What You Should Know About Your Shampoo

Illustrated by Anna Sudit.
There's been a lot of talk lately about which ingredients you should avoid putting on your head. We're talking about the chemicals lurking in your shampoo. From avoiding ones with silicone for those with natural hair, to making sure there aren't any sulfates in your cleanser, there are a ton of things to look for to make sure your hair is its healthiest.

To be clear, we're not in the "chemicals are bad" camp. We just know that certain ones can have adverse effects on certain hair types and textures, and it's important to know what's in your shampoo and how those ingredients may affect you. But, that's not the only thing you need to know. As Teen Vogue reports, the latest element that should be on your radar is the pH level of your shampoo.  

For those who aren't science-savvy (raises hand), pH is a measure of the acidity in a substance. Solutions with a pH level of less than 7 are considered acidic, and solutions with a pH level greater than 7 are considered basic.

The prime pH level for hair is around 4 to 4.5, meaning it should be on the acidic side, writes Dianna Mazzone in Teen Vogue. "When you use a shampoo that is too basic, those shingles [on the hair follicle] flare out, which leads to loss of elasticity, breakage, dullness, and the dreaded frizz," says Amy Halman, president and formulator of hair and skin-care brand Acure. "However, if your shampoo is more acidic, it works to smooth those shingles of the cuticle. By protecting the cuticle structure with acidic pH, you're arming your hair with the protection it needs for the external factors that lead to frizz to no longer penetrate." 

The more you know, people.

Check out the article in full, and scan a roundup of shampoos with hair-friendly pH levels. (Teen Vogue)


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Illustrated by Anna Sudit.
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