8 Low pH Shampoos And Why It Matters For Hair

8 Low pH Shampoos And Why It Matters For Hair

Discover the secret to maintaining your hair's natural beauty with our comprehensive guide to low pH shampoos. Ideal for preserving the hair's optimal health and preventing damage, these shampoos are a game-changer for anyone looking to enhance their hair care routine.

From protecting color-treated tresses to soothing sensitive scalps, low pH formulas offer numerous benefits.

Join us as we delve into the world of gentle, acid-balanced shampoos that can transform your hair care experience and leave your locks looking luscious and full of life.

Your journey to softer, stronger, and more radiant hair begins with understanding the power of pH.

 

 

 

What are the best Low pH Shampoos?

As a hair expert, I love the Videri Peppermint & Tea Tree Shampoo and Avalon Organics Biotin B-Complex Thickening Shampoo. These shampoos have a very low pH (4-5) which matches the pH of the scalp. I also liked that these shampoos are sulfate-free, paraben-free and lacking in added perfumes and alcohol. This makes the Videri and Avalon Organics shampoo very gentle on scalp, good for colored hair and can cleanse hair without making it dry.

 

 

 

Key Takeaways:

  • Hair usually has a pH of 5.5 and our scalp 3.5 which falls on the slightly acidic side. But a lot of shampoos come with alkaline formulas (>5) that disrupt your scalp and hair pH.
  • So it's best to use a low pH shampoo for your hair as it can preserve scalp health and reduce issues like dandruff, inflammation, hair loss and more.
  • A pH balanced shampoo is different from a low pH shampoo. A pH balanced shampoo matches the pH of hair, and doesn't affect scalp environment in any way.
  • Some of the top low pH shampoos include the Videri Peppermint & Tea Tree Shampoo, Avalon Organics Biotin B-Complex Thickening Shampoo, and the dpHUE Apple Cider Vinegar Hair Rinse.
  • Most of these shampoos are sulfate-free and contain natural ingredients like tea tree, apple cider vinegar etc.
  • The benefits of using a low pH shampoo include reduction in scalp inflammation, dandruff, hair loss and itching. It also helps retain color on dyed hair and keeps hair moisturized.

 

 

Best Low pH Shampoos Best For Top Ingredients
Videri Peppermint & Tea Tree Shampoo Oily Hair Aloe Vera, Jojoba Oil, Peppermint, Tea Tree Oil
Joico Moisture Recovery Shampoo Dry Hair Sea Kelp, Jojoba Oil, Shea Butter
Avalon Organics Biotin B-Complex Thickening Shampoo Thinning Hair Biotin, Aloe Vera, Citrus Oil, Saw Palmetto
dpHUE Apple Cider Vinegar Hair Rinse Curly Hair/Afro Hair Apple Cider Vinegar, Argan Oil, Vitamin E
Sebamed Everyday Shampoo Sensitive/Inflamed Scalp Sulfocussinate, Citric Acid

Top Low pH Shampoos 2024

Videri Peppermint & Tea Tree Shampoo

low ph shampoo sulfate free

The first low pH shampoo I tried out was this Videri Peppermint and Tea Tree Shampoo and I was very shocked (pleasantly of course!) to see how well it worked on my hair.

First of all I loved that it was sulfate-free. Not all low pH shampoos are, so it was a delight to find this as it didn't fade dye from my color-treated hair when I started using it.

Also, it didn't contain parabens which are scientifically proven to be harmful to your health as they are endocrine distrupting. (Nowak, Karolina et al. “Parabens and their effects on the endocrine system.” Molecular and cellular endocrinology vol. 474 (2018): 238-251. doi:10.1016/j.mce.2018.03.014) .

It lathered really well despite being free of SLS and SLES so that was a plus and unlike a lot of other shampoos it kept my hair moisturized while also removing a majority of oil and debris from strands and scalp.

