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How hard water affects the health of your hair

 

Hard water can damage your hair. While regular water can cause damage to your hair, here’s how you can minimize the effects and what to watch out for.

WHAT IS HARD WATER?

Hard water is a type of water with a high mineral content, mainly composed of calcium and magnesium.

Soft water is water with low or moderate mineral content.

It has been said that drinking hard water may be slightly healthier, but it’s not good for your hair and can even be very harmful.

HOW DO I KNOW IF I HAVE HARD WATER?

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If you’re in America, just google and you’ll find detailed information for each region.

However, there’s an easy way to check at home – take a look in your bathroom if you see signs of limescale on your tap or showerhead, chances are you have hard water.

In Australia, we’re lucky to have mostly metropolitan areas with soft water. In rural areas like where I live in New South Wales or in places like Alice Springs, which rely on borehole water, this is probably the case.

The water is harder towards the Midlands and south, and softer towards the north of England. Most parts of Europe have harder water, while a few exceptions have softer water.

HOME WATER HARDNESS TEST

Here’s another way to check if you have hard water at home. Put some shampoo (or soap) in a little water and mix. Check the amount of foam that forms on the surface.

You’ll get plenty of lather if you have soft water, but trying to get the soap to lather is a different kettle of fish if you’re using hard water.

WHAT ARE THE EFFECTS OF HARD WATER ON HAIR?

Hard water opens up cuticles, making hair rougher and more prone to tangling and knotting, due to increased mineral deposits in the hair, making it dry and sometimes even knotty.

WHAT TO DO ABOUT HARD WATER?

If you live in a house, you can have a water softener installed. Our British friends all have them and when I stay with them, my hair looks so much better than anywhere else in the UK.

If you can’t change your water system, you can also get a showerhead filter. These shower filters make a big difference, and all you have to do is replace the filter as needed to keep the water clean when it touches your hair.

WATER OF ANY KIND DAMAGES HAIR!

Did you know that no matter what type of water you have, it damages your hair?

Water swells the hair shaft and dilates the cuticles. What’s more, one of the ways to get split ends is to work stress into the hair shaft by keeping hair wet for very long periods.

Therefore, if you take a long time to dry your hair, medium-heat drying damages it less than if it remains wet. It’s strange, but tests have been carried out on this subject.

HOW TO REPAIR HAIR DAMAGED BY HARD WATER

So-called “chelating” shampoos exist for this purpose. Specifically, these clarifying shampoos attach themselves to minerals and remove them from your hair.

These chelating shampoos are quite powerful cleansers and should be used sparingly, but I recommend using them if you live in an area with hard water, to remove any mineral deposits from your hair.

I also recommend using a detoxifying or clarifying shampoo once a week or every two weeks, depending on how often you wash your hair.

For many people, including me, who are passionate about hair care, working with hard water can be a real chore. I’ve personally experienced the effects of different grades of water on my hair and I have to admit, it’s tough.

Here are some tips for minimizing hard water damage and how to notice when your hair is affected.

Understanding hard water

Hard water contains mainly calcium and magnesium, giving it a high mineral content. Since these minerals generally prevent shampoos and soaps from lathering, people often use more than they need. On the other hand, these excessive minerals can also make your hair feel like straw or hay.

Signs of hard water damage

Inability to foam : It’s really hard to get soap or shampoo to lather when using hard water.

Build-up of deposits: For example, in the bathroom you may see a film or paste coating surfaces, while on your head you’ll also feel a residue.

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Rough, tangled hair: Due to their roughness, the ions present in this type of water tend to tangle in a person’s hair, making it rougher than normal.

Personal experience and solutions

In my personal experience, living in an area where natural resources are not processed can put our own hair at risk. This section presents what has worked for me and may work for you too:

Install a water softener:

If possible, it’s best to install a whole-house water softener, as it will clean your household equipment before damaging it or your scalp.

Use a shower filter:

It’s also possible to buy showerhead filters, which offer faster solutions at lower cost.

They considerably reduce the hardness of the water that instantly flows into the mane when bathing.

Chelating and clarifying shampoos:

Use this product once a month to combat the build-up of minerals on your head caused by hard water.

To keep hair clean, a clarifying shampoo can be used at least once every two weeks or one week.

Regular rinsing:

Rinse your hair with distilled or bottled water after washing to remove any remaining mineral deposits. In addition, use a diluted vinegar rinse (apple cider vinegar or white vinegar) to close cuticles and remove deposits, resulting in shiny, smooth hair.

Other tips

Reduce wetting time: Don’t leave your hair wet for too long, as water of any kind, hard or soft, expands the shaft and damages it.

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Instead of air-drying for long periods, blow-drying with a low- or medium-heat hair dryer can actually cause less damage.

Deep conditioning: Hard water can make your hair’s texture rough, so you need to deep condition it regularly.

These products contain elements like argan oil, keratin and shea butter that help retain moisture and keep your hair silky.

While it’s difficult to maintain natural, shiny hair in areas with hard water, there are tools and techniques to help.

While this may alter your hair habits slightly, the results will be worth it!



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