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Thread: Hard water waxiness - how to get rid of it

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    Member ReptilianFeline's Avatar
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    Lightbulb Hard water waxiness - how to get rid of it

    Hard water is hard to work with. They best thing is of course to get something that removes those minerals before they hit your coffemaker, your kettle, your washing mashine or your hair. If that's not an option, the next best thing is EDTA high up on the list of ingredients in your shampoo.

    However... if you have gone no-poo, then what?

    This waxy gunky buildup is hard to live with, the hair looks off, it gets roapy and dirt collects more easily, and your brush, comb and hands will get coated in the stuff when you style your hair. It took me a while to actually figure out what it is, and now I'm working on how to battle it.
    I can't do anything about my water, so something else is needed.

    One of the things that makes it worse, is alkaline rinses. Alkaline as in pH above 7. As in baking soda, castile soap, green tea, and most herbal rinses. Using ACV afterwards is usually not enough... I think it's the wrong kind of acid... I could be wrong, but we'll see.

    I had a really bad case of waxy buildup, and din't want to use shampoo because my scalp hates it. I was recommended Miracle water, something a member here came up with. The original thread is lost to the halls of forgotten ones and zeroes, but the recipe still lives on.
    Miracle water: 1 gallon (I assume US gallon) of water, 1/32 teaspoon of ascorbic acid (vit C) and 1/4 teaspoon of citric acid.
    I tried to turn that into a 1 litre recipe, but the result with such tiny amount is hard to properly measure.
    Now, a word of caution - vit C is used to lighten hair, so I didn't want to make it too strong either, since I had just done a setting of black PPD henna. However, getting rid og the wax is priority 1.

    Lactic acid is used in some brands of coffe maker decalcifiers. According to Shenet, it is very harsh and should be used sparingly. The alternative is whey, since that contains lactic acid in more gentle proportions. Lactic acid is also part of the fermentation process, and that's where I started.
    I mixed som organic rye flour with water and let it ferment, just like sour dough, but with more water. I fed it twice during the week with more rye flour. Then I strained it and kept the leftovers to a new batch. The water/milk was mixed with some katam, because I wanted the scrubbiness from it for my scalp. The katam (I thought it was bad quality indigo) did turn blue in the bottle as it was sitting half a day before I used it.
    I also made a strong coffee rinse. Coffee is slightly acidic at least.

    I started off with wetting my hair with miracle water. I should have used all of it, instead of saving some for next wash. It was hard to wet my hair like that. Next time I'll put my hair under the shower to start anyway. I didn't feel any effect on my hair.
    Without rinsing, I applied my rye flour 'poo. It felt good, slight creamyness, easy to apply, slightly lemony smell. The katam made a nice scrub. I let it sit in my hair while I did my other showery things. Then I scrubbed some more and used my hands to "pull" it down the lenght of my hair.
    Rinse, rinse, rinse. I could feel that there was still something in my hair, the waxiness wasn't completely gone, I was sure of it. I contemplated making an ACV rinse as well, but decided to go with the experiment as intended.
    Applied my coffee rinse. Worked my hair a bit, and ended up with coffee stained feet.
    Rinse, rinse, rinse. Then dry in a turban and then air dry while I slept.

    My hair was still roapy from the wax, but... there is a slight improvement. The waxyness is less. I applied some coconut oil and then detangled and there are spots that has less waxyness, so I know I'm on the right track. I think miracle water is great for maintaining a waxless hair, but to remove long term buildup, something else or stronger is needed.
    My colour has turned slightly purplish and a bit lighter, especially my roots have lost most of the colour. I'll remidy that with a few henna and indigo washes. Those washes doesn't really cover, but they give a hint of colour and prepares my virgin roots for a new dye session.

    I will make some whey and use that as well. Whey is easily done by heating milk, adding lemon juice, and making soft cheese. I will make Indian Pannir cheese and keep the whey. I'll let you know how it goes.

    So far, acid of the right strenght and variety is needed, and alkali rinses need to be avoided. I will play around with the ascorbic and citric acids, my fermented rye flour and some whey and see what mixes are good for removing buildup, and then what is needed to maintain a nice waxless head of hair.

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    Hiding in plain sight spidermom's Avatar
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    Default Re: Hard water waxiness - how to get rid of it

    White vinegar rinses helped me when I stayed in a hard water area. I did use shampoo in addition, however.

