pH Balanced Shampoo Recipe for a Healthy Scalp
Why do you need a pH balanced shampoo? Glad you asked.
My original all natural shampoo recipe is one of my more popular posts. But I’m here today with this improved shampoo recipe. Why? Well, because I’ve grown. I’ve learned. And I’m not afraid to admit it when there’s something better. Something like this pH balanced shampoo recipe.
What’s even better about this pH Balanced shampoo recipe is that one of YOU guys helped me see the better solution.
(Man, I love my readers.)
My original shampoo recipe, like so many out there online, uses a base of Castile soap. For me, this recipe was a great solution to my no ‘poo problems (for those new to the hippie world, that’s lingo for “no shampoo”). I felt a whole lot better using it verses commercial shampoos full of toxic (or very expensive natural) ingredients. And if I only had the option between my Castile shampoo recipe or buying something in the store, I’d still stick with the homemade shampoo stuff.
Luckily, there are more options.
The comment that helped my poor little scalp
Some months ago I got a comment from a reader named Amanda on my original shampoo recipe. Here is some of what she wrote:
Using highly alkaline solutions on your hair (baking soda, Bronner’s soaps, etc.) though it feels soft and manageable that is really the disulfide bonds in your internal hair structure being weakened by the alkaline solution.The colors and perms that are performed use this method to work, they “open up” your hair to deposit the color or permanent, then a clarifying shampoo is used to “close” your hair and lock the color or permanent in. To then bring your hair down to it’s proper pH a acidic solution (apple cider vinegar) when using an alkaline cleanser is used, this is called clarifying. This dual process is not healthy for your hair or your scalp. (…) This is why so many shampoos on the market advertise that they are pH balanced shampoos. Because that is very important. So forcing your hair to go up to an 8 or 9 and then forcing it back down to a 4.5 in a short period of time is very damaging. -Amanda (awesome TYB reader)
Why do you need a pH Balanced shampoo?
Because restoring your scalp’s pH is important.
I did a little research and found some amazing information on the importance of proper pH for your scalp. In fact, problems with fungi or bacteria on your scalp is likely due to being too alkali. This is often the result of using a product with a higher than 7 pH that strips away your naturally acidic sebum that fights against bacteria. That sebum can help prevent hair loss from dandruff, bacteria, or fungus.
Your scalp, like your skin, ranges in pH between a 4 and 7.
Liquid castile soap (like Dr. Bronner’s) has a pH around 8.9… much more alkaline.
Still need more convincing? Check out what this smarty-pants study has to say on the matter:
Alkaline pH may increase the negative electrical charge of the hair fiber surface and, therefore, increase friction between the fibers. This may lead to cuticle damage and fiber breakage. It is a reality and not a myth that lower pH of shampoos may cause less frizzing for generating less negative static electricity on the fiber surface. Interestingly, only 38% of the popular brand shampoos against 75% of the salons shampoos presented a pH ≤ 5.0. (Source)
Confession time: While I loved my all natural shampoo for MANY reasons, I did notice that after using it for so many months that my scalp wasn’t liking it so much. I was often complaining to my husband of a dry and itchy head… and sadness ensued. I blamed my hard water. Got a water filter… which helped, but not like this new pH balanced shampoo did.
A Natural pH balanced Shampoo Recipe
I wish I could take credit for this pH balanced shampoo recipe, but it was that swell Amanda who left this gem in that little comment section. It’s a super simple recipe. And I experimented with it for several weeks. By the fourth use I LOVED the results I was seeing.
The beauty of coconut milk and aloe vera gel
I’ve talked about why coconut milk is so yummy for your scalp in my deep conditioner recipe. The saturated fats help repair damaged hair among other things. And aloe vera is also great for keeping the cuticles of your hair closed and healthy.
But these two lovely ingredients also have a lower pH that’s under 7… much more aligned with your scalp’s natural pH.
Because the recipe has a pretty short shelf life of about one week, I found myself going through more ingredients than I could use before it went bad.
