How Different Types of Water Affect Your Hair

Photo by: Bigstockphoto
Photo by: Bigstockphoto

Ever wonder why your hair seems to respond well to certain types of water? How at times the hair becomes inexplicably slimy and other days, it’s so frizzy and dry? Tap water is often treated with chemicals that may affect the structure of your hair. And in today’s post, we are listing down the most common types of water, how it affects the hair and how you can neutralize the effects of water on hair:

Hard Water

This is the most common type of tap water. It contains high amounts of calcium and magnesium, which accumulate in the hair. Hair washed with hard water is often dry, frizzy and dull-looking. If your hair is color or chemically-treated, the water will rinse out the chemicals faster. People who wash their hair with hard water tend to suffer from dry, flaky scalp. Because hard water strips the tresses of moisture, the hair fibers become rough, thin and prone to breakage.

How to tell if your bath water is hard water? Check your shower drain. If you see calcium deposits or “hard water stains” on the edges of the drain, you’re using hard water. Another way to tell if you’re using hard water is to observe soap or body wash lather. If your body wash does not lather very well, you’re using hard water.

How to Neutralize the Effects of Hard Water

Because hard water strips the hair of moisture, you want to bring moisture back to the hair. You can do this by using shampoos with richer, more hydrating formulas. To remove mineral build-up in your hair, use chelating shampoos formulated with EDTA. These shampoos will dissolve mineral buildup and prevent “green” tint on blonde hair. Because chelating shampoos are drying, always follow up with a good conditioner.

Finally, give your hair an apple cider vinegar rinse once a week. An apple cider vinegar wash will remove mineral buildup, restore shine and vitality on dry, damaged hair.

Soft Water

Soft water contains very little to no calcium and magnesium. It contains de-ionized sodium that’s why it’s a little salty to the taste. The water itself feels soft on the skin, giving the hair a slimy texture. Between hard water and soft water, the latter is ideal for bathing because it’s not as harsh as hard water. However, hair washed with soft water is often limp and lacks body. It will fall flat as a pancake so it’s not ideal for those with very fine hair.

How to tell if you’re using soft water? If your skin feels slimy or slippery after bathing, you’re likely using soft water. If the hair is suddenly greasy for no reason at all, then you’re using soft water.

How to Neutralize the Effects of Soft Water

If you end up with slimy hair with zero volume after rinsing with soft water, use volumizing products. Start by rinsing your hair very well. This will be a struggle if you’re using soft water so part your hair in sections. Wash the hair from ear to ear instead of on the top of the head then below.

We recommend using shampoos and conditioners meant for soft water. You want shampoos formulated with minerals and salt to restore volume back to dreadfully limp hair. Each week, use a clarifying shampoo to remove mineral buildup on the tresses. Never use rich conditioners or it will make the hair even greasier. If you can skip the conditioner, do so.


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