Like everythingin nature, your skin and hair require a delicate balance to look and feel theirbest. For African-American hair especially, that balance is based on twoletters: pH, a measure of how acidic or basic an element or a solution is. Sohow do you know if your hair products are good or bad for your sensitive strands?Check out these helpful hints from

But first, here’s a brief explanation of howpH is measured. The pH scale ranges from 1 to 14. Anything with a pH of lessthan 7 is acidic; anything more than 7 is basic.   

First, let’s start with your shampoo. Thebest pH range for your hair wash products is 4.5 to 6.5. Anything higher maystrip your hair of its natural oils and leave it frizzy, cause breakage andslow down growth. African-American hair is particularly sensitive to pH so makesure to check the product’s label. Many products list “pH balanced” or “low pH”on the bottle. That’s what you’re looking for.   

If you can’t find pH listed on the bottle,check out the company’s website. Some big companies keep a database of MaterialSafety Data Sheets (MSDSs) online. Companies create MSDSs as part ofOccupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requirements and usuallylist the pH of the product and its ingredients.   

If you come up empty, call the company’sconsumer information line—it’s within your rights to know what you’re using onyour body. Get answers directly from the source.   

And if all else fails, you can test aproduct’s pH at home. But, please be warned: It’s easy to misread a measurementor make a mistake. If you insist on testing your own products, pick up a box ofplastic pH strips. Why plastic? Because surfactants in products, such as behentrimoniummethosulfate or ammonium laureth sulfate, can interfere with the indicator dyeon paper strips and cause a false reading. But if a paper strip test is allyou’ve got, try a few strips until you get a reading that’s consistent.  

Seems like too much drama? Well, once youfind products with the right pH for your hair, you’ll be assured of healthier,more beautiful, tresses.  

Have you ever wondered who creates those(un)balanced hair care products? Click here to read more.