Hard water is a result of an increase in the concentration of minerals such as Calcium and Magnesium, generally developed through exposure to rocks and soil. The hardness of water will be determined by your geographical location.
There is no evidence that hard water is detrimental to your health; however the way hard water reacts with your skin and hair will be noticeably different to how soft water does. It’s not always a case of better or worse, but rather a matter of preference. In saying that, the large majority of people do prefer soft water.
It is of popular belief that the term ‘hard water’ was coined because water that has dissolved minerals from rocks and soil is difficult to work with.
So how does hard water affect hair?
Each strand of our hair consists of many cuticles. Water that contains mineral components (hard water) causes these cuticles to spring off each hair strand. This causes your hair to feel rough by the way it reacts with each other strand. Furthermore, these erected cuticles are more liklely to cause your hair to tangle. Obviously rough, tangled hair is not what most people strive for!
This then leads to another problem. When you wash your hair with shampoo, it makes it very difficult to completely rinse out the soap, as it becomes trapped within the tangles and cuticles. Inevitably, some of the soap will remain in your hair and cause it to dry out, cause dandruff, fade coloring and just look plain dull!
Solutions for Hard Water Hair
There are many solutions for reducing or eliminating the affect that hard water has on hair. It all comes down to whether you are after a prevention or a cure.
Whole house water softeners are intended to convert hard water to soft water throughout your home and plumbing. It is usually achieved through an ion-exchange technique whereby minerals in the water, such as Calcium and Magnesium, are replaced with sodium or potassium ions. This converts ‘hard water’ to ‘soft water’ which not only maintain effectiveness with household plumbing, but also ensure your hair will not dry out.
Shower Head Filters
These can be a bit deceiving because they are not water softeners. They are designed to reduce Chlorine and Sulfer odor as opposed to Calcium and Magnesuim; however will leave your hair feeling softer and smoother.
This filtration process will obviously only occur in your shower and the water throughout remainder of your house will remain as is. This is simply a matter of preference. You may use a shower head, for the following reasons:
- You are not concerned with the affect of hard water on plumbing,
- You want to retain minerals in your drinking water
- You are restricte to a low-sodium diet (water softening processes involve increasing sodium concentrate levels in water in most cases)
- You are unable to bear the expense of a whole house water softening system
Argan Oil is widely regarded as an effective means of softer, smoother hair. The amount required will vary from person to person and based on factors such as hair type, length, etc. It is always prudent to experiment with small amounts (maybe 1 – 2 drops) at first and increase if you feel it is necessary.
Apple Cider Vinegar has also proven successful. Mix around 1/3 a cup of Apple Cider Vinegar into a liter of water.
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The ingredients in these shampoos are designed to work hard to remove hair of harmful minerals inherent in hard water. Using a chelating shampoo a few times a month can really reduce the dryness resulting from hard water and life in general
Always wash with safe, quality chelating shampoo products