Tons of people aren’t aware they need to protect hair from hard water. Even saying that out loud—“hard water”—still doesn’t sound completely real, right? But, the more we turn our attention to the rinse of our routine the more we can understand what our hair is trying to tell us (maybe even dying to tell us).
Tons of people already filter their tap water with filter jugs like Brita. And if you’re not one of those people who neglect the refill, a water filtration jug gets you a better tasting glass and less impurities per sip.
So, why is hard water bad? Hard water is a term used to refer to water that’s high in dissolved minerals such as:
Sounds like an amazing mineral-rich elixir, right? Well, while your body loves some of these minerals, they can be much too hard for skin and hair creating scalp build-up, dryness, and hardening within the cortex of strands. Along with dry, brittle, and limp locks that are extra tangled, hard water can also change hair’s texture and colour can cause lasting hair loss and thinning!
Beyond a better tasting glass of shower water, filtering the water in your bathroom is one very big way you can protect hair from hard water. And that’s not all! Even without a filter, there’s lots of ways to remove these minerals after they’ve been deposited.
Install a Shower Filter or Whole-House Softener
The best way to prevent hair loss from hard water is to prevent hard water in the first place! Whether or not you’re experiencing hard water hair symptoms is dependent on where you live; it's most often caused by groundwater flowing over or through limestone (stunning?)
And while there’s no health risk between you and limestone, the hard water that's created can be annoying for skin, hair, laundry, dishes, and surfaces which is why some people install a whole-house water softening system that handles all the filtration where water is used in your home.
As you can imagine, these are actual investments to a home. I’m talking: someone’s coming to your basement (that you should probably own) wearing legit coveralls to install this thing. But! Don’t sweat the millennial housing market, you can still protect hair from hard water with smaller softener systems that are easy af to install.
Some we love are:
These range in prices from about $35 and up and usually just require a screw-on. As water passes through, they remove minerals, dust, and odours, creating soft water and soft hair.
Use Chelating Shampoos
While you may have heard of clarifying shampoos (which are great for breaking down scalp residue on the outer surface of the hair), chelating shampoos are even better at diminishing hard water hair symptoms.
Chelating shampoos are a stronger form of those "clarifying" formulas. They not only remove the surface stuff, but attach to mineral deposits and break down the bonds between them and your hair.
ColorWow’s Pre-Shampoo Mineral Remover gets a special shoutout here: it has two unique molecular and polymeric filters that work like a magnet to remove heavy metals and minerals all in an easy to use spray.
Read Next: The Causes Of Oily Hair and How to Fix It
Use A DIY Rinse At Home
If you’re looking for how to protect hair from hard water naturally, it can be as easy as a rinse with some at-home ingredients! As a final step in your wash, a specialty rinse is great because they wash away any minerals while giving you some added benefits.
Rinse 1: Apple Cider Vinegar
The acidity of ACV fights hard against calcium by neutralizing the build-up. Because it balances the pH of your hair, you’ll get clarified, soft, and silky locks.
Just mix 2 parts vinegar to 1 part water!
Rinse 2: Lemon
Like vinegar, the citric acid in lemons are great at neutralizing hard water buildup. Plus, its antiseptic properties fight off any other dandruff causing bacteria that may be hanging around.
To make, just mix 1 part fresh lemon juice with 3 parts bottled/filtered water. Pour over hair after you’ve rinsed out your shampoo, but before you do your conditioner. Leave on for 5-15 minutes before you rinse and condition.
BTW: This is more of a rinse treatment.
Rinse 3: Club Soda
I feel like this is what comes out of Rihanna’s shower head. Kinda like the tiniest of parties for your scalp, club soda is sugar-free, has a stable pH of 5, and fights frizz! And of course, it breaks down mineral residue to stop hard water hair symptoms too.
To use, just pour straight club soda onto your hair while in the shower after washing/conditioning. No need to rinse away with regular water.
Add a Leave-in Conditioner
If you’re someone who doesn’t have that bad of hard water--or that hard of feelings about it—then spritzing in a leave-conditioner could do the trick for how to protect hair fall from hard water.
You’ll have to opt-in a scalp scrub for any build-up, but dryness will definitely like these below! Top trick: Get leave-ins that offer strengthening or protein-based hydration as hard water makes hair dry and brittle.