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    LHC FairyGodMum lapushka's Avatar
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    Default Re: Hard water waxiness - how to get rid of it

    Could they possibly sell EDTA as a powder? So you could dissolve it in water and rinse (and perhaps scritch) your hair with it.
    WCC method (washing) --- Rinse-out oil (MO) --- LOC/LCO method (styling)

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    Member ReptilianFeline's Avatar
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    Default Re: Hard water waxiness - how to get rid of it

    Lapushka - I wish! But I think it's one of those things that are only sold to industries... however, I will look for it.

    BTW - lactic acid can be bought from shops that seel supplies to home brewers (beer). Crearome also make lactic acid in bottles. It is however very strong. Foot warts can be removed with a lactic acid mix sold in the pharmacy, and that will disolve the skin a little.

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    Glitter fairy Chromis's Avatar
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    Default Re: Hard water waxiness - how to get rid of it

    I can't help with the no poo since I am a shampoo bar user, but I do have a lot of experience with hard water! In the end after years of having to clean things twice and having appliances fail earlier because of the calcium deposits, we simply got a water softener. If you are in a house, I recommend one! Here most water heaters will die in 5-7 years without one, washers an dishwashers don't live as long and you have to do an extra rinse to clarify your clothing/dishes even. You also use a lot more soap and detergent. We liked something here called LemiShine for the washer, dishwasher, coffee maker, etc: https://www.lemishine.com/ and they use citric acid, glycolic acid, and alkoxylated alcohol. (Their most popular product is actually just citric acid and fragrance!)

    For my hair I used a mixture of ACV and citric acid. ACV alone was not enough! I even had made a brief experiment with going back to sulphates at one point....and I still needed to use an acidic rinse! We have some of the hardest water in Canada here, so my case is pretty extreme. It is not only pH that matters. Your general hardness and calcium hardness will tell the whole story. (Our GH is between 32-38 gpg depending on time of year and now and then it goes off my test kit's chart completely which means higher than 40)

    For reference:

    Soft: below 17 mg/litre or ppm (0 - 1 gpg)
    Slightly Hard: 17.1 - 60 mg/litre or ppm (1.1 - 3.5 gpg)
    Moderately Hard: 61 - 120 mg/litre or ppm (3.6 - 7 gpg)
    Hard: 121 - 180 mg/litre or ppm (7.1 - 10.5 gpg)
    Very Hard: over 180 mg/litre or ppm (over 10.5 gpg)

    You can often look this information up with your city or region or buy a test kit. They are pretty cheap and it is mildly entertaining! You might also be able to ask a pool store or an aquarium shop nicely if they would mind testing for you.

    From zero to hero

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    Member ReptilianFeline's Avatar
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    Default Re: Hard water waxiness - how to get rid of it

    Thanks for the info Chromis!
    pH is, from what I gathered, important in how much is deposited.

    Unfortunately, we only rent and has no say in a water softener, although I wish we could get one!

    Hopefully all this will help others with the same or similar problem

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    Default Re: Hard water waxiness - how to get rid of it

    Did you try something like this shower head filter?

    https://www.homedepot.com/p/Hotel-Sp...CABEgJI-PD_BwE

    I used to use these when I lived in hard water areas. I am not sure if it made a difference, or if I just didn't know how bad it would have been without it.

    Lady Tangocurl of the Scepter-Twined Tresses in the Order of the Long Haired Knights.
    Currently BSL in the back when stretched, and a couple inches shy of BSL in the front. Very basic 3a. No cones. No heat styling.


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    LHC FairyGodMum lapushka's Avatar
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    Default Re: Hard water waxiness - how to get rid of it

    I used plain vinegar and lemon juice. I much prefer the lemon juice and actually felt it did *something* whereas I didn't feel like that with the vinegar. Maybe I diluted it too much at the time (teaspoon to a liter of water, same as with the lemon juice). Maybe that's just too little to use.

    Just to say I liked the lemon juice better.
    WCC method (washing) --- Rinse-out oil (MO) --- LOC/LCO method (styling)

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    Default Re: Hard water waxiness - how to get rid of it

    I find vinegar does the job. On rare occasions I've tried highly diluted lemon/lime juice. I also use vinegar along with detergent to wash the laundry. Vinegar/lemon also works on washing up the dishes in my hard water area.
    Kay , BSL > MBL > Waist > Hip

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    Default Re: Hard water waxiness - how to get rid of it

    Whenever my hair starts getting that waxy buildup feel to it (which I'm not completely sure, but always assumed was from my water not being the softest) I give it a quick bentonite clay mask and it clears it right up.

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