The Naples Senior Center, a nonprofit organization that provides comprehensive programs and social services for seniors, announced the appointment of Alan S. Jaffe as Chairman of the Board of Trustees. A resident of Naples, Jaffe has an extensive legal background and has supported the Naples Senior Center for several years.

Prior to his retirement, Jaffe was Chairman and Managing Partner of Proskauer Rose, a 140-year-old, New York-based law firm of 750 lawyers with 12 offices on four continents. Before being elected by his partners as the firm’s Chair, he was engaged in collective bargaining on behalf of management and in counseling clients on strategic labor and employment law considerations affecting corporate mergers and acquisitions.
Jaffe is an honors graduate of Cornell University and Columbia Law School where he was an editor of the Columbia Law Review. During his years of practice, he had long been listed in Who’s Who in America, Who’s Who in American Law and The Best Lawyers in America.

As a volunteer, Jaffe has spent more than 35 years working for a variety of charitable and social services organizations. In addition to his current service with the Naples Senior Center, he is Vice Chair of the board of directors of the Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center in Great Barrington, his northern home in the Berkshires of western Massachusetts. Jaffe completed two years of study and participation as a member of the Greater Naples Leadership Class XXII. During his years in New York, he held a number of volunteer positions while attending to his legal career. These include Vice Chairman of the board of the New York Legal Assistance Group; Chairman of the Educational Alliance; President of UJA-Federation of New York; and President of the Jewish Community Relations Council of New York.

He also long served as an officer and member of the Executive Committee of the American Jewish Committee and the Joint Distribution Committee. Jaffe continues on many of these organizations as an emeritus board member. Jaffe also previously served as a board member of the Beth Israel Medical Center where he chaired its legal committee. Prior to becoming Chairman of his firm, he was a mayoral appointee to the boards of directors of the New York City Public/Private Initiatives Inc., New York Sports Development Corporation and Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York.

The Naples Senior Center is the only human services agency of its kind, providing “one-stop shop” services addressing the emotional and social needs of seniors in Collier and southern Lee counties. Since opening its doors in January 2014, the organization has seen
a surge in the depth and scope of need for comprehensive senior services in this region. The Naples Senior Center provides critical programs and services addressing the emotional and social needs of seniors in Collier and southern Lee counties. All services
are provided by licensed and credentialed professionals in the field of aging. They include Structured Dementia Respite Support; Geriatric Case Management and Senior Outreach Programs; and Emotional Support Services as well as a “choice” Food Pantry.

An average of 40 different social, educational and wellness programs are also offered each week thanks to a dedicated corps of more than 200 trained and vetted volunteers. Among the programs are a weekly “Lunch and More;” classes in art, music and film;
brain fitness and educational seminars; courses in computer science; physical well-being; and interest groups. The center serves everyone regardless of backgrounds and beliefs.

To accommodate future growth, the Naples Senior Center has embarked on “A New Era for Seniors” capital campaign to raise $15 million for a new state-of-the-art facility. A lead $5-million gift by local philanthropists Patty and Jay Baker puts the capital
campaign on a successful track and will inspire others to help in the cause. Additional support is being provided by the Brookdale Foundation, members of the Naples Senior Center Board and a matching grant from the Richard M. Schulze Family Foundation.

For additional information on the Naples Senior Center and its comprehensive programs and social services for area seniors and their families, visit

Naples Children & Education Foundation Unveils Plans to Construct a Permanent Home

The Naples Children & Education Foundation (NCEF), the founding organization of the highly successful Naples Winter Wine Festival (NWWF), announced it is putting down long-term roots in the community with the construction of a permanent headquarters. The 15,000-square-foot office building will be located on property purchased by NCEF in the Eagle View Professional Park on Goodlette-Frank Road, just north of Golden Gate Parkway.

