The pH level of shampoo is necessary to consider when purchasing a shampoo. A shampoo with a pH level that is too high or too low can strip the hair of its natural oils and lead to dry, brittle hair.

By following these simple steps, you can see how to find pH level of shampoo to ensure that you are getting the best possible care for your hair.

I made you a guide on what the pH level in shampoo is, why it is important and what it does in your hair. 

Also, I added the pH levels of some well known shampoos and a list of hair products that has low pH levels and of course my favourite low PH balanced shampoo is HERE.

Continue reading to find out more.

What is pH Balance? What does pH stand for?

pH is the power of hydrogen. The pH level indicates acidity or alkalinity in a substance and measures the number of hydrogen items present in the solution.

The pH scale is 0-14, with neutral substances like water having a pH between 7 and 14. Anything below 7 is considered acidic, and anything above it, alkaline. Let’s look at some standard products to give you an idea of their pH levels. For example, lemon juice has an acidic pH of 2.4, while ammonia, 11.5, is alkaline.

What is pH Balance What does pH stand for

Your body’s pH balance is the number of acids and bases that allow your body to function at its best. With the help of the kidneys, lungs, and other organs, the body can usually regulate its pH levels by itself. Normal conditions call for a pH level of 7.4. However, acidosis or alkalosis can occur if the kidneys or lungs stop functioning correctly.

The pH of our hair is still a problem. Normal pH levels for hair scalp are between 4.5 to 5.5. Our scalp and hair are acidic, which helps to prevent the natural hair growth and spread of bacteria and fungi.

This allows the cuticle to remain healthy and closed. Some hair products can cause hair to become dry and brittle. Hair can become dry and fragile due to this. This can also cause hair to become dry hair and brittle.

pH-Balanced Shampoo Explained

I’ve already discussed the importance and importance of hair shaft pH balance. Now I need to discuss the importance of pH shampoo. A shampoo that balances your scalp and hair is ideal. Shampoos that are pH balanced have shampoo manufacturers who know the perfect pH level at which shampoos will work best.

Manufacturers will closely monitor the manufacturing process to ensure that the shampoo is at the correct pH level. If necessary, they will adjust the shampoo to compensate.

Shampoo pH Levels Chart

pH-Balanced Shampoo Explained

A pH-balanced shampoo won’t be at the end of the spectrum. This will ensure that your hair doesn’t lose too much moisture shampoo and your cuticles remain closed. This will help reduce frizz and static.

A pH-balanced shampoo will ensure that your hair doesn’t produce too much oil after you wash it. Oily hair is a sign that you should wash your hair more often.

If the shampoo is not balanced correctly, it will worsen the problem. For hair fiber surface that has been treated with coloring or other treatment, a different pH-balanced shampoo may be required to maintain healthy hair.

How do I know if my shampoo is pH balanced?

So, how do you know if your shampoo is pH balanced? The easiest way is to check the label. If it’s pH balanced, it should say so right on the front. But, let’s be real here, not all shampoos are created equal. Some brands will say anything to sell their product, even if it’s not entirely true. That’s where a little bit of knowledge comes in handy.

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One way to tell if your shampoo is pH balanced is to do a simple litmus test. Remember those little strips of paper from your high school science class? You can use them here too. Wet your hair, then tear off a small piece of the litmus paper and rub it onto your scalp. If the paper changes color to green, it means your scalp is slightly alkaline, which isn’t great. If the paper turns pink, it means your scalp is slightly acidic, which is better but still not ideal. Ideally, the paper should turn a shade of yellow, which means your scalp pH is balanced.

Another way to tell if your shampoo is pH balanced is to pay attention to how your hair and scalp feel after using it. If your scalp feels itchy or your hair is dry and brittle, chances are your shampoo is too alkaline. On the other hand, if your scalp feels greasy or your hair is limp, your shampoo might be too acidic. A good pH balanced shampoo should leave your hair feeling soft, clean, and healthy.

