My hair stylist told me to use low pH shampoo. I went to the drugstore and looked at shampoo bottles. They weren't very helpful. Many shampoo bottles have what I thought was coded language for neutral pH: balanced, neutral, blah, blah, blah. Ever since then, I've been interested in actually determining the pH levels of shampoos. I bought pH testing strips and now I'm going to finally set about my little science fair project.
What is pH? I had to look it up, so if you'd like to read all about it, see the pH article on Wikipedia. Basically (ha ha ha . . . a pun already!), pH measures the activity of hydrogen ions. Which translates into acidity vs. alkalinity. Alkaline is another word for basic, chemically speaking. Pure water has a pH level of 7 at room-ish temperature. More than 7 is basic or alkaline; less than 7 is acidic. So we're looking for acidic shampoo, although I have a feeling, or shall I say hypothesis, that we want the shampoo to be just a little bit acidic.
If you're reading this, you must be at least slightly interested in shampoo chemistry. While I was doing research on this topic, I came across this interesting article, about the chemicals in shampoo. For example, did you know that baby shampoo doesn't sting babies' eyes because it contains a numbing agent? Fascinating!
Disclaimer! Dang it. I did my first testing, with Hydrion pH testing strips. Immediately, I began to doubt my results. With the exception of the Head & Shoulders (white), the CVS Naturals (clear), and the Chi (just a tad yellowish), all of these shampoos are dyed. Does that affect the results? I need to do some research on how to test pH. Is my testing methodology valid? I need to figure it out, and then possibly change my protocol.
On 4/15/14, my second round of testing occurred. I borrowed a pH testing meter from a high school chemistry teacher and tested the shampoos below. I don't feel comfortable about the two outliers. And finally, I bought a meter for myself, for the second round. Here's how they tested:
|Shampoo||pH 4/15/14||pH 1/2/2016||Comments|
|Alberto VO5 Moisture Milks|
Strawberries and Cream Moisturizing Shampoo
Olive Nutrient Therapy Shampoo
|Dove Advanced Hair Series|
Oxygen Moisture Shampoo
Fall Fight Shampoo For Falling Breaking Hair
Sleek and Shine Shampoo
|Giovanni Colorflage Shampoo|
|Giovanni Tea Tree|
Triple Treat Shampoo
|Head & Shoulders Dry Scalp Care with Almond Oil|
2-in-1 Dandruff Shampoo + Conditioner
|Head & Shoulders|
Classic Clean Dandruff Shampoo
|7.4||n/a||Outlier -- re-test.|
Honey, I'm Strong Strengthening Hair Shampoo
Touchably Smooth Straightening Shampoo
Sheer Blonde Go Blonder Lightening Shampoo
|3.1||3.0||Outlier on both tests.|
Biotin Strengthening Shampoo
|Suave Naturals Shampoo|
|Up & Up (Target)|
Dandruff Everyday Clean Shampoo
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