The building will serve as home to NCEF’s operations which provide an annual average $10-million investment in community programs serving more than 45,000 at-risk and underprivileged children. Since its inception in 2000, NCEF has evolved into a major philanthropic force in Collier County with 134 Trustees, 12 employees and over 300 volunteers. NCEF also has broadened its role over the years from traditional grant-making to local charities on an annual basis by adding seven strategic initiatives to fill gaps in children’s services and develop long-term collaborative solutions.

“Our administrative activities have literally progressed from the Founding Trustees’ living rooms to several iterations of rented office and storage space at multiple locations,” said NCEF Chief Executive Officer Maria Jimenez-Lara. “This investment in a dedicated headquarters building is essential for NCEF to continue supporting the children of Collier County for generations to come
and will continue to help develop the non-profit capacity and infrastructure in our community.” NCEF’s efforts have contributed to improvements in such areas as school attendance, standardized test scores and high school graduate rates, while dramatically mitigating rates of school suspensions, juvenile delinquency and teen pregnancy, which have all declined over the last decade.

NCEF has become the single largest source of funding for essential services for at-risk and underprivileged children in Collier County. The new headquarters will further develop a central hub for child wellbeing forums, educational seminars, training and non-profit development. “This new building will establish a place of permanence and create a professional environment for the premier supporter of children’s physical, emotional and education services in Collier County,” said Barbie Hills, Capital Campaign Co-Chair and NCEF Trustee. “We are deepening our roots in the community and opening new doors for the children who depend upon our support.”

A rendering of the new headquarters was unveiled today during a groundbreaking ceremony held on the site and attended by NCEF Trustees, employees, and leaders from both the City of Naples and Collier County Government. The Army Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps Color Guard from neighboring Naples High School was invited to present the National Color and other flags.
NCEF has partnered with developers Alex and Fred Pezeshkan, local general contractor DeAngelis Diamond Construction, and John Cooney and Randall Stofft of the award-winning architectural firm Stofft Cooney Architects on the project. It is anticipated that the building will be complete and ready for occupancy in the first quarter of 2020, after the 20 th anniversary NWWF.

The stylish, efficient headquarters will provide a large board room that will be the future hub for NWWF and community needs planning sessions. There also will be staff offices, conference rooms and a resource center which can be utilized as meeting space for local non-profit groups. “This will be a building for the community by the community,” Jimenez-Lara said. Approximately $6.5 million is needed to cover the costs of purchasing the land, constructing the building, furnishings and program development. These funds will be generated through a capital campaign that has been initiated separately from NCEF’s signature fundraiser.
Individuals interested in supporting the “Onward and Upward” campaign may contact Andy Reed, NCEF Director of Development, at 239-514-2239 or e-mail to:

About Naples Children & Education Foundation
The Naples Children & Education Foundation, the founding organization of the Naples Winter Wine Festival, is improving the educational, emotional and health outcomes of underprivileged and at-risk children. Through its annual grants and strategic initiatives, NCEF has impacted over 45 of the most effective nonprofits in the community, providing 275,000 children with the
services and resources they need to excel. NCEF's unique approach, which emphasizes collaboration between organizations and bridges public and private resources, has become a blueprint for how to transform a community, one issue at a time.

About Naples Winter Wine Festival
The Naples Winter Wine Festival, one of the world's most prestigious charity wine auctions, offers a weekend of unforgettable memories. Guests enjoy world-class food and wine during intimate dinners in private homes and are invited to bid on once-in-a-lifetime travel and wine experiences during an electrifying live auction. Since its inaugural event in 2001, the NWWF has raised  more than $191 million, making a profound difference in the lives of hundreds of thousands of children.

For additional information on the Naples Children & Education Foundation or the Naples Winter Wine Festival, contact Lisa Juliano at or 239-514-2239.


The Truth is: Wonderful Naples On-The-Gulf

Lois Bolin Old Naples Historian

Confucius said that If names are not correct, language will not be in accordance with the truth of things.

