View Full Version : Is it worth getting a water softener to help my hair?

August 27th, 2019, 12:43 PM
Hi there, I'm still looking for a solution and fix for the current state of my hair. My hair is fine and there's not much of it. I have breakage all over the top layer, though the hair underneath is healthier. Shampoos always feel drying on my hair so I recently I've been using them less and my hair started to feel less dry. However, the breakage is a lot more severe now. I think this is because of the hard water build up not being washed away, I'm not 100% sure but it seems to make sense. Though would this just affect the top layer? I've also had UV damage suggested to me, but I rarely go out in the sun and if I do I'll wear a hat. I feel like I've tried everything, I'm now getting a water softener installed.

I have looked online but I can't find any posts by people who have changed to soft water and experienced changes in their hair which do not just say it made their hair softer. If anyone here has any experience with this I'd love to hear it.

Thank you for any help or info.

August 27th, 2019, 12:47 PM
I am not sure if it did anything for my hair but it was beneficial to my skin.

August 27th, 2019, 12:54 PM
Oh my gosh... you sound JUST like me, hah. I posted about this same exact situation not too long ago.. I too have been having terrible breakage, and also just moved to a hard water area last summer. It all started about 6 months after that. Hard water can coat your hair with minerals, and it does keep moisture from getting in... which I think is what ends up creating all the brittleness.

Do you have the weak spots on your hair that look kind of like what dots, and that's where the hair breaks off? That's how mine is. I don't have a water softener... however, I've heard that the salt from water softeners can cause their own kind of damage too. I'm sure it's not as bad as hard water, but I'm not sure. I have just switched to a harsher shampoo (sulfates / EDTA for chelating) and I've started doing a final rinse with filtered, non-hard water. I was exclusively trying to wash with it, but it was wayyyy too much of a task, and I've heard good things about the final rinse with distilled / filtered water.

I still have breakage, but that's because the damage was already done... I can't fix the weak spots. I just have to hope I don't get any more going forward and eventually it'll all balance out.

Sorry I can't help much as I'm going through the same thing... but I just wanted to let you know you definitely aren't alone!

August 27th, 2019, 01:15 PM
Thank you for the replies!

I can't see any white dots or anything like that, it's just broken shorter strands sticking up all over my head making it look unkempt. It's definitely breakage and not new hair growth. My hair is super, super fine too so when I get breakage it shows so badly. I bought a chelating shampoo, used it once and my hair felt squeaky clean but it really dried it out badly. I did a deep condition treatment straight after and it worked so well, my hair was really soft. I guess the moisture could get to the hair without the buildup..(?) It's fustrating because I don't know what's doing more damage, the harsh shampoo or the hard water buildup.

I've never heard of the salt from water softeners causing damage but it makes sense. With the state of my hair right now though I feel I have nothing to lose by trying. I'm just trying to justify the cost...

Thanks again,

August 27th, 2019, 01:23 PM
I know what you mean, I could not use a regular chelating shampoo, it was way too harsh. I went back to using Pantene. It has chelating ingredients in it, and sulfates which also help, but it's not as harsh as a designated chelating shampoo. My hair feels so much better using the Pantene, but like I said I still have the breakage issues cause I believe the damage has already been done... ugh, it's definitely so frustrating!! I hear you!

August 27th, 2019, 02:31 PM
Absolutely! Soft water makes a huge difference in preventing tangles, especially with fine hair. I have experienced this, personally.

August 31st, 2019, 03:49 PM
How do you go about getting a water softener installed? I saw one at Walmart the other day, is it something that is diy worthy or does a professional have to do it? and how can you tell if you have hard water?

August 31st, 2019, 04:46 PM
How do you go about getting a water softener installed? I saw one at Walmart the other day, is it something that is diy worthy or does a professional have to do it? and how can you tell if you have hard water?

Here in Belgium, we can just go to our provider's site and look it up.

August 31st, 2019, 10:13 PM
If my understanding of it is correct, the tiny bit of extra sodium in softened water would be nowhere near enough to hurt your hair. And most naturally soft water has sodium in it anyway. It's much easier to use light products with soft water than it is to clarify all the crap out of your hair.

Hard water probably isn't the source of your woes though. Do you wear a ponytail with hairbands more than once or twice a month? That's the most common thing I can think of that would break the top of your hair like that.

September 1st, 2019, 12:19 PM
Whenever I have washed my hair in places with hard water I get major tangling. Not just a slight difference either. Night and day. I don't know how patient you are about untangling, but unless you are quite careful you are bound to get some breakage.

September 1st, 2019, 12:57 PM
Have you always had hard water? If so, has anything in particular changed since the breakage became more noticeable? I mean your water supply could have changed from chlorine to chloramine or vice versa, something like that. If you're relatively new to hard water then it could well be the cause.

Other things to rule out are the rest of your routine, including how you wear your hair both day and night. If you can easily afford the water softener system then no harm in going ahead anyway - your skin will probably like it and your hair won't complain about it ;) but if there is something else contributing, it will be disappointing if the breakage continues even with softened water.

My own wash routine is pretty conditioning, and I've not known any problems from hard water all my life (very hard water here according to the UK definitions) but that's because my routine was built to accommodate how my hair was feeling, which of course includes the hard water anyway :shrug:

Wildcat Diva
September 1st, 2019, 01:37 PM
I would get one if I could. I hate how hard water tangles my hair. And I DO CHELATE. No matter.

If I go somewhere on vacation with soft water? It’s instantly better for that period of time I am there. When I get back, it’s back to hell.

September 1st, 2019, 05:18 PM
Have you always had hard water? If so, has anything in particular changed since the breakage became more noticeable?

I honestly don't know, I haven't moved to a new area or anything like that. I've been growing out my natural hair, no heat or dyes. I wear my hair up for work but I use loose silk hair ties and I sleep on a silk pillowcase. Also, a lot of the breakage is higher than where the hair tie sits. My hair has always been in awful condition, I'm not sure if it's just now that it's all-natural that it shows up more. It's looking worse and worse after each shower. Halfway through growing out the dye, I tried the CG method and I got some nice wavey texture and some curls. I thought, great, it's going to look even nicer once I have grown it all out to virgin hair.... I don't know what's wrong, It's getting worse and worse...

September 1st, 2019, 05:33 PM
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September 1st, 2019, 05:59 PM
Hmm, I don't know then. Silk scrunchies and pillowcase are good. There could be external factors like what you use to brush/comb, how often you wash and what products you use, as well as the water; there could also be internal factors such as whether you have any nutritional deficiencies or hormonal imbalances that might account for fragile hair :hmm:

You say your hair has always been in awful condition: what exactly makes you say that? (e.g. frizz and flyaways are fairly normal but some people think it means their hair is damaged or whatever.)
How much dye is left, if any? And when was the last time you used heat tools?
Also the canopy is probably the most damaged part of anyone's hair, simply due to being exposed to the elements - and even the most manipulation when we put our hair up, because that's the bit we smooth back every time. Unusually fragile hair might reflect that more than more resilient hair.

I'm not intending to interrogate you, not at all, just thinking of and trying to eliminate possibilities :flower: and I'm sorry you're feeling so down about your hair. I hope we can pinpoint something that might help.