Was I wrong!!
I did not pH test it to see if it was in the best pH range that it will not affect the girls' hair. After using this product, their hair was stripped, it took 2 deep conditioning sessions to get the moisture back into their hair. What happened? I looked at the ingredient list for sulfates and did not see any.
Then it occurred to me to pH test it.
Anything between 0 and 6.9 is acidic, 7 is neutral, and anything between 7.1 and 14 is alkaline. Human hair and scalp oil, sebum, has a pH balance of between 4.5 and 5.5. A substance that is too alkaline will cause the hair cuticle to open, while a substance that is too acidic will cause the cuticle to contract.
A shampoo that has a high pH above 7 can strip your hair even if it does not contain sulfates.
Shampoos that have a pH higher than 5.5 can cause a pH imbalance and affect the cuticle. If it contains harsh surfactants such as sodium lauryl sulfate the hair can be stripped of its natural oils located in the epicuticle, or the outermost cuticle layer. This can result in mechanical damage due to combing and styling. In addition, the intercellular “glue” which binds the fibers of the cortex together can be dissolved by repeated shampoos with a high pH and harsh detergents. This can lead to damage to the cortex (which accounts for the hair’s strength).
When I was finally able to buy the Giovanni clarifying shampoo, I tested it and was pleased it was below 7.1 and also the label says "Leaves hair perfectly pH balanced and clean"
Moral of this blog post:
Get yourself some test strips and test your products.