I also adored the fresh scent and was even happier to see to it was from natural essential oils of lavender and chamomile and not from perfume.

Even low pH shampoos have hidden irritants like sulfates and perfumes so I was glad to see this shampoo didn't contain either as I have a sensitive scalp.

Dr Bhavika adds that "sulfates are not the worst thing for your hair. Most people with normal to oily scalps actually tolerate sulfates well. The only people who really need sulfate-free products are those with dry and damaged hair, curly hair, or colored hair."

Pros:

  • The formula is sulfate-free, hence suitable for sensitive scalp and colored hair
  • The aloe vera and jojoba oil keep hair and scalp moisturized
  • The tea tree and rosehip essential oil help controls oiliness on scalp
  • Vegan and cruelty-free formula good is eco-friendly and animal-friendly
  • The formula is free of problematic preservatives like parabens

Cons

  • None that I noticed while using the shampoo

My Ratings:

  • Formula - 4.5/5
  • Ingredients - 5/5 
  • Hair Care Benefits - 4.5/5

Who It’s For - People with oily hair

pH Level - 4.2-5.8

Sulfate-Free - Yes

Joico Moisture Recovery Shampoo

ph level of shampoo brands

I had mixed feelings about this Joico shampoo.

On testing the shampoo with the pH meter, I found its pH to lie somewhere between 4.5-5. Not bad at all as it's not exactly alkaline! But it’s not the same as the 3.5 which was advertised.

As Dr Bhavika puts it, "Alkaline pH also makes hair more susceptible to damage. At an alkaline pH, more water enters the hair shaft and disrupts the keratin molecule as well as the outer cuticle which makes the hair frizzy."

Now coming to the shampoo itself. I liked how it moisturized my hair on first use itself. It lathered well and I didn’t need to use a lot of the product. 

But I was disappointed to see the inclusion of SLES in the formula. So using it on very dry 4c hair or color-treated hair is out of the question as it strips moisture and hair color.

My slight frizzy curls, however, reacted well to the shampoo and looked hydrated for a long time.

I also liked the scent the shampoo left behind on my hair - a mix of peach, orange, and hyacinths!

However, this scent is a result of added perfumes, which was a bummer. If you have a sensitive scalp I think you should steer clear of Joico.

Pros:

  • Formula is both cleansing and moisturizing so it doesn’t form product build-up on scalp
  • Moisturizing ingredients make it suitable for 4c hair as well

Cons

  • Hair can feel weighed down due to the heavy formula
  • It contains sodium laureth sulfate which makes it unsuitable for color-treated hair

My Ratings:

  • Formula - 4/5
  • Ingredients - 4/5 
  • Hair Care Benefits - 4/5

Who It’s For - People with dry hair

pH Level - 4-5

Sulfate-Free - No

Avalon Organics Biotin B-Complex Thickening Shampoo

best low pH shampoos

Okay, so I can safely say that the Avalon Biotin Therapy shampoo was my favourite from this low pH shampoo list. 

Firstly, I noticed that it is completely sulfate-free! I could safely use it even when I had dyed my hair.

And there is no added perfume either! The citrusy fragrance here is purely due to the lemon and citrus essential oils. So you sensitive-scalp folks can use it safely too.

The shampoo also doesn’t make any false claims about being pH-balanced as I found the pH to be between 3.5 and 4, which you can see is actually better than the Joico Moisture Recovery shampoo.

What I liked most about this shampoo is the inclusion of biotin and saw palmetto (DHT blockers) in the formula.

I used this shampoo for a few weeks and I could see my hair strands feeling fuller. And DHT blockers have been proven effective at reducing your hair fall.  

I just had one complaint, the addition of alcohol in the products. This can dry out curly hair textures and type 4 African American hair. 

So folks with this texture will be better off with Joico as it has nourishing ingredients like shea butter to counter the drying effects.

Also, this shampoo is free from silicones. So you won’t find your hair soft and smooth on the first wash itself. Just give it time to work on your tresses!

