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  1. #1

    Default Stating the "pH"acts - Hair, Dryness and Porosity

    Excerpt from Black Aviators Online:

    Back to "basics"; science, groceries and fabulous hair
    Eggs, mayonnaise and vinegar may sound like an egg salad dish to some, but for those who know a thing or two about great hair care, the best hair products can be found at the grocery store. All it takes is a little knowledge of chemistry, most importantly, a keen understanding of pH.

    Potential Hydrogen (pH), better yet, the pH scale, according to the United States Environmental Protection Agency, is a measurement of the two extremes of chemcial compounds: acids and bases. The pH scale ranges from zero to 14, determining how acidic or basic a chemical compound is.
    A pH of 7 is neutral. A pH less than 7 is acidic, and a pH greater than 7 is basic. Each whole pH value below 7 is ten times more acidic than the next higher value. For example, a pH of 4 is ten times more acidic than a pH of 5 and 100 times (10 times 10) more acidic than a pH of 6. The same holds true for pH values above 7, each of which is ten times more alkaline—another way to say basic—than the next lower whole value. For example, a pH of 10 is ten times more alkaline than a pH of 9.
    Pure water is neutral, with a pH of 7.0. When chemicals are mixed with water, the mixture can become either acidic or basic. Vinegar and lemon juice are acidic substances, while laundry detergents and ammonia are basic.
    Source: United States Environmental Protection Agency
    (Got it? Great. I promise you this has everything to do with hair care.)
    Our hair as well as the products used also have a pH (as does most things). Hair has a pH of anywhere from 4.5 to 5.5, according to the Salon Web Web site. With that said, we now have to understand what pH does to the hair. Hair has cuticles that protect the hair shaft, and these cuticles react differently to acidic and basic compounds. Like scales, they open and close, and can be damaged and ripped away.

    According to a Science NetLinks document, cuticles swell up when they come in contact with basic compounds (i.e., soap), while they shrink and harden when in contact with acidic compounds (i.e., vinegar, lemon juice). According to the activity, alkaline (basic) compounds were not ideal for washing the hair because the cuticles swell up and become rougher, and that detergent was better for use on hair.

    However, according to the Chemical Land 21Web site, Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) has a pH of 9-10, making it a basic compound on the pH scale. SLS is a well known detergent in contemporary shampoos and body washes. Companies like Herbal Essences and Pantene use Sodium Lauryl Sulfate in a variety of their shampoos.
    Pop Quiz: What do most people do after shampooing?
    Answer: They grab their conditioner bottle.
    So, say, after using one's favorite shampoo (more than likely with a SLS base), conditioner is next. Otherwise, the hair would be rough and dry. After all, the shampoo is a basic compound, right? Conditoner, in my opinion, was created to smooth the hair with fruit extracts and emollients, thus neutralizing the hair's pH and pretty much fix what shampoo "basically" ruined (get it?). They make hair feel silky, smooth and look shiny and great, right?

    However, conditoners tend to contain dimethicone, a silicone compound and very effective agent when it comes to sealing in moisture (from personal testimony). The win/lose situation when it comes to using dimethicone is that it is non-water soluble. According to an article on The Beauty Brains, dimethicone needs to be washed with shampoo. The article also states that co-washing (remember that trend I mentioned?) would not be enough to remove dimethicone, and would encourage buildup.

    I'm sure consumers would more than likely reach for a SLS-based product to wash it out. Sure, dimethicone seals in moisture, but one would have to go back to the harsh means of washing the hair in order to remove it.

    This is the start of what I call Chronic Dryness Syndrome (CDS). The hair is chronically dry because it is chronically washed with shampoo and then coated with products based with non-water soluble cones like dimethicone. No one is saying cones are bad. They do what they are designed to do—seal in moisture. However, if one truly wants to eliminate the dryness that occurs from the hair's imbalanced pH level, one must stop using products that require basic compounds to wash off.

    How to eliminate dry hair, forever
    Well, maybe one can't completely eliminate dry hair, especially in my case having naturally dry hair. But with better hair care practices, one can combat dryness.

    Many people have what is called "porous" hair. It's like a sponge; this type of hair absorbs ambient moisture just as easy as it loses it. When water comes in contact with it, it swells. But when the hair has been dry for a period of time, it becomes dry and brittle.

    According to an Associated Content article by Audrey Sivasothy, all hair is naturally porous. The article states poor porosity refers to hair that is resistant to chemicals and "does not readily absorb moisture." It can be said that the opposite of this is hair that easily processed by chemicals and readily absorbs moisture, as well as loses moisture.

