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Hair pH: What You Need to Know Before Your Next Hair Treatment

“Strong enough for a man, but pH balanced for a woman.” The tagline of this once-famous 80’s commercial for Secret deodorant introduced the world to the idea of pH balance.

In chemistry, the pH scale is a measure of a substance’s acidity or basicity (alkalinity) relative to other substances. In this context, pure water is a neutral point on the pH scale (at 7). Acidic substances like apple cider vinegar lower the pH, while alkaline substances like baking soda raise the pH

Incidentally, making “alkaline water” isn’t as easy as simply adding baking soda to water.

As you can see in the illustration below, 0-6.9 is acid based, 7 = neutral or balanced, and 7 and above is alkaline.

So what does this have to do with hair and skin?

As Trisha Stewart, owner of Barberella Salon, says: “EVERYTHING!”

Photo Source: https://nanoil.us/blog/post/balanced-ph-check-if-your-scalp-keeps-the-balance

When you receive a hair treatment at Barberella Salon most products will have a pH in the 9-12 range–around the level of soap, which is usually in the 9-10 range. This “alkaline” state necessarily opens the hair’s cuticle to promote a change in color or texture.

However, since the alkaline treatment opens the cuticle, you must “lock in the treatment” by closing the cuticle again with an acid-based product like a glaze or conditioner.

Timing for acid-based treatments can vary, but Trisha suggests waiting at least three minutes for the treatment to work.

Adding the acid-based product will help to restore the pH level of the hair, which will improve the strength, shine, and manageability of your locks while assuring the color treatment lasts.

After this acid-based treatment, you should ideally wait to shampoo again for another 72 hours–the amount of time it takes for a cuticle to fully close, assuming it’s pH balanced.

Washing your hair will inevitably disrupt the pH level again (especially if you are using “hard water” like most people in the Philadelphia area), which will open the cuticle once again. This is why so many stylists urge clients to wait to shampoo.

Trisha agrees: “Washing too soon after a color treatment will dramatically change the longevity of a service. Waiting to wash will lock in color molecule, promoting a longer-lasting and deeper color.”

The upshot? Maintaining a balanced pH can work wonders for your hair. When getting a treatment, maintaining a the right pH can dramatically effect the outcome!

Hair Treatments @ Barberella Salon

Do you have questions about your next hair treatment? Talk to the knowledgeable stylists at Barberella Salon. Call today: 215-643-4066.Or better yet book an appointment online.