Go Away Gray: The Gray Hair Pill

Have you noticed President Obama lately, or rather the fact that he now has gray hair?  It’s as if the gray just came out now where.   Admittedly, my first thought was that the job of being the POTUS has its perks…and obviously some quirks.  And while I expected   the stress to take its toll on him, I never thought I’d see it play out on his head. Hmmm- perhaps being the POTUS is not that glamorous after all. 

 

As usual, I am forever curious about how things work, so I thought I’d do a little research to see if in fact, stress really does make your hair turn gray, and what I found out is- No it doesn’t. At least not directly-there is still more research to be done in that area. 

 

Genes that Color your Hair Gray and Blue

 

And while, research has ruled out stress-it’s pointing a big ol’e menacing finger at genetics.  Remember when you were a teenager and, without merit, you blamed your parents for everything that went wrong in your life?  Well,  this time you can honestly blame them for making your days gray-or atleast your hair.

 

Due to heredity, it’s not uncommon to know someone (young, old, and everything in between) with gray hair.  Furthermore, although gray hair is common and hereditary, I was even more shocked to discover that ethnicity determines when the graying process will actually begin.  It turns out that whites tend to gray first, generally as early as their mid-30s, followed by Asians who tend to gray in their late 30s and lastly Africans, who tend to gray in their late 40s. 

 

 I still have a full head of natural, dark brown hair, so I rarely give gray hair a thought.  However, I’m sure some people with gray hair might obsess tirelessly about whether or not they should cover their gray with a hair colorant.   Well, if you’re one of those fretting people, your days of despair just might be over.

 

 If you’ve been spending countless dollars, time, and effort on expensive hair colorants to disguise the relentless gray hue that has taken your mane  (the one on your head and not the alternate pronunciation for man)- Your bank account and your nerves might finally be getting a big break.

 

A Pill for this… a Pill for that!   A Pill to get… my…. Color Back?

 

 It turns out that there’s a little supplemental pill on the market that promises to make it all go away-the gray that is, and get your hair back to the vibrant hair color that you were born with.  Whomever said you can’t fool Mother Nature, obviously has never met a woman who was determined to give gray hair a one way ticket down the shower drain.

 

Arise-N-Shine, a nutritional supplement company based in NJ, has developed an all-natural pill called Go Away Gray that promises to stop the formation of gray hair in its tracks without the use of hair colorants.  In addition, the company has also formulated a shampoo and conditioner that claims to wash the gray right out of your hair within a few months.

 

If these products work, this is huge news for many people because the color of our hair, right or wrong, seems to communicate something about who we are.  So the hype around this relatively new miracle pill is truly justified.  However, before I delve into the science behind Go Away Gray, I need to first discuss how the beautiful hues that color our tresses are made and what causes them to eventually turn gray.

 

 

Melanin Doesn’t Just Color Our Skin

 

As you are aware, your hair grows from bulbs of pit like structures called follicles and it gets it distinctive color from melanin, which your body naturally produces. There are basically two kinds of melanin-eumelanin, which colors your hair brown to black, and pheomelanin, which turns it blond to red.   The amount of each respective melanin determines the depth of the color in your hair follicle.

 

Needless to say, as with everything in your body, melanin is made up of cells called melanocytes.  When  we are young, our bodies produce lots of  properly functioning melanocytes.  But (like with most things in the human body), as we age, the melanocytes slowly stop creating an adequate amount of melanin and your hair loses its color -similar to the same synthesis that occurs with vitiligo.

 

Hydrogen Peroxide-Melanin’s Number one Enemy

 

In addition to melanin, your body also produces hydrogen peroxide, which is a natural bleach or whitening agent that counteracts with the melanin.  As long as you have enough melanin, hydrogen peroxide is basically harmless to your hair.  Conversely, if your body stops producing enough melanin, then hydrogen peroxide becomes enemy number one to your hair color.

 

Without enough melanin to counteract it, hydrogen peroxide will begin to slowly build up over time, and eventually bleach our hair from the inside out. 

