Hard water can damage your hair and the mineral heavy water can change how your hair products work too. With even regular water causing damage to your hair, here’s how to minimise the effects and the signs you should be looking out for.
This is day 16 of my Hair Romance Good Hair Q&A series where I’m answering your hair questions in quick everyday videos. I received several questions about hard water and I’ve grouped them together in this video.
Hard water and your hair
Click here if you can’t see the video below.
What is hard water?
Hard water is water with a high mineral content, usually calcium and magnesium.
Soft water is the term we give to water that has a low to normal mineral content.
It’s said that drinking hard water can be slightly better for you but it’s not any better for your hair and it can be quite damaging.
How do I know if I have hard water?
If you live in the US you can google it and there are details for each area.
But there’s an easy way to check at your home – look at your bathroom and if you have any evidence of limescale around your tap or shower head then you probably have hard water.
In Australia, we’re quite lucky and tend to have soft water in metropolitan areas. If you’re in a regional area, you might have hard water or bore water.
In England you tend to have hard water in the midlands and South and softer water in the North. Across Europe, the water is harder in most areas with small pockets of soft water.
At home test for hard water
Here’s another way you can test if you have hard water at home. Take a little bit of water and put in some shampoo (or just soap) and give it a good stir. You want to see how much foam builds up.
If you have soft water, you’ll get a lot of froth and foam but in hard water it’s very difficult to get soap to lather.
What does hard water do to your hair?
Hard water opens up the cuticle of your hair and can cause your hair to feel rough and get tangled more easily. It also leaves more mineral deposits in your hair which can leave your hair feeling dry and knotty.
What to do if you have hard water?
If you live in a house you can have a water softener installed. Our friends in the UK have this and when I’m staying with them my hair is so much better than the rest of the UK.
Alternatively, if you can’t change your water system you can get a shower filter head. These shower filters makes a huge difference and you can just replace the filter as needed to keep making sure that your water is clean as it hits your hair.
Any water will damage your hair?!
Regardless of what sort of water you have, did you know that water itself is damaging your hair?
Water swells the hair shaft and causes the cuticle to expand. And if you leave your hair wet for a very long period of time it can cause stresses in the hair shaft and that’s one way you get split ends.
So if your hair takes a very long time to dry, it’s less damaging to blowdry your hair on medium heat than it is to leave your hair wet. Strange I know but there are tests on this.
How to repair hair that’s been damage by hard water
There are special shampoos called chelating shampoos. These particular clarifying shampoos bind to the minerals and strip them out of your hair.
Chelating shampoos are very strong cleaners and you should only use them once a month, but I do recommend them if you live in a hard water area to remove any mineral deposits from your hair.
I also recommend a regular clarifying or detox shampoo once a week / once a fortnight depending on how often you’re washing your hair.
Here are some products that I recommend:
Shower head filter:
Now with your new shower & shampoo routine, and a moisturising hair mask, your hair will be feeling better than ever.
If you’ve got any more questions about hard or soft water and how water affects your hair, let me know in the comments below and make sure you subscribe to my YouTube channel here so you’re the first to see my next video.
Jodi N says
I’m so glad I have finally found a web page that highlights “fine curly/wavy hair” issues! I live in the US in Oregon where I suffer from well water that is heavily calcified. I use a clarifying shampoo once a week and it does help. I have also noticed that some hair care brands simply wont work with well water either. My question to you is what do you recommend for a moisturizing hair mask? I actually have never used one on my hair before for fear of leaving it limp and greasy (as some regular conditioners do to my hair). Thanks in advance for your suggestions!
I look forward to checking out more tips and tricks so I can try them on my own hair! 🙂
Do you have suggestions for visiting homes that do not have soft water, and are not going to get a shower head or water softener? I have a family member I visit for a week at a time, and their water is so hard!
Do you still recommend joicokpak for the chelating shampoo? Or so you have another now? Thanks!