My Ways to Find pH of Shampoo

It is essential to understand why shampoo pH levels matter. However, it won’t help much if you don’t know how to find the right shampoo for you. (A low pH shampoo will not cause hair to become dry and frizzy, but it will make your hair less brittle and breakable.)

Companies are not required to disclose the pH levels on shampoo bottles. Your shampoo should have a pH level similar to your scalp and hair. You can even measure the pH of shampoo to compare how it compares.

It is difficult to find a great hair care product, read our article: Best Shampoo And Conditioner In 2022

2 Methods to Test Shampoo pH

You don’t need to be a chemist to learn about pH meters. You can buy pH meters online for as low as a tenner and find pH strips at many brick-and-mortar pharmacies for a fraction of the price.

This is how you can test pH in either direction. It’s easy…

How to Test Shampoo pH: What Materials Are Required

The steps for testing pH are similar whether you use strips of test material or a pH monitor. These steps will help you choose the right test tool for your situation. Here’s what you need to know:

Materials:

  • Digital scale
  • 2 glass jars or beakers, 1 with lid
  • Butter knife, poon, or small spatula
  • Shampoo
  • Water (preferably distilled).
  • pH strips or pH meter

Step by-Step Shampoo pH Testing Method

  • Start with dry, clean hands.
  • Turn the scale on, place a cup on it, and then reset it to zero
  • You must ensure that the scale is set at grams
  • Be sure to pour 10g shampoo into the beaker carefully
  • Take the shampoo beaker out of the scale.
  • Place the second beaker onto the scale, and then reset the dial to zero
  • Place 100g of water in the cup. Adjust the level according to your needs.
  • Place the shampoo beaker with the water in it.
  • Use a butter knife to mix the mixture gently but thoroughly. Don’t use too much.
  • Cover and let it sit for 30 minutes.
  • Use a pH meter or pH strips to check the pH. Follow the instructions.

This infographic explains the entire process.

How to Test Shampoo pH What Materials Are Required

How do I know if my shampoo is pH balanced?

The pH of your shampoo is more important than you might think! The beneficial pH range of shampoo is 4.5 to 6.5. 

A shampoo with a higher pH may strip the hair of its natural oils, leaving it frizzy and flying away even after you apply your styling products. Not only is frizz a pain to deal with, but when a high pH shampoo leads to fly-aways and generally unruly hair, that usually means more manipulation – and more manipulation often leads to breakage. 

In order to retain length, it’s best to use a shampoo that falls within the ideal pH range so as not to cause any further damage.

Here are some tips for finding the pH of your shampoo:

  1. Hands as pH tester

Well, you can use your hands as a pH tester. 

In fact, your skin is the best pH tester! When you mix equal drops of water and vinegar and apply the acid to your hand, your skin will turn red. This is because the acid raises the pH of your skin. 

In the same way, when you mix equal drops of water and baking soda and apply the base to your hand, your skin will turn red. This is because the base lowers the pH of your skin.

  1. Search on Company’s website

you can search for the product on the company’s website to find out if it is pH balanced. 

If it isn’t, then you might want to look for a different product, as pH-balanced hair products are best for your hair.

  1. Check the label
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Most of the manufacturers of products label their products as pH balanced. 

If you are looking to buy a product that is not organic and does not have the label ‘pH balanced,’ then you would have to make sure for yourself. 

Most of the products come with a pH label on the side of the packaging or on the product. 

  1. Use a pH strip

You would have to use a pH strip to check for yourself, which changes color according to the pH level. 

The strips are inexpensive and easy to use. Still, they aren’t always 100 percent accurate, so you may need to compare results from different brands to ensure consistency.¬†

The pH of your product should be balanced and should be between 4.5 and 7.0. 

How To Test The pH of Shampoos Using pH Strips

Although pH strips don’t always provide as precise information as pH meters, they can still be used to get an idea of the pH in your shampoo.

Use strips to get accurate results. You don’t want anything too essential and only give ‘acid,’ ‘base, or ‘neutral’ readings.

After dipping your pH strip in shampoo, you should get a color chart.

pH strips should come with a colour chart to compare after dipping in your shampoo.