Pros:

  • Sulfate-free formula safe for colour-treated hair
  • Good for sensitive scalps as it is perfume and colourant-free
  • Vegan and cruelty-free formula that’s good for the environment
  • Contains DHT blockers that prevent hair fall

Cons:

  • Will take time to show its effectiveness
  • Not suitable for African American hair as it’s not very nourshing

My Ratings:

  • Formula - 4.5/5
  • Ingredients - 5/5 
  • Hair Care Benefits - 4.5/5

Who It’s For - Damaged, thinning hair / Color-treated hair

pH Level - 3.5-4

Sulfate-Free - Yes

dpHUE Apple Cider Vinegar Hair Rinse

shampoo ph levels chart

The dpHUE is technically not a shampoo but a hair rinse. It won’t clarify your scalp or hair but it will remove any product build-up thanks to the apple cider vinegar formula.

I used it almost every day on my hair when I got it, and it dry out my scalp at all! It’s got argan oil and vitamin E too so it keeps your hair moisturized.

And that’s what makes it so perfect for 4c hair. I really recommend it to Afro-haired folks especially if your wearing protective hairstyles and cannot really use a “shampoo” regularly.

I loved that there are no traces of any harsh ingredients. No sulfates, alcohol, added perfumes, or parabens! 

So if you have a sensitive scalp or even issues like inflammation or redness, this is a good choice.

Yes, you can use it on colour-treated hair. I found that it actually made my hair colour seem more vibrant and shiny thanks to its cuticle-sealing properties.

Oh, and the nozzle dispenser on the packaging is genius! I could directly use the shampoo on my scalp (yes, it’s okay to do it in this case as it’s a mild formula).

The only scruple I have is the price! It’s twice as expensive as say the Avalon Organics shampoo. 

But if you’re looking for a mild yet cleansing product is totally worth it. 

Pros:

  • The surfactant-free formula doesn’t strip hair colour
  • Extra mild on scalp as it’s free of sulfates, fragrances and alcohol
  • Can be used daily as it has a very mild formula
  • Vegan formula good for the environment

Cons:

  • Doesn’t lather well due to a lack of sulfates
  • Will not clarify your hair thoroughly as the formula is rather mild

My Ratings:

  • Formula - 5/5
  • Ingredients - 4.5/5 
  • Hair Care Benefits - 4/5

Who It’s For - Scalp with product build-up, Folks with African American hair looking for mild cleanser

pH Level - 4-5

Sulfate-Free - Yes

Sebamed Everyday Shampoo

low ph shampoo research article apa

I used the Sebamed shampoo as I had heard a lot about its pH-balanced, hypoallergenic formula. It is generally known as a "no tears" shampoo for kids and toddlers.

According to Dr Bhavika "Baby shampoos generally thought of as mild usually have a higher pH because of their “no tears” formula. So people with dry, damaged, or colored hair should avoid using baby shampoo."

However, I wasn’t disappointed with Sebamed at all as it has a sort of neutral to low ph (at least compared to other shampoos in the same category as Sebamed).

The pH formula sits exactly at 5.5, which is not as low as Joico Moisture Recovery or even Avalon but it’s still a good choice for people who have scalp issues and might not handle a very acidic pH.

The shampoos cleansed my scalp well and didn’t strip it of either colour or moisture.

I like that it contains milder surfactants like sulfosuccinate instead of SLS and SLES. So it lathers nicely but it is gentle at the same time.

I just wish the shampoo could have been perfume-free! It’s the one thing that disappointed me in an otherwise amazing product.

I was happy with the price too. Yes, it’s more expensive than Joico or Avalon but it’s way, way affordable than the dpHue cleanser. 

