PDA

View Full Version : solutions for hard water



kayeburth
August 27th, 2014, 08:20 AM
guys!!! I know why my hair tangled so much - hard water! thanks to a user here on LHC I now put two and two together and realized that the one thing I did not have covered regarding hair care was the actual water quality! so far I was able to discover several solutions for this problem, and maybe you have further recommendations or can advise me as to which of these solutions are the most comfortable for daily use.

solutions so far (will update if I discover more):
- install water filters
- adding baking soda to the water (2 tea sp per liter)
- boil water before using it on hair
- acidic rinses (vinegars or citrus fruits like lemon)
- chelating shampoo
- freezing water, removing the part that freezes last (as it contains all the salts)
- distilled water
- buying water in containers (it's usually soft and water hardness is on the packaging, you need 1.3 to 3)

Mdiaz099
August 27th, 2014, 08:35 AM
Hello kayeburth! I had a really big problem with hard water in my area. Around this time last year the condition of my hair was worsening and I was close to chopping it all off out of frustration. As a last ditch attempt I began doing research online on what could possibly be the cause for my hair drying out. It was then that I became acquainted with hard water. As an experiment I bought a gallon of distilled water and my grocery store for 99 cents. Washed my hair as I always do in the shower and then as a final rinse I use the distilled water. A bit uncomfortable holding the gallon of water above my head along with the fact that the water is frigid, however the difference it made was undeniable. A year later and I refuse to wash my hair without my gallon of water. No more tangles or dryness. It was a simple and quick fix for me so I hope this might help you too!

Michelle

Chromis
August 27th, 2014, 08:45 AM
Eventually we did install a water softener, although our water is still fairly hard even with it. I still need to use an acid rinse, but it is less strong than before.

Boiling the water will not change the hardness, you'd have to distill it. I've tried rainwater and distilled water, but it was such a hassle and I hated pouring cold water on my head! Warming it up would be even more time-consuming. The showerhead water filters will not change your pH either. They can take out chlorine which can be drying and some minerals, but it depends what is causing your build-up. I have tried them...and honestly I think they are mostly snake oil and don't do all that much. The big reverse osmosis filters are a different story and those do work, but are really expensive. Our water softener was cheaper and saves our pipes/appliances. I wouldn't turn down an RO unit mind you...

The simplest cheap solution and the one I rely on are acidic rinses. I like to use local apple cider vinegar and before I lived somewhere I had access to this I used the organic stuff "with the mother" (Braggs is a common brand). I find this smells and works better than the big cheap jugs and the stuff lasts a long time. Did I mention it smells better? With super hard water, I also like to use citric acid. My blend living in one of the hardest water areas in all of Canada is a glug of ACV in a two-cup measure and a pinch of citric acid (about 1/16-1/8 tsp). Then I filled the cup up the rest of the way with tap water in the shower. I dunk my ends in first for a few seconds at least and then I tip my head back and pour it over. I follow this with a very quick rinse under the showerhead again. Really just lean back and then out again. Quick! I find this helps make sure it got in my hair fully.

With the softener or in places with softer water to start with, I could use just the ACV or the citric acid and I could use a more diluted mixture. You'll want to play with your dilutions. Many people use the same amount of acid as me...except they use a pitcher instead of a two-cup measure :lol:

Basically, when you pour the acidic rinse over your head, your hair should fall all silky immediately. If it still feels a little tacky when you get out, make your mix stronger. If it goes limp and greasy way faster than however long this would normally take for your hair, back off on your mix.

Nesoi
August 27th, 2014, 08:57 AM
I installed a cheap screw-on water filter (really helped with DH's eczema too) and I do regular diluted lemon rinses using Mariika's Recipe (http://forums.longhaircommunity.com/showthread.php?t=53745).

milque
August 27th, 2014, 09:08 AM
I'm also looking out for ways to deal with hard water. I have been using distilled water as a final rinse to combat hard water, but that's getting expensive since I'm in the UK. Acid rinses freak my hair out because my hair is sensitive to both low pH, as well as high pH.

Might look into a good shower head filter.

ETA: OP, you can also try a good chelating shampoo every once in a while, more often if your water is super hard. A lot of people recommend Joico K-Pak Chelating Shampoo. I personally use KMS California Clarifying Shampoo.

YGDW
August 27th, 2014, 09:35 AM
The simplest cheap solution and the one I rely on are acidic rinses. I like to use local apple cider vinegar and before I lived somewhere I had access to this I used the organic stuff "with the mother" (Braggs is a common brand). I find this smells and works better than the big cheap jugs and the stuff lasts a long time. Did I mention it smells better? With super hard water, I also like to use citric acid. My blend living in one of the hardest water areas in all of Canada is a glug of ACV in a two-cup measure and a pinch of citric acid (about 1/16-1/8 tsp). Then I filled the cup up the rest of the way with tap water in the shower. I dunk my ends in first for a few seconds at least and then I tip my head back and pour it over. I follow this with a very quick rinse under the showerhead again. Really just lean back and then out again. Quick! I find this helps make sure it got in my hair fully.

