How To Check pH Balance of Cosmetic Products

How To Check pH Balance of Cosmetic Products

Hello Ladies!

We have been reviewing and using many different skin care products.  I am sure you must have come across terms like “pH balance.”  In fact many brands are promoting their products on this term.  So, I thought of giving you all an insight into pH-Testing and pH-Balance.  Here, I will be sharing my research on the importance of pH-balance for our skin and hair and also to make it fun, I will show you how you can test the PH level of all your products at home! So, let’s begin:


What is pH?

pH is a chemist’s term meaning “Potential of Hydrogen” and refers to the degree of acidity or alkalinity in our outer skin layers.  It is measured on a scale ranging from 0 to 14 where the center of the scale (7) is neutral and a reading below 7 indicates that the substance being measured is acidic and above 7 is alkaline.

What is our normal skin pH?

Normal skin pH is said to be somewhat acidic and in the range of 4.2. to 5.6 and it varies from one part of the body to another.

So, have you heard of acid mantle?

When we are talking about the pH level, we are referring to the pH of the acid mantle.  Acid mantle is a fine film consisting of sweat and sebum with a slightly acidic pH on the surface of the skin that helps our skin to remain healthy with fewer blemishes. 😀


Why do we have to maintain skin pH level at 5.5?

That’s because low levels of acid can cause our skin to dry. Also, the most critical cause of acne is pH imbalance. So in short, to maintain the healthy glow (that we all die for!), we need to maintain a pH balance.

What causes pH to become imbalanced?

Environmental stresses like UV rays and pollution as well as changes in diet and hormones can cause the acid mantle to break down and make our skin more alkaline

How to maintain a balance skin pH?

This is why it is important that we choose cosmetics and skin care products that have a pH value close to that of our own skin so as not to alter the skin’s natural form. These are the most common advises I came across when I was looking for information on how to maintain a balanced skin pH level:

  • Use a mild cleanser.
  • Use an alcohol free toner.
  • Avoid over washing as water has PH of 7.
  • Avoid using products with harsh chemicals like SLS or SLES.
  • Eat well, have a diet containing fruits and vegetables having AHA.

Face Creams pH

Interesting Fact! 😀

You may also like to know that each time you wash your skin, the balance of acidity in our skin is distorted due to the alkalinity of water and the cleanser and it can take half an hour or longer for the normal pH level to be restored and for older skin, it can take up to 8 hours to regain its acidity!!!

Well, now coming to the Experiment part! This will be fun, promise!

What I was more curious about was how do we know if the product is really pH balanced? I mean, unless the product says so, how can we determine their pH balance when we purchase the product and even if they claim to have a pH level of 5.5, how do we know if that’s not just their words.

I eventually figured out that the easiest answer to this is maybe to use the pH litmus indicator test strips!


Yes, so I immediately ordered one for myself from ebay! 200 strips cost Rs. 250, not a bad deal at all.

I felt like some scientist who was experimenting with all my products on the weekend! 😀

Just simply pour a few drops of your product on the strip and wait for it to change color, then match that color with that chart that comes with it and Bingo! You know the pH level of your product!(Isn’t that fun! At least you know whether it’s working for you or not).

pH Strips

pH of cosmetics

So, here are some images of the experimentation (with Lux soap and TBS Satsuma Body Polish).

pH testing


Thank you so much for reading this long article, I did try to make it short 🙂

Image Sources: 1, 2, 3.

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24 thoughts on “How To Check pH Balance of Cosmetic Products

  1. Such an informative post Vidhi, thanks for this one. I have used litmus paper in chemistry labs, you can get it locally too, where they sell lab stuff 🙂 Waise, I know how to make litmus paper to tell whether something is acidic or alkaline with hibiscus flower and lemon 🙂

  2. we cannot blame lux for being this alkaline…bcoz soaps are soaps owing to their property of alkalanity…and even easier test is turmeric…if something is alkaline it will turn turmeric red

  3. Thanks for sharing, had been looking for pH strips a while ago, and couldn’t find anything.
    Was able to purchase the same strips as yours from ebay and I feel so much better knowing a bit about the pH value of the products I’m using. Even if it isn’t 100% accurate, it gives a decent enough idea.

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