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View Full Version : What impact does hard water have on hair and scalp?



Knightly
January 13th, 2019, 06:56 PM
Since I have really hard water, I'm wondering if it can cause or already causes anything bad on my hair....

Longlegs
January 13th, 2019, 07:05 PM
It is'nt good for hair, it causes build up and can make it drier. Their is probably a forum discussion about this subject already. Malibu make a shampoo, conditioner and crystal Gel to help remove hard water deposits on your hair, and if you can install a water filter it helps as well.

dagny
January 13th, 2019, 08:21 PM
I have hard water. At first, I didn't notice much of an effect, but when I started to grow my hair longer it started to always feel "dry" and "like straw". I would try various moisturizers/conditioners but my hair would never feel silky. Eventually, I remembered I had hard water so i did a chelation treatment that I bought at Sally Beauty. After one treatment, my hair felt amazing.

Now, all I do is rinse my hair with distilled water/vinegar as a final rinse after every wash. I purchased a gallon bottle of distilled water and added vinegar to it. I pour it into a container, and then bend over and dip all of my hair into the container to get it all rinsed. Then, I re-pour the water/vinegar solution back into the gallon bottle to use for my next wash. Every month I purchase a new gallon of distilled water. I have been doing this for about 3 months and so far it is working great!

JennGalt
January 13th, 2019, 08:43 PM
Iíve had the dry, strawlike feeling too. Granted, my hair is naturally dry, but after trying vinegar rinses and moving to an area with slightly better water Iíve come to realize my natural hair texture is not completely to blame. I also had issues with hard water buildup mixing with cones to create a gross, gummy coating on my hair that was difficult to remove unless I burnt it off with my flatiron. I read somewhere that porous hair (like mine) is more susceptible to hard water buildup. Donít know if thatís true or not (Iím guessing so, because none of my friends ever had that issue), but it was bad enough that I wonít use cones again.

Iím presently using a deep conditioner with a cone-like copolymer, but if I moved back home Iíd drop it like a hot potato.

Iíve also heard that the iron in hard water can cause a brassy appearance. My hair is black, though, so that possible side effect wouldnít bother me much.

Estrid
January 14th, 2019, 02:29 AM
I live on an island that got hard water and people seem to have good hair and healthy scalps anyway. I've never noticed anything bad about it. My mother says her hair gets softer when she showers at a place that got soft water, but I have never noticed that for myself.

It can cause some sort of build up, I've heard, and that people "have to chelate". I'm quite sceptical to that though, I haven't seen any chelating shampoos being sold in the normal stores here, no one seems to use them and when I asked about it in stores the people look like question marks.
First time I chelated my hair I was 23, my hair got a tiny bit softer, else I didn't notice a difference.

ChloeDharma
January 14th, 2019, 04:59 AM
If you have hard water think of it like your kettle. That nasty build up is from the minerals remaining in your hair after the water has evaporated as the hair dries. I have always noticed that whern I went on holiday to a soft water area my hair would get softer and shinier after a few washes.

Now I use a tresemme clarifying shampoo that also chelates, though not as often as I probably should. When I do use it though I notice quite a difference in my hair and conditioners work much better after a clarifying and chelating treatment.
Also a final rince with diluted vinergar helps to slow down the build up.

lapushka
January 14th, 2019, 05:23 AM
Since I have really hard water, I'm wondering if it can cause or already causes anything bad on my hair....

We have had a lot of threads like this.

In all of them I have to say, that me personally, I have lived with hard water all my life and that I have 0 problems with it. I have tried ACV rinses and citric (lemon) rinses, but to no avail. I liked the lemon rinse a bit better but in all honesty, it does little to nothing.

You can see the effects of all the hard water on the hair in my signature. ;)

Copasetic
January 14th, 2019, 06:07 AM
I have really hard water and my hair is soft and shiny. It is quite short though.

At my longest, I was waist length and did not notice any issues then.

littlestarface
January 14th, 2019, 06:24 AM
Well hard to extremely hard water is different everywhere and not everyone is going to have the same kind of hard water, there are different minerals in every place so extremely hard water in the americas is going to be different than hard water in europe lol. Everyones hair is different as well, I need to chelate I live in a place with extremely hard water and when I chelate my hair looks and feels much better and it also curls more to, like a weight has been lifted off of them.

You will know if your hair needs a chelate is if your hair feels weighed down,dry,tangly,coated, sticky ends etc. When one chelates its best to use a chelating shampoo and not just try a rinse which will do nothing with years of minerals in your hair.