With the softener or in places with softer water to start with, I could use just the ACV or the citric acid and I could use a more diluted mixture. You'll want to play with your dilutions. Many people use the same amount of acid as me...except they use a pitcher instead of a two-cup measure :lol:

Basically, when you pour the acidic rinse over your head, your hair should fall all silky immediately. If it still feels a little tacky when you get out, make your mix stronger. If it goes limp and greasy way faster than however long this would normally take for your hair, back off on your mix.

Thanks! I will try this tomorrow at washing day. Just bought some ACV. I used plain normal vinegar in the past, but my hair always ended up a bit limpy. Maybe ACV will help (or maybe I just have to use less :)).

molljo
August 27th, 2014, 12:17 PM
I have very hard water, and I chelate once a month. Chelating is really nice, and I can't recommend it enough. I use a combination chelator/clarifier and it's great because it gets every last bit of residue off my hair. A nice side effect of doing this is that it ensures that I do a deep conditioning treatment once a month to counteract the stripping effects. I have a mister bottle filled with distilled water to use if I need to rewet my hair between washes (usually to refresh my waves). I like a vinegar rinse as well, though I tend to get lazy about it.

Anje
August 27th, 2014, 12:20 PM
If you're a homeowner (now or in the future), do look into getting a water softener. We got one when we owned our home and it made an amazing difference, not just for hair and skin but for shower scum, dishwasher scum, clean clothes, etc. Absolutely improved our quality of life. (You do want to not soften your drinking water, though, or remove the salt with an RO system. IIRC, there's some evidence that people drinking salt-softened water have increased risks of heart troubles. You also should be aware that softened water tends to cause havoc on water heater tanks, so you want to regularly check and replace the sacrificial anode -- learned that the hard way!)


Boiling the water will not change the hardness, you'd have to distill it.
Surprisingly, this isn't entirely true. Homebrewers (because water chemistry is important in beer making) will talk about "temporary hardness" in water, which is based on the concentration of carbonate and bicarbonate in the water, rather than Ca^2+ or Mg^2+. You can actually get this to come out to a point by boiling water, if it's a significant contributer to the hardness of water in your area. It tends to leave a layer of white scum on your pots when you boil the water, if it's a factor.

Otherwise, acidic rinses and chelating products every so often are a good start. I don't believe adding salt to the water will do anything to affect the hardness -- in softening, the salt is swapped for the calcium and magnesium, but if you don't use an ion exchange you pretty much are just making hard salt water.

Anje
August 27th, 2014, 12:20 PM
If you're a homeowner (now or in the future), do look into getting a water softener. We got one when we owned our home and it made an amazing difference, not just for hair and skin but for shower scum, dishwasher scum, clean clothes, etc. Absolutely improved our quality of life. (You do want to not soften your drinking water, though, or remove the salt with an RO system. IIRC, there's some evidence that people drinking salt-softened water have increased risks of heart troubles. You also should be aware that softened water tends to cause havoc on water heater tanks, so you want to regularly check and replace the sacrificial anode -- learned that the hard way!)


Boiling the water will not change the hardness, you'd have to distill it.
Surprisingly, this isn't entirely true. Homebrewers (because water chemistry is important in beer making) will talk about "temporary hardness" in water, which is based on the concentration of carbonate and bicarbonate in the water, rather than Ca^2+ or Mg^2+. You can actually get this to come out to a point by boiling water, if it's a significant contributer to the hardness of water in your area. It tends to leave a layer of white scum on your pots when you boil the water, if it's a factor.

Otherwise, acidic rinses and chelating products every so often are a good start. I don't believe adding salt to the water will do anything to affect the hardness -- in softening, the salt is swapped for the calcium and magnesium, but if you don't use an ion exchange you pretty much are just making hard salt water.

Chromis
August 27th, 2014, 12:32 PM
Surprisingly, this isn't entirely true. Homebrewers (because water chemistry is important in beer making) will talk about "temporary hardness" in water, which is based on the concentration of carbonate and bicarbonate in the water, rather than Ca^2+ or Mg^2+. You can actually get this to come out to a point by boiling water, if it's a significant contributer to the hardness of water in your area. It tends to leave a layer of white scum on your pots when you boil the water, if it's a factor.

Otherwise, acidic rinses and chelating products every so often are a good start. I don't believe adding salt to the water will do anything to affect the hardness -- in softening, the salt is swapped for the calcium and magnesium, but if you don't use an ion exchange you pretty much are just making hard salt water.

Interesting! I know for fishkeeping, boiling alone is not recommended, but I've never tried brewing.

