Curly Hair Care - Part 1:
"Three Important Factors
Before You Shampoo"



Shampooing is your first line of defense in curly hair care.

Managing curly hair, as well as, having luxurious locks, starts with your shampoo.

So before you jump in the shower with your favorite hair cleanser, there are a few things you need to understand when cleaning your curly hair.

Three Key Factors to developing the best hair care regimen are:

-understanding pH Levels,
-determining water classification,

-and knowing your hair type.

To help select the right shampoo for your hair, you need to first understand pH levels.

Let’s review a little Chemistry 101...

The Dynamics of pH Levels

The term pH originates from the French term pouvoir hydrogen, or "hydrogen power" and that means the relative degree of acidity and alkalinity of a substance.

The pH values are arranged on a scale ranging from 0 to 14.
-A pH of 7 indicates a neutral solution.
-A pH below 7 indicates an acidic solution.
- and a pH above 7 indicates a alkaline solution.

The pH scale is a logarithmic scale. This means that on a pH scale, a change of one whole number represents a tenfold change in pH.

-->A pH of 8 is 10 times more alkaline than a pH of 7.

A change of two whole numbers indicates a change of 10 times 10, or a one hundredfold change.

-->A pH of 9 is 100 times more alkaline than a pH of 7.

Pure water with a pH of 7, is 100 times more alkaline than a pH of 5.

Since the average pH of hair and skin is 5, pure water is 100 times more alkaline than your hair and skin, even though it has a neutral pH.

Pure water can cause the hair to swell by as much as 20 percent.

--->That’s why humid weather swells the hair and causes it to frizz and get poofy. The more porosity in the cuticle the bigger the swelling or reaction.

Closing the cuticles along the hair shaft helps to reduce the frizz because it reduces the level of moisture allowed to penetrate the hair shaft.

Let’s learn a little more about the Acids (H+) and Alkalis (OH-) measured in pH levels.

Back to class...


ACIDS (H+):

-react due to hydrogen.

-have a pH level below 7; with readings ranging from 0 to 6.9.

-taste sour.

-contract and harden the hair. The chemical (thioglycolic acid) used in permanent waving is a good example of acids in action.


ALKALIS (OH-):

-reacts because of hydroxide.

-have a pH level above 7; with readings ranging from 7.1 to 14.

-taste bitter.

-soften and swell the hair. Sodium hydroxide, commonly known as lye, is a very strong alkali used in chemical drain cleansers and chemical hair relaxers.


NEUTRALIZING ACIDS AND ALKALIS

In order to better protect the hair over time you have to balance or neutralize the pH levels in the hair.

Especially after a chemical service or damage caused by over processing.

Pure water (H2O) naturally ionizes to create hydrogen (H+) ions and hydroxide ions (OH-). When acids and alkalis are mixed in equal proportion they neutralize each other in the form water. (H2O)

--->Neutralizing shampoos and normalizing lotions used to neutralize hydroxide hair relaxers work by creating an acid-alkali neutralization reaction.

Simply put-- you have to use a neutralizing shampoo or balancing solution to correct the pH levels in hair after any type of chemical processing

Okay, enough for now. We’ll come back to acidic and alkaline later.

Another key factor to consider when shampooing the hair is the water used as a part of your hair care routine.

Water Classification

To select the best shampooing product, you have to know if the water you’re using is soft or hard.

"What?! Soft water or hard water?!"

No worries, you will not have to change your home’s water system just to get the best results, maybe a little change in your hair care products.

Let me explain...

Soft water is rain water or chemically softened water. The average pH level of soft water is 5.6.

It contains small amounts of minerals, therefore allowing soap and shampoo to lather freely. For this reason, it is preferred when shampooing.

Hard water contains certain minerals that lessen the ability of soap or shampoo to lather readily. Hindering the effectiveness of the shampoo.

You can chemically soften hard water

or...

You can easily change your shampoo to ensure you are using a product that makes allowance for the hard water.

The pH level in your hair (virgin or chemically-treated) and water classification (soft or hard) all help to determine your choice of shampoo.

What's Going On With Your Hair?

What's your hair type? texture, porosity, etc.?

--->Did you know you can have oily scalp and dry hair due to over processing.

Is your hair oily, dry, normal or chemically-treated?

--->If you have used lighteners, color, permed, chemically relaxed, your hair is chemically-treated.

Hair that has been damaged by harsh shampoos, improper hair care and exposure to the elements, such as wind, sun, cold, or heat should be treated as chemically-treated hair.

Take the time to complete an at-home hair analysis to answer these hair care questions and more...

Then go to Part 2: Shampoo to Protect Your Hair to review your choice of shampoos.

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