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Acid, Acid Everywhere Hair, Too

With my hair education came the acceptance that acid is all over the place, as it ought to be, when it comes to both the health and the beauty of your skin and your hair. For your hair is not so different from your skin, though they may look different, indeed. That hair is protein, as we’ve shown you, and that’s what your skin is. And it’s got to have the same acid mantle to protect it.

The acidity of your hair is normally, so Nicholas tells me, set at 4.5 to 5.5. The big problem with hair is how to keep it there, for there are certain cases where hair will have to go alkaline deliberately. If you color your hair, for example, or perm it, you will have to make it alkaline in order for the color or the curl to “take.”

The ideal thing is, of course, to take it as little to the alkaline side as possible, and then get it back to acid as fast as you can. That is one reason why jobs like tinting or perming are best left to the experts who know the best products for the job. And the best products for these jobs are the ones that will do the least damage to your hair, because this is the way bleaching and perming work on your hair (I wouldn’t want to try a do-it-myself job here):

Your hair, you see, has a cuticle just like your nails and a strong (we hope) center shaft called the medulla. When all goes well and the hair is properly nourished and acid balanced, this cuticle is smooth and tight and hanging in there protecting that medulla, which is the strong point of your hair.

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