 

So the big question is what actually causes peroxide to build up in the hair follicle  in the first place?

 

The Root of the Problem

 

Researches found that three critical enzymes contribute directly to the build up of peroxide in the hair follicles: Catalase, MSR A and B, and Tyrosinase.  When these enzymes become diminished (generally due to aging) naturally occuring hydrogen peroxide begins to build up and wreak havoc on your hair’s natural pigmentation.

 

 

The Importance of Catalase, MSR A and B, and Tyosinase on Hair Follicles

 

Catalase:  Our hair follicles need catalase to neutralize hydrogen peroxide by causing it to decompose into harmless water and oxygen, which is then excreted from the body. When we don’t produce enough catalase this metabolic process doesn’t occur and the peroxide goes unchecked and eventually builds up-tuning our hair gray.

 

MSR A and B:  When one defense system doesn’t work in the body, another one kicks in, which is the case with the methionine sulfoxide reductase A and B protein (MSR A and B).  The MSR A and B enzyme plays a critical role in repairing the damage gray hair follicle caused by hydrogen peroxide. However, if you don’t have an adequate amount, the hydrogen peroxide will continue to build up.

 

Tyosinase:  Tyosinase is needed to produce melanin in our hair folliclesHigh levels of peroxide coupled with low levels of MSR A and B and catalase will ultimately inhibit the production of tyosinase-ulitmately leading to lower levels of melanin.

 

As you can see, these three enzymes can cause a domino effect that leads to peroxide build up and the graying of our hair.  But again, thanks to this new break through pill, that might all be changing.

 

Is Go Away Gray the Fountain of  Youth for Hair?

 

 

Arise-N-Shine’s founder, Cathy Beggan says that Go Away Gray contains catalase as  the active ingredient  in her Go Away Gray supplement, shampoo, and conditioner.  And as you might have guessed, she suggests that simply replenishing the catalase that is lost during aging, will once again protect your hair follicles against the graying damage caused by hydrogen peroxide.

 

If you’re squeamish about actually popping the pill, then Cathy recommends her shampoo and conditioner as an alternate topical solution.   The reviews are mixed for the shampoo and conditioner and the only information I found on the supplement, Go Away Gray, was  that it had’t been approved by the FDA.  But don’t be too alarmed about that because most supplements are not FDA approved. 

 

If you do decide to use it, swing back this way and let us know how it worked out for you.

 

References:

Science Daily

The FASAB Journal

Genetics Home Reference

 

 

D-Panthenol and Biotin: A Power Packed Duo for Nail Growth (Part 3 of 3)

Think expensive manicures will ensure beautiful, healthy nails? Think again! The truth is that your nails, just like your hair and skin, require the proper nourishment to maintain their strength and luster.  So if you want to make sure that your fabulous mani doesn’t end up ruined because of cracked or chipped nails, start supplementing and/or purchasing beauty products with biotin and panthenol, which are vitamins from the Vitamin B Complex family.

 

The Stuff Nails are Made of!

Nails are made from keratin so they also thrive on protein just like your hair. Protein nourished nails are longer, stronger, and less likely to break.  The good news is that getting the right nail nourishment is as easy as supplementing or applying a biotin/panthenol packed nail strengthener to your beauty regimen.

 

Biotin and Panthenol –A Power Packed Duo for Nail Growth

Biotin (vitamin B7) aids in metabolizing fats to create cell energy and more importantly, biotin is greatly needed to produce keratin, which is a major component of your nails.  Keratin gives your nails both structure and strength, which are critical in terms of reducing breakage and chipping.  However, while keratin plays a major role in nail growth, it’s not the only component that is needed to sustain that growth, which is where panthenol comes into play.