Dating experts say that good screen names signifies the truth of a person and as such attracts accordingly. There was talk a few years back about changing the name of the city of Naples to “Naples-on-the-Gulf”?

Could this help protect its identity and be in accordance with “the truth of things?”

The truth is, Naples was founded in 1886 and named so because the area reminded its founders of a bay in Italy. On May 8, 1923, the new Collier County was formed (from a section of Lee County), and by December 1, 1923, it was officially incorporated as a township. However, it wasn’t until April 1925 that the Naples Town Council was formed so that the town could function as a municipal corporation under Florida law.

The truth is, Naples was the town’s birth name. Its identity was connected to an entrepreneurial venture to bring a discerning resort development to Florida’s final frontier.

The truth is, the Fort Myers News Press (March 30, 1925) spoke of “Naples-on-the-Gulf” (so as not to confuse it with any other Naples) as “more than a beauty spot — it was a city.”

Advertisements in the paper claimed, “Everybody should pay a visit to Naples to enjoy fishing from Naples pier, the Naples Hotel and the comforts provided by a lighting plant, laundry, new wells, a golf course and new tennis courts. “Happy 70th Birthday!

The truth is, on May 28, 1949, 70 years ago, the town of Naples became the City of Naples launching the surge into where Naples is today. Naples-on-the-Gulf was first used in promotional campaigns in the early 1900’s and is emblazoned on the official city seal; but in 1954, Bill Ryan, the first owner and manager of WNOG radio station, brought this promotional tagline to life.

‘Wonderful-Naples-on-the-Gulf’ was infused with the sights, sounds and feelings of the love we have for this place we call home. (BTW: Guess where the first station was located? Radio Road!)

The truth is, our city is loaded with interesting history so I’ll just ‘wing’ a few: 1941 (June 25) Naples Airfield is placed on the defense improvement list and soon the U. S. Army Airfield began to train pilots for combat; 1951 (July 18) there was a $8000 budget for ‘War on Mosquitos’; 1953 (July 4) Naples Airport was dedicated as Naples American Airport, which coincided with Collier County’s 30th Anniversary and 50 years of powered flight.

Flights from War to Swamp Angels Naples is wrapped in its own kind of beauty. From the Gulf, to the Everglades, to farm lands and even to our early Florida gift shops and upscale chic boutiques. This unique diversity has a distinct commonality wrapped around flight.

Before the development of our WWII airfields, flights to Naples were common for people like Charles Lindbergh, who landed on the fairway of the golf course at 3rd Street S. and 5th Avenue S. to pickup supplies. Others landed on the beach, where a casual stroller would often add leg power to help the plane when the wheels were stuck in the sand.

After Pearl Harbor, our boys who were preparing for war began flying all across Florida. They vowed to come back to this little paradise after the war and in doing so launched a tourism and housing boom in Southwest Florida.

Many of those veterans and their families still use Naples private airport and many of those families’ memorabilia is located at The Naples Museum of Military History, located inside the terminal of the Municipal Airport terminal at 500 Terminal Dr. You can visit Monday-Friday 10 am –5 pm and Sunday Noon – 5 pm.

Located within the Airport complex is Collier ‘Swamp Angel’ Control, aka Collier Mosquito Control, who in their early 1950’s used trucks and WWII DC-3s to address those not so angelic, ‘swamp angels’. My first morning in Naples, I leapt from my bed to look out the window at what was to surely be a plane crash.

Luckily, they now use Sorts Sky vans turbo props, which are infinitely quieter.

The truth is, I’ll never know how our pioneering families endured the heat, humidity and mosquitoes so thick that you could catch a bottle full of skeeters with one swipe.

I am so grateful they did because in doing so they laid the foundation for our Wonderful-Naples-on-the Gulf.

Summer Fun at Naples Zoo

by Kelsey Burr, Naples Zoo Marketing Associate

While summer isn’t considered ‘season’, Naples Zoo still has plenty of fun events coming up! We strive to have events all year long for local families and visitors from out-of-town.


