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Get your hair on acid, naturally!

November 22, 2009

Our hair looks best when kept under slightly acidic conditions. Why?  Well, it’s all to do with its structure.

Hair is around 95% protein (proteins are made up from amino acids) with the remaining 5%  consisting of an acidic oil (mainly eicosanoic acid), melanin and other trace elements.   It is the acidic oil film that our scalps produce to lubricate the hair shaft that commercial conditioners strive  to replace. So, while we think that sophisticated hi-tech conditioners are great, mother nature is even better. Let’s have a look at Apple Cider Vinegar.

What happens when you leave apples to ferment for too long or let the mix get too hot? You get vinegar as many a home brewing enthusiast has found out.  This over fermentation is due to a bacteria called acetobacter (the bacteria that give off acetic acid or the table vinegar that is commonly used today) which can be cultured in a laboratory or allowed to develop naturally.  Organic Apple Cider Vinegar is a low environmental impact hair and skin treatment, it often still contains the “mother” or apple remnants to ensure that every drop of goodness is retained. The vinegar can be applied to hair after shampooing, left for a minute or two and then rinsed out leaving soft, shiny hair.  This mild acid softens and smoothes the cuticle leaving it conditioned and easy to comb.  Basically what you are doing here is restoring the hair back to a state of ‘normality’ by returning its pH to a more acidic one (washing leaves it quite alkali).

So if apple cider vinegar is good,  are all acids worth a try? 

Good results have been seen with weak glycolic acid solutions, citric acid and lactic acid however, once the pH of the acidic treatment gets too low (below about 4) you run the risk of softening the cuticle so much that you dissolve it.  If in doubt don’t use until you get it checked out by a professional.

And why is natural better?

Well, that’s more holistic – the more we can simplify, the lower our impact on the environment. Every action has an equal and opposite reaction which may be fine but it is worth considering. 

 

 

 

 

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