Hard Water and Your Hair: Tips & Tricks

Hard water leads to difficulty in moisturizing the hair, dullness, link curls, and just an overall lack of manageability. It doesn’t matter your hair type, hard water is something that you should really consider and think about while caring for your hair. So what is hard water? Why is hard water bad for your hair and skin? How can you determine if you have hard water? And what should you do if you have hard water? Let’s figure that out.

Hard Water

What Is Hard Water?

According to Water Quality Association, hard water is water that has a high content of minerals like calcium and magnesium, and even some metals. When rainwater falls it’s naturally soft. However, as it percolates through the different ground layers like limestone and chalk, it picks up minerals along the way. Unless you have a rainwater catchment system, the water in your house is usually from groundwater, that is, depending on your region, treated first and then softened.

Why Is Hard Water Bad for Your Hair and Skin?

Now you may wonder why hard water is bad for hair and skin. Simply put hard water causes a scale that results in cloudy spots on dishes and fixtures and does the same to your hair and skin. The more magnesium and calcium in your water, the more hard your water is, water hardness can actually change the pH levels of your water. And this calcium and magnesium can build up on your hair over time. This will make your hair feel drier and rougher. Also, if you have highlights or a lighter hair color overall, it can make your hair look brassy. You’ll get really strange orange or green tones in your hair. In some cases, hard water can even cause hair loss.

Generally speaking, hard water is technically safe, but it certainly puts a strain on your strands and scalp. That is what the Roxbury Institute PA-C Michael Bontekoe says on the hard water on your hair:

Over time, calcium and magnesium can build up on your scalp and hair, causing dryness.

How Can You Determine if You Have Hard Water?

So now that you know what hard water is and why it’s bad for you, I’m going to tell you how to identify whether or not you have hard water. So if you recently moved and your routine no longer works despite using the same exact techniques and products it may actually be because of your water.
Look at Your Faucets The easiest thing you can do is go look at your faucets. If you have hard water, it will build upon your faucets in that nasty deposit.
Tests You can actually test for hard water. They sell tests and kits to check if you have hard water.
Homemade Test You can fill an empty plastic bottle with water, add a few drops of dish soap, and then you just shake up the bottle of water. If it foams up naturally, then you probably don’t have hard water. But if it doesn’t foam and instead it forms a milky film at the top of the bottle, you have hard water. Why don’t you give that a try with your cleanser as well? What shampoo do you use for your hair everyday cleansing, try it out. See how it reacts with the water.
Databases Also, there are really good databases saying what the water hardness is. You can glance at reports of such resources as NASQAN, USGS, NAWQA, and others.


What Should You Do if  You Have Hard Water?

There are several ways to improve the situation with the use of hard water for your daily hair care.

Spending less time in the shower and washing daily with a mild shampoo will keep minerals from settling on your skin and hair. After showering, gently blot your hair and skin with a towel and moisturize your skin with a thick moisturizer,

reccomends Michael.

Weekly cleansing shampoos are an easy way to keep minerals in check. There are permanent solutions on the market, too. Ultimately, I recommend installing a filtration system to filter out minerals.

Hard Water Hair Products

Let’s start from Hard Water Hair Products. Firstly, hair experts reccomend use one ot them. You can start from what’s called a chelating shampoo. It’s not to be confused with clarifying shampoos. Chelating shampoos remove metals and minerals from your hair, clarifying shampoos, on the other hand, just remove the dirt and oil from the surface of your hair. So if the product does say hard water shampoo, then you know that the formulators of that product have put the needed concentration strengths of the key ingredients in their products so that it will be actually effective.

Video Review: How to Get Rid of Mineral Build up in Hair, using a Chelating Shampoo

Hard Water Hair Tricks

Secondly, you may apply some Hard Water Hair Tricks. For example, make a rinse of your hair with apple cider vinegar. Just mix a third of a cup of apple cider vinegar with one quart of distilled water and rinse your hair with it as your final step in your hair routine. And don’t worry, the smell should go away once your hair dries.
If you can’t stand the smell of apple cider vinegar, choose it for the lemon rinse. Mix one tablespoon of lemon juice with a cup of water. After you shampoo and condition your hair, make a final rinse before towel drying your hair.

Video Review: How to Remove Hard Water & Chlorine Build Up from Natural Hair

Water Softener System

And lastly, you can invest in a water softener system that uses salt to soften the water and remove buildup. If you’re a homeowner a whole house water softener system will help not only your hair and skin but also your appliances.


Shower Filter

Now if you don’t own your home or you’re just not ready to make that kind of huge investment, there are still some options for you. You can invest in a shower filter if you wash your hair in the shower.

Video Review: Is Your Shower Water Killing Your Hair Growth | Shower Filter

We also have articles to provide you with consumer goods for your hair:

  1. Best Chelating Shampoo for Hard Water – Buyer’s Guide
  2. Best Shampoo for Everyday Use – Buyer’s Guide
  3. Best Deep Conditioner For Natural Hair – Buyer’s Guide