I am starting to pH test facial cleansers ~ foaming, creams, exfoliators, cleansing waters ~ and I wanted to explain how I would be testing my cleansing products. There are different schools of thought of whether to dilute the cleanser, if it is thick, with water ~ some people are purists and say no and others, like me, say, that it is okay. Why do I feel it is okay? It isn’t just me ~ I researched a lot about pH testing before I started doing it, as I am NOT an expert. We don’t apply our cleansers “straight” onto our faces in the first place, we do dilute them with water. Also, if you have a thick cleanser, you would want to dilute it so the test strip can absorb and read the ingredients. For the purposes of my tests, I will at times use distilled water, and I will mark them as such. Below is the control strip in this blog post.
Why don’t I test the pH level of oil cleansers? Oil cleansers, such as Banila Co Clean It Zero or Skinfood Black Sugar Cleansing Oil, cannot be home tested at this point, because the current home pH test strips are testing the solution that will be suspended in water. Oil cleansers and balms do not mix with water. You can try it, but it won’t give you the results you want.
I have a pH Cleanser blog post with the cleansers I have tested and will update it every time I try out a new product. If I mix the cleanser with water, I will indicate that. Again, I am not a skincare expert or an expert on pH testing. That said, it is easy enough to do at home. I use SEOH 0-14 pH indicator strips that I purchased from amazon.com
If you want to read more about pH levels in skincare and why it is important, please check out this excellent blog post on pH Balance and Skin Care by Jenni @ jenniraincloud.com, who is an aesthetician and when I started to read about pH levels, her blog was the one that I kept going back to. There are others out there, but she is a skincare expert ~ it’s her job!
My pH Control Strip ~ distilled water
I’ve used cleansers as high as a pH level 9 without any tightening or having my face all dried out. That said, my face is oilier than most, so perhaps that is why a higher pH level doesn’t affect me as badly as it does others. Everyone is different and if you have a cleanser that has a higher pH level, but it doesn’t cause your skin to dry out, tighten, break out or any of the negative things that has been written about a higher pH level, then it really is up to you whether you wish to continue using it.