Thursday, 2 February 2012

What shampoo do you use? A pH challenge

Following on from the previous post about what makes shampoos harsh, I am setting myself a challenge but I need your help.

My hypothesis: Most modern shampoos (not soap based) will fall in the weakly acidic to neutral range (pH 5-7). This hypothesis is based on the fact that the surfactants used in shampoos generally are slightly acidic and cosmetic chemists tend to pH skin and hair products to this range.

My challenge: To catalogue the pH of shampoos used by readers of The Natural Haven.

How: Create a list of the shampoos used by readers, request samples from the manufacturer for pH testing or request the pH value of the product from the manufacturer should they keep a record. Finally publish this list on the blog to see if the hypothesis is correct or not.

So here is what I need from you:
1. Please tell me the shampoos (brand and name) that you have used within the last 2 years.
2. If you found any of the shampoos to be harsh/irritating on your hair or scalp, please state so

Please exclude soap based shampoos (castile soap, black soap and shampoo bars) which are most likely alkaline.

I will go first
1. Herbal Essences (hello hydration, dazzling shine), Johnson and Johnson (baby shampoo)
2. Herbal Essences (Hello hydration)

Your turn and do spread the word!


  1. 1) Shea Moisture Organic Raw Shea Butter Moisture Retention Shampoo, I've added a pinch of ACV to it for clarifying. Everything else you pretty much said to exclude.
    2) This seems to be gentle enough for me.

  2. I use the Suave Shampoo Plus Conditioner Professionals 2 in 1 Ph Balanced. I often dilute this shampoo when I do shampoo, because I find it too harsh on my hair when not diluted.

  3. Hi JC, great hypothesis! Over the past 2 years I have used the following:

    1. Matrix Biolage Hydrating shampoo

    2. RenPure Organics My pretty hair is parched moisturizing shampoo

    3. Giovanni Tea Tree Triple Treat Deep Cleansing & Refreshing Organic shampoo

    4. Giovanni 50-50 Balanced Hydrating/Clarifying shampoo

    I never noticed how long these names were...LOL.

  4. Does Dr. Bronner's count? That's what I use.

    1. This one is soap based so it will not count. It is most likely alkaline.

  5. Giovanni Triple Tea Treat Shampoo
    Giovanni Smooth As Silk Deep Moisture Conditioner
    Living Proof No Frizz Shampoo and Conditioner
    Pantene Curly Hair Series Dry to Moisturized Shampoo
    Aurys Rhassoul Shampoo
    Herbal Essences Totally Twisted Conditioner
    Aubrey Organics Honeysuckle Rose Moisturizing Conditioner

    Of all the shamps and conds listed, only Pantene and Herbal Essences irritated my scalp. Thanks for doing this, this is awesome!

  6. Aubrey Organics Honeysuckle Rose is my current shampoo - not harsh or irritating.

  7. I used to use Juanita shampoo but now that it has run out I just co-wash and once a month I'll do a bentonite clay to clarify my hair. I bought Juanita from a US website that specialised in loc care, can't remember the name.

  8. Hi JC, I hope I'm posting this in the right area, as I didn't see anywhere to do it in the side bar: I use Motions Lavish Conditioning Shampoo, but I dilute with either water or aloe juice, as I find even this one too drying on its own. I have type 4a/b hair. Michelle.

  9. 1. Giovanni Smooth As Silk Shampoo - I used this for a year and half. It was mediocre, not bad but not all that good either. Left my hair striped (i think) Bottom line, I could do without it.

    2. I now use Curls Cleansing Cream - Leaves my hair soft and cleanses it. (The price hurts my budget though!)

  10. Omg! I will be so grateful when you compile the PH list.

    I use Creme of Nature (feels drying, buy states otherwise on the bottle)
    Aubrey Organics Honey Suckle Rose (for some reason I love it, but I'm not sure why)
    Shea Moisture Coconut Hibiscus (feels less stripping)
    Sometimes, Giovanni Smooth a Silk Shampoo.

    Is there any chance, you may do a ph list of leave in conditioners in the future?

    1. I used to love Creme of Nature when I was relaxed. Last I checked, it has SLS in it so that's why my hair would be extremely dry afterwards.

    2. This is a great idea! I use Trader Joe's Tea Tree Tingle Shampoo and Kinky Curly Come Clean Natural Moisturizing Shampoo.

