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Thursday, September 26, 2019

Eco Friendly Shampoo and Conditioner For Healthy Hair and a Discussion about pH

It's taken a while and I've learned a lot about pH levels, but I finally have created a shampoo bar that's worthy of carrying the Lora's Beauty name!

The Aloe Vera and Avocado Shampoo Bar combined with the new Cocoa Butter Conditioner Bar make for a pH neutrilizing hair care solution without plastic bottles!

Before I deep dive into my new shampoo bar, let's talk about pH. pH is measured on a scale of 0-14 with 7 being neutral, below 7 being acidic, and above 7 being alkaline (basic). Handmade soap, if made correctly, is a base on the pH scale, clocking in anywhere between 8-11. Your skin doesn't have a pH but your skin's acid mantle does and it falls within 4.5 and 6.2 depending on a lot of factors such as race, gender, ethnicity, etc.

There's been a lot of talk recently about pH and the skin's acid mantle and how using a cleanser that has a pH closer to your acid mantle is better for your skin. Unfortunately, in order to make a cleanser like that, a lot of synthetic ingredients are needed. Ingredients that aren't healthy for your skin otherwise. Handmade soap made correctly and with quality ingredients is made with beneficial oils and butters that skin loves. Yes, the pH level is higher, however, remember that water, something the skin is exposed to when bathing and showering, is a pH of 7-8.5 depending on where you live.

The point is, disrupting the skin's acid mantle with a quality handmade soap is rubbish. First off, soap isn't meant to sit on your skin, it's meant to be rinsed off and second, knowing that the skin does absorb into the body what you put on it, would you rather have the skin absorb harsh synthetic chemicals or natural oils and creamy butters? Oh, and third, measuring exact pH (not just determining if something is an acid or a base), as I've now learned, isn't that easy. So chances are that really expensive synthetic cleanser claiming to be a perfect pH match for your skin, is in fact not.

All of this brings me back to my new Shampoo Bar. Human hair and scalp oil has a natural pH of 4.5 to 5.5. Unlike the skin though, there seems to be a consensus that using a more neutral pH cleanser on your hair is beneficial. The acidic pH of your hair keeps the cuticle closed and healthy.
Again, shampoo is meant to be rinsed off with water that has a pH of 7 - 8.5, however, using too basic of a cleanser on your hair could cause the cuticle to open and break easier.

In an attempt to create a shampoo bar with a lower pH, I spent time doing research and I found a lot of conflicting information, not surprisingly. Finally, I decided to just start experimenting myself.

Knowing that handcrafted soap was alkaline, I decided to add an acid to my soap right before pouring it into the mold. I had seen from other people's writings that adding citric acid once the soap had achieved trace (when the oils and lye water have emulsified) would not cause the soap to fail and would bring the pH down some. It was important to get the timing right though. Adding it too soon or adding too much and you could end up with a gloppy mess.

I'm happy to report that on my first attempt I was able to not destroy the soap! I still felt the bars were a little too alkaline so I tried again with even more citric acid. The second time yielded a bar I was much happier with and paired with my new Cocoa Butter Conditioner bar, which has an acidic pH, I found a neutralizing solution for hair! I've been using this combination now for a couple of weeks and my hair feels very soft and manageable.

As the name suggests, the Aloe Vera Avocado Shampoo Bar is made with aloe vera water, avocado butter, and the nourishing oils of castor, olive, and rice bran as well as citric acid. French green clay and ground spinach are added to naturally color the bars and the essential oils of tea tree and spearmint provide a refreshing scent!

The Cocoa Butter Conditioner Bar is made with BTMS 50/50 (a conditioning emulsifier), cocoa butter, olive oil, castor oil, and scented with essential oils. The preservative phenonip is added to discourage mold growth since the bar will be exposed to water.

Currently, I'm selling these bars separately but they really are meant to be used together for a healthy, neutralizing hair care solution that's plastic free!

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