When it comes to color, we take a zero-tolerance stance. No premature fading is acceptable—especially not for hair color you’ve invested your heart in. If you’re seeing that brilliant dark brown hair or glowy red shade leaching out after every wash, it’s time to take a stand. You may know to use color-safe formulas to scrub your mane, but do you know that acidic hair care might make all the difference?
We spoke to George Papanikolas, expert Matrix colorist, who gave us all the details about why you should be thinking about your hair’s pH—and what acidic hair care products could do for your mane. Keep reading to learn more.
What is acidic hair care?
When you think acids, corrosive liquids might come to mind. Turn your brain instead to matters of pH, a scale which measures the basicity or acidity of a substance. While hair itself is neutral, formulas with different pH levels will have different—very visible—effects on your mane. Neither high acidity (low pH) nor alkaline (high pH) is inherently bad, but it’s important to know what each will do to your hair.
While lower pH formulas—acidic—will help seal the cuticle, alkaline formulas on the opposite side of the pH scale can expand the hair cuticle. Papanikolas recommends alkaline products for clients feeling like their hair is lackluster or totally limp, but think acidic if color is your concern.
“It’s perfect for people with vivid colors, red, copper, and really anyone with color-treated hair that fades quickly as the low pH formula will seal the color into the hair, giving you a richer and more vibrant color with lots of shine.”
Seal that pigment into the cuticle and never look back!
How do you find acidic hair products?
As with anything else related to your precious mane, your first stop in choosing a new care routine should be a text to your stylist. If you’re not on meme-swapping terms, don’t worry—a standard consultation appointment or call to the salon will work just as well.
Often, you’ll find that color-safe products come in highly acidic formulations. Biolage Color Acidic Milk Rinse, for example, a hair rinse that's formulated to be used directly post-color service to provide an extra caring step, noticeably softening, smoothing, and rebalancing hair’s pH.
For Papanikolas, the obvious choice for color-treated hair is the Matrix Total Results Keep Me Vivid system—particularly the line’s Keep Me Vivid Color Lamination Spray.
The Keep Me Vivid Color Lamination Spray falls on the lower end of the spectrum with a pH of a 4.0-5.0...A lower pH is more acidic, therefore it opens the cuticle less, providing better conditioning and better hair integrity in the long term...typically with these acid sprays we only use them in the salon, but this one is also available for consumers to use at home to maintain.
Unlike a leave-in conditioner or a standard in-salon treatment, the Lamination Spray walks the line between traditional formulas. The acidic formula helps seal color within the hair for ultra-nourished, high-reflect color. Your stylist can use it immediately post-coloration or you can apply it for additional care between washes, using it after Keep Me Vivid Shampoo. Leave the formula one for one minute, then layer with Keep Me Vivid Conditioner. Rinse your hair and style as usual!
Who should try acidic hair care?
Here’s the long and short of it: If preserving your hair color as long as possible is your number one hair goal, investing in acidic hair care should be a priority. When in doubt, ask your stylist about adjusting your hair care routine to involve more acidic formulas. Your hair will thank you!
Thinking about investing in a new hair care routine? Use our salon locator to book an appointment with a stylist near you.
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