Step-by-step: How pH strips can be used to test shampoo

These are the steps to get a reliable pH reading with pH strips.

  • Follow the steps to prepare the solution.
  • Take the strip out of its packaging.
  • Place the pH strip into the soap mixture, and wait for the color change to conform to the instructions.
  • To determine pH, compare the pH strips’ color with the chart.

How To Test The pH of Shampoos Using A pH Meter

Here’s how to use a pH tester to test the pH of your shampoo:

  • Follow the steps to prepare the solution.
  • Turn on the meter, calibrate it if necessary, and then dip it in the solution.
  • If you choose to pay more, the meter results will be displayed on the dial or digital interface after a few seconds.

How to Test the pH Levels of Shampoo Bars and Soaps

Shampoo bars are soap, despite their advertising. The pH of shampoo bars can be tested similarly to soap. Here are the things you will need:

Materials:

  • Digital scale
  • Scraping soap with a knife
  • Butter knife, small spoon, or spatula
  • Saucer
  • 2 glass jars or beakers
  • Soap
  • Water (preferably distilled).
How to test the pH of shampoo bars and soaps

Step-by-step instructions for pH testing shampoo bars & soaps

  • Start with dry, clean hands.
  • Place the soap into the saucer.
  • Use a sharp knife to cut a small piece of soap.
  • Place the beaker on the scale.
  • To reset, press ‘zero.
  • Place the soap cut in the beaker.
  • You can add or subtract soap until you have a 5-gram sample in your beaker.
  • Take the soap beaker out of the scale.
  • Place the second beaker onto the scale, and then reset the dial to zero
  • Add 50g of water to the cup and adjust the level according to your needs.
  • Place the water-containing beaker into the soap beaker.
  • Use a butter knife to mix the mixture gently. Don’t make too much.
  • Cover the container and let it sit for 24 hours to allow soap to dissolve fully.
  • Follow these instructions to find out how to test shampoo pH using a pH meter.

Want to try to do a shampoo bar, refer to our article: How To Make Shampoo Bars?

What is the Right pH of Shampoos?

Hair’s pH is 3.67. Your scalp’s ideal pH is around 5.5.

Researchers from a new study that examined the pH of more than 100 shampoos determined that there is no ideal pH for shampoos.

Most shampoos have a pH higher than that. The same study found shampoos with a pH of 9 while soaps and shampoo bars are in the 9-10 shampoo ph values ranged. The pH scale ranges from 1-14. One is highly acidic, 14 ph range is highly alkaline. Scores higher than these can cause hair and scalp problems.

How To Find pH Level Of Shampoo

As I said above, a pH too high can cause hair to become static-frizz-tangled. This can happen if your thinning hair isn’t washed correctly or you don’t have a routine that protects it from such issues.

You could even get scalp irritation or infection if your pH is too high. Extreme shampoo pH can have dramatic effects on hair and scalp.

What is the pH number for shampoo?

Most shampoos have a pH level that falls somewhere between 3.5 and 9. 

However, if you use a shampoo that has a pH level that is too high or too low, it can disrupt your scalp’s natural pH balance and lead to hair damage and scalp irritation.

The pH of healthy hair is slightly acidic, between 4.5 and 5.5. However, external chemicals such as bleach, hair dye, styling products, and shampoos can disrupt this delicate balance. 

The pH values of all shampoo brands range from 3.5 to 9.0, though the ideal shampoo is 3.6 for your hair and 5.5 for your scalp.

What is a high pH level in shampoo?

Scientists have found that the ideal pH for shampoo is 3.67, which is the pH of your hair. However, shampoos this acidic are rare. 

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The ideal pH for your scalp is around 5.5. 

In a recent study, scientists considered a high-pH shampoo to be anything above 5.5. 

According to the current literature, the usage of shampoo with a pH higher than 5.5 may increase friction and cause frizz, hair breakage, and enhance hair tangling.