In May, we celebrate Mother’s Day by offering free admission to all moms with a paid child ticket. The deal is offered from Friday, May 10th through Sunday, May 12th. A coupon can be found on our website,

On May 11th, in honor of our 100 year anniversary as a garden, we will be celebrating the birthday of Dr. Henry Nehrling. Nehrling founded our botanical garden back in 1919, and many of his original plants remain.

There will be activities for children, a birthday cookie decorating station, and special enrichment for the animals.


For Father’s Day, we offer free admission to all dads with a paid child ticket, with the coupon found on our website at

The deal is offered from Friday, June 14th through Sunday, June 16th.June is also a special month for giraffes. The Zoo will be celebrating World Giraffe Day on Saturday, June 22nd.

Activities include a scavenger hunt, giraffe education stations, and a giraffe “Meet the Keeper” talk at 1 pm. Guests can also purchase “Save the Giraffe” wristbands. But the fun doesn’t stop at the Zoo! In the evening of the 22nd, we are hosting “Longnecks for Longnecks”, a fundraiser for giraffes at South Street City Oven and Grill.

For every longneck beer sold during the event, South Street will donate $2 to Naples Zoo for giraffe conservation. There will also be raffles and a silent auction.


In July, one of our most popular events is returning! Guests can meet Marvel© super heroes Thor and Spider-Man! The event is from Friday, July 12th through Sunday, July 14th. Meet and greet times are from 10 am to 3 pm.

Become a Member and Save! The best way to experience all the fun Naples Zoo has to offer is to become a Zoo Member! Membership allows you to visit for free all yearlong. Plus, you’ll get discounts on food at Wynn’s Cafe, most items in the Gift Shop, programs such as Safari Squad, Camp WILD, Zoo Yoga, and Wild Encounters, and more. You’ll also receive exclusive benefits like the Member Walking Club, Member Tours, and an annual Member Night. Family memberships start at $99.

We hope to see you at Naples Zoo this summer!

Why was red tide so bad this past year?

Dr Michael Parsons

By Dr. Michael Parsons

It was a trying year on our beaches as red tide caused fish kills and mortalities of dolphins, turtles, manatees, and seabirds.

Red tide was all over the news, and the tourists stayed away, causing significant economic hardship on our local businesses.

Why was red tide so bad this past year? Did we cause or exacerbate red tide? Red tide (an explosion in the population of the microscopic algae, Karenia brevis) is a natural phenomenon; it was recorded in the logs of Spanish explorers back to the 1500s. It is an organism that adapted and evolved to live in our coastal waters, back when the environment was pristine and before humans were present.

Enter people. People have inhabited Florida for thousands of years, but it wasn’t until the last century that we really began to impact our coastal environment particularly water management practices and an ever-growing population. Nutrient inputs to our coastal waters are increasing as our population increases.

The general perception is that if you add more nutrients you get more algae – but it does not appear to be that simple, particularly for red tide. Karenia evolved to live in a nutrient-poor environment and does not appear to respond directly to nutrient inputs. But then you have an acute event like Hurricane Irma.

Hurricane Irma made landfall in Southwest Florida on September 10, 2017 at Marco Island. It was a slow and wet hurricane, and the rainfall was significant. In fact, the resultant discharges down the Caloosahatchee River (through the S79 lock), registered as 5 of the top 10 daily discharges (September 10 – 15) ever recorded at the lock (since record keeping began in 1966).

Soon after (October), red tide began to bloom in our waters. The bloom that formed was very intense and lasted 18 months. It was the worst bloom since 2005 – which coincidentally followed the passage of Hurricanes Charley (2004) and Wilma (2005).

Did these hurricanes cause significantly more nutrients to enter the water, to the point where Karenia was stimulated? Is it a coincidence that the two most intense blooms in the last 20 years followed major hurricanes?

