pH - How 2 little letters determine skincare hero or zero status

4 min read

pH - How 2 little letters determine skincare hero or zero status

The human body is an amazing thing, and one of its wonders is how different areas have different a different pH.

  • Your mouth has a pH of 6.8-7.5
  • Your stomach has a pH of 1.5-2.0
  • Your blood has a pH of 7.35 - 7.45
  • The Colon has a pH of 7.9-8.5
  • Your skin has a pH of 4.5 - 5.5

Erm… what does all that mean?!

Well, let's dive into the phabulous and phun world of pH - you’re going to be an expert in no time at all :)

First we should explain what pH is.pH is a scientific way of measuring how acidic or alkaline a substance is. The values range from 0 to 14, with 0 being very acidic, and 14 being very alkaline. Water is neutral at 7, and healthy skin is slightly acidic at 5.5. 

The pH of your product is crucial

If you ever wondered why a supposedly super-duper product with lots of fabulous ingredients in it gave you results that were a bit “meh”, it could be all down the pH being wrong.

Healthy skin has a pH of around 5.5 so it loves products that have a similar pH. That is why sensitive skin products highlight that they have a pH of 5.5. Hair conditioners need a pH of 4.5 so that repairing ingredients attach to your hair and give the shine and volume that just screams “healthy hair!”

If your skincare product’s pH is too far away from 5.5, it could trigger some unwelcome issues.

Too Alkaline

If your skin is too alkaline (i.e. if the pH is too high) it will become dry and sensitive. This leaves it open to eczema and other conditions caused by dry skin. It also makes you more prone to deeper wrinkles, crow’s feet and UV damage.

We recommend avoiding products like soaps, SLS/SLES-based cleansers and other foaming cleansers to stop your skin’s pH from getting too high.

Too Acidic

If your skin is too acidic it can be oily and sensitive. Acidic skin is no stranger to the angry breakout and it can also become red, inflamed and tender to touch.

To stop your skin from becoming too acidic we recommend you avoid overdoing face peels and acid-based exfoliators (AHA, Salicylic, Glycolic). This way you won’t be leaving yourself open to the issues of breakouts and sensitivity.

Why the correct pH for your pHantastic pHormula is crucial

The second reason which makes pH so important is that it can either make an ingredient a hero or a zero. Because some ingredients need the product they’re in to have a certain pH to do any good. 

This is most important for preservatives and active ingredients. If the pH is not right for some preservatives they simply just do not work, and your fancy night cream will become a petri dish for bad bacteria. Ugh.

Similarly there’s no point including a star active ingredient in product with wrong pH - it’ll just  waste your time and money. For example having a hair conditioner with a pH of 7.5 just won’t do anything because the conditioning ingredients won’t attach themselves to your hair. 

All over it like a pHat Seagull on a hot chip

In the Happy lab we always select ingredients and create products to fit within the pH range of 4.5 to 6.0. That way they’re best suited to your skin and all the ingredients are in an environment to help your skin.

But (as always in the skincare world) there’s a caveat. 

Everyone’s skin reacts to pH changes differently. Even though a product may have a suitable pH it still may not suit your skin. Even a small pH difference may be the reason why for you one product was brilliant and the other one a little ho-hum.

This is where our super-sized sample packs come into their own. They give you a chance to try our happy little pH-friendly products for 2+ weeks without having to invest in full sized products.

Deodorant - an exception to the rule!

Now we do have one exception to our in-house rule of making sure products are in the pH range of 4.5 to 6.0. The exception is our range of all natural Woohoo deodorants, which are slightly alkaline.

The Woohoo deodorant needs to be alkaline to keep the smelly bacteria away. But the beauty of Woohoo is that it’s just a bit alkaline, not a LOT alkaline.

Unlike other natural deodorants that use bicarb soda or magnesium, we’ve also added some extra ingredients to lower pH and make sure that irritation potential is as low as possible while the smell busting power is strong enough to withstand searing summer heatwaves.

If you do start to notice some dry skin around your armpits, simply moisturise under your arms after showering at night and give them some very gentle exfoliation once a week. 

If you’re super sensitive in the armpit area, you might want to consider using Woohoo Mellow (the yellow one!) which is bicarb soda free.

And just a little insider tip… keep an eye out for the new Woohoo Mellow stick coming soon which is the most gentle yet effective Woohooyet, and packaged in biodegradable cardboard tubes.


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