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lawchik
December 17th, 2014, 11:20 AM
Good morning,

I can't take it anymore! Soft water is running my hair and I am posting this message in hopes that someone has an idea on how to save my hair!

About 6 weeks ago I moved to the country and am on well water. This water is extremely soft at only 8 grains hard, has a PH of 8.6 and is high is sodium and fluoride. My once soft and shinny hair is now a dry, tangled rat's nest! I use Dove shampoo and have been using deep conditioners, which hasn't helped at all. I have tried rinsing my hair in bottled water and that hasn't helped either. In the past I have lived in cities that had hard water; my homes always had a water softener but apparently the opposite doesn't exist; making too soft water harder.

Has anyone gone through this before and have any tips?

Thank for your time!

tigereye
December 17th, 2014, 11:30 AM
The pH is rather high. Have you tried vinegar rinses? It's unusual to be so high - the soft water in this country is usually closer to 5.6 or so because of the type of ground.

As a general rule, the harder the water, the more alkaline, because of dissolved calcium bicarbonate, so this is really unusual for soft water to be alkaline unless something has been added to it that makes it so.

ETA: sometimes water companies will add alkali to the water to protect lead and copper pipes which can be damaged by acidity. Id still try some acidic rinses on your hair and see where that gets you. Alkaline water can make the hair cuticle stand up, which could explain both the dryness and the tangles. Acidity should help smooth those back down.

Anje
December 17th, 2014, 11:42 AM
Huh. Soft water usually isn't a problem for most folks. (Says the girl who's lived with liquified rock-water her whole life without problems. I've got about 27 grains of hardness right now.) I agree with Tigereye -- it might not hurt to do a weak dilute vinegar rinse to see if adjusting the pH does anything. It won't take much vinegar to tweak the pH -- soft water's got very little buffering capacity.

Have you tried clarifying your hair recently? All the conditioning, plus a moisturizing silicone-y shampoo might simply have your hair full of buildup. I'd start with that as a reset before trying anything else. (Neutrogena makes a really good clarifying shampoo, if you're looking for suggestions.)

Make sure you rinse and rinse and rinse your hair, no matter what you're doing. Soft water just doesn't rinse things out as quickly as hard water does, which is one of the reasons soap+soft water feels slimy. (The other is that Ca2+ and Mg2+ like to bind to soap to make soap scum, which isn't slippery.)

ETA: I'm wondering if something else is going on, so I'm going down my usual rut of protein-moisture balance. Is your hair extra stretchy or mushy when it's damp? Is it hard-snappy-rough-sticky when it's dry?

tigereye
December 17th, 2014, 11:49 AM
I doubt the soft water is the problem. I think it's far more likely to be pH or build-up. And I say this as a girl that grew up with exceptionally hard water (and no softener), and moved onto exceptionally soft water. Only difference I found was that I didn't need to chelate, or use a vinegar rinse any more, but that was largely because the hard water had a pH of about 8, while the soft water was only 5.4. Nowadays, I don't bother checking water hardness if I'm going somewhere - just the pH.

gthlvrmx
December 17th, 2014, 11:57 AM
Isn't well water usually hard water? I think the problem usually is the mineral build that comes with hard water. Soft water is fine.

Anje
December 17th, 2014, 01:01 PM
Isn't well water usually hard water? I think the problem usually is the mineral build that comes with hard water. Soft water is fine.
Totally depends on where you are. If your ground water sits on limestone bedrock, it's likely to be hard. But there are plenty of places where even the ground water is soft. Heck, I'm told that a lot of these things even vary from well to well -- I've heard plenty of stories where the family got too much sulfur from one well, so they drilled another on the same property and got water with less sulfur in it.

My current municipality uses water from wells (not the rather polluted river going past the town), so it's hard, especially if you're like me and don't have a softener because you're renting. My old hometown in WI did too, but the cities in that area actually choose to soften the water a bit before they pipe it out to the homes.

gthlvrmx
December 17th, 2014, 01:48 PM
Totally depends on where you are. If your ground water sits on limestone bedrock, it's likely to be hard. But there are plenty of places where even the ground water is soft. Heck, I'm told that a lot of these things even vary from well to well -- I've heard plenty of stories where the family got too much sulfur from one well, so they drilled another on the same property and got water with less sulfur in it.

My current municipality uses water from wells (not the rather polluted river going past the town), so it's hard, especially if you're like me and don't have a softener because you're renting. My old hometown in WI did too, but the cities in that area actually choose to soften the water a bit before they pipe it out to the homes.

Oh I did not know that! Cool!

meteor
December 17th, 2014, 01:58 PM
Yes, I wonder if your water is actually hard rather than soft.

Regardless, chelating shampoos (Joico makes nice ones), or "swimmers' shampoos", should help get rid of the build-up you are describing.
And definitely, acidic rinses to counteract that alkaline water.