 

Panthenol is a perfect ingredient to use to sustain healthy nails due to its naturally high affinity to keratin.  Because panthenol is a humectant, it attracts moisture to the nail bed, which ensures a balance of keratin (which is hard) and moisture (which is a softener) in your nail bed-think hair! Just like your hair needs both moisture and protein to sustain growth, so does your nails.  Panthenol quickly penetrates the nail bed and makes your nails more flexible and less rigid.  Flexible, less rigid nails translates to longer nails.

 

So, whether you’re supplementing with biotin or panthenol, eating foods that contain them, or just applying them topically, your nails will certainly benefit and you just might get another added benefit of saving money because your manis will last longer.

 

Find out more about D Panthenol for Skin and Hair

Panthenol: Why it’s a Must Have for Your Hair, Skin, and Nails Series (Part 1 of 3)

Panthenol is a part of the Vitamin B family and is technically a provitamin, which means that it has to be converted (through the metabolic process) into a vitamin.  When metabolized,  panthenol becomes pantothenic acid, which is also known as Vitamin B5. Because pantothenic acid is found in every living cell, it is essential for healthy cell health.

 

Why Your Body Need Pantothenic Acid

One of the reasons pantothenic acid is essential to good health is because it helps to regulate the adrenal glands, which, when performing properly, ensures a healthy libido and helps you to manage stress by regulating the steroidal hormones. Another reason your body needs pantothenic acid, and perhaps the most important reason, is that pantothenic acid energizes your cells.  Consequently, when you’re feeling tired or sluggish, something as simple as popping a B Complex vitamin (which includes Vitamin B5) might just give you the energy boost you need.

 

How does Pantothnic Acid Jump Starts Those Cells?

Pantothenic acid is a critical part of an important enzyme called co-enzyme A (CoA).  CoA is essential because simply put, it is found in all living cells and aids in converting fatty acids into energy.   All cells need energy to function or perform their jobs properly.  And since pantothenic acid is naturally found all over your body, it needs to be occasionally replenished to ensure that those cells are performing well.  But the benefit of this powerhouse vitamin doesn’t stop there.

 

In addition to all of the good things pantothenic acid does for you internally, it also has some incredible benefits when applied topically in its provitamin form- panthenol.

 

Panthenol in Beauty Products

Since the late 1940s, cosmetics companies have been using panthenol in the provitamin form of either D-Panthenol or DL-Panthenol to formulate high performing beauty products.  D-Panthenol is specifically designed for cosmetics products that have a range of pH 4 and pH 7.  When reading the ingredient list of a product, you’ll probably see either D-Panthenol or DL-Panthenol used as the INCI name.

 

D-Panthenol can be readily metabolized and it bio-converts into pantothenic acid when applied topically; whereas, L-Panthenol cannot bio-convert.  However, both forms are effective in formulating highly moisturizing beauty products that have astounding results on hair, skin and nails.   Needless to say, it’s not surprising that panthenol is a “major player” in the beauty industry.  In fact, it is such a significant ingredient for beauty that it‘s one of the few “miracle” beauty ingredients that has been given a nickname- “the natural beautifier.”  So what’s the magic in this power-packed vitamin that makes it so incredible?

 

Panthenol and Your Hair

Panthenol strongly attaches to the hair cuticle and deeply penetrates the cortex.  As noted above, the D-Panthenol form  also bio-converts to pantothenic acid so you get “two-for-one” in that you get an internal vitamin boost, while externally giving your hair and scalp the nutrients they need for the following results:

 

  • Nourishes and Conditions the Hair-because panthenol actually bio-converts to pantothenic acid in the hair, cosmetics companies can make the claim that it nourishes the hair, which is no small feat.  The “hair nourishment” claim was accepted by the National Advertising Division (NAD) Council of the Better Business Bureau.

 

The Benefit:

Strengthens hair roots and hair shaft

Activates pigment stimulation-possibly reducing the production of gray hair

Improves scalp inflammation from eczema and psoriasis

Regenerates hair follicle cells

More luster and sheen in the hair

More flexible and healthier hair

 

  • Provides Long Lasting Moisture-especially when consistently applied over a period of time.