Pros:

  • pH-balanced formula makes it good for dermatitis, scalp acne and inflammation
  • Mild, sulfate-free formula can be used everyday

Cons:

  • The pH is 5.5 which is balanced but comparatively higher than Joico or Avalon
  • Doesn’t work well on oily scalps as it’s very mild
  • Contains perfume which might not suit some scalps

My Ratings:

  • Formula - 4/5
  • Ingredients - 4.5/5 
  • Hair Care Benefits - 4.5/5

Who It’s For - Dry, sensitive scalps & Flaky, irritated scalps

pH Level - 5.5

Sulfate-Free - Yes

Acure Ultra Hydrating Shampoo

Benefits of low ph shampoo

I recently tried the Acure Ultra Hydrating Shampoo, and I'm genuinely impressed with the results. This shampoo lives up to its promise of providing intense hydration to my hair.

From the first use, I could feel a noticeable difference in how soft and moisturized my hair felt. The natural ingredients used in this shampoo are a big plus for me, as I'm always looking for products that are gentle on my hair and scalp.

It lathers well and has a pleasant, mild scent that isn't overpowering. My hair looks healthier and more manageable after using this shampoo consistently.

Pros:

  • Intense hydration that leaves hair soft and moisturized
  • Natural ingredients for gentle care
  • Pleasant scent
  • Improved manageability of hair

Cons:

  • The consistency is quite runny, which can make it a bit challenging to pour without spilling.

My Ratings:

  • Formula - 4.5/5
  • Ingredients - 4.5/5 
  • Hair Care Benefits - 4.5/5

Who It’s For - Frizzy, dry hair

pH Level - 5.5

Sulfate-Free - Yes

Herbal Essences Bio:renew Coconut Milk Shampoo

Herbal Essences Bio:renew Coconut Milk Shampoo Review

I decided to give the Herbal Essences Bio:renew Coconut Milk Shampoo a try, and I'm pleasantly surprised by how nourishing it is for my hair.

The coconut milk infusion provides a wonderful tropical scent that lingers throughout the day.

After using this shampoo, my hair feels clean, soft, and refreshed. I appreciate that it's free from parabens, colorants, and sulfates, which aligns with my preference for more natural hair care products.

The formula feels lightweight and doesn't weigh down my hair, which is fantastic for daily use.

Pros:

  • Nourishing coconut milk infusion
  • Pleasant and long-lasting tropical scent
  • Free from parabens, colorants, and sulfates
  • Lightweight formula suitable for daily use

Cons:

  • May not provide enough hydration for very dry or damaged hair.

My Ratings:

  • Formula - 3/5
  • Ingredients - 4/5 
  • Hair Care Benefits - 4/5

Who It’s For - Normal to oily scalp

pH Level - 5.5

Sulfate-Free - No

Schwarzkopf BC BONACURE pH 4.5 Color Freeze Micellar Silver Shampoo

how to use low ph shampoos

The BC BONACURE pH 4.5 Color Freeze Micellar Silver Shampoo has become an essential part of my hair care routine. As someone with colored hair, I'm always on the lookout for shampoos that help maintain the vibrancy of my color.

This shampoo not only preserves my hair color but also neutralizes any unwanted yellow or brassy tones, especially as I have silver highlights.

The micellar technology leaves my hair feeling clean and fresh without stripping it of moisture. It's become a must-have for keeping my hair color looking salon-fresh.

Pros:

  • Maintains hair color vibrancy
  • Neutralizes yellow and brassy tones
  • Micellar technology for effective yet gentle cleansing
  • Suitable for maintaining silver or gray hair

Cons:

  • The price point is higher compared to regular shampoos, but the results justify it for color maintenance.