There is much debate about the influence our activities have on red tide. There is much we need to learn. We still cannot predict when a red tide bloom will occur, nor where. We do not regularly monitor our coastal waters for red tide (only along our beaches), so red tide could be lurking offshore without our knowledge, as demonstrated by sick seabirds suffering from red tide exposure (brevetoxicosis) when red tide is absent from our beaches.

In order to mitigate and combat red tide, we need to better understand “how it ticks” and how we influence it. I and other researchers at Florida Gulf Coast University (FGCU) and collaborating institutions are working to answer these questions and are actively pursuing funding to expand our efforts.

The advent of the Water School at FGCU will further strengthen these efforts as university resources are being increasingly focused on water issues through this new school.

Karenia brevis

Red tide affects all of us, and we at FGCU are working hard to address this devastating malady.

Dr. Parsons can be reached at


On March 20, the Naples City Council passed a resolution naming David Feight the recipient of the 2019 Sam Noe Award.

Mr. Feight has served on the Planning Advisory Board (PAB) since 2013. He was elected Vice-Chair in 2015 and Chair in 2018. Mr. Feight, a native of Bethlehem Pennsylvania, graduated from Penn State University in 1964 with a major in marketing.

His wife, Jeanne, of 53 years is also a Penn State graduate. He was employed by Armstrong World Industries, a Fortune 250 company, for 33 years. He held management positions in sales, marketing, finance and corporate development, and retired as Vice President of Business Development.

In October 2006, the City Council established the Sam Noe Award to honor service to the City of Naples by Samuel V. Noe, AICP. Mr. Noe cserved as a member of the Planning Advisory Board from 2002 to 2006.

A distinguished academic, planning consultant and advisor, Professor Noe was a strong supporter both of community revitalization and historic preservation. He became an advocate for master planning the City’s gateway at the Gordon River and worked diligently on legislation to save structures of importance to the community’s heritage.

Each year, an award is presented to a current or past member of a City of Naples appointed committee or board, including the Naples Airport Authority, in Professor Samuel V. Noe’s honor to recognize exemplary service within the mission of that body by members of the City’s boards and committees.

In accordance with the guidelines for the Award, the City Council reviewed the recommendations and selected David Feight as the recipient of the Sam Noe Award at its March 6th regular meeting.

Past honorees include Ronald Pennington, James Black, William Kroeschell, Murray Hendel, James Rideoutte, Peter Manion, Willie Anthony, Gary Price, C. Lodge McKee II, Alan Ryker, Linda Black and James Krall.

Mr. Feight has also been volunteering in the community since 2000 by serving on the Bay Shore Place Condominium, the Park Shore Association and the Gulf Shore Association of Condominiums in positions such as Board Member, President, Vice President and Treasurer.

“Ethics above all else … Service to others before self… Quality in all that we do”

Gala-goers, golfers and supporters gear up

for The Immokalee Foundation’s 2019 Charity Classic events

Jerry and Janet Belle, The Immokalee Foundation Charity Classic Celebration 2019 Co-Chairs

by Noemi Y. Perez

Staff, volunteers, donors and students will celebrate “The Magic of Immokalee” on several occasions as The Immokalee Foundation holds its annual Charity Classic events in November. Talented students with great potential but limited resources will see a community come out in support of their futures with a golf tournament, gala dinner and fundraising auction.

Co-chairs Barbara and Dale Morrison and Janet and Jerry Belle will welcome guests to the 2019 Charity Classic Celebration Friday, November 8, at The Ritz-Carlton, Naples.

The evening of dinner and dancing includes a recap of the foundation’s important work over the past year and introductions to several of the foundation’s impressive students. The event highlight will be the Fund A Dream auction, a unique live bidding experience that allows donors to contribute to Immokalee’s children in specific and tangible ways.

