I’m going to be honest that understanding the hair’s pH is one thing I used to avoid reading up on because it was just so intimidating.
Even if I was really into hair care, my eyes would scroll past anything that had to do with pH balance because it was too science-y and felt complicated.
But over the years, I realized it was pretty simple. A balance in your hair’s pH equals healthy hair. That’s it!
All you have to do is use trustworthy products that bring your hair back to the optimal pH level, and your healthy tresses will do the rest.
Still confused? Let me explain.
Why does our hair’s pH need to be balanced?
Like all substances, hair can be either acidic, neutral, or alkaline.
The pH scale goes from 0 to 14, where 0-6.9 is considered acidic, 7.1-14 is alkaline, and 7 is neutral.
Our scalp and hair’s natural pH level is at 4.5-5.5, so more on the acidic side.
This is its pH at rest, when there are no products, chemical treatments, or water manipulating its pH.
It’s considered the optimal level of pH (or “balance”) where your hair is at its most healthy. Keeping your hair at that acidic state means your cuticles are sealed.
That means less frizz and poofiness, more shine and luster, and easy manageability overall. It also prevents fungi and bacteria from growing on your head.
But a lot of the things we do disrupt that acidic state and bring the hair higher on the scale, making it more alkaline.
Harsh shampoos, chemical treatments, and styling products with alkaline ingredients can bump the hair out of that acidic state.
When hair is alkaline, the cuticles start to open up. That can result in brittleness, frizziness, and dehydration, which are all super unhealthy for the hair.
It also becomes a breeding ground for bacteria, fungi, and even dandruff.
Because the cuticle is left wide open, alkaline hair releases a lot of the moisture it should retain, leaving your hair weak and lifeless.
That’s why your hair needs to have that ideal 4.5-5.5 pH, so that it’s smooth, shiny, bouncy, and nourished.
Quick tips for restoring pH balance in our hair
People most at risk for hair that is too alkaline include those with itchy scalp and dandruff problems, chemically treated and colored hair, and curly and coily hair because textured hair has cuticles that are naturally more lifted and opened up.
If you fall under one or more of these, then you should be doing small steps to restoring your hair’s pH balance as often as you can.
One of the main things to do is to avoid alkaline ingredients.
Try not to use products that have baking soda, sodium hydroxide, and triethanolamine, which are very alkaline and will bump your hair up the pH scale and open up the cuticles and release nourishment.
Water has a pH of 7, which is borderline alkaline. So another thing you can do is, after your final rinse in the shower, apply some leave-in conditioner to bring it back to its natural acidity.
If you want to go a more natural route, you can also do an apple cider vinegar rinse.
ACV is acidic, so it helps lower your hair’s pH while cleansing it with its microbial properties. It helps smooth down your hair cuticles and give it a natural shine too.
But the easiest and most practical thing to do to bring your hair back to an acidic state is to incorporate pH-balancing shampoos and conditioners into your hair wash routine..
Opt for products that say outright that it can bring your hair to a pH of 4.5-5.5, or ones that say “balance” on the label.
Also Read: How Shampoo and Water Act Together
TOP 17 Best pH-balancing Shampoo and Conditioner
Tree to Tub Soapberry Shampoo and Argan Oil Conditioner
Try out this sulfate-free and all-natural shampoo and conditioner by Tree to Tub if you want to bring your hair down to a pH level of 5.5, the optimal level for good hair health.
The shampoo is made with soapberry, which has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties to soothe the scalp.
The conditioner has argan oil for that luxurious slip and hydration.
Both products are infused with real lavender for a relaxing and calming fragrance in your bath.
Alba Botanica Coconut Milk Hawaiian Shampoo and Conditioner
If you’re looking for something a bit more nourishing, Alba Botanica’s shampoo and conditioner use coconut milk for that penetrative nourishment dry and brittle hair needs.
This vegetarian, pH-balanced duo is also high in fatty acids and proteins to make your hair soft and healthy.
Meanwhile, calendula and other fruit oils can protect the hair from heat and UV damage.
Giovanni 50:50 Balanced Shampoo and Conditioner
This tandem by Giovanni is all about balance.
Aside from making sure your hair’s pH is balanced and at a healthy state, provides your hair with a balance of thorough cleansing and serious protection from the elements.
The shampoo cleans and protects stressed out and overworked hair while locking in shine.
On the other hand, the conditioner hydrates and calms the hair by softening it and keeping it manageable.
Herbal Essences Potent Aloe + Hemp Shampoo and Conditioner
Balance your hair’s pH while taming frizz!
This set is the cruelty-free shampoo and conditioner which is infused with aloe vera to hydrate and give a natural shine to hair, and hemp that deeply moisturizes the hair strands.
The product is free of sulfates and parabens, so you know you’re getting a gentle cleanse and conditioning while keeping your hair at a safe pH level.
Vita A to Zee Apple Cider Vinegar Shampoo and Conditioner
Naturally acidic ingredients are your best friends when it comes to restoring your hair’s pH balance.
Apple cider vinegar helps bring down your hair to an acidic state.
The formulas are also infused with biotin to keep the hair healthy and smooth.
They are also enriched with very hydrating and moisturizing ingredients, like aloe vera, argan oil, and avocado.
Lastly, saw palmetto extract encourages healthy hair growth for longer, thicker hair.
Dr. Witch Aloe Vera Shampoo and Conditioner
Get relief on your scalp and more length for your hair with this shampoo and conditioner set by Dr. Witch.
