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What is Hair pH and Why is it Important?

Good hair health starts at the roots. A healthy pH balance is an important part of growing and maintaining strong, healthy hair. A good pH balance plays a major role in overall hair health in preventing dryness, promoting growth, and determining how your hair reacts to treatments and products. Read on for more on hair pH and why it is important.

What is Hair pH?

pH is a measurement of how acidic or alkaline something is. The scale ranges from 0 to 14, with 7 being neutral. A pH level below 6.9 is acidic and above 7.1 is alkaline.

pH balance is an important part of maintaining overall hair and scalp health. Your hair pH is naturally acidic, and alkaline products can charge it with negative ions and open the cuticles.  Some ways you can promote a healthy pH balance include:

  • Using pH balanced conditioners and shampoos
  • Including deep conditioners and treatments in your weekly routine
  • Rinsing with aloe vera juice or apple cider vinegar
  • Adjusting your diet to include foods that are rich in alkaline

Healthy Hair pH Levels

The pH of the hair shaft is 3.67, and that of the scalp is 5.5. The ideal pH of hair ranges from 4.5 to 5.5. Maintaining optimal pH levels is a major part of overall hair health. Ideal hair pH is acidic, and acidic hair pH regulates natural oil production and microbial growth. Disturbance in hair pH can cause loss of moisture and imbalance of oil production, which can ultimately lead to breakage, dryness, frizz, and serious split ends damage.

  • Variations in pH – When pH is below 6, the cuticle layer tightens. Mild acidic products can be used to add luster and promote elasticity in their hair. When the pH value is more than 7, the cuticle softens and expands. This is an ideal condition for color treatment for its high levels of alkaline, but also makes the hair more vulnerable to damage.
  • Neutral pH – A pH of 7 is chemically neutral. Haircare products with a pH value between 3.5 and 5.5 are considered beneficial for maintaining healthy pH.

The Importance of Healthy Hair pH Balance

Bacteria and Fungus

Bacteria and fungus can enter the scalp through damaged skin or hair follicles. Skin damage due to eczema and psoriasis can put you at risk of these infections, so a healthy pH balance is especially critical for people that suffer from conditions such as these. Hair that has a healthy pH balance has a natural barrier that protects against fungus and bacteria. pH seals the hair cuticles to promote moisture retention and preserve natural oils. This protects against breakage and helps hair grow strong.

Hair Elasticity

Hair pH has a major impact on ability to hold moisture and natural oils, which give hair the ability to bend and not break. When hair loses moisture and becomes dry and brittle, it tends to snap and split and lose its shine and luster. A healthy pH balance is important for people with all hair types, especially those with curly hair. Curly hair cuticles naturally tend to stay in an open state, and open cuticles can lead to frizz, so curly-haired people should be especially vigilant to the pH levels in the products they use to maintain elasticity. Healthy pH can help you achieve soft, beautiful hair that bounces back instead of breaking.


Chemicals, heating products, shampoo, and even weather conditions can cause hair to become dry. Dry hair breaks easily and is prone to split ends, which can cause serious damage to the whole strand and shaft of thehair. By sealing cuticles, a balanced pH level allows hair to better retain its natural oils and prevent it from becoming stiff and dry, which discourages growth and causes excessive breakage.


If you are looking to grow your hair out, it is especially important to maintain a healthy pH balance. Hair growth is dependent on moisture, so using pH balanced haircare products to cleanse and remove dead skin cells and debris without stripping out natural moisture is critical.

Moisture Retention

Moisture is undeniably one of the most important indicators of healthy hair. After all, the human body is 70% water. Dry hair snaps and becomes frizzy and unmanageable. Natural oils help hair grow thicker and stronger and appear more shiny. pH balanced products can help you maintain healthy moisture levels and prevent lackluster locks.

Signs of Imbalanced pH Levels

There are a few ways you can determine whether your hair’s pH levels are off. First, assess your hair and scalp. Is it flaky, itchy, or dry? Do you have issues with bacteria or eczema? If you do, it is possible that your scalp and hair are too alkaline, meaning your pH levels are too high. This may be caused by using products that are stripping away naturally acidic oils. It can also be caused by chemical and color treatments, which use highly alkaline substances in order to expose and alter the hair’s cuticle. Using a low-pH shampoo can help to bring your pH levels back down into a healthy range.

Signs of an imbalanced pH include:

  • Lack of energy
  • Cramps
  • Muscle spasms
  • Dry/brittle hair
  • Splitting nails
  • Weight gain

When your body cannot absorb the silica it needs due to imbalanced pH, hair becomes unhealthy. The body needs silica because it produces collagen and balances calcium and magnesium, all of which affect hair health.

You can work to balance out your body’s pH by eating a more alkaline-based diet. Examples of foods with high alkaline content include:

  • Raw carrots
  • Cooked beetroots
  • Green cabbage
  • Cooked cauliflower
  • Avocados
  • Cooked broccoli
  • Honeydew melons
  • Soybeans
  • Cooked lentils
  • Cooked peas
  • Olives
  • Cooked spinach

Adding alkaline-rich foods into your diet can help promote healthy pH levels in your body. You can check your pH balance by purchasing pH strips and testing yourself at home or you can consult with a hair professional.

Contact Us

If you are looking for hair restoration services in the Baltimore or D.C. areas, call us at (410) 931-3399 or fill out our contact form today. We can conduct a hair and scalp evaluation at our Baltimore hair restoration center or schedule an in-person consultation and start making your hair goals a reality.