    The latter is what happens when a person washes their hair and applies all kinds of moisturizing products, yet the hair still feels dry at the end of the day. More moisturizing products are applied, inevitably causing product buildup. Then, come wash day, one must reach for the harsh, high pH shampoo again. Once again, the never ending cycle of porous, dry hair continues. The question is, how does one stop it?

    Think about conventional skin care. Proactiv, Neutrogena and various other skin care companies have a system. This system usually consists of a cleanser, a toner and a moisturizer. The cleanser...well...cleanses, the toner balances the pH of the skin while closing pores and the moisturizer moisturizes (but of course!). And even home remedies, using witch hazel and regular soap do the same. Many skin care companies cater towards balancing the skin's pH levels. One would think hair care would be the same.
    So, applying the same methods one would typically use to care for skin, chronic dryness could be fixed.

    Cleansing: For instance, removing the SLS, and opting for Ammonium Lauryl Sulfate (ALS) or Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES) (detergent compounds that have a lower pH of 5-6 on average) would effectively cleanse the hair without raising the hair's natural pH to a basic level.

    Toning: After washing the hair, one could apply either a conditioner that contained water-soluble cones. This would allow one to continue to use products without risking buildup or hair drying out. These water-soluble conditioners (particularly natural and organic ones) can be easily washed away without use of harsh, basic shampoos. Or one could use an acidic rinse. Tea and apple cider vinegar are acidic in nature and are well known as home remedies for clarifying the hair. These will smooth the cuticle that has been opened by basic compounds like SLS and can be diluted and applied to the hair and rinsed out (and rinse well when using vinegar or risk smelling really strong).

    Moisturizing: Like conventional conditioners, many moisturizing leave-in conditioners tend to contain creamy emollients, as well as dimethicone and petrochemicals like mineral oil and petrolatum. These also must be removed with detergents like SLS. If one opted for a moisturizer that contained water-soluble cones and non-petrochemical oils (jojoba oil, for instance), SLS and other detergents can be avoided.

    And, of course to beat the cycle, one can just kick the shampoo to the curb. Castile soap and other organic shampoos are much milder and keep the hair at it's natural pH. This ultimately could nip things in the bud by keeping the hair's pH regular from the jump.
    Last edited by Vermelha; 08-24-2009 at 04:55 PM. Reason: extra spacing
    3b/3c // M/C // ii

    Regimen:
    Wash and condition weekly.
    Allow to air dry.
    Apply oils to hair and scalp.
    Gently brush through and wear a simple style.

    Pointers:
    -I allow my hair to dry almost completely before styling, brushing or combing (aside from shower detangling).
    -I trim only when absolutely necessary.
    -I only wear like one or two oils. Products are too complicated sometimes.

  2. #2
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    Default

    Loves it (esp the catchy title)! Great info V, thanks a bunches
    Amina
    4BAPLTL-N
    BlackHairCareBlog

    "Remember to capitalize on the assets in life, while eliminating the liabilities" - me

  3. #3

    Default

    Oh, and I forgot to add...I wrote this, lol....I just attributed the blog, but not me. Haha!

    Thanks Amina ;-)
    3b/3c // M/C // ii

    Regimen:
    Wash and condition weekly.
    Allow to air dry.
    Apply oils to hair and scalp.
    Gently brush through and wear a simple style.

    Pointers:
    -I allow my hair to dry almost completely before styling, brushing or combing (aside from shower detangling).
    -I trim only when absolutely necessary.
    -I only wear like one or two oils. Products are too complicated sometimes.

  4. #4
    Join Date
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Vermelha View Post
    Oh, and I forgot to add...I wrote this, lol....I just attributed the blog, but not me. Haha!

    Thanks Amina ;-)
    You're welcome...I could tell u did
    Amina
    4BAPLTL-N
    BlackHairCareBlog

    "Remember to capitalize on the assets in life, while eliminating the liabilities" - me

  5. #5
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    Default

    Another excellent article! Thanks!!

    Question:
    I'm thinking of pretty much eliminating shampoo (or perhaps switching to Dr. Bronners soap) from my regimen and occasionally adding baking soda to my conditioner to get rid of buildup. Do you know how baking soda affects hair's pH?
    4Bish texlaxed SL hair
    GOAL: Healthy hair with minimal/no breakage

  6. #6

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by abbyZ View Post
    Another excellent article! Thanks!!

