Save Your Locks: Water Matters When Washing Hair

By: | Dec 12, 2018

Blogs about washing hair all talk about the best shampoos for you. There are lots of tips from experts on how you can find suitable products for your hair. However, do you know anything about the right type of water for your hair?

Woman taking a shower

Yes, water matters when you wash your hair. You might have the best products for your hair, but it doesn’t mean that all is well. Water is an essential factor when washing hair. It is not only the temperature that you should keep in mind. Even the type of water you are using can affect how your hair looks and feels.

There are two types of water – soft water and hard water. These two types of water are different in terms of mineral content. Your hair reacts differently to the type of water you use. Using the right type of water can determine how your hair looks and feels after.

Why Water Matters

When you wash your hair, you are not concerned about how the water can damage your hair. All you can think about is how rich the shampoo lather should be or if your hair feels sticky after rinsing off the conditioner. Hair products steal the spotlight when you shower. If you experience frizziness or limp hair, you are more likely to consider your shampoo and conditioner as culprits.

However, there is another factor that can affect how your hair looks and feels after shower. Even if you apply the best products for your hair, you might not notice improvements when you use the wrong type of water. Water is something that you use and consume every day. Who knew that it can change your hair drastically?

Soft and lustrous-looking hair

Water Temperature

The temperature and type of water you use affect the texture and appearance of hair. It is better to use cold or lukewarm soft water on hair. Using hot water cleanses your hair and scalp well. However, as they remove dirt and excess oil, they can also remove necessary moisture from strands. This leaves your hair very dry. Hot water can worsen dandruff too.

There are many reasons why dandruff happens. The most common cause is a fungus called Malassezia globose. This fungus is found on your scalp. Around half of the population has a negative reaction to this fungi, leading to dandruff. Malassezia globose feeds on oil produced by your scalp. It speeds up skin cell renewal and sheds dead skin cells four times faster than normal. The buildup of dead skin cells form flakes that lead to dandruff. This can spread all over your scalp.

Type of Water

The two types of water are soft water and hard water. Hardness may also refer to the mineral content of water. The hardness of water you use can affect how your hair feels after shower. Using hard water can increase the dryness of your hair and fade hair color. It can make your hair prone to frizziness and gummy texture as well.

You can reverse the effects of hard water on your hair. Other than natural remedies, there are hair products formulated to work well when used in hard water.

Differences Between Hard Water And Soft Water

Hard water and soft water affects hair differently. Their main difference is their level of mineral content. The thing is, these types of water may only affect hair according to how they react with hair products. Most hair products do not work well when used with hard water. This is why you should choose the best hair product that also suits the water you have at home.

Soft Water

Soft water has very low mineral content and ions. Examples of soft water include rainwater and treated water. Soft water works great for skin and hair. It helps retain moisture and makes hair more manageable. Soft water leaves hair and skin feeling moisturized and slippery. Washing hair using soft water can create rich lather and leave your tresses slippery. This can make your hair feel like you haven’t rinsed enough. However, this is completely normal.

Filling the tub with water

Hard Water

The best example of hard water is well water. According to U.S. Geological Survey, around 85% of water used by consumers may be considered as hard water. Rainwater is soft and does not contain any minerals. However, when it falls and seeps through soil and softer rocks, rainwater dissolves minerals and this leads to increasing mineral content.

Hard water is rich in minerals including calcium and magnesium. They may have high levels of sulfate and bicarbonate as well. Shampoos do not lather well when you use hard water. The formula reacts with the excess minerals. This creates calcium and magnesium salt, which build up on hair and scalp. Product residue is hard to remove especially if you use hard water. You can use clarifying shampoo to remove product buildup. Use it once a week or twice a month to maintain hair’s shiny and smooth appearance. Here are other benefits when you use clarifying shampoos.

Why You Should Use Soft Water

When you wash your hair, it is important to wash off all formula from hair. You should use soft water instead of hard water too. There are many benefits to your hair when you use hard water. Below are some of them:

  • Soft water does not leave soap scum or product residue on scalp. Most hair products especially shampoo reacts with hard water, leaving residue on your hair and scalp. Product residue or calcium salt can cling to hair strands, making them feel dry and rough.
  • It creates rich lather that cleanses hair well. Soft water helps create thick foam without using too much shampoo. This can improve the shampoo’s ability to cleanse hair and prevent dryness.
  • Hair formulas are easy to rinse off. Soap scum created when shampoo reacts with hard water is hard to remove from hair. They make hair dull and limp. This is why you get straw-like texture when you use hard water when you shampoo.
  • Soft water makes hair feel softer and smoother. Soft water has moisturizing effects on your hair. It helps cleanse hair without making it dry. Using soft water leaves hair with a slippery texture.
  • Using soft water leaves hair easy to manage and style. Since soft water maintains hair’s moisture, it makes tresses softer and easier to manage. Hard water can increase hair damage. It lifts up cuticles from the hair shaft, which leads to split ends and brittleness. Using soft water helps seal cuticles to hair strands.
  • It maintains hair shine and volume. Soft water keeps your tresses moisturized. Even when you shampoo your hair, soft water does not make it dry. This helps maintain the shine and volume of your hair. Hard water can make your hair limp and lifeless due to the weight of product residue.

How to Save Your Hair from Hard Water

Hard water makes hair feel dry and gummy. Product residue weighs heavily on your hair as well, making it limp. No matter what type of shampoo you put on hair, if you use hard water, your tresses will still lack volume and shine. Here are some tips on how you can save your hair if you have hard water at home:

Apple cider vinegar

  • Use clarifying shampoo every few weeks. Clarifying shampoos remove buildup from hair and scalp. Its formula is designed to get rid of stubborn product residue. This shampoo restores hair shine and volume.
  • Install a water filter or water softener. Water filters or softeners reduce minerals found in water. They can help filter out calcium and magnesium so your hair remains soft and smooth when you shower.
  • Try natural solutions such as lemon rinse and apple cider vinegar rinse. There are homemade solutions that can remove buildup of residue on hair. Lemon rinse and vinegar rinse get rid of flaky buildup and make the strands lighter, giving your hair more volume. They may help smooth down hair cuticles to prevent frizziness and breakage as well.
  • Apply leave-in conditioner like oils to restore hair shine. Hard water makes hair look dull and lifeless. You can restore hair shine with leave-in conditioners that make your hair stay moisturized all day long. Leave-in conditioners help reduce frizziness and strengthen hair too. Find the best leave-in conditioners for your hair at the page below.

All hair types are prone to damage and breakage. Using suitable hair products is not the only factor that you should keep in mind. You might not pay attention to the water you use, but it can be the key to softer, shinier, and smoother tresses.