When you moved into your current apartment or home, we bet the last thing on your mind was how much the local water supply would affect your hair upon moving in. But if you have noticed a change in how your hair feels after a wash, your shower- or more specifically your shower water, could have more to do with it than you think.
The truth is that you may be dealing with hard water, which is what is causing your hair to appear more frizzy and duller than usual. Though often overlooked, hard water has a significant effect on the look and texture of your hair and it can impact everything from your hair’s moisture content to its general manageability.
What exactly is hard water?
Hard water is the term that is commonly used to refer to the kind of water that comes filled with mineral content. Examples of minerals that are found in hard water include bicarbonates, sulfates, magnesium, and calcium. The term hard water was first used to describe the challenging nature of using hard water.
Because it is mineral-filled, hard water requires the use of copious amounts of shampoo, detergent, and soap. Hard water makes it a lot harder to create a lather compared to soft water. Unlike hard water, soft water is easier to deal with as it allows the soap to lather easily and it does not create scum when cleaning or leave any mineral deposits like calcium on the surface of appliances and in heating systems.
If you live in the United States, here is some bad news for you- 85% of the water found in here is hard. As it stands, only 2 states in the entire country have soft water naturally; Maine and Mississippi. As such, if you do not take some form of action to deal with hard water, you are bound to deal with a lot of hair problems owing to the mineral content in hard water.
What does hard water do to hair?
Hard water tends to impact your hair in several ways. Firstly, it makes your strands a lot more challenging to style. Because of the minerals, hard water can make your hair feel less flexible and workable. As such, if you are doing something like blow drying it, you will likely have a harder time achieving a bouncy look.
If you have colored hair, the hard water can also make your color-treated hair start to fade quicker than usual. It is the mineral build-up that interferes with color. The buildup of minerals can also weigh your hair down and make it appear flat and lifeless. It also causes your strands to feel super dry and more brittle, which leads to damage and frizz.
How to deal with hard water
Worried about the state of your hair? The good news is that it is possible to deal with hard water and prevent it from wreaking havoc in your hair. Some of the things that you can do include:
Install a filter
If you are dealing with serious hard water issues, you should consider installing a filter in your shower. Filtered shower heads are designed to filter and cut out all those damaging minerals that cause damage to your hair.
Before you go out and purchase a filter, it is a good idea to investigate which minerals and substances are found in your water supply. Afterward, look for filters that are certified to eliminate or reduce these minerals for your best chance of success.
Invest in a good hard water shampoo
To deal with the effects of hard water on your hair, it is best to invest in a good hard water shampoo. A good shampoo for hard water should be clarifying or a chelating shampoo. A shampoo that contains chelating formulas tends to be stronger than clarifying shampoos.
Chelating formulas work by attaching to the different minerals and metals available in hard water before washing them away. Alternatively, clarifying shampoos break down the residue found in hard water as well as any excess product that be lodged on the outer surface of the hair.
Do a vinegar rinse
Vinegar does wonders to neutralize the effect of hard water on your hair. Vinegar is highly acidic and it is this acidity that helps to remove the mineral buildup from your hair. Vinegar is also helpful in restoring your hair’s natural pH while smoothing your cuticles, which will leave your hair feeling silky smooth.
Any old vinegar works, but apple cider vinegar will give you the best results. To make the vinegar mix, simply mix one or two tablespoons of vinegar to 2 cups of water. Pour this mixture over your hair after shampooing. Leave it on for a few minutes before rinsing it away.
Try a lemon rinse
Like vinegar, lemon also contains acid which will be useful in getting rid of any mineral buildup. To make a lemon rinse for your hair, add a tablespoon of lemon juice to 3 cups of water. Pour the mixture over your hair after shampooing and massage it in before rinsing it off.
Not only will the lemon rinse help to bring the bounce back to hair but it will also enhance your hair’s shine and overall look. If you suffer from dandruff, the antiseptic properties in lemon juice will help to reduce the dandruff levels in your hair.
Consider an herbal rinse
Aside from vinegar and lemon rinses, you can also make your own herbal hair rinse at home. You can use any herbs that you like including chamomile, some rose petals, sage, nettle, and shikakai. Place a tablespoon of the herbs in a pot and add 2 cups of hot water before bringing the mixture to a boil. Let the mixture cool off and strain it before using it on your hair.
If you are dealing with hard water in your home, it can be a real bummer. Hard water is most noticeable when you move to a new region or when you go on vacation. This is because water can be harder in particular areas around the country.
The level of hardness also varies from place to place. Therefore, before you move or travel, you may want to take special precautions to prevent hard water from impacting your hair negatively.