Its star ingredient is aloe vera, a soothing extract that promotes hair growth and reduces flakiness on the scalp.
This pH-balanced set also has Australian cehami, panthenol, and orange peel to stimulate and strengthen the hair.
Coconut repairs dry and damaged hair while encouraging longer growth.
Herbal Essences Argan Oil Shampoo and Conditioner
Repair and smooth your hair while restoring its pH balance with this set by Herbal Essences.
Argan oil from Morocco, also known as “liquid gold” in the hair care world, nourishes the hair deeply for a velvety softness that will leave your hair silky smooth and tangle-free.
My favorite part about these is their scent. They have a fruity and musky aroma with citrus, spices, and sweet, creamy vanilla notes.
DermaChange Thick & Full Shampoo and Conditioner
There are a couple of things to keep in mind when growing out your hair, like using nourishing ingredients and keeping your scalp and hair pH-balanced.
Luckily, this pH-Balanced shampoos and conditioners set by DermaChange keeps both in mind.
Both products are made with aloe vera, argan oil, and coconut oil to hydrate the hair sufficiently and lock in all that moisture.
They also promote hair growth for fuller, thicker hair.
Royal Locks Curl Quench Shampoo and Conditioner
You got curly hair that needs hydration, reparation, and a balanced pH?
Try out this shampoo and conditioner has designed especially for curlies like you!
These products are made with a blend of argan and macadamia oils to quench your thirsty locks to give you defined and moisturized curls.
This sulfate and paraben-free formula also restore balance in your hair’s pH.
Honeyskin Hair and Scalp Therapy Shampoo and Conditioner
Flaky, inflamed, and dandruff-ridden hair can mean you have an imbalanced pH that needs to be addressed.
Use this pH-Balanced shampoo and conditioner duo by Honeyskin to soothe your scalp and balance your hair’s overall pH.
Manuka honey and coconut oil have antibacterial properties to properly cleanse your hair and nourish it for easy detangling and softness.
Meanwhile, aloe feeds your hair essential vitamins to make it shiny and strong.
Phillip Adam Fragrance Free Shampoo
Sometimes, all your hair needs to restore balance and health is natural ingredients that will gently cleanse and strengthen it.
This product is a fragrance-free shampoo which is as gentle as it gets, formulated with no harsh chemicals.
Instead, it’s packed with pea proteins to fortify the hair and apple cider vinegar to keep it smooth, shiny, and sleek. ACV also helps to bring hair back to a healthy acidic state.
Phillip Adam Fragrance Free Conditioner
Follow up the previous shampoo with this matching conditioner!
Protect your hair from the elements while keeping it soft and hydrated with this apple cider vinegar conditioner.
It helps restore the pH balance and control static electricity in the hair to tame frizz so that you can have tame and healthy hair.
It also contains extracts from chamomile, lemon, and rosemary for added hydration.
Kenra Moisturizing Shampoo
If you’re dealing with dry and brittle hair because it’s gotten too alkaline, balance your pH with some moisture using this shampoo by Kenra.
This highly hydrating formula claims to improve the hair’s manageability by up to 50%, which is great for unruly hair.
It cleanses the hair thoroughly while restoring the pH of the hair and scalp to its natural state.
Kenra Moisturizing Conditioner
For best results, use this moisturizing, ph-balanced conditioner in conjunction with its matching Kenra shampoo that we just talked about!
This conditioner increases manageability and shines in the hair while bringing it back to a natural, more acidic pH level.
The result is soft and smooth hair that is healthy enough to retain all the moisture from your hydrating tandem of shampoo and conditioner.
Klorane Soothing and Anti-Irritating Shampoo with Peony
If you have a sensitive scalp and also love the smell of fresh peonies, you’ll fall head over heels for this shampoo.
It soothes irritated and flaky scalps that might be too alkaline, providing 24-hour comfort and rebalancing the hair’s pH.
It’s also enriched with vitamin B5, which helps to bond the hair, adding strength and resilience.
That way, you get balanced and fortified hair and a calm, itch-free scalp.
Klorane Soothing and Anti-Irritating Gel Conditioner with Peony
Complete your hair wash day with this matching peony gel conditioner that moisturizes both your scalp and hair.
This second step leaves your hair soft, supple, and shiny after washing.
Unlike most conditioners, this vegan and pH-balancing formula can be applied directly onto the scalp.
The peony extract helps to soothe and hydrate it for a more comfortable feeling.
I highly recommend it for those with dry and itchy scalp issues.
Solimo 2-in-1 Dandruff Shampoo & Conditioner
We don’t always have time for a robust hair care routine, even if it is to restore balance and repair our itchy, alkaline scalp and hair.
Fortunately, Solimo has a 2-in-1 pH-balancing shampoo and conditioner to help you do it in one quick step!
This twofer contains pyrithione zinc as an active ingredient. It helps fight dandruff and flakiness while calming down your irritated scalp.
The best part? It’s pH-balanced, so you can use it daily if you need to without the risk of bringing your hair up to an alkaline level.
If I’ve done my job right, then you aren’t so intimidated by the thought of balancing your hair’s pH anymore.
All you have to do is make sure your hair comes back to a healthy acidic state, so it gets the most of your hair care routine and nourishing moisturizers.
If any of these shampoos and conditioners caught your eye, I suggest you try them out!
I swear you’ll see a world of difference if you’ve never had a pH-balancing wash day before.