    3. Sure I will do one for conditioners and anoother for leave ins and styling aids

    4. Trader Joe's Nourish shampoo and conditioner.

  11. Jane Carter Solutions SLS free shampoo

  12. Shea Moisture Coconut & Hibiscus Curling Control Shampoo: Love this shampoo. Moisturizing but cleanses the scalp.

    Trader Joe's Tea Tree Tingle: Hate this shampoo. Cleans my scalp but leaves my hair feeling stipped and waxy.

  13. I'd love to see the results of this catalogue.

    -Desert Essence Organics (Lemon Tea Tree Shampoo).
    -V05 (Moisture Milks Passion Fruit Smoothie)
    -V05 (Kiwi Lime Squeeze Clarifying Shampoo).

    V05 Kiwi Lime Squeeze Clarifying Shampoo was drying, but not as much as other clarifying shampoos I've tried in the past. However, I stopped using it because it's drying.

  14. Mane n' Tail...hasn't been harsh for me:)

  15. I've used Giovanni Smooth as Silk for the past couple of years. I've also tried the Giovanni Tea Tree shampoo; it wasn't harsh, but I didn't like it.

  16. I have used Dr Organics moisturizing olive oil shampoo, Dermorganics moisturizing shampoo and Yes to cucumbers shampoo.

  17. I use the Uplifting Shampoo by Organic Root Stimulator

  18. I've used Giovanni 50:50 shampoo for the past two years. I've also tried Shea Moisture Black Soap shampoo, but I switched back to Giovanni.

  19. Do I count as part of the survey if I'm not natural? D:

    I currently use Shea Moisture Retention Shampoo.
    I had to switch from HE Hello Hydration Shampoo because I think it was too harsh on my ends (not entirely sure, but I wanted to be on the safe side and prevent splits with a sulfate-free shampoo).
    I have also tried VO5 shampoos to clarify. The worst shampoo I've ever tried was Creme of Nature Sunflower and Coconut Detangling left my hair feeling really coated, dry, and tangled.

    These were all within the last 2 years.

  20. 1. Kinky-Curly Come Clean shampoo (gets hair super clean, but not too harsh)
    2. Deva curl no poo shampoo (gets hair clean, NOT harsh)
    3. Terresentials Lavender Mudwash (gets hair clean, NOT harsh)

  21. Joico Moisture Recovery, Burts Bees More Moisture Raspberry & Brazil Nut, Suave Clarifying, Giovanni Smooth as Silk

  22. Trader Joe's Tea Tree Tingle Shampoo with Peppermint and I think it's a bit harsh. I pre poo with coconut oil so my hair doesn't feel stripped.

  23. Neutrogena Triple Moisture Cream Lather Shampoo

  24. Renpure shampoo and conditioner - My pretty hair is parched addition and it has caused my hair to be really hard and made my scalp dry.

    Currently using Nature's Gate Biotin shampoo and conditioner. It refreshing to smell and my scalp feels so good after using it. Plus the conditioner makes my hair extra soft and it has caused my hair to grow. :D Kudos to that shampoo/conditioner duo.

  25. I use Shea Moisture Curl and Shine shampoo and Organic Root stimulators aloe shampoo. Both work really well.
    Tried Dr. Bronners - was harsh and stripping.

  26. I've used:
    - Herbal Essences Supermodel straight (harsh)

    - Hairveda Amala Deep Cleanse shampoo (kinda mild)

  27. I have used
    Aubrey organics's GPB Glyclogen Protein Shampoo - Rosemary Peppermint
    Hesh Maka Powder (not sure if this counts)

  28. Hi JC, I LOVE your blog. Over the past 2 years, I've used

    1. Trader Joe's Nourishing Spa Shampoo* (mild on hair and eyes)
    2. Carol's Daughter's Rosemary Mint shampoo* (slightly harsh on hair, mild on eyes)
    3. Alaffia's Shea & Honey Shampoo* (mild on hair and eyes)
    4. Oyin Handmade's Honey Wash* (mildish on hair and harsh on eyes) - I think this is a castile based shampoo BUT it was NOT too alkaline bc it burned up my eyes (not literally). I thought it was because it was too acidic. Is that possible?

    *All of these shampoos, I add water too to reduce the stripping or drying effect I felt it had on my hair.

    1. Thanks. Oyin will be in the alkaline category. Both acid and alkali can give that burning sensation

  29. 1. I mostly conditioner wash, but if I shampoo, I currently use Giovanni Tea Tree Shampoo and really like it.
    2. Used Yes to Carrots Shampoo, HE Hello Hydration shampoo, and Garnier Fructis and it really stripped by hair and bothered my scalp.