MusicalSpoons
January 14th, 2019, 08:15 AM
Well hard to extremely hard water is different everywhere and not everyone is going to have the same kind of hard water, there are different minerals in every place so extremely hard water in the americas is going to be different than hard water in europe lol. Everyones hair is different as well, I need to chelate I live in a place with extremely hard water and when I chelate my hair looks and feels much better and it also curls more to, like a weight has been lifted off of them.

Yup, and I did not realise that for quite some time until after joining here and reading what to me seemed like unbelievable accounts of terrible water quality.

I think my favourite wealth of information is here http://science-yhairblog.blogspot.com/2016/03/hard-water-and-your-hair.html I advise reading the comments on the blog article too - very interesting.
Two main points from that article:
- More damaged hair will have more minerals bond to it
- Higher water pH means more minerals will bond to the hair (which is possibly why acidic rinses are essential for some but make little difference for others - not a point in the article but an observation)

Also if you search this forum you'll find lots of experiences and tips too.

I personally have very hard water, have always had very hard water, and like lapushka have never seen ill effects. However I can't quite get rid of the nagging suspicion that it could possibly be causing my hair to look so oily so quickly, and I'm sure if we had soft water I'd have to use less conditioner. I know with soft water my skin is much happier, e.g. when we go on holiday for a week :shrug:

(Interesting others above note that with chelating their hair feels softer, even silky - my hair has never felt silky, so again, it makes me wonder. We actually have Sally Beauty online here, which carries some Ion and Malibu products :hmm: but then, my hair doesn't otherwise fit the description of needing to chelate :confused:)

lottiealice
January 14th, 2019, 09:52 AM
If you have hard water think of it like your kettle. That nasty build up is from the minerals remaining in your hair after the water has evaporated as the hair dries. I have always noticed that whern I went on holiday to a soft water area my hair would get softer and shinier after a few washes.

Now I use a tresemme clarifying shampoo that also chelates, though not as often as I probably should. When I do use it though I notice quite a difference in my hair and conditioners work much better after a clarifying and chelating treatment.
Also a final rince with diluted vinergar helps to slow down the build up.

Is it the TRESemmť Cleanse & Renew, Deep Cleansing Hair Shampoo?

https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/81aUTc83NWL._SY355_.jpg

akurah
January 14th, 2019, 09:57 AM
Hard water can change the color of your hair (if it's light) depending on the kind of hard water. I think some minerals are the culprit but not necessarily all minerals.

lapushka
January 14th, 2019, 10:38 AM
MusicalSpoons, on the subject of oiliness. My hair has gotten less oily the older I got. I used to need to wash 2/3 times a week. Now it's once a week and it's OK. I did have a medical issue whereby I needed to stretch to 2 weeks for months on end, so that could have helped (loads in fact). My hair doesn't even look that bad on a Saturday. I once tried "heated" distilled water on my head and I felt like I had residue on my hair and scalp and I could not get the suds out as well as normal (even though I poured and poured the water on there). It is supposed to be softer water, no?

MusicalSpoons
January 14th, 2019, 10:55 AM
MusicalSpoons, on the subject of oiliness. My hair has gotten less oily the older I got. I used to need to wash 2/3 times a week. Now it's once a week and it's OK. I did have a medical issue whereby I needed to stretch to 2 weeks for months on end, so that could have helped (loads in fact). My hair doesn't even look that bad on a Saturday. I once tried "heated" distilled water on my head and I felt like I had residue on my hair and scalp and I could not get the suds out as well as normal (even though I poured and poured the water on there). It is supposed to be softer water, no?

Yes, distilled water has a hardness of 0, on any scale ;)

I can't put my finger on why exactly the suspicion is still nagging; I think it's partly because I desperately don't want it to be the products I'm using because my scalp has remained consistently happy (for the first time ever), and partly because I've read a couple of other people saying they knew they had to chelate when their hair just looked weighed down and slightly oily all the time. Though if it *is* the water, I don't know what to do about it because I very much doubt any chelating products would agree with my scalp anyway ... I mean, the dry/flaky skin is not a huge problem if it comes back after a wash or two, I'm just reluctant to accidentally make it start again in case it takes ages to go away. Right now it doesn't matter that my hair doesn't stay clean, but if I end up well enough to leave the house more than one or twice a week I'll need a washing schedule to look presentable!

Edit: I am inadvertently stretching washes at the moment to twice a week / wash every 4 or 5 days out of necessity (lack of energy) and because my scalp is absolutely fine with it. It's not slowing oil production though, and it's been 2-3 months already.