 

The Benefits:

Reduced split ends

Greatly retains moisture in hair

Less hair breakage when applying thermal heat

 

  • Makes Stronger Hair and Prevents Breakage-whether your tresses are natural (virgin) or chemically treated, panthenol ladened products will greatly reduce breakage due to its ability to normally increase keratin production.

 

The Benefits:

Thicker hair

Less split ends

Protects chemically treated hair, i.e. permed or colored, from breakage

 

With this kind of impact on your hair, it’s no wonder this powerhouse nutrient has the nickname, “The Natural Beautifier.” If it’s that great for hair, hmm….can’t wait to see what it does skin and nails?

Hydrating Low Porosity Hair: It’s all About the Energy Baby!-Technically Speaking

In the last article, “How to Hydrate Dry Hair Caused By High Porosity, we discussed how to moisturize high porosity hair.   The discussion was basically about the mass transfer of hydration.  Some people were saying that oil is a moisturizer and I countered with oil doesn’t have one drop of water so how can it be a moisturizer?  What really bothered me about the oil and moisture statement was that it did not respect one of the most fundamental laws of nature (Conservation of Mass).  Conservation of Mass states that mass can neither be created nor destroyed, only transformed.  Since adding oil to hair does not involve a reaction, water can’t be created.   I went on to say that we have to add water to our hair in order for an oil to appear to be moisturizing.  Hopefully, after reading the high porosity article, you all are on your way to having healthy, moisturized hair.  But what should you do to achieve moisture if you have low porosity hair?

 

In this article, I want to discuss hydration of hair from the perspective of the second most important law of nature.  It is the Conservation of Energy.  Just like mass, energy can’t be created or destroyed, only transformed.  We don’t realize it but mass at its most basic level is energy and energy is mass. They are in equilibrium with each other. So without getting too Zen, a particle’s mass, energy and momentum all co- exist simultaneously and are in equilibrium,  yet they only have relevance in the present moment.

So, in this article I want to have a conversation about the energy of hydration for the special case of low porosity hair.

 

It All Begins With the Cup Test for Determining Hair Porosity!

Most people are aware of the cup test to determine one’s porosity.  For those who don’t know, the test goes as follows:

You take a strand of freshly shampooed hair and place it in a cup of water.  If it floats on the top of the water after several minutes, the hair is said to have low porosity.

However, I purposely left out one important piece of information-The water is at room temperature.  What do you think would happen if I used hot water instead of room temperature water?  The same strand of low porosity hair will eventually sink from the surface of the cup.

 

Exactly How does Temperature Affect the Wetting of Low Porosity Hair?

The increased temperature of the water is the result of my intentional addition of energy.  It does not matter how I heat the water system.  For example, let’s assume I used a microwave oven.  At the start, water molecules, which are at room temperature, are in equilibrium with each other.   Once the oven is turned on, the water molecules absorb the microwave radiation and the electrons begin to vibrate and expand.  What is really happening is the microwave radiation (radiation energy) is converted into kinetic energy (due to vibrating electrons).  Kinetic energy is converted to thermal energy as a result of the friction created when electrons are rubbing together.  The thermal energy increases the water temperature, which in turn is absorbed by the hair system.  Under increased temperature conditions, the hair cuticle begins to open and the water penetrates the hair shaft.  The same argument can be made if you use an electric stove or gas stove to heat the water.  In these cases you are using electrical energy and converting it to thermal energy or combustion energy, which converts to thermal energy.

 

  • Tip for moisturizing low porosity hair:  In the words of my 10 yr. old daughter, “Heat is your BFF!’  Heat makes it possible for you to open those cuticles and allow water to penetrate the cell membrane complex (CMC) and cortex.   The absolute best way to heat the hair and add moisture is with a steamer and pre poo or deep condish regimen.  Most people do not realize it but when steam condenses it will give up 1000 BTU/lb.  That’s a huge amount of energy to rapidly change the hair temperature (cuticles) and moisturize all at the same time.  At atmospheric conditions, steam will condense once the temperature is below 212F.  The air and your hair act as a heat sink to absorb this energy.  Hair dryers take longer and do not bring additional moisture.

