While we continue talking about pH levels, today’s blog post will be rather “sciencey” - please do bear with us. Now you’ve probably noticed that not much is frequently said about your skin and hair’s pH levels in everyday conversations. So you might want to keep a printed version of this blog post neatly tucked away just in case. ;)
Okay, last week we learnt that your skin and hair have their own unique pH levels and so do the products that you use – tricky. If all you remember is one thing from this post, please remember this: “typically you want to maintain a pH level of 4.5 to 5.5, going significantly higher or lower than can be disastrous”!
So, today we'll recommend some natural products that we strongly suggest that you use to assist with balancing the pH level of your hair and skin. Also, we’ll share some practical tips on how to effectively incorporate pH balancing into your daily skin and hair care regime.
How to spot a pH level that isn’t good for you?
The only full proof way to check if your pH level is out of balance, is by testing the products that you use. This can be done by using pH testers known as litmus test papers or by paying close attention to the reactions from your skin and hair.
Skin that has a very high pH tends to dry out and become flaky resulting in “ashiness”. High pHs are usually a result of using soaps that are too alkaline (high in pH). On the flip side, skin can have a low pH (acidic) which is exacerbated by using harsh toners for acne prone or oily skin. This combination will cause a burning sensation when applied and will leave your skin taught and shiny. In both instances of high and low pH levels, your skin will react by “breaking out”.
Similarly, the health of your hair is commonly measured by your hair’s pH level. The most common symptom of a pH imbalance in hair is dry dull frizzy hair, it means your cuticles are open which implies that it is too alkaline. The root cause is usually the frequency and type of shampoo that you use - over and above stripping away your hair's natural oils, some shampoos are just too alkaline.
Great, so how can I balance my hair?
A little known insider tip is that shampoos are actually for your scalp and not hair. Shampoos are meant to reduce the oiliness of scalps and to a lesser extent hair strands (since African hair is usually not that oily in nature). So, instead of excessively shampooing your hair, you could rather opt for a co-wash or a mud wash using natural clays - these will be much gentler on your hair strands. Your washing technique also plays a huge role, read about it here.
You can also incorporate pH balancing into your daily haircare routine by using a spritzer or our balanced Shealoe hair butter. The main ingredients of our Shealoe hair butter are Shea Butter and Aloe Gel. The combination of these ingredients is super effective for sealing cuticles and treating itchy scalp conditions, especially while rocking a protective hair style. Please do follow this link to read through the additional benefits of Shealoe hair butter.
Lastly, you could also opt to do a rinse with a slightly acidic product – this has the same effect as using a toner for your skin. For rinsing, Apple Cider Vinegar or Aloe Vera Juice are great natural products that we wholeheartedly support. If we had to choose between the two, we would recommend Aloe Vera Juice. Although slightly acidic, it has a pH level in the same range as your hair! Together with its combination of nutritional properties, this makes it the most effective product for restoring and maintaining a balanced pH.
What about my skin?
Only use gentle balanced products on your skin! If you don't have acne-prone or oily skin, you should stay away from products formulated for acne-prone or oily skin as they will be too harsh on your skin. Also, please make it a habit to read through the labels of the products you purchase - your toner should have a pH indication on it, if it doesn't then don’t buy it. To summarise again, any product with a pH of 4.5 to 6.5 will be good for your skin’s natural pH levels.
Before we sign off, below are some advanced tips on our recommended skin toners that you should be using…
The most popular toners used by people that prefer using natural products are Apple Cider Vinegar, Witch-hazel and Rose water based products. Apple Cider Vinegar, preferably with the mother enzymes can be quite acidic (pH level of 2 to 3) and has a pretty strong scent. Due to its high acidity, you should only use Apple Cider diluted with water in ratios greater that 1:5. As such and depending on your personal preference, Rose water (pH level of 6 to 7) diluted with Witch-hazel (pH level of 3 to 4) may be a better option.
Lastly, develop good skin and hair care habits and strive to be consistent. That’s it from us regarding pH balance, next week we're starting a new topic. :)
See you then!