If you live in a hard water area, you’re not alone. Approximately 85% of the nation is supplied with water that has varying degrees of hardness. The hardness is caused by high concentrations of certain minerals, primarily calcium, magnesium, and iron. These minerals are added to the makeup of the water as it passes through various layers of rock, sand, and sediment. This water then flows into waterways or goes to an underground aquifer. Municipal water treatment methods cannot remove hardness, and well water users can still receive it. There are many articles about the negative effects of hard water on various aspects of home life. But, in this article, we will only focus on how hard water can affect your hair when it’s washed in it.

What Does Washing Hair in Hard Water Feel Like?

This can be hard to encapsulate because if you’ve only ever washed your hair in hard water, you’re likely to be used to it by now. But, generally speaking, when hair is washed in hard water, it tends to feel fragile, straw-like, and hard to manage. For many people, this is probably the cause of those dreaded “bad hair days.”

Why Does Hard Water Affect Hair in That Way?

As we mentioned in the introduction, hard water has a higher concentration of certain minerals. These minerals inhibit the formation of soap suds which makes it hard to achieve a lather. Shampoos, soaps, and detergents require soap suds to deliver the cleaning power to remove dirt. So, when you wash anything with hard water, you’re going to have a hard time getting your hair or anything else clean. Many people attempt to compensate for this by simply adding more shampoo. This is not an effective way to deal with the problem, and it simply wastes money. In fact, when people make the switch to soft water, they typically save up to 70% on shampoo, soaps, and detergents. This is because the lack of mineral content makes lathering easier, and you don’t need as much soap to get clean.

Another problem is the formation of soap scum, which is caused when the hard water minerals mix with unused soap. This causes salts or scale; this is a chalky or waxy buildup that you may see on your plumbing fixtures and shower stall glass. This material is a haven for the growth of bacteria, it’s hard to scrub away, and it always returns. On your scalp, this material tangles at the base of the follicles, causing your hair to be frizzy, dry, and coarse. Eventually, your scalp may dry out altogether, which leads to dandruff, clogged pores, and breakouts.

What is the Solution?

Contact your local water treatment specialist and ask them about a water softener installation for your home. Making the switch to soft water will benefit every aspect of your home. But, you will probably notice the change immediately when you wash your hair in soft water. Without the mineral content, you can wash your hair with less shampoo and get it cleaner than ever. Your hair will feel stronger, silky and it will be easier to manage.

By EcoWater Systems.
EcoWater Systems of Nebraska is the largest water treatment company in the state and is a member of Water Quality Association.