Q: Does pH balance lessen the harshness of a hair product?
A: By pH balance I assume you mean lowering the pH of the shampoo. The reason why shampoos can be harsh is actually not related to pH. In fact many of the surfactants used in clarifying shampoos (for example SLES, ALES etc) actually have a natural pH of between 5 and 5.5 which is quite similar to the pH of skin and hair.
The reason why some shampoos are harsh is because the surfactant used is very effective at stripping oil (remembering that the purpose of shampoo is to dissolve oil). These type of surfactants have two key properties
1. They are very small in size
2. They have a negative charge
As an example:
|SLS (used in clarifying shampoos - regarded as harsh)||Cocamidopropyl betaine (used in SLS free shampoos - regarded as gentle)|
Charge - Strong Negative
|Charge - Medium to weak Negative|
Q: What can we use at home to adjust the ph of shampoo, aloe vera?
A: You can add aloe vera to reduce pH and some naturals also add oils which reduces the ability of the shampoo to remove oil and therefore makes it feel gentler.
I however do not recommend either of these methods because there is a fine line between getting your shampoo to be more gentle and changing it to become completely ineffective for cleansing. I recommend that if you find your shampoo to be harsh, try a different one instead. I also think that sometimes products with a high pH such as shampoo bars and castile soap actually feel quite gentle because often some oil and glycerin is left in or added during the manufacturing process.