 

But wait-I’m not done yet!   There is something else going on with the water when I raise the temperature.  It has to do with something called surface tension. What is surface tension and why is it important for hydrating hair?

 

The Basics of Surface Tension

Surface tension is the property of a liquid that allows its surface to resist an external force.   The ability of a liquid’s surface to resist an external force is directly related to it cohesive force.      Cohesive forces are inter-molecular forces that hold a liquid together.  These inter-molecular forces are attractive forces of like molecules.  Depending on how strong these forces are, liquids will form droplets or fine mist.    By convention, the units of surface tension are force per unit of length.  You can think of it as how much force is needed to be applied in order to submerge a fiber a certain distance into the liquid.

Solids have cohesive forces also.  For solids, by convention we use the term surface energy, which has the units of energy per area.  Think of it as how much energy is needed to be applied in order to wet the surface area of a solid.   Don’t get hung up on the units because they are interchangeable.  I can use surface tension to calculate surface energy and vise versa.

 

Let’s go back to the porosity test and explore how surface energy is relevant to hair care!

So now that you know about surface tension, what is really happening with low porosity hair?

 

In the hair care business, we define “the floating of low porosity hair on the surface of water” as low porosity hair’s inability to be wetted by water.  You have a surface energy imbalance.  The surface tension of the water is greater than the minimum required surface energy of the hair fiber.  Here is another way to look at-In order to wet a hair fiber the surface energy of the water has to be approx equal to or less than the surface energy of the hair fiber.

Wet ability = Spread Factor = Surface Energy Dry Hair – Surface Energy Water

If wet ability is negative, then the hair fiber becomes only partially wetted. Depending on how negative the wet ability is determines how wet a fiber will get.

If wet ability is zero to positive, then the hair will be totally wetted.

Let’s take a look at some real numbers.

 

Surface Energy  
  N/m
Virgin Hair

0.028

Damaged Hair

0.042

Water @ 20C

0.073

Water @ 100 C

0.059

Steam @ 150 C

0.049

Teflon

0.03

Glass

0.04

Stainless Steel

0.05

 

Let’s assume virgin hair is an approximation for low porosity hair.  As you can see, the surface energy of water at room temperature is almost 3 times as large as the surface energy of the virgin hair.  Based on the equation for wet ability, we now see why low porosity hair is difficult to wet (0.028-0.73 =  -0.045) . We also see how increasing water temperature or using steam brings you much closer to achieving total wetting of the hair fiber (0.028 – 0.059 = -0.031).  From an energy perspective, you can now see how using thermal energy lowers the surface energy of water to bring about more favorable results as it is related to the hydration of low porosity hair.

Let’s look at what the wet ability will be for high porosity/ damaged hair.

0.042- 0.073 = -0.031

So at a surface energy of -0.031 N/m, the hair will be partially wetted.  It is important to note that you do not have to achieve total wetting (wet ability = 0) in order to hydrate your hair.  Great if it can be achieved but not needed to hydrate the hair.  The goal is to get at or below

-0.031 N/m.

 

Note:  Increased water temperature helps high porosity hair as well!

 

The Experiment

Use a dropper and add one drop of water to a stainless steel pot and to Teflon coated pot.  The Teflon coated pot will have a water bead while the stainless steel water droplet will be slightly raised at best.  This is exactly what happens when you place low porosity hair in water at room temperature.  The low porosity hair is like Teflon and water.  The energy imbalance is too high and water will bead up.  On stainless steel, the energy balance is less pronounced so the surface can be wetted.

Another way to reduce the surface tension of water is to add a surfactant.