The auction features scholarships and future career experiences that forge important pathways for Immokalee youth through the foundation’s new career model, “Rewarding Careers in the New Economy.”

Based on extensive research of in demand professions in Southwest Florida, the comprehensive, all new curriculum helps students follow an educational and experiential pathway to their chosen career. The model recognizes that many well paying jobs are available to students who earn industry recognized certifications and credentials, in addition to professions that require two- and four-year college degrees.

TIF 2018 and 2019 Charity Classic Pro-Am Chair Sunny Sapiente (right) with golf pros Annika Sorenstam and Paul Azinger

Amateur and professional golfers will attend a pairings party Sunday, November 10, at Bay Colony Golf Club in preparation for the Charity Classic Pro-Am Tournament Monday, November 11, at The Old Collier Golf Club.

Each year, Southwest Florida’s most philanthropic golfers sign up for the scramble tournament to play with some of the world’s most well-known male and female golf professionals. Sunny Sapiente will once again chair the golf tournament, which includes breakfast, lunch, a golf clinic and awards presentation.

The Immokalee Foundation provides a range of education programs that focus on building pathways to professional careers through support, mentoring and tutoring, and life skills development leading to economic independence.

To learn more about The Immokalee Foundation, its signature events, becoming a mentor, volunteering as a career panel speaker or host, making a donation, including the foundation in your estate plans, or for additional information, call 239-430-9122 or visit

Noemi Y. Perez, executive director of The Immokalee Foundation, can be reached at


Claudia Polzin Consultant to Nonprofits

As the 8th Stay inMay Festival gets ready to move into high gear – one wonders how does a festival gets its start?

Quite honestly it takes an imagination, an ability to dream dreams, desire to provide quality entertainment in the “offseason”; and a knowledge of the interests and desires of the year round audience.

One might think that the year round audience wants the same entertainment as the much larger seasonal audience – to some extent that it is true. But a larger segment of this year round audience wants entertainment that is not available to them during “season” and wants to enjoy entertainment in venues that are not the norm.

In its infancy the festival was named Arts Naples World Festival –and for the first four festivals featured the culture and arts of a specific country or region of the world.

In 2012 the Festival invited you to become immersed in the culture of Russia – and featured music created by Russian composers, Russian pianists, visual artists and Tchaikovsky’s “Eugene Onegin”.

The venues were also varied – the former “Philharmonic Center”, Naples Art Association, Golisano Children’s Museum, and the Sugden Theatre.

Through 2015 the Festival invited us all to explore a specific country or region each year – in 2013 it was Latin America, 2014 –Italy and 2015 – France.

In the 2013 Festival a new component was introduced – the educational component -making available the artists to students and inviting students to be guests at the concerts.

As the festivals explored countries and cultures the founders and organizers also began to ask the attendees what they would like to have in the future and so the festival began to evolve.

As the audience members were asked what they would like some interesting points emerged: reasonably priced tickets; small venues where the artists are more up close; more jazz and bluegrass; and not having a featured country.

So when the 2016 festival was announced the first important change was the name – “Stay in May” we will bring the world to you. Secondly – it no longer featured a specific country but expanded to the arts and culture of our country and many others all in the same festival. The Festival at this time had grown from one week to almost three and the venues now spanned over 30 locations throughout Collier County and southern Lee County.

In 2016 one of the newest additions that has continued to be one of the most popular and always a “sell out” – is the Short Film Festival at the Sheffield Theatre in Moorings Park. The director of the film festival is herself a filmmaker and actor – Judy Copeland. She finds shorts that are all award-winning and brings them to Naples.

With each evening of shorts there is a director, producer and/or actor present to discuss the films and answer questions. Every year this author is amazed at how much can be “packed” into a “short”.

There had always been a culinary component – but with the 2017 Festival a twist was added – one culinary adventure featured the upcoming chefs that are in training at our area high schools. These students and their professionally trained instructors are truly amazing- and if you attend you get the opportunity to meet them, talk to them and get to know them and their hopes and dreams.

