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Do salon shampoos have better pH?

Health Products Guru writes: I can tell you that without a doubt there is a huge difference in the quality of most and I say most shampoos that salon versus the drug store level. My own hair and scalp issues are the proof of this. The pH of grocery store shampoos is too high 99% of the time.

The Left Brain responds:

I respect your preference for salon shampoos, if you want to spend your money that way thats your choice. But your supposition that the pH of mass market brands is higher 99% of the time is simply false. But before I prove why, let me explain about the pH of shampoos.

What is a good pH?

Shampoos tend to be fairly neutral so they fall around the middle of the scale between 5 and 8. Shampoos that contain cationic conditioning agents are generally formulated a little lower and deep cleansing shampoos designed to get rid of styling residue are formulated at slightly higher pH to neutralize styling resins. But overall you should expect your shampoo to have a pH between 5 and 7.

Are salon shampoos different?

Salon shampoos do not employ any special technology that makes their pH different from mass market products This is not a matter of opinion, it is a fact that I easily verified. I took samples of ten different shampoos, some from salons and some from grocery stores and then I measured their pH using a standard laboratory pH meter. Here’s what I found:

Grocery Store Brands (Average pH = 5.95)

Dove Intense Moisture = 6.05

Fructis Moisture Works = 6.64

Herbal Essences Hello Hydration = 6.20

Tresemme Antibreakage = 5.40

White Rain Extra Body = 5.35

Yes To Carrots = 6.07

Salon Brands (Average pH = 6.14)

Matrix Amplify = 6.76

Redken All-Soft = 5.59

Samy Salon Systems Smooth and Shine = 6.08

The Beauty Brains bottom line

As you can see from this data the premise that 99% of all grocery store shampoos have a higher pH is simply not true. In fact in the samples I measured the salon products had the highest pH. The pH will vary by brand and doesn’t depend on where you buy it.

What do you think? Do you buy salon products because you like the way they feel on your hair or because of some sciencey sounding nonsense that you’ve been told? Leave a comment for the rest of the Beauty Brains community.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • kathie October 10, 2014, 11:13 pm

    Do you know the PH of purology products? Both the moisture and volumizing shampoos?

    • Randy Schueller October 11, 2014, 10:58 am

      I’m sorry Kathie but I don’t have the pH of those products.

  • Desi July 11, 2016, 11:10 pm

    Thank you for the post. I am a licensed Hair stylist. And I absolutely agree on ph levels. The difference behind salon brands and store brands are the licensed professional who has the knowledge and training how to use the shampoos diff ph levels. We guarantee our products and can help you figure out what shampoo is best for you. Also professional products are highly concentrated. So you use less…..if the shampoo is too high of a ph, it strips all good oils out of your hair and scalp. And often times people over use because they believe their skin and hair are oily…but over using high ph leveled shampoo causes your skin to over produce oils to make up for it. So if you do use high ph, you need to put moisture back in to close on moisture and lock it in the hair cuticle. ….. shampoo opens your cuticle to let out dirt and oil. Where shampoo closes back down

    • Randy Schueller July 12, 2016, 7:00 am

      Thanks for your comments Desi but actually shampoos don’t vary much in pH so they don’t really work as you described.

      • ShivaD January 14, 2018, 9:20 pm

        What about “natural” shampoos? I have seen some reported to be in the 10 to 11 pH range and the high alkaline pH is actually touted as a benefit. Isn’t that too high?

  • Fly Huffy December 1, 2018, 9:37 am

    Where may I find the pH about my conditioner other than doing a lab as you did. Why is that not published on the bottle?
    Thank you

    • admin December 4, 2018, 11:35 am

      You would need to get a pH meter. You could probably pick one up that is good enough on Amazon for around $30 – $50. But what information are you trying to discover by taking the pH of your conditioner?

  • Amber litzinger June 28, 2019, 1:49 pm

    Would you happen to have the pH of more redken products. I can not find it anywhere. The SDS sheets only list color and lightener