pH Levels – Why it matters for curly hair

First developed in 1901 by a Danish scientist, the pH system allows us to understand how our body’s biology and chemistry interacts with the wider world. In order to understand hair chemistry, we need to start with the pH scale and understand how it relates to our bodies. The pH scale measures the amount of hydrogen ions found in a substance. The scale ranges from 1-14, where 7 is entirely neutral – an example of this is pure water. The two chemical extremes then are classified as either acidic (0 – 6.9) or alkaline (7.1-14).

“A proper pH balance increases the shine and strength of your hair....” 

- Jonathan Torch

Healthy, curly hair should have a pH balance of approximately 4.5 – 5.5, making it slightly acidic. There are many factors that can negatively affect the pH balance of your hair, such as using chemical relaxers, harsh shampoos and styling products, and thermal styling aides like flat irons. When hair is properly pH balanced, the cuticle remains closed, which ensures that it doesn’t frizz. A proper pH balance increases the shine and strength of your hair. However, a higher, more alkaline pH balance will raise the cuticle, causing tangles, dullness, and frizz. The raised cuticle will also expose the cortex of the hair shaft, making hair much more susceptible to damage.


Learning to keep the hair cuticle closed will make an enormous difference in your hair's strength and appearance – and, it will be easier to style! Curly hair cuticles naturally tend to remain in an open state, as the spiral pattern of a curl makes it extremely difficult for the cuticles to lie flat. Since these open cuticles cause frizzy hair, it is particularly important for curly heads to be aware of the pH levels of the products they use. The first step in creating and maintaining healthy hair is balancing the pH levels of your hair. You can do this by using products that have a low pH balance, which is meant to restore the hair’s ideal balance. Curly Hair Solutions™ products are formulated specifically for curly hair, as they are designed to correct mild to severe frizzy conditions. All of our conditioners have a pH balance of 3.5-4, and our shampoos all have a pH balance of 4.5 – 5.5.

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