You know those terms that everyone is familiar with but that no one seems to know where they came from? We like to think hard water falls into that category of phantom terms. We’ve all heard of the horrors of hard water — dull, lifeless, filmy hair — but getting to the bottom of what it is can be a mystery for many. As it happens, a better understanding of this elusive curse can also better help us protect our precious locks. To keep your hair bouncy and bright, we want to shed light on this hair ruiner we call hard water, as well as the tricks to keep it at bay.
What Is Hard Water?
Hard water occurs when pure rainwater — soft water — accumulates minerals via soil, rocks and sand. It becomes infused with mineral salts like calcium and magnesium. Although not exactly harmful to our overall health, hard water can really do a number on our skin and hair.
What Does It Do to My Hair?
It’s actually calcium and magnesium that are the true hair ruiners in hard water. The two minerals can build up in our manes and even mix into shampoo residue (yuck!). Some of the lovely effects they leave behind in our hair include:
Dull, limp hair
What Can I Do to Prevent Damage?
You could scrub and wash your hair several times and still step out of the shower with hard water effects lingering in your hair. Don’t fret: There are a few easy tricks to help you battle the hardness.
Showerhead Water Filter
Shower filters are pretty easy to install, as they attach to your shower unit. Although they don’t eliminate the harmful minerals completely, they reduce them considerably. Prices and types vary, and you can find them at any home improvement store.
To keep your hair free of minerals and harmful chemicals, sometimes you have to pull out the big guns. In this case the big guns are clarifying shampoo. How is clarifying shampoo different from your run-of-the-mill, floral-scented, everyday shampoo, you ask? A purifying formula like Pureology Purify Shampoo is specifically designed to do an overhaul on your hair and rid it of yucky hard water buildup and help retain your mane’s natural shine.
Natural Rinses such as Apple Cider Vinegar and Lemon/Lime Juice
If you need to clean up your hair in a hurry and don’t have time to run for some clarifying shampoo, try rinsing with natural ingredients found in your pantry. Solutions like apple cider vinegar and lemon/lime juice are natural detoxifiers that reduce the buildup in your hair. All you have to do is mix of one tablespoon of either liquid with about three cups of water and distribute the mix throughout your whole head. Let it sit for a few minutes and then rinse out with water.
Moisturizing Hair Mask or Leave-in Conditioner
Hard water has a way of stripping hair of its natural moisture and shine. Retaining moisture levels in your hair at all times is super important. Get a little help from products like Matrix Biolage HYDRASOURCE Daily Leave-In Tonic. Use it regularly and you’ll forget all about that pesky little hard water problem!
Bottled, Purified Water
If you find yourself in a situation, like a pool or beach, where your hair will be exposed to hard water, equip yourself with a handy temporary solution we like to call bottled water. Rinse your hair pre– and post-water exposure with the bottled water, so it can soak up the purified solution rather than the contaminated stuff!
What’s your solution to hard water? Tell us in the comments below!