Hard Water Hair

Girl with wet and freshly washed hair
Photo: Istockphoto
Don't let hard water ruin your hair!
I live in a part of the country where people call well water that is not treated "hard" water. The more minerals, such as magnesium and calcium, in the water, the "harder" it gets. What this can mean for your hair is disaster; it will ruin any great dye job that you just had. It will also clog your showerhead and leave dark rings in the toilet bowls and sinks, creating a cleaning nightmare!
My natural hair color is dark, but without treating my "hard" water, I have been more shades of orange than I care to comment on. Sometimes you will notice a green tinge to the hair. Hair will also feel sticky, limp, dull, and lifeless no matter how many times you rinse.
Some stylists agree that using a clarifying shampoo weekly, or a gel dishwashing detergent, can be helpful in cleansing some of the deposits on the hair shafts. These treatments can also be detrimental to your hair, especially if it is chemically straightened. Some products can be very drying. For example, if your water is "hard", you can really see the effects of "hard" water on curly hair. Although curly hair has an abundance of strength, it can lack moisture, making the hair feel dry and brittle. It can also make your curly hair look out of proportion.
When hair is found to be in an inadequate condition, the only thing to do is moisturize, moisturize, moisturize. The shampoo and conditioner you are using may be too high in alkalis for it to be effective. I would take the time to do some research as to what hair products you are using, and if you are not getting the desired effect, you may need to switch. You may even want to use a weekly deep conditioner until you see an improvement in elasticity and bounce.
Signs of hard water
Images via Canva
Another disadvantage of having "hard" water is that you will go to the salon and spend a fortune having your hair colored, permed, or straightened, only to come home and wash it in "hard" water, which can cause the color to change, appear dull, or make your perm appear "fallen out."
You may also notice other problems such as dandruff or eczema of the scalp, discoloration or darkening of the hair, and dry, flaky skin. But take heart, there are many treatments out there for your hair and your water. A local water test doesn't cost a fortune; you will find out what minerals are in your water, how much, and get suggestions on how to treat it. By treating your hard water, you can hope to reverse some of the damage and also prevent further buildup of minerals.
So, the next time you go to the salon, rest assured that the beautiful hair color you just paid for will be luxurious, bouncy, and full until your next visit to your stylist.
See also:
Well water and hair problems
Hard well water and brassy looking hair
Highlights, well water and brassy hair