pH is however I am not conscious of it. Im not to the point yet where I pay attention, to the pH of the water and products I use on my hair. Maybe one day, but right now Im just like "blahhh". I just finished taking a chemistry class last semester, so its kind of the last thing I want to focus on. lol

Anonymous said...

Do the skin products we use have to have a Ph of 4.5-5.5? I tried using raw african black soap but it started to break me out and dry my skin. I tested the ph not knowing what else to do. Its range is 10+. Since then I've stopped using it and have been trying to lower the Ph with natural ingredients (apple cider vinegar, aloe vera juice, lemon juice) but whenever I get it to a 4.4-4.5 range it looses the ability to clean and turns into a gooey mess. After making several different batches I finally got it down to about a 7/8. Should I use black soap on my skin? Help please.

thebrownesteye said...

still tryna figure this one out...my apple cider vinegar rinse was a fail, i think i used too much; oh well time to read this article and then bak to the drawing board!

octavia said...

I realize I do use alot of ph balance based things like herbal teas, especially acv rinses which really helped with the balancing of my hair. Especially checking ph balances of using Henna. But I didnt really think to hard on the ph balances on conditioners and shampoos. Well I know for sure Giovanni is a ph balance product I use... but I have been looking at more products that are shampoo, conditioner based that tell the balances. I might need to invest in some ph strips for the other products I use. This is taking me back to science class ;)

Annie L. said...

I bought my strips from lotioncrafter, testing is easier than brushing your teeth and you only do it once. Staying between 4.5-5.5 for hair and skin has produced amazing results for me! My 4.5 hair and body mist formulation is a godsend and I follow it with my favorite oil or cream and voila! The results are deeply moisturized, supple and smooth hair and skin. My skin looks younger and my hair's natural definition and shine come out in ways I hadn't seen since my childhood when my mom knew more about this stuff. Even highly acidic ayurvedic powders which can be 3-3.5pH do wonderful things to my hair.

Awareness of pH has also allowed me to cut my daily routine to a water rinse, leave-in and sealant job. I no longer need the products I would use to restore bounce and shine and pliability to my hair after stripping it with highly alkaline products. Anything above 7 dehydrates my skin and leaves my hair frayed and dry. I actually have fun amateur-testing things, it feels like I'm taking back control of the products I use in and on my body.

moya said...

@thebrownesteye. U 1or 2 cap ful then several cups of water..I use 1/4qrt with lots of water and it makes my hair shiny. It can b drying to ur hair thts y u need lots of water. I use it as my final rinse..good luck

Annabel said...

I think it's important to note that hair porosity also plays a factor in choosing the PH of products. When I went natural, I bought a bunch of things that did not work for me. Aloe vera gel for example, turns my hair into a frizzy, sticky disaster. I attribute this to the fact that my hair is low porosity. It works wonders on my skin, however! Now, I do a lot of water rinses and skip the products many days. When I do shampoo/cleanse, I tend to use a product with a higher ph, then put on a deep conditioner in so my hair can absorb the moisture, finally I rinse with cold water and diluted vinegar to seal in the moisturizing effects. I do this about twice per month and it works for me. There is no one fits all strategy.

Anonymous said...

I have heard about pH from Kimmaytube and have actually been using the leave-in concoction she discusses. I like the way my hair behaves after use. I keep saying that I am going to get some pH strips and still have not. Someday I will...

Melissa
mrennie@att.blackberry.net

Anonymous said...

http://www.buyqualitysoap.com/

Anonymous said...

Is there a key to this and making sure hair products have a ph balance between 4.5 - 5.5? Is that key that this concept applies to hair that is wet and not dry?

Anonymous said...

This is probably why my hair reacts so well with keracare natural textures...well the products in the line w/o shea butter, my hair hates shea butter...its all ph balanced:)

Rissa Katharine Cobain said...

The only conditioner that I'm aware that is pH balanced is Giovanni Direct Leave In and it has a pH of 4.5. I love it. It stretches my hair well, it keeps it shiny and moisturized for days, and it's a great DC and a great detangler. It's definitely my Holy Grail.

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