Thursday, June 9, 2016

[Anti Frizz Project] Lowering the pH of your shampoo

Summer means having to deal with my arch nemesis - frizz. In the early days of spring, I enjoyed sporting my signature hair style consisting of big flexi-rod curls.  Unfortunately, this high humidity won't let my hair be great.

It's time to tweak my regimen a bit to focus on combating frizz.  Every time we wash our hair, water seeps into the cuticles causing it to expand (and weaken). To make matters worse, you then reach for a high pH shampoo.  Unless the pH of your shampoo is under 5.5, the alkalinity will likely promote tangling, frizz, and breakage.  I've noticed increased tangling post wash when it's time to apply conditioner. This is probably due to the lifted scales on the hair shaft (alkaline lifts the scales, acidity seals them).

The solution to my dilemma might be to lower the pH of my shampoo.

I've listed out my two possible options:

  1. Purchase a low pH shampoo
  2. Add ingredients to my shampoo to lower pH. 
I have a staple shampoo that I know & love so I don't think I'll be switching brands any time soon.  My KeraCare detangling cleanser claims to have a pH of 6.0.  Not bad, but just shy of the 5.5 pH of our scalp and way higher than the pH of our hair strands (3.67 ph).

For my wash day experiment, I'm to going play around with adding a little bit of coconut vinegar to my shampoo. Mixing oil and shampoo together is the best thing that ever happened to me. I'm hoping adding a low pH vinegar will work just as well.

If not, then plan B is to lace my cleanser with a little citric acid.  This is a very low pH compound that is often added to hair products to lower the alkalinity.  The thing about citric acid is that it's powerful stuff. This means that we should only be using a tiny bit at a time.  Use too much and it can lighten the color of your hair (no one wants that).  Check out this discussion where women added small amounts of citric acid to water and used it as a cuticle sealing final rinse (with wonderful results).

If that doesn't work out, I might experiment with reincorporating Roux's Porosity Control (pH 4.5) back into my regimen.  This product was one of my faves years ago.  I pulled it out of my product closet this morning and realized that I was using it incorrectly for years.  Apparently, it's supposed to be a "pre-chemical service treatment."  Meaning you apply to your hair before coloring or relaxing to minimize potential damage.  Back then, I blended Porosity Control with my conditioner to lower the pH.  The end result was fantastic!  Roux made most of my conditioners work better.  Guess what I'm doing this weekend? That's right, I'll be lacing my shampoo with Roux to see if I can recreate that magic.  I checked out their website and realized that they've altered the ingredients.  Typically, I start to panic when this happens but I breathed a sigh of relieve once I realized they've incorporated keratin amino acids, vitamin E and biotin to the new formula.  Can't wait to get my hands on it.

Theoretically, I could just focus on lowering the pH of my conditioner and not worry about the shampoo step.  But I'm not gonna do that because (1.) I'd prefer not to have a disturbed cuticle layer while applying conditioner to damp hair.  (2.) When I carry out a theme throughout every step of the wash day experience, I typically experience better results. For instance, when my hair is dry, I try to focus on increasing moisture throughout every step in the process, not just when I deep condition.

Hopefully this is a game changer for my issue with frizz.  I'm really serious about this because I've noticed that my hair is more likely to experience manipulation related breakage when it's frizzy.

Now all I need is a low pH leave-in and I'm set.

(If you want to read more on how high pH shampoos effect the hair, check out this synopsis.)