Choosing the right product can be critical to mitigating damage to the hair. Most Damage is caused by overly harsh shampoos, styling agents and straightening products is most commonly due to the alkalinity of the agents. Hair is somewhat acidic with a pH of 4.4 to 5.5. The pH scale has values from 0 to 14; pH of 7 is neutral, from 7 to 14 denotes increasing alkalinity, from 7 to 0 denotes increasing acidity. When hair is bathed in an alkaline solution, the cuticle scales swell and lift away from the cortex core. The immediate effect is to give the hair a rough texture, rather dull in appearance. Lifting the cuticle away from the cortex also opens the cortex to chemical attack. While this is useful when the purpose is to change hair color, when this is done too frequently, however, there can be excessive damage to the cortex.
The effect of an alkaline solution is immediately counter-acted when the hair is bathed in a moderately weak acidic solution such as vinegar (a solution of acetic acid). The vinegar (or lemon juice) rinse was a normal procedure when soap, which is slightly alkaline, was the only cleansing agent available for shampooing hair. The acidic bath heals the swollen cuticle and restores the smooth texture and sheen of hair.
Choosing products to help maintain hair health
Understanding the product options available and evaluating them with an open mind is critical. With so many different hair care products to choose from, it is important to know your hair type or particular hair problem or concern that needs to be addressed and look at the chemical ingredient list on the product label to find the right product for your selecting your hair care product. The types of product on the market to be considered are shampoos and conditioners.