There are a lot of environmental factors that can damage your hair. We have to worry about pollution, sun damage, poor air quality, and many other issues, but have you ever considered the water that you are washing your hair with? Water can actually have an effect on the health of your hair. It’s ideal to wash your hair with filtered, or soft water but many times, hard water is all we have available.
The truth is hard water can wreak havoc on your hair. Tangles, dullness, lack of shine, and the dirty look are nothing you want to deal with when styling your hair. Hard water can have all of these effects on the hair as time goes on, and it’s hard to manage hair when dealing with these issues. Here are some tips on hard water hair care and some ideas on how to deal with the water you have available for washing your hair.
What is Hard Water?
Before we dive into the ways you can help save your hair from hard water, let’s get a better idea of what the term “hard water” actually means. Hard water is a term that is used often when talking about “tap” water or water that comes out of your faucet. Hard water is classified as such when it has a considerable amount of dissolved minerals within the water. These minerals are most often calcium and magnesium. The minerals get into the water when rainfall makes its way through the ground and into our waterways. As it does so, it picks up minerals along the way that dissolve into the water. Hard water isn’t harmful to our health, and actually can be the preferred drinking water, but it can be damaging and drying to the hair and skin.
Why is Hard Water Bad For My Hair?
Often, we hear about the effects of hard water when doing household chores. When doing the dishes or laundry, hard water tends to leave dishes and clothing looking more dingy than soft water. This is because the minerals contained in hard water can leave residue and be less gentle on these household items. This can be the same as your hair and skin. They leave residue and buildup. Additionally, the minerals that are in hard water can also have reactions with shampoos, conditioners, and soaps that reduce their ability to work as effectively.
When hard water minerals and shampoo mix together, they often form a salt which can leave a residue on your scalp and hair. This salt residue hinders your conditioner’s ability to do its job and moisturize the hair to provide the hydration that it’s meant to give your hair. As a result, this can leave your hair feeling dry and dull, and can even make your hair more prone to tangling and breakage. Breakage leads to damage and hair thinning, and all of this is not helpful in achieving beautiful locks of healthy hair.
Ways To Combat The Effects of Hard Water
Luckily, there are some simple steps that can help protect and save your hair from the damage that hard water causes. Here are some of our favorite tips when dealing with the effects of hard water on the hair.
- Rinse With Naturally Acidic Products
Acidic substances can help break down the grime and salt residue that hard water can leave in the hair. There are a few different products or natural remedies to consider when looking for an acidic rinse. Here are some ideas that you can use, mainly using food or grocery items.
- Vinegar – The high acidity in vinegar can work in your hair to remove calcium build-up. It can also have other benefits like smoothing your cuticles and balancing the pH of your hair. Rinsing with vinegar can leave your hair feeling really soft and smooth. When considering which type of vinegar to use, keep in mind that you can use any kind, but Apple Cider Vinegar is actually the best for your hair. Using 1 teaspoon of vinegar with 2 cups of water is a good ratio. After shampooing the hair, simply take your mixture and rinse it through the hair, pouring it directly on the scalp. Use your fingertips to work it in through the hair and rub it into the scalp. Leave it in for a few minutes and then rinse your hair. You can use a vinegar rinse once a week to keep your hair feeling smooth and to give it shine.
- Lemons and Limes – Another acidic rinse you can use on the hair is a mixture of water and lemon or lime juice. This works the same as the vinegar rinse in removing build-up from the hair. For this, you’ll want to use a tablespoon of lemon juice for every 3 cups of water you use. As with the vinegar mix, you’ll apply this to the hair after shampooing. You’ll massage it with the fingertips into the scalp and work through the hair to make sure it treats all of the hair. Leave the mixture on for a few minutes before rinsing out. Lemon and Lime juice are natural antiseptics so they can also help with dandruff and flaky scalps. The lemon or lime rinse will help give your hair more shine and take the dullness out of the hair, as it removes build-up.
- Herbal Hair Rinses – Another idea to work out the buildup in your hair is to use herbs boiled in water (and then cooled) to help pull out the residue that hard water can leave. Some examples of herbs you can use in an herb rinse would be sage, rosemary, rose, or hibiscus. Use the herb rinse the same as the vinegar and lemon or lime rinses, leaving it in a few minutes and then rinsing out. Herbs can be great for naturally healing the hair and giving it a good cleansing.
- Attach A Shower Head Filter
One really easy and quick way to help lesson the minerals that come through your showerhead into your hair is to actually buy and attach a shower filter to your shower unit. There are many different options and price ranges for shower head filters, but this is a really great way to get softer water without a water softener. You can buy these from home stores or online.
- Use Filtered Water
A temporary solution to having soft water might be to use a bottle of filtered water to do a final rinse in your hair after you wash it in the shower. This can help rinse out some of the hard water that might be in your hair at the end of your shower.
If you have the ability, a free option for soft water is to use rainwater to wash your hair. It is the purest form of soft water and will make your hair really soft and shiny. It may be difficult to use rainwater often, but if you get the chance, be sure to take it. You can use a wide mouth container to catch the rainwater and then use it to wash your hair.
- Use A Clarifying Shampoo
A clarifying shampoo is considered to be among hard water hair products because it helps remove the build-up in your hair. This build-up can often be the result of continually washing your hair with hard water. When using a clarifying shampoo, keep in mind that they can be harsh on your hair and on your hair color so only use them sparingly to remove excess build-up and give your hair a really cleansing wash.
Here are some of our favorite clarifying shampoos:
- Apply Leave-In Conditioner
Remember the minerals that can react with your shampoo to create a salt residue in your hair? That can be really drying. The best way to battle dry hair is to use a leave-in conditioner that can replenish the hydration that your hair needs. Leave-in conditioners won’t take out residue, but they can give your hair a shiny finish and help restore some of the moisture your hair may need.
The best time to apply a leave-in conditioner is right after you get out of the shower after you’ve towel-dried your hair. You can use natural leave-in products like coconut oil, or almond oil, or you can use a formulated product like Living Proof No Frizz Leave-In Conditioner, which is one of our favorites. Take your leave-in product and run it through your hair with your fingers focusing on the ends of the hair. This will help give your hair a healthy glow when it dries and is styled.
As you can see, hard water damage can be remedied by using these quick steps and products to remove greasy buildup in the hair and to help give your hair the hydration and nutrients that it needs. Find all of the products you need at LaLa Daisy for a discounted price. LaLa Daisy carried high-quality, professional-grade products at prices you can afford.