If your city has subpar water, you might be wondering how to deal with hard water on curly hair. Hard water isn’t necessarily bad for your health, although some experts claim that it can contribute to kidney stones.
Rather, it’s horrendous for performing tasks like washing your hair and face, doing laundry, and cleaning. Basically, all cleansing tasks.
Fortunately, it’s easy to make a comeback from hard water on bathroom fixtures and clothing. It won’t permanently wreck your new shirt.
Hair, however… that’s another problem.
In this post, you’ll find out about hard water and some ways you can prevent or counteract the damage that hard water does to hair. If you want to know how to avoid breakage and hard water damage, read on!
What is Hard Water?
Hard water is the common term for water that has a high mineral content. Minerals are necessary for the human body, but too many minerals can cause buildup in your home’s water pipes.
For most hard water cities, the minerals are calcium and magnesium, and they come from limestone and chalk deposits.
When water passes through the pipe, the buildup leaches into the water. This buildup causes the water to become hard, and makes it difficult to do everyday tasks, like washing your hair, body, clothing, dishes and shower doors.
How Does Hard Water Affect Hair?
Every city has a different level of mineral content, and some are much worse than others. If you’re doing everything you can to care for your hair, and it still breaks, it’s time to look at your water.
If you’re dealing with hard water right now, you probably have the following symptoms:
Dull and Dirty Hair. Does it feel like your shampoo isn’t working? If your hair still feels unwashed after you get out of the shower, you could have a hard water problem. Calcium is preventing your products from reaching the strand.
Itchy Scalp. If you’re constantly scratching, you might want to check and see if it can be fixed by using softer water. Calcium can block skin pores from breathing and follicles from growing hair. This buildup can then lead to scalp acne and clogged hair follicles.
Hard Hair. Is your hair nearly impossible to soften and condition? You may have a hard calcium coating that is preventing hydration and products from reaching the strand.
Brittle, Broken, and Damaged Hair. The calcium in hard water builds up over time and causes hair to become brittle and break. Calcifying your hair every wash day is going to lead to damage.
How Do You Know if You Have Hard Water?
If it’s still too difficult to know for sure by looking at your hair, take a quick peek at your bathroom faucets, glass, and other surfaces.
Here are some telltale signs:
Tub or Shower Stall is Calcified. Calcified tubs are difficult to clean because you can’t reach the actual tub surface. If your shower has a hard calcium layer over the tile or fiberglass, you probably have hard water.
Water Spots. Does your shower door and bathroom mirror constantly have water stains? What about your drinking glasses? If so, you may have a hard water problem.
White Crust on Shower Nozzle. Check out your shower nozzle. Does it contain hard, white deposits that you can scratch off with your fingernail? This is a sign of having a hard water problem.
Cracks in Sink or Bottom of Tub. Fine cracks are a sign that the tub has gotten too dry and brittle to maintain a smooth surface. This is a clear sign of hard water if it’s happening to all of your tubs and sinks.
How to Prevent Hard Water from Damaging Your Hair
If you’re in a city that has hard water, you’re going to want to save your hair from the damage the minerals can cause.
Here are some steps you can take to prevent damage on your hair:
Use a Chelating Shampoo. Chelating shampoos are specifically made to remove buildup caused by minerals. You may have already tried a clarifying shampoo, but these two items are not the same. Clarifying shampoos remove product buildup and make your hair squeaky clean. Chelating shampoos remove minerals and soften hair.
Rinse with Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV). ACV rinses are popular in beauty regimens, but did you know that they help to break down mineral deposits? To make an ACV rinse, fill a bottle with one-part ACV and two parts water. Pour it on your hair at the end of your shower.
Use Bottled or Distilled Water. You can use bottled or distilled water as much as possible during your wash session, or at least for the final rinse. Purified water still has minerals in it, but it would still be softer than your tap water. Distilled water contains no minerals, so this would be your best bet for going calcium-free.
Install a Water Softener. You can install a whole house water softener into your main plumbing line. The whole house solution is costly, and you probably need a professional to do it. If you own your house and you’re concerned about pipe damage, this is a good way to prevent high costs down the road.
However, the second water softener option is much cheaper and easier. You can buy one small shower filter that fits between the shower pipe and the shower head. They’re easy to purchase online and you’ll need to replace them frequently, depending on how much water you use.
If you have hard water and your hair is breaking, just add a couple of the above items to your regimen and watch your hair flourish.
Remember, not everybody has the same water. A friend who lives in the next town over might think you’re overreacting because she doesn’t have a water issue at all.
And you might be seen as being a little eccentric for wanting to use bottled water on your hair. But if it helps give you long and healthy strands, then who cares what others think? It’s your hair, and you’re the one managing it!
It’s your turn to leave a comment below and discuss. Have you tried any of these methods for dealing with hard water on curly hair?