    Question:
    I'm thinking of pretty much eliminating shampoo (or perhaps switching to Dr. Bronners soap) from my regimen and occasionally adding baking soda to my conditioner to get rid of buildup. Do you know how baking soda affects hair's pH?
    Baking soda has a PH of 8 so it may raise the hair's ph a little bit. I read an article that says to add a little baking soda to conditioners if you're in need of raising the ph of your hair and rinsing with vinegar if you need the ph to be lower. Here's a link:

    How to Balance PH in Hair | eHow.com
    Yo amo El Senor! No hay otra que compara! ìViva La República Dominicana! Quisqueya


    Fight them until hell freezes over, then fight them on the ice.
    The beatings will continue until your morale changes.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by evanny View Post
    Baking soda has a PH of 8 so it may raise the hair's ph a little bit. I read an article that says to add a little baking soda to conditioners if you're in need of raising the ph of your hair and rinsing with vinegar if you need the ph to be lower. Here's a link:

    How to Balance PH in Hair | eHow.com
    That's interesting. So I'd probably have to do an acidic rinse afterwards anyway in order to close my hair's cuticles? In that case, am I better off just using ACV to clarify?
    4Bish texlaxed SL hair
    GOAL: Healthy hair with minimal/no breakage

  8. #8

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by abbyZ View Post
    That's interesting. So I'd probably have to do an acidic rinse afterwards anyway in order to close my hair's cuticles? In that case, am I better off just using ACV to clarify?
    It all depends upon the ph of your other products. From the article:

    "Take an average by adding the ph numbers together, then divide by the number of products tested. For instance, if your shampoo is a 4, your conditioner is a 5 and your gel is a 4, you would add these numbers together (13) and divide by 3 (4.3). In this case, you would need to slightly raise the ph. The natural oil in human hair, Sebum, has a ph of 5 - this should be your goal."

    When V gets online she can further explain things and I'm sure she can explain it better than I can. LOL! IDK the PH of Dr, Bronner's products sadly so I can't really say too much.
    Yo amo El Senor! No hay otra que compara! ìViva La República Dominicana! Quisqueya


    Fight them until hell freezes over, then fight them on the ice.
    The beatings will continue until your morale changes.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by evanny View Post
    It all depends upon the ph of your other products. From the article:

    "Take an average by adding the ph numbers together, then divide by the number of products tested. For instance, if your shampoo is a 4, your conditioner is a 5 and your gel is a 4, you would add these numbers together (13) and divide by 3 (4.3). In this case, you would need to slightly raise the ph. The natural oil in human hair, Sebum, has a ph of 5 - this should be your goal."

    When V gets online she can further explain things and I'm sure she can explain it better than I can. LOL! IDK the PH of Dr, Bronner's products sadly so I can't really say too much.
    Thanks, Evanny! You've explained it pretty well.

    Dr. B's products should pretty much maintain the hair's pH. I would just need to clarify because of my leave-ins and moisturizers, some of which contain cones, and because I use shea butter as well, which tends to coat the hair somewhat. I'm just wondering about what the best way to clarify is without playing around too much with hair's pH and from the info you've given, it seems to be an ACV rinse.

    You have raised an interesting point though. Most hair products don't really indicate their pH levels. One would think that would be important!
    4Bish texlaxed SL hair
    GOAL: Healthy hair with minimal/no breakage

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by abbyZ View Post
    Thanks, Evanny! You've explained it pretty well.

    Dr. B's products should pretty much maintain the hair's pH. I would just need to clarify because of my leave-ins and moisturizers, some of which contain cones, and because I use shea butter as well, which tends to coat the hair somewhat. I'm just wondering about what the best way to clarify is without playing around too much with hair's pH and from the info you've given, it seems to be an ACV rinse.

    You have raised an interesting point though. Most hair products don't really indicate their pH levels. One would think that would be important!
    Exactly! Reading V's post made me realize that the PH of hair is EXTREMELY important and I've been ignoring it! Stretching would be so much easier if I knew the ph of my products. Looks like I'll just have to go buy some PH sticks and start testing stuff. I don't want to do that. I know I'll be testing everything but the stuff I'm supposed to be testing.
    Yo amo El Senor! No hay otra que compara! ìViva La República Dominicana! Quisqueya


    Fight them until hell freezes over, then fight them on the ice.
    The beatings will continue until your morale changes.

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