If you use a shampoo with a pH level higher than 5.5, make sure to follow up with a conditioner of low pH. This will help not only lubricate your hair but also neutralize electrostatic forces, eliminate frizz, and seal the cuticle scales. 

If the conditioner is not recommended by a dermatologist, be sure to choose a shampoo with a pH lower than 5.5.

What pH level is safe for hair?

Achieving and maintaining optimal hair health requires understanding the role of pH. 

pH stands for “potential hydrogen” and is a measurement of the acidity or alkalinity of a substance. 

The pH scale ranges from 0 (most acidic) to 14 (most basic), with 7 considered neutral. The ideal pH for hair is between 4.5 and 5.5, which is slightly acidic. This pH level keeps hair cuticles closed, resulting in smooth, shiny, and healthy-looking hair. 

Chemical treatments and harsh styling products can disrupt the delicate balance of pH in the hair, causing cuticles to lift and hair to frizz and break.

pH Balanced Shampoo List

I have created a list of some of the pH-balanced shampoos you can find in the market or online. These shampoos either have low pH or just the right amount of pH.

Moreover, I have added some shampoos with low pH to the list below.

Olaplex shampoo pH level: 6 – 6.5

Olaplex No. 3 is a classic hair product because of its low pH level. This allows the product to repair your hair’s damage over time instead of just making it appear more moisturized on the surface. 

If you have extremely damaged hair from relaxers or bleaching, Olaplex may be able to help you bring your hair back to its original state.

Olaplex No. 3

Garnier shampoo pH level: 4.5 – 5.5

I love this Garnier Fructis shampoo because its natural pH is around 4, and living in the Western states, the water is alkaline, which can make our hair extra greasy. 

This shampoo works like a charm, and I never need to use conditioner afterwards. My hair feels super smooth and soft – it’s definitely one of my favorite products!

Garnier Fructis

Tresemme shampoo pH level: 5 – 7

TRESemm√© Hair Fall Defense Shampoo is most effective on damaged and breakage-prone hair. 

You will have longer and stronger hair by helping reinforce hair strength and prevent hair fall due to breakage. It is enriched with Keratin protein and gives up to 97% less hair breakage after just one wash.

pH level of L’Oreal shampoo: 4 – 6

The L’Oreal Paris EverPure Glossing System is a range of formulas that have been designed to leave color-treated hair looking shiny and healthy. The acidic pH shine technology in the formulas gives hair a glossy finish that lasts.

L'Oreal Paris EverPure Glossing System

Pantene shampoo pH level: 7

Pantene Pro-V is designed to gently cleanse hair while protecting essential nutrients. The active ingredients work during the rinse to protect delicate strands and help repair damaged areas of hair. This helps restore softness and manageability.

Pantene Pro-V

Low pH Shampoo

Joico Moisture Recovery Shampoo

Upon testing the shampoo with a pH meter, I found that the pH was somewhere between 4.5-5, which is not too bad. However, it is not the same as the 3.5 that was advertised. 

I liked how it moisturized my hair on first use and lathered well without needing to use a lot of product.

Joico Moisture Recovery Shampoo

dpHUE Apple Cider Vinegar Hair Rinse

The dpHUE is a hair rinse that removes product buildup with an apple cider vinegar formula. It can be used on color-treated hair, and it may make hair color seem more vibrant and shiny.

dpHUE Apple Cider Vinegar Hair Rinse

Avalon Organics Biotin B-Complex Thickening Shampoo

Avalon Organics Biotin B-Complex Thickening Shampoo is a nourishing and volumizing shampoo for hair. 

This certified organic and plant-based formula contains organic botanicals and essential oils. These ingredients cleanse and replenish the scalp and thicken the hair.

Avalon Organics Biotin B-Complex Thickening Shampoo

How to Find the pH of your Shampoo: Final Thoughts

So, we have reached the end of this article. Hopefully, you now understand what the pH level of shampoo is and how it can affect your hair. By following these steps, you will soon find the right shampoo for your hair type and need.

In addition, resTORbio hopes that you will be able to use this information to find your own best conditioner and shampoo for hair.

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