Hair has many properties, which affects its texture, color, appearance, and overall health. To be able to effectively care for your hair, you should be familiar about a concept known as pH, which is also known as acidity or alkalinity, and how this property can affect your tresses.
Here is a bit of info about pH, as defined in terms of chemical properties of solutions. As said before, pH is the measure of how acidic or basic a substance is. The pH of 7, means that a solution is neutral, neither acidic nor basic. Distilled water is an example of this. When pH falls below 7, it is considered acidic. When it goes above 7, it is basic or alkaline.
The normal pH of the human body, the scalp, and hair, is at around 5. The various products used to treat and care for hair may also differ in their pH, depending on their intended purpose.
For example, the use of hair coloring products have different pH levels, which can affect how temporary or permanent the dye will be. Temporary hair dyes usually contain an acidic pH, so that they do not easily penetrate the hair strands.
However, more permanent hair dyes contain alkaline chemicals like ammonia and hydrogen peroxide, which can penetrate hair strands to their cores, or the cortexes. This affects the production of melanin, which is responsible for your natural hair color. Because permanent hair coloring can be highly basic and may have corrosive properties on hair, it is not always a recommended option for people who want to maintain healthy and strong tresses.
Here is a bit of note about shampoos. Most shampoos are also made to be neutral or at times, slightly acidic. The high pH will allow the shampoo to easily clear off any oils or dirt that have formed on the hair and scalp. Neutral shampoos may be recommended for people who have sensitive scalps. In the same manner, hair conditioner is acidic or carries a high pH, because it causes the keratin on the hair strand surface to be flattened out instead of bristly, thus causing hair to be smooth and soft.
What about hair perms? The chemicals involved in this process are mostly basic, which creates chemical bonds on the surface of hair strands. This makes the hair curly instead of smooth and straight. As you can see, pH is significant in terms of its effect on hair. So the next time you use certain chemical on your hair, you now know what its pH can do for your precious mane.