The Secret to Natural Hair Moisture Retention

jessica pettway!

by Sabrina Perkins of

There's a lot of information out there about the importance of the hair's cuticle and keeping it closed and smooth.  However, it's important to note that you first actually want to open it to allow in the moisture and nourishment!  This article will share details on the structure of the hair, and how to open and close the cuticle to retain proper moisture levels for healthy natural hair care.  A smooth, closed cuticle really is the secret to stronger, healthier hair.

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 glam idol, Alesha!

If there is ever a topic you need to understand as a naturally curly girl, then pH balance is one of them. The potential of hydrogen, also known as pH, is the measurement of how alkaline or acidic a substance is and significantly controls how the cuticle layers of the hair react to products. Measured on a logarithmic scale from 0 to 14, substances with a pH between 0 and 6.9 are acidic, 7 is neutral, while substances between 7.1 and 14 are alkaline. For example, relaxers rank higher on the scale with a pH normally around 13, pure water is neutral at 7, and apple cider vinegar (undiluted) is on the opposite side of the scale around 3. What does this mean for you? A higher pH substance or product on the scale opens the cuticle and lower pH closes the cuticle.

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pH and Natural Hair- What You Need to Know.

“pH” is an abbreviation for “potential hydrogen” and is a scale used for ranking the relative acidity or alkalinity of a liquid solution. The precise mathematical definition of pH is the negative logarithmic value of hydrogen ion (H+) concentration in the solution.

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How Do I Know if a Product is pH Balanced?

 by Nicole Hollis of Hair Liberty

Q: How do I know if a product is pH balanced?

A: Out of all of your products, the pH of your shampoo is most important. The beneficial pH range of shampoo is 4.5 to 6.5. A shampoo with a higher pH may strip the hair of its natural oils leaving it frizzy and fly away even after you apply your styling products. You may not mind a little frizz, but when a high pH shampoo leads to fly aways and generally unruly hair that usually leads to more manipulation which leads to breakage. To retain length, it’s best to keep your hair as well controlled as possible. African American hair is particularly sensitive to pH, so this is a case where a little extra TLC is important and will make your hair care routine easier. To find the pH of a shampoo or any other product, try these tips.

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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?

What is pH and What Does it Have to do With Hair?

“pH” is an abbreviation for “potential hydrogen” and is a scale used for ranking the relative acidity or alkalinity of a liquid solution. The precise mathematical definition of pH is the negative logarithmic value of hydrogen ion (H+) concentration in the solution. pH = – log [H+]

A scale of zero to fourteen is used for pH, with 7.0 being a neutral solution (water). A number below 7.0 is considered to be acidic, with a lower number being more acidic, and anything above 7.0 is considered to be alkaline or basic, with 14 being the strongest alkaline value. Due to the logarithmic nature of the pH scale, a solution with a pH of 2.0 is ten times more acidic than one with a pH of 3.0. Human hair is a solid material, a composite of protein molecules with three distinct layers. The central portion called the medulla is not present in every hair and is usually just made up of air. The surrounding layer, known as the cortex, is composed of bundles of fibrous coils made of keratin protein molecules that supply the hair strand with its strength and elasticity. The cortex also contains particles of melanin, which impart color to the hair strand. The outer layer is comprised of multiple layers of overlapping, keratinized scales and is called the cuticle, which acts to protect the cortex and medulla. Hair and skin are both covered by a very thin fluid layer comprised of oil, salt and water, called the mantle, which is slightly acidic (pH = 4.5 – 5.0). This acid mantle is very important in maintaining the proper moisture balance in our hair and skin. It is also instrumental in making the cuticle scales lie flatter against the surface of the hair shaft, which makes hair smoother and shinier as the flat scales reflect light more coherently. Scales that lie more snugly against the hair shaft also prevent moisture loss more efficiently, which helps hair to be stronger and healthier. With the normal exposure to the environment as well as washing and styling, this acid mantle can become contaminated or removed and must be restored with the use of properly pH-balanced products.

pH Balanced Daily Leave-in Spritz

by KurlyBella of K is for Kinky

I’m a big fan of pH balanced conditioners. After using them, my hair feels significantly different overall than it does when the conditioner is not pH balanced. My hair has always responded best to balanced pH and I know that’s because my hair needs to have my cuticles lay back down as flat as they can for me to have as many good hair days as possible.

Like me, you may find that the steep prices of good pH balanced and organic conditioners keep you at bay and although they work great and you can use them daily, they can be a bit heavy on the pockets. That’s why I’m all for stretching out a good leave-in to get the most bang for my buck, but not loose the effectiveness of the product. So here is my daily moisturizing spritz mixture that you can try that will stretch your bottle of pH balanced conditioner much longer than you ever imagined!

Because of the balance of total ingredients I use this spritz when I want as a wet and slightly creamy leave-in since it does not contain heavy and unnecessary fillers and won’t cause my hair to feel like it has a ton of build-up.

In a spray bottle that’s at least 8 oz in size combine:

(1) Two oz of pH balanced conditioner (about four table spoons)

some options are:
-Nature’s Gate Jojoba Revitalizing Conditioner -Burt’s Bees More Moisture, Raspberry & Brazil Nut Conditioner -Alba Hawaiian Gardenia Hydrating Hair Conditioner

(2) One oz of Carol’s Daughter Tui Jojoba and Shea Butter Hair Sheen OR jojoba oil and/or hemp seed oil and/or avocado oil. <– these are my top picks, but you can use any oil that works best on keeping your hair SEALED.

(3) Six oz of rose water. <– I find that this works significantly better than just tap water because it’s distilled. you can also use plain distilled water or you can use bottle water as a close substitute. i don’t suggest tap water for this mixture.

(4) Four drops of silk amino acids (optional)

(5) 1/2 tea spoon of glycerin (optional) <— my hair loves glycerin but i don’t like to add too much. if you have type 3 hair and less, you may not want to add the glycerin.

(6) shake all of the ingredients well.

Why silk amino acids?

Hydrolyzed from pure silk fibers, silk amino acids have a lower molecular weight than silk protein powders and are penetrating and moisturizing to skin and hair. It can also repair and nurse damaged hair and it provides a protective barrier and silky feel to formulations so it will give you great slip!

How do you make your own pH balanced spritz? Do you find that it makes a difference with your hair?

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