 

Surfactants

 

Surface Energy  
  N/m
Virgin Hair

0.028

Surfactant @ 0% (Pure H20)

0.073

Surfactant @ .003%

0.05

Surfactant @ .004%

0.04

Surfactant @ .005%

0.03

 

Based on the data, small amounts of surfactant can have a huge effect in lowering the overall surface energy of water.  With as little as 0.005% of surfactant added to water the surface energy requirements can be lowered to the point were it is almost equal to the virgin hair.

Surface Energy of Virgin Hair: 0.028

Surface Energy of Water with 0.005% of surfactant: 0.03

Very low differential of energy, thus the hair fiber is easily wetted.

 

  • Tip:  Adding small amounts of surfactant to your deep conditioner will lower the overall surface energy of the system and drive hydration.
  • Super Tip:  Adding a tiny amount of Castile soap to your deep condish regimen will drive hydration for several reasons.  The first is that it will lower the overall surface energy of the water system.  The second is that the castile soap tends to have a higher pH and it will also open the hair cuticle (more on this later).

 

Conditioners

Conditioning the hair is the process of smoothing down the hair cuticles aka detangling.  From an energy perspective, you are reducing the surface energy of the hair slightly less than 0.028 N/m.  The smoother the surface, the lower the surface energy and the more difficult it is to hydrate/ wet the hair.  Smooth surfaces have lower surface energy.

The same principal can explain why high porosity hair is easily wetted.  The surface energy is increased and is closer to the surface energy of water at room temperature.  Net-Net, when hair is at the elevated surface energy you are more likely to wet the hair.

 

However, this is only half the story for conditioners.  The actual conditioner solution has a significantly lower surface energy as compared to water.  This is due to the presence of a special class of surfactants called emulsifying agents.  This is why some leave in conditioners will foam slightly.  They can decrease the surface energy of the conditioner and range in value from 0.063 to 0.03 N/m.

The diversity of surface energies in products is one of the reasons why some products will perform on one person’s hair and will not perform on another person’s hair.  We tend to say, the product is bad.  In reality it’s not bad or good.  A better way to think of it is the surface energy of the product relative to the surface energy of your hair is such that you can’t achieve satisfactory wetting.  Or, put another way, we do not have enough energy in the system to achieve wetting.

  • Tip:  A good rule of thumb is that if a product will hydrate your hands, in particular your fingers then it might also be good on your low porosity hair.  The skin around the fingers has a surface energy of 0.026 – 0.029 N/m.  This is very close to the surface energy of low porosity hair.

If you have damaged or high porosity hair, then a topical application of the condition to your forearm is a good test to see if it will moisture your hair.  The surface energy of the forearm is 0.038 N/m

  • Tip:  If you want to increase the performance of your leave in or rinsable conditioner, try heating it up and applying it to your hair at an elevated temperature.  Get a baby bottle warmer and empty plastic bottle.  Add the conditioner to the plastic bottle and heat it up to 30 C to 40 C.

 

Stop!  I want to make sure that everyone is clear that I am not proposing that you boil the conditioner.  If you heat the product too much you can break the emulsion and burn yourself.  So stay below 40 C or so.

By now, you can probably tell me the effect on surface energy.  At elevated temperatures, the surface energy of the conditioner is decreased.  Also, the porosity is increased due to the cuticle opening at higher temperatures.  The end result is that you hair is more likely to be wetted.

 

Hydrolyzed Proteins

The type, size and molecular weight distribution of hydrolyzed proteins is especially important for the hydration of low porosity hair.  Due to the nature of the cuticle spacing, the smaller hydrolyzed proteins are better at filling/repairing the damaged hair fiber.  From an energy perspective, adding hydrolyzed protein is similar to adding conditioning agents.  The hair surface energy is reduced because the protein fills the cracks in the hair fiber (smoother surface).  Remember, smooth hair surfaces are more difficult to wet.   However, this is just like the conditioner example.   The protein conditioner solution’s surface energy is vastly lower than water @ room temperature.  So net net, they can do a better job hydrating the hair.

  • Tip:  Look for hydrolyzed rice, silk or a wheat protein.  They tend to have a molecular weight profile that is really good for penetrating and coating low porosity hair.

