We’ve all heard that hard water is, well, hard on your hair, but what exactly does that mean? And what is hard water anyway? If your hair is starting to look dull, damaged and dry, hard water may be the cause. But don’t worry, there are a few things you can do. Check out our tips to help protect your hair from the damaging effects of hard water.
What is Hard Water?
When pure rainwater filters through rocks, soil and even sand, it naturally picks up mineral salts like calcium and magnesium. While these accumulated minerals aren’t generally harmful to health, they are tough on your hair. As water accumulates these minerals, they react with ingredients in shampoos, conditioners and other products and reduce their effectiveness.
Hard Water and Hair
Washing hair in hard water can prevent hair products such as conditioners and other moisturizers from effectively doing their job. When the minerals in hard water mix with shampoo, they form a salt. This leaves a residue on the surface of your hair and scalp. This film tends to block moisturizers in your conditioner from being absorbed, leaving your hair dry, prone to tangles and vulnerable to breakage. If breakage goes unchecked, it can lead to the appearance of thinning hair.
How to Protect Hair From Hard Water
Try these quick and easy remedies for hard water damage that will help revive your locks in no time:
1. Shower Head Water Filters
These filters are easy to find at any home improvement store in your area and they’re relatively simple to install. Shower head filters can greatly reduce the amount of minerals and chlorine in your water to give you a leg up in the battle against hard water.
2. Clarifying Shampoos
Wash your hair with a clarifying shampoo once a week to help remove mineral and other hair product buildup. It can also wash away any lingering residue and help restore shine.
3. Chelating Shampoos
While clarifying shampoos breakdown and remove buildup on your hair, chelating shampoos work by bonding themselves to the minerals in your hair and removing them. These shampoos are a tad more acidic than regular shampoos. Some contain a chemical called EDTA that acts as a binding agent, while others use citric acid to do the work.
4. Naturally Acidic Rinses
Apple cider vinegar or the juice from a lemon or lime can also decrease mineral buildup. Mix a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar or citrus juice with three cups of purified bottled water and work the solution through your wet hair. Leave it on for five minutes, then rinse thoroughly.
5. Moisturizing Masks and Leave-In Conditioners
Use a moisturizing hair mask or leave-in conditioner once a week to offset the drying effects of hard water. Try these DIY natural hair masks using products you may already have in your kitchen.
6. Purified Bottled Water
Before you head out of the shower, try a final rinse with purified bottled water. It’s free of harsh substances and chemicals, and therefore gentle on your hair and scalp.
Don’t give hard water a chance to damage your beautiful mane. Prior to shampooing, safeguard your hair and scalp by applying a protective oil for 30 minutes, or even overnight. Their slick consistency will prevent minerals from sticking around, plus you’ll also get the moisturizing and softening benefits. Depending on your hair type, you can try rosemary oil, jojoba oil, coconut oil, or avocado oil.
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