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What Is Citric Acid in Shampoo? | An Overly-Detailed Guide

There are a lot of different ingredients in shampoo, and people are learning what they all do. There is a movement away from harmful ingredients towards those that are good for your hair.

If you have heard about this, you may be wondering, “What is citric acid in shampoo?” If this is you, read on to learn what it is, how to use it, and a few things to consider before trying it on your hair.

What Is Citric Acid in Shampoo?

Citric acid is derived from citrus fruits, and it is used in shampoos, cleaning products, food, and more. It is an alpha-hydroxy acid, and it lowers the pH of shampoo.

As a result, it improves how well the shampoo formula works and how your hair looks. It is safe for anyone to use, unless you have a citrus allergy. You may want to learn more about citric acid in shampoo, as many others have.

They often ask questions, including the following:

  • What does citric acid do in shampoo?
  • What are the benefits?
  • How do you use citric acid in shampoo?
  • Are there any side effects?

We wanted to find the answers, so we did the research. Continue reading to learn what you need to know about citric acid in shampoo. 

What Does Citric Acid Do in Shampoo?

Citric acid is an organic acid found in citrus fruits, including oranges, lemons, grapes, limes, tomatoes, kiwis, and more. It is a colorless and odorless chemical compound that has a pH between 3 and 6.

It resembles table salt, and it has a wide range of uses in foods, cosmetics, and pharmaceuticals. In shampoo, it is added to bring the pH level down. Not only does it adjust and correct the pH levels, but it can help preserve the shampoo and contribute to its performance.

It also reduces frizzing and helps to protect your scalp from free radical damage. It is a beneficial ingredient that is safe for nearly everyone to use. 

Benefits of Citric Acid in Shampoo

Citric acid is a white crystalline powder that is added to shampoo for a number of different reasons. There are many benefits to having this ingredient in shampoo. First, it stimulates hair follicles.

It does this because the powder has a warming action on the scalp, so it increases blood circulation, which sends nutrients to your hair follicles and stimulates them. This promotes hair growth. It is also a chemical exfoliator, and it helps to remove dead skin cells.

These dead skin cells clog the pores, so removing them promotes a healthy scalp and the growth of hair that is full and shiny. Your hair and scalp are slightly acidic by nature, and shampoos are normally neutral or alkaline.

When you use products with higher alkalinity, it can damage your scalp and hair. Citric acid helps to lower the pH in shampoo so that it is healthy for your scalp and hair.

Another benefit is that it has antioxidant properties that strengthen your hair follicles, which reduces hair breakage and thinning. It makes your hair shiny by covering the surface of each hair with a protective coating.

It also locks moisture in, which makes your hair look healthy. Citric acid also helps remove excess sebum, or oil from your scalp. This reduces the sebum buildup and helps your scalp stay healthy. These are all benefits of using a shampoo with citric acid as an ingredient. 

How to Use Citric Acid in Shampoo

It is easy to use citric acid in shampoo because you simply need to buy shampoo that lists citric acid as an ingredient. It is also included in other hair care products, such as conditioners, styling products, and more.

You don’t need to worry about how to use it, as you use the shampoo as directed. You should not go out and buy citric acid to use on your hair or try to create a DIY solution.

It is important that it is used in specific concentrations, and the shampoo companies have taken care of this for you. In addition, avoid this ingredient if you have any allergies to citrus. 

Common Side Effects of Citric Acid

If you use citric acid in shampoo as directed, it is safe and effective. Your only worry would be if you have a citrus allergy. However, if you use citric acid too much, it can make your hair dry or brittle. This will cause it to break more easily.

If your hair is too dry, it will be more likely to flake and develop dandruff. If you have sensitive skin, you may find that you have itching or other irritation. In these cases, you should stop using it.

Frequently Asked Questions

Featured image to help answer What Is Citric Acid in Shampoo featuring a woman with lemons in her hair


What hair types benefit from citric acid in shampoo?

This ingredient is good for any hair type. By lowering the pH, it is good for your scalp and helps keep your hair at a healthy pH level.

Why do so many hair care products include citric acid?

Citric acid helps to lower and balance the pH level in many different hair care products, so they include this ingredient to keep the product healthy and less alkaline.

Can you add citric acid to shampoo?

You should not add citric acid to shampoo because there is a very specific concentration that is effective. If you have too much, it can be damaging to your hair, and too little is not going to be effective.

Does citric acid lighten hair?

Citric acid can reduce your hair’s pigment when it is exposed to the sun. It actually accelerated the bleaching process. It is more likely to do this with blond or light brown hair. It is similar to how people put lemon juice on their hair to get summer highlights.

So, What Is Citric Acid in Shampoo?

Citric acid is a common ingredient in shampoo, and it has several different purposes. First, it helps to lower the pH levels of the shampoo, which promotes a healthy scalp. It has a number of other benefits, and it is considered safe for anyone who doesn’t have a citrus allergy.