How to check pH Balance of Cosmetic Products

pH refers to the ‘Potential of Hydrogen’ and in a particular cosmetic it means the degree or level of acidity or alkalinity of that product.

pH level

Most of us unknowingly pick up lot of skin care products just by hearing about them or by seeing a new skin care product advertisements. Little do we stop to notice what is the actual chemical configuration of the skin case that we are picking up and whether the pH level of that skin case cosmetic is suited to our skin or not? This is one of the most common and most dangerous mistakes of ours as each cosmetic has a pre-determined pH level and our skin is supposed to be exposed to the correct pH level cosmetic only.

Range of pH: pH is measured on a scale of 0 to 14 and is an important aspect to consider when choosing skin care and cosmetics. 0-7 indicates an acidic pH and 7-14 indicates alkaline pH.

pH of our Skin: Just like a cosmetic has a specific pH level, similarly our skin also has a specific acidity or alkalinity level in our skin layers. The human skin is proven to be acidic in nature ranging between 4 – 6 pH and keeps varying from one body part to the other. All of us have an Acid mantle on our skin which is a fine line or layer of sweat and sebum that helps to keep our skin healthy, glowing and with lesser abnormalities like acne, blemishes etc.

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Importance of pH in our cosmetics: The pH level that needs to be considered when choosing one’s cosmetics and skin care is that of our skin’s Acid mantle. The pH of this skin mantle in all of us keeps varying and we need to keep this at a level of 5.5 pH, for a healthy skin. This simply means that we need to maintain a pH balance of our skin for it to look healthy. We can only do so if we use the correct pH balancing cosmetics on our skin. If we use an acidic or alkaline pH cleanser, soap, moisturizer, cream etc. then our skin’s acid mantle is imbalanced and leads to lots of abnormalities like oiliness, acne, blemishes, breakouts etc.

How to find out cosmetic’s pH level? There are many techniques to find this out; two of them are listed below to help you.

  1. pH-strips – pH strips are readily available in the market and you can purchase them and test your cosmetic’s pH level through them. They come with an instructions manual to make this entire process easy for you. All you have to do is to pour few drops of your cosmetics onto the strip and notice the color change, match the color change against the table given in the manual and you can find out its pH level.
  2. Cosmetics pH details – Another way to find out about the pH levels is to carefully read the details of the cosmetic that you are using. In most cases the pH details shall also be present with the cosmetic details. In case they are not present, you can always contact the cosmetic manufacturer and raise a query about this.
  3. Litmus paper test – You can also use Litmus paper to find the exact pH level of your skin care cosmetics to avoid using any inappropriate product on your skin.

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About the author


Manisha resides in New Delhi and has over 9 years of work experience in multiple industries. She is passionate about writing and travelling in her free time.