Neutral Zone Cleansing

Lee Hunter, Ph. D.

Lee Hunter, Ph.D.

How many times have you heard women say “My favorite shampoo stops working, so I have to switch to a good cleaning shampoo once a week or so?” Did you know that the average woman has between four to eight different shampoo brands in her bathroom? Some years ago when I worked at the Clairol Company, we asked women in a focus group why they have so many shampoos in their bathroom. Their answers came down to two basic reasons. The first one was preference for different fragrances. The other reason was that their favorite shampoos tend to stop working after several uses; and that they need to trade off with a stronger shampoo to remove the build-up that has accumulated on their hair. The build-up on the hair is a combination
of conditioning ingredients and styling polymers from hair sprays and other styling products.  Inevitably, the shampoos that did not remove the build-up were low-pH shampoos. These shampoos are normally formulated to have approximately pH 5.0 since the natural pH of hair is 5.0.  It has become popular for many manufacturers of Natural Based Shampoos to claim “Sulfate-Free.” The implication is that by avoiding sulfate ingredients, shampoos will be color-safe. Most of these shampoos contain foaming and cleaning ingredients that are similar to the ingredients used in baby shampoos. Although they lather and clean reasonable well; and they are color-safe, they tend to have a challenge in completely
removing styling ingredients, especially the polymers that are resistant to humidity. Since these ingredients are resistant to humidity, which is water, they are not naturally soluble in most shampoos which are mostly water.  (Water is the first ingredient on the label of all shampoos.) In other words, humidity-resistant styling polymers are not easy to remove by shampoo due to the fact that they do not dissolve in water!

A better way to formulate a shampoo that is color-safe, and is capable of cleaning the hair thoroughly is to formulate in the Neutral Zone pH, which is near pH 7.0. Most natural-based, Sulfate-Free shampoos are
formulated in the acid range around pH 5.0. It is a scientific fact that styling polymers used in hair sprays and styling gels are much less soluble at pH 5 than at pH 7. In other words, it is possible to formulate a very
thorough cleaning shampoo that removes styling polymers completely with good cleaning sulfate surfactants at pH 7 and use a much lower concentration of the sulfate surfactant. The lower level of surfactant makes the shampoo very mild. The shampoo lathers and cleans better than “Sulfate-Free” shampoos while remaining very mild and very color safe at the same time.  ProDesign Tiger Reconstructing Shampoo is formulated at pH 6.9. The Tiger Catalyst and ProFaCil Complex combine to give a very mild, color-friendly shampoo that removes styling polymers easily due to the neutral pH and low level of sulfate surfactant. At the same time, the Tiger Catalyst helps to reconstruct the hair and lock in hair color. For hair that is extra dry from high-lift color and bleach, Tiger Moisture Shampoo is very similar to the Reconstructing Shampoo, but with extra Hydrotein Protein for permanent moisturizing as well as reconstructing. Cleanse Shampoo, at pH 7.5, removes minerals and styling polymers, while being very gentle cleansing and conditioning due to the ProFaCil Complex. Remarkably, all three of these ProDesign shampoos return the hair to its natural pH of 5.0 with rinsing due to the small amount of ProFaCil Complex left on the hair to buffer the pH to 5.0.  In closing, I want to point out that Natural-Based is good. In fact all ProDesign Products are also NaturalBased, but at the same time applying the knowledge of the science of hair and the science of hair product ingredients makes better products. In the case of shampoos, the Neutral Zone Science makes all the difference!

Lee Hunter, Ph. D