ChloeDharma
January 14th, 2019, 01:06 PM
Is it the TRESemmť Cleanse & Renew, Deep Cleansing Hair Shampoo?

https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/81aUTc83NWL._SY355_.jpg

Yes, that's the one. It has a certain ingredient in it that chelates, as advised in that sciency blog article linked a few posts up. It doesn't advertise itself as chelating for some reason though. Bonus, it smells lovely and you can get a massive bottle going cheap when it's on sale in Wilko's or other shops too. It's ages since I brought it so I can't confirm the price now but I got the big bottle for something like £2 probably over a year ago and still have some left.

lapushka
January 14th, 2019, 02:13 PM
I have a shampoo for hard water (kiwi shine by Schwarzkopf, long discontinued) that I am using now. I think it's the ingredient tetrasodium EDTA that is doing most of it, but I find a lot of my shampoos have that ingredient. :?:

Could it be that our shampoos are catered towards the water we have? I wonder about that.

Lady Stardust
January 14th, 2019, 02:14 PM
Yes, distilled water has a hardness of 0, on any scale ;)

I can't put my finger on why exactly the suspicion is still nagging; I think it's partly because I desperately don't want it to be the products I'm using because my scalp has remained consistently happy (for the first time ever), and partly because I've read a couple of other people saying they knew they had to chelate when their hair just looked weighed down and slightly oily all the time. Though if it *is* the water, I don't know what to do about it because I very much doubt any chelating products would agree with my scalp anyway ... I mean, the dry/flaky skin is not a huge problem if it comes back after a wash or two, I'm just reluctant to accidentally make it start again in case it takes ages to go away. Right now it doesn't matter that my hair doesn't stay clean, but if I end up well enough to leave the house more than one or twice a week I'll need a washing schedule to look presentable!

Edit: I am inadvertently stretching washes at the moment to twice a week / wash every 4 or 5 days out of necessity (lack of energy) and because my scalp is absolutely fine with it. It's not slowing oil production though, and it's been 2-3 months already.

I live in a hard water area but spend a few weeks a year in a soft water area, and I have an oily scalp - I usually wash every other day. I haven’t noticed any difference in how often my scalp needs washing when I’ve been in a soft water area (the south west), but maybe because I’m only there for a couple of weeks at a time?

The difference I have noticed with soft water is that my hair seems to “flow” and feel lovely. However I get product build up much more easily in the south west, it doesn’t seem to rinse away as easily.

We have a water softener at home now and that helps enormously, my hennaed hair used to go brown from mineral build up, but that doesn’t happen anymore. It’s still not as soft as naturally soft water.

I think if your scalp needs a delicate balancing act, you’re probably right to have your reservations about chelating. It makes my hair feel better but my scalp seems to get oily even faster after chelating.

One other difference between the south west and where I live is the level of pollution - there’s much more traffic passing through than there is in Cornwall. My uncle lived in central London and he noticed a huge difference in how little he had to wash everything when he was in Cornwall.

Ylva
January 14th, 2019, 07:57 PM
MusicalSpoons, maybe you could use the chelating shampoo on your hair only and skip the scalp? Maybe apply conditioner or something on your scalp (I think I remember reading that you co-wash at least sometimes) for that time, so the shampoo doesn't come in much contact with your scalp?

Nightshade
January 14th, 2019, 08:03 PM
We have ungodly hard water here, living in a river valley of limestone bluffs. It made my hair stiff and tangly and muted the color of my henna.

I use a blend of citric acid, vitamin C, grainularized honey, and essential oils to take the buildup off my hair and it works great. :)

Olux
January 14th, 2019, 09:20 PM
Personally, i realized my hair doesn't like hard water when i stop cleaning my hair with it. I quit shampoo cleaning and i was having a hard time with waxy build up that got better when i switch hard water for purified water (long story about why im using drinking water for my hair), among other stuff.

Viola_sororia
January 16th, 2019, 04:07 PM
Hard water can change the color of your hair (if it's light) depending on the kind of hard water. I think some minerals are the culprit but not necessarily all minerals.

I had blonde hair. Please note the "had." I moved to where I am a year and a half ago, and every part of my hair, including what had grown before I moved here, turned walnut brown to match my walnut wood hair fork. I finally found out about chelating shampoo, and now I am trying to undo the damage and get my hair back.

MusicalSpoons
January 17th, 2019, 07:55 AM
MusicalSpoons, maybe you could use the chelating shampoo on your hair only and skip the scalp? Maybe apply conditioner or something on your scalp (I think I remember reading that you co-wash at least sometimes) for that time, so the shampoo doesn't come in much contact with your scalp?

That's a good idea! I don't really co-wash any more because I don't have the energy and I was shedding extra (most likely due to manipulation than conditioner) but as a one-off it's certainly doable. I could even use the Tresemme shampoo mentioned above, nice and cheap! :D Thanks for the suggestion!