I do indeed get an amazing build up on the pot I use for boiling water for tea although this has slowed dramatically since getting the softener. We have both high calcium and magnesium here. (In fact I found I cannot grow modern fast-growing tomato varieties because the magnesium in the soil inhibits calcium uptake so they are prone to blossom end rot! Beautiful soil otherwise.) I get such a thick deposit that I prefer to use a pot instead of a kettle just because it is easier to see when I really ought to be giving it an acid soak. Kettles (and often my metal water bottles heh) land up building up to the point where I find chunks floating around. I know it's harmless, but still not pleasant :lol:

Makes note to check on water heater when we add salt!

AmberJewel
August 27th, 2014, 10:57 PM
Excellent thread! I'm really enjoying all the different suggestions. The water where I live (primitive island) is so contaminated that we have to add bleach to it to keep little critters from hatching out in it. Of course, that can't be good for my hair. Sometimes I can actually smell the bleach in the shower water. So I'm going to start boiling the water before showering (or using bottled drinking water) and doing a vinegar rinse afterwards. Thanks everyone!

LoveBunny
September 5th, 2014, 04:55 PM
This will be a bit long.....

So many people have posted here with the same suggestions that I would have posted a year ago.

ACV after shampoo- Sort of worked for me, but not long term.

Using Malibu Wellness Well Water shampoo and conditioner- Didn't really do much.

Pinch of citric acid in water as a before shampoo and end of shower rinse- meh. I think I went back to ACV after trying a few times.

Clarifying shampoos a couple times a week- helped a little, but hair was getting dry.

Clarifying packets from Sally Beauty- Worked and changed my hair for a few washes, then I'd have to use again. Got too pricey.

I even resorted to adding a pinch of Calgon the laundry water softener to a bit of shampoo. That was my favorite method. My hair felt soft. I even added a pinch to a liter bottle with a splash of ACV and filled up with water and used it at the end of my shower. I would let it sit for about 30 seconds and rinse.

Tried multiple shower head filters. Culligan was the latest- I don't think it did much. It filters, doesn't soften the water.

Now, I got a Water Stick and haven't looked back!!!!!!!!!! The thing was $200. I knew about this water softener for a few years, but I didn't want to spend the money. I finally pulled the trigger since my hair would only get to a certain length and break off and I didn't have the money to invest in a full house water softener.

The only reason I risked it was the 14 day return policy. I'd have to pay shipping, but I figured it would be worth it to at least try.

My hair is now reliably soft, not just if I use certain products. I had always thought my hair was extremely damaged, in reality, all the damage I was feeling was the hard water. My hair was a lot less damaged than I initially thought.

The water stick is ugly, the shower head to use with it isn't the best. But this water softener actually has resin like the full house filters. You need to clean the resin every few weeks with a water and salt mixture. According to the site, they want you to use table salt, but I am a rebel and use the water softener salt. They state that the water softener salt can clog the filter with sentiment, but I haven't had issues. I've had mine since February. If I had to buy a new one right now because of clogging, I'd still use the water softener salt with my new one. I have seen that I can go longer between cleanings than with the table salt. They actually give you a testing kit that can be used quite a few times.

Now, the water softener salt takes longer to dissolve, but every time I fill my Water Stick to clean it, I refill a plastic container with water and the salt so it can dissolve in the few weeks until I need to clean it again. I'll add a few pictures. Please pardon the messiness. LOL! First picture is the water softener. So ugly! Second picture is my salt dissolving container with the funnel I use to put the water in the Water Stick.

If you have any questions, please ask! http://imgur.com/xKI5Xfu http://imgur.com/Q5fL6d1

LipstickGirl
September 5th, 2014, 05:19 PM
If anyone in the UK is like I was and isn't sure of their water hardness level, you can go to your water supplier website and somewhere on it out will tell you. This link gives a list of all the supplier websites. http://knowhow.com/article.dhtml?articleReference=379&country=uk

You may get different levels of detail, South east water had me put in my post code and select my house, Yorkshire water just gave a general one, and it was in a PDF.

LoveBunny
September 5th, 2014, 07:26 PM
I wanted to add, I got some shampoo bar samples from a seller on Etsy before I had gotten my Water Stick. It was a disaster. They would barely lather and my hair felt so coated after use.

Then I tried them after I installed my Water Stick. Instant lather and nice clean feeling hair!

Larki
September 5th, 2014, 07:29 PM
I use Malibu C's hard water shampoo. It's sulfate-free, so not harsh. It smells delicious, too! :p
http://www.malibuc.com/products/cn/2110/Malibu-C-Hard-Water-Wellness-Shampoo

aspartame gram
September 6th, 2014, 12:11 AM
Vinegar rinses were not working for me and my shampoo bars from Chagrin Valley. I finally had to return to using sulfates (purchased some things from Lush, long story short, I had to remove henna from my hair because the demarcation line was hideous). The shampoo bars were great for my scalp and root area, but due to the hard water my ends looked terrible. I might invest thereafter in some salon-y expensive sulfate-free line, but for now I'll continue to use the Lush line. I'm upset about it, but not much was helping, unfortunately.