Hair looking and feeling kinda blah, despite you spending your rent on trips to the salon and every haircare product under the sun? It might not be your hair routine that’s to blame. It could be your water. Hard water, to be precise.
To learn all the ins and outs of hard water and its impact on your strands, read on. We’ve explained everything you need to know and enlisted the help of a hairdresser to provide some simple tips for tackling this problem. Head on.
What is hard water?
The hardness of water simply refers to its mineral content. With hard water being H20 that has a higher concentration of minerals – particularly calcium and magnesium. This occurs largely due to groundwater that flows over or through limestone, dissolving small amounts of minerals on its travels.
The mineral content of water differs vastly between countries and states, with 60% and 85% of UK and US households having hard water.
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How do I know if my home has hard water?
Unfortunately, you can’t always tell if water is hard or soft just by looking at it. But there are some tell-tale signs. Firstly, that glass of tap water might taste a little metallic. (It could also look a little cloudy.) And you might notice spots and streaks on your dishes, even after a dishwasher cycle.
Your clothes may dry a little stiff after washing, there will probably be soap scum on your shower screen and tiles, visible rust, and your appliances might wear out faster than expected. Mineral deposits can also build up in pipes and your utility bills might increase.
Still unsure if your water is hard? A quick Google search for your area should clear things up.
How does it impact your hair?
So, you know that hard water can damage your pipes and make getting clothes clean a little tricker. But did you know it can also wreak havoc with your hair (and skin, for that matter)?
According to Melbourne hairdresser Sofia Basile, hard water leaves a mineral residue that can make your hair dry, dull and tangled. As if you’ve just had a swim in the ocean. This build-up then prevents your other products from penetrating properly to hydrate/repair/nourish – or whatever their specific job involves.
Drying out your scalp and strands, hard water can reduce elasticity (and therefore increase breakage), cause increased frizz, and even result in hair loss. But don’t panic! There are a few simple steps you can take to combat hard water. And restore your crowning glory to its hydrated, glossy best.
What you can do to protect your hair from hard water
If you’re living in a hard water area, there’s no need to move across the country just yet. With the following action plan, you can minimise the impact of excess minerals on your strands.
“Steam showers or steam treatments are great to help moisture penetrate your strands. And a citrus rinse will also remove build-up and allow moisture into the hair structure.”
“Installing a water-softening shower head filter is always a good idea,” says Basile. “Using a clarifying shampoo once or twice a week will also help remove mineral residue. Or a pre-shampoo treatment works well too.” - keep an eye out for some exciting news coming real soon!
Another easy and effective way to nourish dry and hard water-damaged hair? “A deep moisturising hair mask once a week.”
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Written by: Iris and Joelle