  30. 1. L'oreal EverStrong Shampoo (not irritating or drying)
    2. Nexxus Therappe Moisturizing Shampoo (not irritating of drying)
    3. Trader Joe's Tea Tree Tingle (nice on scalp, drying on hair,generally works better diluted)

  31. Elasta QP Creme Conditioning Shampoo (Sulfate Free)
    Ultra Sheen Moisture Blend Sulfate-Free Hydrating Shampoo

  32. I am currently using:
    Theraneem Moisture Therape Shampoo

    I have used:
    Shea Moisture Organic African Black Soap Deep Cleansing Shampoo

  33. Pantene Curly Dry to Moisturized. According to the MSDS, the pH is 5.3-6.7.

  34. Thank you so much!!

    I've been using
    1. Tresseme Naturals Moisturizing (or Nourishing) Shampoo
    2. Garnier Fructis Triple Nutrition Shampoo
    3. Aussie Moist Shampoo

    and that's all I can think of.

  35. 1) Carol's Daughter Rosemary Mint, Live Clean Apple Cider Vinegar Clarifying Shampoo, Down Under Naturals Damage Repair Shampoo, The Body Shop Rainforest Shine

    2) None of them really irritated my scalp or hair, I used the Live Clean and Carol's Daughter when I had braid extensions b/c I wanted the stronger cleansers

    This is fun, looking forward to your results.

  36. Hello.

    Since I didn't see my absolute favorite shampoo listed here in the comments, I will add it now.

    DevaCare No-poo has been my favorite shampoo for over a year. (very gentle cleansing without stripping)

    I have also used Kinky Curly Come Clean with disappointing results. My hair ended up brittle and feeling stripped. There were others which I can't remember as I like to stick with what works to avoid PJism.

    Thanks for this awesome idea. I know it will be a great resource once complied.

  37. 1) Shea Moisture Moisture Retention & Coconut Hibiscus shampoos--very gentle
    2) Suave Daily Clarifying Shampoo (diluted with water)--the bottle says it's pH balanced, it leaves my hair clean & soft
    3) Burt's Bees More Moisture Shampoo--worst shampoo I've ever used, it was super harsh!
    4) Avalon Organics Peppermint Shampoo--was harsh even when diluted with water.
    5) ElastaQP Creme Conditioning Shampoo--very gentle
    6) ORS Creamy Aloe Shampoo--was a bit harsh, had to dilute with water

  38. Gosh Jc, you are going to be very busy for a while. See all the replies! Anyway, here is my contribution to your work load:
    - Selsun shampoo -I use it for my scalp only when my seborrhoeic dermatitis flares up.
    - Yes to Carrots nourishing shampoo - all lie, very stripping.
    - Andre Walker Hair Keratin Shampoo
    - Komaza Care Califa Care Shampoo
    All my other shampoos have been listed by other posters. Oh dear, I really need deliverance from my PJism!


  39. Creme of Nature Ultra Moisturizing Shampoo Kiwi & Citrus ... Its my favorite!

  40. I wont't buy again Trader Joe's Nourish Spa (left my hair stripped).
    I use Indian Aztec Clay for fun when I'm playing with my hair.
    My newest find Is Kinky Curly Come Clean shampoo. Left my hair soft but clean and it says Ph balanced on the bottle.
    Sorry, my 1st post was under the wrong heading.

    1. Aww that is ok, it does happen that we post in the wrong place sometimes. I did add your products to the list

  41. terressentials lav. mud wash

  42. TJ Nourish (agreed with poster above) this left my hair feeling like straw. Probably too much protein

    Currently usuing Jessicurl Cleansing Cream for over 1 year. Love love love it!

  43. I use Proclaim Professionals Care (with Olive Oil)Conditioner and Shampoo. Interested to see the pH!

  44. Motions Conditioning Shampoo
    Shea Butter Moisture Rentention
    Silk Elements Kera Minerals Sulfate Free

  45. Motions Lavish Conditioning Shampoo
    Shea Moisture Moisture Rentention
    Dove Damage Therapy Shampoo

  46. I'm currently using Shea Moisture Raw Shea Shampoo. I have a question that may seem unrelated to this post but I didn't see where else I could ask it. I've often heard people say they mainly co-wash but will use a clarifying shampoo when they do wash to get rid of product build-up. My question is what is the difference between a clarifying shampoo & any other shampoo?

  47. Shea Moisture Organic Raw Shea Butter Moisture Retention Shampoo


I love comments! All comments are moderated so they will only appear on the blog once I approve them.