My Ratings:

  • Formula - 4.5/5
  • Ingredients - 4.5/5 
  • Hair Care Benefits - 4/5

Who It’s For - Color treated hair

pH Level - 5.5

Sulfate-Free - Yes

Medical Expert Opinion:

  • According to our Medical Reviewer, Dr Bhavika (MBBS, MD in Dermatology) "Shampoos play a dual role in cleansing and maintaining hair. Generally, people tend to focus more on how well a shampoo cleanses the scalp.
  • However, using exfoliating shampoos that are too harsh may end up making your hair shaft feel dry and frizzy even though the scalp feels clean. That’s where pH comes in. High pH shampoos end up causing more static electricity which makes the hair look unruly."
  • The pH scale ranges from 1-14 with one being highly acidic, 7 being neutral and 14 being highly alkaline.
  • Our hair usually has a pH of 5.5 and our scalp 3.5 which falls on the slightly acidic side. But a lot of shampoos (especially ones with harsh surfactants) come with alkaline formulas that disrupt your scalp and hair pH.
  • This can lead to changes in sebum production, changes in hair shaft texture, an increase in bacterial/fungal growth and other problems. So it's important to use a shampoo with a low pH formula.

How To Choose The Right pH Balanced Shampoo For Yourself

Choosing the right pH balanced shampoo can be a daunting task, but it's essential to maintain healthy hair. Here are some factors to consider when selecting the best low pH shampoo for yourself:

Hair Type

Different hair types require different pH levels. For instance, curly hair tends to be more alkaline, while straight hair is more acidic. Therefore, it's essential to choose a low pH shampoo that caters to your hair type.

Ingredients

Check the ingredients list on the label to ensure that the shampoo does not contain any harsh chemicals or sulfates. Look for natural ingredients like aloe vera, tea tree oil, and chamomile, which are gentle on the scalp and hair.

pH Level

The ideal pH level for hair is between 4.5 and 5.5. A low pH shampoo with a pH level of 5 or less is ideal for maintaining healthy hair.

Brand Reputation

Choose a reputable brand that has a good track record of producing high-quality pH balanced shampoos. Look for brands that have positive reviews from customers and are recommended by hair experts.

Price

Price is also a factor to consider when selecting a low pH shampoo. However, keep in mind that expensive shampoos don't always guarantee quality. Look for affordable options that meet your hair needs and budget.

By considering these factors, you can choose the right pH balanced shampoo for yourself, ensuring healthy and beautiful hair.

 

 

Benefits Of Using A Low Ph Shampoo For Your Hair And Scalp

Here are a few reasons why you should consider adding one to your hair care routine:

  1. Maintains natural oils: Our scalp produces natural oils that help keep our hair healthy and shiny. However, using a high pH shampoo can strip away these oils, leaving our hair dry and brittle. A low pH shampoo, on the other hand, helps maintain the natural pH balance of our scalp, allowing our hair to retain its natural oils.
  2. Reduces frizz: If you have curly or wavy hair, you know how frustrating frizz can be. Using a low pH shampoo can help reduce frizz by smoothing the hair cuticle and preventing moisture from escaping.
  3. Gentle on scalp: A high pH shampoo can irritate the scalp, causing itching, flaking, and even dandruff. A low pH shampoo is gentler on the scalp, reducing the risk of irritation and promoting a healthy scalp.
  4. Enhances color: If you have color-treated hair, a low pH shampoo can help enhance and protect your color. High pH shampoos can cause color to fade quickly, while a low pH shampoo helps lock in color and keep it looking vibrant.

 

 

Conclusion

It’s not compulsory for you to use a low pH shampoo. (Gavazzoni Dias, Maria Fernanda Reis et al. “The Shampoo pH can Affect the Hair: Myth or Reality?.” International journal of trichology vol. 6,3 (2014): 95-9. doi:10.4103/0974-7753.139078) Remember, every scalp and hair type is different and has different needs.

I, do recommend these products to people dealing with overly-processed, damaged, dry and frizzy hair as the disruption of scalp pH is a major cause of these hair issues.

A low pH shampoo can also be useful for girlies with type 4c hair (or Afro hair textures as it’s commonly called) as they can increase moisture retention and help with curl definition.

But it’s not only necessary to use a good low pH-balanced shampoo. A gentle, alcohol and silicone-free conditioner is as important too.

 

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