Hard vs. Soft Water and the effects on your hair

Hard Water - Effects on hairHave you ever moved to a new city or even a new part of town and noticed that the condition of your hair worsened?  The reason for this may have to do with the water quality in your area and if you have experienced it, you most likely moved from a place with soft water to an area with harder water.

What’s the difference between hard and soft water?

Hard water is water with high mineral content and contains relatively high levels of calcium and magnesium.  85% of the US population lives in a place where the water is hard.  Soft water is either naturally occurring or produced and contains low levels of minerals.

How to tell whether you have hard or soft water –

There are several ways to find out what kind of water is in your city or part of town.  One quick and pretty accurate way is to simply Google it.  Another way is to look at the fixtures in your bathroom. If your faucet or showerhead is covered in what looks like a mineral film, it’s an indication of hard water.  If you have soft water, you may be able to tell by the way the water feels.  Soft water feels silky, almost slimy and is more likely to lather up your products.

What is the effect of hard water on your hair?

Throughout the day, your hair is exposed to many things and the point of washing it is to remove the buildup of pollution, dirt, styling products and more.  If your water contains a high level of mineral content, it’s not getting the hair as clean as it should be.  Those minerals also create their own film and buildup which can not only leave your hair feeling lackluster, but can also effect the cleanliness of your scalp.  The continued buildup of these minerals on the hair and scalp can cause your hair to be dull, frizzy, limp, and lifeless.  Lastly, they can cause the hair cuticle to lift which makes hair unmanageable and dry.

How to keep hair healthy if you have hard water –

  • Purchase a showerhead filter: A quality showerhead will filter out most or all of the minerals that would cause buildup or damage to the hair and scalp.  They can be expensive and you get what you pay for, but it’s the most effective way to prevent hard water hair.
  • Use a clarifying shampoo: Clarifying or chelating shampoos contain powerful cleansers like sulfates and EDTA that are great for removing that buildup of minerals that hard water creates.  Ovation’s Clarifying Therapy Shampoo is specifically formulated for weekly or bi-monthly use and includes ingredients that will effectively combat hard water.
  • Rinse with purified water: If your water is hard, you most likely don’t drink it.  Use your drinking water filter (or a jug from the store) and fill up a large spray bottle of purified water and keep it in your shower.  Use that water as much as you can when rinsing your hair.
  • Moisturized daily: Hydration is very important if you have hard water because of the way it lifts the cuticle and causes dryness.  This makes it harder for the hair strand to absorb and retain moisture, so its recommended to Crème Rinse daily and apply a hair mask once a week.

Unfortunately, we don’t have much control over whether our water is soft or hard, but that doesn’t mean we have to let hard water get the best of our hair.  By keeping these tips in mind, we have the option to keep our hair healthy no matter what the water quality is.

Enjoy shiny, manageable and healthy hair!

–          Emily

Sources: Wikipedia, chicagotribune.com, pbs.org, freepeople.com, xovain.com
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