How to Make Red Cabbage pH Indicator to Test pH of Shampoo

pH-indicator-red-cabbage-juicygreenmomWith all the buzz about shampoo needing to be the right pH for your hair (there’s a lot of talk about how the traditional no-poo baking soda method is too alkaline for hair), I was itching to test out my current DIY shampoo recipe with some litmus paper. I asked on my local swap page if anyone could provide some, and a teacher on the page told me that you could actually use red cabbage as a pH indicator. Mind. Blown. I got a few strips of litmus paper as well, so I decided to geek out with a science experiment to test pH of shampoo with both methods!

It was surprisingly easy to make the red cabbage pH indicator – all I did was chop the cabbage, pour boiling filtered water over it and let it sit for about 10 minutes. I strained the water and voila! My very own pH indicator! I compared the colour of the red cabbage liquid to my Litmus Paper to really test it out.

chopped red cabbage

red-cabbage-cut-juicygreenmom

red cabbage liquid after soaking in boiling water for 10 minutes
red-cabbage-pH-indicator-juicygreenmom

Red Cabbage pH indicator colours

pH 2 4 6 8 10 12
Color Red Purple Violet Blue Blue-Green Greenish Yellow

pH of filtered water with litmus paper: 6. Red cabbage indicator looked like a deep shade of purple to me (violet?).pH-water-juicygreenmom

pH of Green Beaver liquid castile soap with litmus paper: 7. Red cabbage indicator was a more blue purple like indigo.pH-castile-soap-juicygreenmom

Shampoo Recipe (that converted me to DIY hair care)

pH of my DIY shampoo with litmus paper: 7. Red cabbage indicator was pretty much the same – a deep blue purple like indigo.

I’ve heard that castile soap is alkaline, so I was surprised when I found that the brand I was using had a neutral pH of 7. Perhaps it’s just slightly alkaline, but not enough to make it to a pH of 8? Regardless, the sad news is that my beloved DIY shampoo recipe is not optimally pH-balanced for haircare (supposedly hair has a pH between 4.5-5.5).

I also tested the pH of aloe vera juice, because I’ve heard it used in other DIY shampoo recipes.

pH of aloe vera juice with litmus paper: 4. Red cabbage indicator was a mauvy-reddish-purple shade.pH-aloe-vera-juice-juicygreenmom

So perhaps I will experiment with aloe vera juice as another possible ingredient in a DIY shampoo… Hmm! The nice thing is now I know what mauvy/purple shade pH 4 is, so I feel comfortable testing future products with the red cabbage pH indicator method. Stay tuned for more DIY hair care adventures!

Do you know the pH of your shampoo?

 

(Disclosure: I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program and the Amazon.com.ca, Inc. Associates Program, affiliate advertising programs designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com & amazon.ca. This post contains affiliate links. If you choose to purchase products via these links, a small percentage of the sale will be given to me at no extra cost to you. Thanks for supporting juicygreenmom.ca!)

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