Fear not! I have solved that problem.
pH Balanced Shampoo Recipe in Easy Tablets!
I put my little bird brain to the test and came up with a way to enjoy this super simple recipe without having to make it every single week or waste any bit of the ingredient goodness.
So enough blabbing! Are you ready for the pH balanced shampoo recipe? I thought so.
IMPORTANT: Please read the tips below the recipe to help you troubleshoot any detox issues and love your hair experience fully.
All Natural pH Balanced Shampoo Recipe
Graciously given by Amanda, adapted and “reworked” by yours truly.
1 can of Coconut Milk (or about 1 1/2 cups if you like to make it yourself.) (like this)
1 3/4 cups pure aloe vera gel (like this)
Optional: Essential oils (learn how to get my favorite essential oils at wholesale prices here.)
1. Mix both ingredients in a bowl using a wire whisk to fully incorporate.
2. Pour mixture into ice cube trays. (I used two full trays.)
3. Put in freezer and wait a few hours until frozen completely. At this point you can transfer them to some sort of bag or container, or just keep them in the trays.
To use: Take one cube out before you want to use it (at least the night before) and keep it in a small container or bowl in the fridge until you are ready to shower. Use as you would normal shampoo (about a quarter size amount).
Work into the scalp and then move toward the ends of your hair. Let sit for 30 seconds or so and then rinse completely. This will not lather… so don’t keep adding more thinking it will get your hair “more clean.” Like all good things in life, a little goes a long way. I would also HIGHLY recommend using an apple cider vinegar rinse, especially if you experience that ‘waxy’ feeling after using this.
Place any remaining mixture back in the fridge to use next time you wash your hair. The shelf life of each cube is about 1 week in the fridge. Just be sure to take a new cube out when you use up the other one.
NOTE: I’d highly recommend giving this pH balanced shampoo some tries before judging it. Even if you’ve been doing ‘no poo there can be another detox phase (usually MUCH shorter than the original switch from conventional shampoos). I found that my hair was a little greasy and my scalp slightly flaky for the first couple of times I used it. By the fourth it was great, though.
Follow up with Apple Cider Vinegar Rinse:
Hair care is personal and tricky. I have super short pixie hair so I find that I don’t need to “condition” after using this shampoo very often. But for longer hair, you might. the pH of apple cider vinegar is typically between 4.25 and 5 if undiluted (I’d always use it diluted when rinsing your hair). Depending on your scalp using an AVC rinse may be a good way to bring your scalp back to it’s natural pH. Experiment and see what works for you. Most people find that doing an ACV rinse is an important step following this pH balanced shampoo.
One last note: If you have really dry hair you may want to add some Vitamin E oil, jojoba oil, or sweet almond oil to the mixture before freezing.
Dealing with the greasy, waxy buildup: GET YOUR FREE GUIDE.
Some people find that natural shampoos leaves their hair greasy or with a waxy feeling. I’ve found a super simple way to help you remove that grease-feeling and restore your hair back to shiny and beautiful.
Best part? It’s cheap and you probably have the secret ingredients in your kitchen right now. I’ve created a sweet and simple guide to help you manage the detox phase better.
I love this pH balanced shampoo recipe.
Not only does my scalp feel better and the itch has gone away, but this recipe is so easy! And frugal. And at the rate I wash my hair (about twice a week… and I can get about 2 or 3 washes out of each shampoo “cube”) this batch will last me more than 6 months! Huzzah for pH balanced shampoo!
pH Balanced Shampoo Recipe UPDATE: I get a LOT of questions about this recipe. Some people love what it does for their hair. Other try waiting through the detox and still can’t get results they love. I wish I had the answer, but natural hair care is tricky. In fact, you can read about some of the common hair issues and what I now recommend for natural hair care in this post. There are a lot of great questions about this shampoo in this post that I have answered in my All Natural Hair Care Guide. Thanks for stopping by! ~Robin
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