Look out for oat, animal keratin or corn-hydrolyzed proteins.  They tend to be too large for use on low porosity hair.

 

pH

The intentional addition of high pH  (base) or low pH (acid) to your hair products will also change the energy balance of the hair system.  In low pH conditions, the hair cuticle will open and the hydration of low porosity hair can be increased.  Rough hair surfaces are easier to wet.

Two things are happening when we change the pH of hair products by adding a base.

The first is that we are increasing the energy of the water system by the heat of hydrolysis.    When a base is added to water, heat is generated.  A good example of this is when you make soap.  When caustic is added to water, heat is generated and the surface energy for the water is decreased.

The second is that the increased heat and high pH also reduces the surface energy of the hair as the cuticles open as a result of breaking the hydrogen bonding in hair (reversible process).

  • Tip:  As stated earlier adding castile soap is a good way for low porosity hair to get extra moisture and hydration.  I am not saying that this should be done every time you deep condition your hair.   Just try it on some frequency and test the results.  Also, you do not have to use a lot of surfactant either.  Just a little surfactant is needed to reduce the surface energy of the conditioner product.

I had read where folks were using sodium bicarbonate to change the pH of conditioners.  I am not a big fan of this approach because sodium bicarbonate is not completely water-soluble.  Here is some solubility data for Na Bicarb.

Stop!  I want to be very clear that I am not saying that using Bicarb is wrong.  What I am saying is that in my opinion, castile soap is a better way to change pH.

Solubility of Na Bicarbonate at various temperatures

69 g/l (at 0ºC)

96 g/l (at 20ºC)

165 g/l (at 60ºC)

What the data is saying is that I can only add 69 g of Na Bicarb per 1 liter of water @ 0 C.  If I go over that amount, the solids will precipitate out of solution.  The solution goes from clear to cloudy.   Using Bicarb takes a little more work to rinse out un-solubilized Na Bicarb.  If I were going to use it, I would rinse with Green Tea, Lemon Juice or Apple Cider Vinegar to neutralize it.

Also the solubility of Na Bicarb increases with higher water temperatures.  So using high temp water helps.  Since you are now experts on surface tension, you know why rising the temperature will help drive the solubility of Na Bicarb.  This is a blessing and a curse, you have to maintain the temperature or Bicarb will precipitate out of solution as the temperature cools.

Here are my thoughts on why castile soap might be a better choice than Sodium Bicarbonate for increasing the pH of your conditioner.

 

Na Bicarbonate

Pros

  1. Drives hydration
  2.  Works with condish and emollience is not compromised

Cons

  1. Not completely water soluble and must be completely rinsed from hair (gritty/abrasive)
  2. Extra Neutralization Step needed with weak acid (lemon juice, green tea or ACV)
  3. Mildly damaging to hair (will lift the cuticle)

 

Castile Soap

Pros

  1. Drives hydration
  2.  Completely water soluble

Cons

  1. Can compromise the emolience and conditioning performance if too much is added
  2. Mildly damaging to hair (will lift the cuticle)

 

Summary for low porosity hair care.

  1. Give yourself more time to allow hydration to occur.  Low porosity hair takes longer to hydrate.
  2. Look for ways to add heat to your condish products.  Steam is the best, but low heat dryers are good too.  The goal is to get heat and product into your hair.  Consider heating the product, if you are averse to using a hair dryer.   
  3. Consider using a tiny bit of surfactant in your next deep conditioner or co wash.  I like castile soap but other no poo shampoos might be equally helpful.  Check the pH. The pH should be 9 for castile soap.
  4.  If you are using protein conditioners, look for hydrolyzed rice, silk or wheat.  Beware of corn and oat protein because they are too large. 
  5. Occasionally use castile soap, such as the CUSH Mango Babassu Shampoo Bar to shampoo your hair.  The elevated pH will drive hydration.  I am not saying switch to castile soap for all your shampooing.  Just work it in once every 3 to 6 weeks.