How To: Solve Your Hard Water Hair Problems

By Lynnie | August 25 2009 | 20 Comments

hair washing

Living in a hard water area’s not just a feast of scummy-looking tea, clogged-up shower heads and washing machines with a shortened life expectancy.

It’s a Calgon ad and so much more besides.

In terms of beauty, hair tends to be hardest (ho ho) hit when you’ve hard water. That’s because the high concentration of calcium and magnesium that make hard water, well, hard can be deposited on your hair, and that build-up causes it to become dull, unmanagable, and dry. If you’re not quite ready to spring for a home water softening system, you could try using a clarifying shampoo like Bumble & Bumble Sunday Shampoo, Redken Hair Cleansing Cream, or Pureology Serious Colour Care Pure Volume Shampoo once a week.

If you think they’re not doing the job, step up to a chelating shampoo, which can actually stop minerals like calcium and magnesium from binding to your locks – Aveda Shampure and Joico’s K Pac Clarifying Shampoo would be two good candidates for this job.

For a DIY fix, use a diluted solution of apple cider vinegar as your final rinse. Add 1-2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar to 3 cupfulls of distilled water and pour over hair.

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20 Replies to " How To: Solve Your Hard Water Hair Problems"

  • LouLaBelles says:

    Ive been looking this up recently and another DIY option is baking soda mixed with water, mix to a paste and put on hair for 10 mins or so, be careful with coloured hair though as I think this could damage the colour.
    Tempted to try DIY version!

  • Lynnie says:

    LouLaBelles, I’ve heard baking soda paste recommended as a way to strip unwanted colour from hair so I’d be a bit wary of it alright – an alternative that I’ve read about is to add just a sprinkle of baking soda to your regular shampoo to remove hard water build-up, which sounds like a safer way to try it out.

    A vinegar rinse should be ok for coloured hair, though, and actually a white vinegar rinse applied on freshly coloured hair is supposed to help lock in the colour for longer.

  • Tracey says:

    Thanks so much for this post Lynnie. After recently moving to loais I’m feeling this effect on my hair. Was wondering what was the best solution.

  • Lynnie says:

    Aw you’re welcome Tracey :) I’m in Laois too so I feel your pain!

  • Cherry says:

    Oh i feel your pain, living in Offaly. :( Recently had the good fortune to spend a few days in Belfast, oh the joy of soft water, my hair was like silk. Everyone should go to Belfast, if only to shower in pure silk.

    The sooner they start softening our water at source down here the better. We actually had lovely water for years until the council decided to switch it to a different water supply(without telling anyone!), bring on straw hair, and major skin issues. :( We have a softener in the house, but i dont think it makes much of a difference to be honest.

  • magpie says:

    yeah, same in UK, everytime i visit my inlaws there, my skin improves, hair so soft & silky, then i come back to hard water :(
    Not fair

  • cathyfly says:

    Ah it’s good to know I’m not alone. Bumble & Bumble Sunday usually does the job for me when there’s a build up, but I like the sound of the Aveda option – might try that for a change!

  • Tracey says:

    Actually my skin is pretty bad also. I had never put that down to the water. And I thought the scummy tea was the biggest issue :-)

  • magpie says:

    brita water jug & filter always for the Tea in the midlands
    otherwise you get the chalk in your throat, yuck

  • Lynnie says:

    Oh Jesus the first few cups of tea we made in our new house were so revolting. I think we bought a Brita kettle the day after we moved in!

  • Becky Clark says:

    Oh girls the woes of hard water, living in North Cork now but I come from Scotland where the water is as pure as, well, water. After reading your post i’m wondering if my dry skin is a by product of it too… Incidentally my brand new chrome shower pole got tinged green, this was shifted with Cilit bang but unfortunately the Cilit Bang stained my natural stone tiles (I didn’t read the small print on the back of the bottle) So I shake my fist at hard water!

  • KellBell says:

    Does Dublin have hard water?

  • Kirstie says:

    yeah areas of it definitely do, it depends where you are.

  • Flame says:

    I’m north dublin (swords) and we def have hard water. Builds up in the kettle like mad, I was living in cork for a few months before and used to use water from a well cos the water was really hard there too. When I came home I could really taste the difference in the water, not just the hardness but the chlorine etc as well! Wish it was easier to get pure clean water!

  • KellBell says:

    I’m Sth Dublin (D6) – what ways other than lank, gross hair do you know that you have hard water?

  • Gunadeasalainn says:

    Should you use the cider vinegar rinse every day or just once a week?

    Water in my neck of the woods is awful – it has killed two kettles and one washing machine in less than five years :(

  • KellBell says:

    I think once a week is probably enough for the cider vinegar rinse Gunadeasalainn

  • Lyndsay says:

    Kell – look in your kettle! if you can see deposits/a build up in there (white manky stuff) then you’ve got hard water :)

  • miss adventure says:

    i must say cider vinegar, and white vinegar defo does remove colour. except blonde high lighted hair, that comes up a treat, lovely and shiney.It is great on virgin and scalp problems,like a build up of products on the scalp.coloured red heads and coloured coppers, brunettes stay away from these youll end up with pink or orange coloured hair. i had to have a full osmosis water softener on the house its as if my hair was bogged down with lime and it was constantly grubby looking.

  • taznyamz says:

    Ive just moved to a different area in Cork and ive noticed recently that my hair is not as curly as it used to be
    i miss my curls

    ive heard that it could be hard water affecting it could this be true

    if it is then i need to try the vinegar

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