Q: My hair stylist tells me the reason my hair turns brassy is because I have well water. I think she’s putting me on and she
really hasn’t gotten the “formula” right for the highlights she does. Sometimes she’s got my hair “yellow gold/brassy” and the last
time she put in caramel color blonde that really wasn’t blonde at all. My natural hair color is light brown with blonde streaks in
the summer when I’m in the sun. What do you say? Does the well water have anything to do with the highlights? I ask her for “ash
color blonde” but she can’t seem to get that color and claims “well water.” Thank you for your reply.
A: Your stylist is actually right in telling you that your well water can cause brassiness in your haircolor results. This is a
condition common to most well water users. Well water contains higher levels of minerals because the water often passes through
layers of rock, which leeches these minerals into the water. If your water contains high levels of iron, you can find your hair
becoming yellowish or reddish, if there happens to be copper in the water you could find yourself with greenish tints in your hair.
At the very least, the minerals in your water (known as hard water) make it difficult for the color processing chemicals to penetrate
the hair evenly and thereby cause a variance in the expected color results (apart from the reactions that can occur between the
chemicals and the minerals themselves).
What I suggest is the following:
Try using a clarifying shampoo before any color service. In fact, it would probably be helpful to
use the clarifying shampoo at least once a week anyway to keep the mineral deposits in your hair to a minimum. You can also get a
packaged water conditioner to add to bath water which will help to keep the minerals in the water from getting into your hair and skin as well.
If you can successfully neutralize the hard water effect from your hair, it will make your salon
visits more successful. I recommend that you pass these tips on to your stylist and perhaps you can combine a pre-color shampoo service
using the clarifying shampoo and hopefully get the hair color results you desire.
However, if you do get the brassy, yellow results again, you can use a ‘blueing’ shampoo and
conditioner to neutralize the yellow tones. These blueing shampoos are the types used by many gray haired women and blondes to avoid
dull looking hair and brassy tones.