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No-poo, the PH scale, and why it works.

7U6A2818This post is for those of you who want to know exactly how and why the ShamPHree/no-poo method works. I’ve been scouring articles and scientific research to bring you this information, and I am here to make it as simple, straightforward, and pretty as possible.

The PH testing of the BS and ACV solutions used in this article were done by my sister at a Biology lab at Stanford University. The research is done by me. The proof, to me however, is in the pudding. I have been ShamPHree for a year now, and I’m still 100% happy and excited by it. Here is why and how it works.

What is baking soda?

Also called Sodium Bicarbonate, Baking Soda is  the powder form of a natural mineral called Nahcolite. It is a white substance that is slightly salty and alkaline. Most of our countries Baking Soda is mined in Colorado, Utah, and Wyoming, though traces of Nahcolite is found in Mineral Springs all over the world.

What is Apple cider Vinegar?

Apple Cider Vinegar is fermented apple cider. This means, simply, that the cider is aged and exposed to natural and good bacterias in our environment that allow it to form alcohol and acidify. It is a mild vinegar that is less acidic then most other vinegars.

What is the PH scale?

The PH scale is a scale to measure Acid or Alkalinity in a substance in the form of hydrogen and hydroxide bonds. It goes from 0-14, with acid on the low end, and alkaline (base) on the high end. 7 is considered a neutral PH, and is generally the PH of water. I could go into depth about the science, but we would both get a head ache. The important points are these.

  • Alkaline softens. When used on the hair and skin, it opens the cuticle and the pores. Yay!
  • Acid hardens and tightens. When used on the skin and hair, it closes and tightens the cuticle and shrinks pores. Yay!
  • Hair and skin fall at about a 5 on the PH scale (slightly acidic!)
  • The PH of Apple cider vinegar is 2.5.
  • The PH of ACV when diluted with 2 tblspoons ACV with 8 oz of water is 3.5.
  • The PH of Baking Soda is 9.
  • The PH of BS when diluted 2 tblspns BS to 8 oz water is 7.6.

Here is a pretty picture of BS and ACV and Hair on the PH scale that will illustrate to you why ShamPHree works! As you can see, your BS and ACV mixtures fall at just about equal distances from your natural hairs PH. The keyword here is balance!


 Finding Balance

I am a huge seeker of balance. I am a middle child. I have balanced a life of extremes since birth. I am neutral. I practice anything that helps me find balance. My creative world is born from the contrasts surround me. Beauty happens when things are at balance. Things run more smoothly when things are in balance.

Let’s look at your hair and skin. Your skin and scalp are alive and breathing. They are made up of water, lipids, proteins, minerals, and chemicals. There is a factory of glands and hormones that keep your skin in a healthy balance. Your hair, however is dead protein that’s purpose is to protect and decorate your head and act as a 6th sense. It is a functional but dead extension of your scalp that is directly effected by your scalps ability to produce protective oils. To effectively regulate its own oil production, your scalp needs to be in balance.

Why Natural oils?

Natural oils are to protect and moisturize your skin. They provide suppleness, elasticity, shine, and integrity. They are readily made and re-absorbed into your skin as your skin ‘breathes’

When absorbed by the hair, these oils create a protective barrier that keep your hair happy in the face of environmental and chemical damage.

What Shampoo and Conditioner do to the hair.

Shampoo and conditioner also use the PH scale to help effectively cleanse the hair. Generally, your shampoo will be slightly acidic, and your conditioner will be slightly alkaline. Strange……That’s the opposite of ShamPHree. Here is why…..

Shampoo cleans the hair using surfactants and foaming agents that break down the oil on your hairs surface and removes it. Conditioner uses a slightly alkaline base to soften the hair, and oils, waxes, and synthetic or sometimes natural -ethicones to coat the hair and fill in rough spots on your hair’s cuticle. This eliminates the need to rely on your own bodies self regulating oil production to keep your hair and skin at a balance. You get to rely on a 3rd party to do the work for you.

Cutting out the middle-man…..What ShamPHree does to your hair.

ShamPHree uses the PH scale to balance the hair and scalp. Did you know that the ShamPHree method works wonders on the delicate skin on your face?

The brushing distributes your natural oil from your scalp to your ends while stimulating the skin of the scalp.

The action in the BS gently opens the cuticle of the hair and allows the oils to penetrate into the hair while removing surface non-oil buildup on both scalp and hair.

The action of the ACV closes and tightens the cuticle of the hair while restoring the scalp to balance. It is this balance that allows the scalp to regulate it’s own oil production. ShamPHree essentially doesn’t add or remove anything. IT cuts out the middle-man and gives you great hair without all the products.

What you see here are 2 completely different theories on beauty care. One is not better than the other.  They are just different. One removes what your body naturally produces for a reason and then refills it with a synthetic replica, and one lets your body run how it is supposed to. You get to choose. Which one makes more sense to you?

And once you have experimented with ShamPHree and have a basic understanding of how it works in your own hair, you can tailor it to suit your own hairs unique needs. You form a new relationship with your hair, based on listening, understanding, and honoring.

ShamPHree starter kits and products are now available in the HTHG ShamPHree Shop. Get yours today and Free Your Hair! Be a part of the solution. #shamphree #freeyourhair

IF you like this post and are interested in the chemistry of beauty products, please check out this fantastic website, called Beauty Brains!



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  1. Amanda

    Yay pH scale! (I’m a chemist). This seems like a good place to leave this observation – I was looking for an alternative to vinegar that was easier to transport. I went on a long trip, and shuddered to think of vinegar leaking in my bag. I saw citric acid as a suggestion on some websites, and decided to try it out. It’s a powder, so eliminated the worries about leaking, and it doesn’t have a smell. Most important, it works as well as vinegar for me. I’ve been using it for about 3 months now.
    If you want to try citric acid, keep in mind that it’s much more acidic than vinegar, for two reasons. The main reason is that it comes as a pure powder, while even vinegar straight from the bottle has been diluted to only 5%. The other reason is that citric acid is naturally a “stronger” acid than vinegar, even at the same concentration.
    End result – I dissolve about an eighth of a teaspoon in about 250 mL of water, which works well for me. That’s probably still more acidic (lower pH) than the recipe for ACV on this site, but I can’t really measure out less than that and it seems to be working just fine. You could make a more concentrated solution to keep around, then dilute portions of that when you want to ShamPhree. Anyway, I hope this is helpful to someone out there who can’t stand the smell of vinegar!

    1. roxie.hunt Author

      That is so awesome. Thank you for writing in about your experience. Great info from an actual chemist!!

  2. Kim

    I chickened out a week ago when I went to go no poo after the scalding comments by Kathy and Hoda. Wasn’t impressed with their critical attitudes, so I wanted to try it. I found your website by chance, because I wanted to cut my own hair and spend less money. I got curious and stared looking around on here. I saw your video, read your articles and tried again. I am impressed! My hair is usually a frizzy mess AFTER a shower and product. Right now my hair is drying from my first treatment almost completely frizz free. It looks like I just went to the ocean in the middle of February in West-by-God-Virginia. It feels light, not heavy and this time I will be sticking with it. Thanks for your blog!

    1. roxie.hunt Author

      You are so very welcome. Glad you found HTHG:)

  3. Milissa

    Thank you, thank you. My hair has never looked better or behaved so well. I switched to shamphree about 6 months ago. I am so grateful for you and your website!

    1. roxie.hunt Author

      so glad you found HTHG:)

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