So as I hope you can see, the “Making of a Festival” is not simply –I think it would fun to have an arts festival.

Because multiple venues are involved the logistics of that component alone could be daunting– but with imagination and determination it works.

Then because it happens in the “off season” finding the quality entertainment that is probably not touring can be a challenge – after all everyone wants to come to Naples in the winter but not so much in our warmer months.

The Stay in May Festival is truly Collier County’s own arts festival celebrating all that the arts offers to all of us – so come and enjoy.


by Clay Cox
Owner/President • Kitchens by Clay

by Clay Cox Owner/President – Kitchens by Clay

The change in the way I do business from when I started 27 years ago to now is truly remarkable.

I remember when my first kitchen design position involved my employer handing me a pager with the instructions that if the code 911 shows up, I am to call him immediately. The next instruction was a 411 code which meant he wanted information from me, and I could take more time getting back to him.

My response was, where is the cell phone that I’ll need to call you? He then told me to get in my truck and drive to the nearest pay phone and call from there. Like I said, “The Times They AreA-Changin’.”

Unfortunately, when it comes to hi-tech, it’s not all roses, especially when it comes to purchasing a new kitchen or bath. We have people contacting us via e-mail to price out a kitchen, that we have never seen. Or calling to ask for a linear foot price, or even a square foot price for something we know nothing about.

Not knowing the individual product choices, changes to the floor plan, the new design and all other variables make it impossible to produce an accurate price. We’re talking painted, stained or exotic wood cabinetry, different ceiling heights, appliance packages, countertop selections, plumbing fixtures, all of which affect the bottom line.

The point is, as bad as we feel telling a prospective client that we simply cannot design and price such a personal thing as their kitchen via e-mail, we still must tell them.

Using technology, e-mail and online resources to search for new products, view a design company’s portfolio, send photos, and in general just see what’s new is fantastic. However, expectations of doing a project “via e-mail” is not the way to go.

This way of communication can be effective but phone conversations, face to-face meetings and a site visit allows for far more progress and accuracy. Although, in my humble opinion, texting seems to be a good way to go for a quick question and answer vehicle.

Don’t get me wrong, I am thrilled to be alive and successful in a day and age where we can get so much done more efficiently using “hi-tech”. This allows for me and my team to be even better at our jobs but it does have its place.

Enjoy your remodel,

Clay Cox

Feel free to send an e-mail to me at


by Erick Carter

Hair is made up of very strong proteins.Despite the strength of these proteins, chemical processes can weaken the hair and cause breakage.

Let’s talk about the pH of chemicals and the damage it can cause.

Hair is made up of two main parts. The outer scale-like layer, the cuticle, protects the inner layer, the cortex. Protein chains are located along the cortex with the melanin which gives hair its color.

When the hair becomes damaged the scales of the cuticle standup, break off and expose the cortex. This makes hair dry and hard to brush. The cortex gives hair its strength and elasticity. When the damage reaches the cortex, the hair will not return to its shape and may even snap off.

Since the melanin is found in the cortex of the hair, to change the color we must penetrate through the cuticle layer – and that’s where pH comes in. Anything water soluble can be measured by pH, the scale runs from 0-14.

Zero is a very strong acid and 14 is a very strong alkaline (base). Water has a pH of about 7 (neutral) as does peroxide and most shampoos.

Lemon juice and vinegar have a pH of about 2 or 3 (both acids) whereas baking soda, an alkaline, has a pH of about 8 or 9.

Hair has a natural pH of about 4.5-5.5.

Permanent hair colors are usually alkaline based. Thus, a higher pH is needed to reach the cortex layer of the hair to change its color.

Look for my article next issue as I continue to explain this important relationship between hair and pH.

I would like to invite all readers to write in your questions. You can do so by email at or call me at 239.777.2380.