Sunday, June 21, 2009

Has your hair found its balance?

Image by delila

The other day I picked up some more Roux Porosity Control to replenish my hair stock pile. As I purchased this product, I silently smiled to myself and thought about how thankful I was to have a product so work well for me that I actually want to repurchase (for the fourth time). When you read the product label, the ingredients will not seem all that impressive (or pronounceable). What does stick out though is the clearly stated pH level of 4.5.

You'll find few other product brands with their pH levels expressed so plainly. Why even have that information displayed? Does the pH level really make a difference?

The normal pH range of healthy hair spans from about 4.5 to 5.5. This range is slightly acidic. When we relax our hair, the pH levels rises to a highly alkaline with a pH level of around 11. I should mention here that all chemical services are alkaline. This includes coloring the hair. When your hair's pH level drops below 4.5 the cuticle layer contracts. Above 5.5 the cuticle layer opens up. A pH level of 5 is considered ideal for the hair. It's the hair's sweet spot if you will.

As you can probably figure out, we don't want the hair's pH level to fall below 4.5 or higher than 5.5. Cuticle layers that are too contracted/constricted will not allow for our daily moisturizers to properly penetrate. Open cuticle layers essentially means that your strands are vulnerable. It's like going out to battle with no means of protection. When we don't pay attention to the pH levels in our products, it can be a disaster waiting to happen.

So now we're at a place where we have to begin to think about two main focus areas when it comes to the health of the hair. The first being "does my hair need more moisture or more strength?" The second being "are the products I'm using too acidic or alkaline?"
When I first used Porosity Control, I found that it worked best when mixed in with another one of my conditioners. No matter which one it was, the impact to my hair was obvious whenever I coupled it with Roux. Looking back, I'm guessing that this was because some of the conditioners I use are more alkaline than they should be. Roux worked to bring the pH levels of my conditioners to a more desirable place where they could better impact the look and feel of my hair. I, however could not prove this theory because, unlike the straightforward nature of Porosity Control, other product manufacturers don't chose to make themselves and, where they land on the pH scale, as transparent.

Now that I'm armed with this type of information, I have no choice but to take incisive action to use this information for my hair's overall gain. The good news is that we can take this matter into our own hands. With the use of simple pH testing strips, we can identify which products help and which one's hurt us in the struggle for perfect pH balance. Even as we now speak I've already made plans to locate and purchase some litmus paper and get to testin! I think this experiment will be both fun, educational, and beneficial to the hair. I am extremely excited about this topic and the possibilities. I'm all gitty about the thought of creating a conditioner mix that falls at a pH level of 5.0! More posts on this topic to come as I learn and experiment.

Until next time!

  1. Porosity control conditioner has been in my regimen for over a year now. I always go back to it. Great post by the way. Can't wait to see which products you test next.

    ♥ Sunshyne

  2. I had no idea relaxing made the ph levels of our hair so high! Another product for me to purchase in my healthy-hair-quest. :)

    How do you use this? Can I use it before I deep condition or with my deep conditioner? What works best.


  3. @ Anon-I think it works best when mixed with your conditioner. I've used it alone and it doesn't have that same kick as when it's mixed.

  4. Hi! Thanks for the information! It never occurred to me to add some Roux to my conditioner.

  5. Thank you for the advice to mix PC with conditioner, n_vizion...I'll try that. I've used it alone 3 times now, and I never like the way it makes my hair feel. I keep waiting for the silkiness that other ladies experience, but it always seems to make my hair feel coarser. I wonder if it just doesn't work well for naturals?

  6. Great blog
    I've been using Roux for years with relaxers to protect from overlap, but never considered mixing it for regular use to control pH. Probably cause as you said, you don't get the same good conditioned feel on your hair.
    Learn something new everyday.