Have you noticed a change in the feel or dryness of your hair? If you have not changed your hair care routine or the products in it, it’s possible that the culprit is the water in your shower. How is this possible? Well, it’s very common for people to experience thinning or brittle hair on the crown of the skull as a result of hard water.
Water beats down on the crown of the head every time you are in the shower, making hair prone to breakage. Both water pressure and hardness can influence the state of your hair. As lovely as it may seem, a jet-like stream that shoots at the scalp can result in dryness and hair breakage. Hard pressure is great on your tense shoulders, but it’s not intended for a sensitive area like your scalp. Although pressure does contribute to the health of your hair, the hardness of water seems to play a larger role than you think.
What Is Hard Water?
Hard water is water that has a high mineral content. It tends to be higher in calcium, magnesium, and trace amounts of other minerals. These minerals accumulate in the water cycle, and it can happen with well water or city water. The more calcium and magnesium that dissolve in the water, the harder it becomes. Hard water can leave ugly stains on sinks and tubs and can cause higher water bills, as water appliances have to work harder. If your water is hard, you may notice or feel like a film of residue is left on your skin after using soap. Soap reacts with the calcium in the water and forms soap scum, i.e. the film that you notice.
How Does Hard Water Affect Hair?
Hard water won’t kill you, but it can negatively affect the hair and skin. According to a 2016 study, female participants found that hard water damaged hair. The study monitored women who washed hair samples in both hard water and distilled water for 30 days. At the end of the study, hair washed in hard water decreased in thickness and had a ruffled appearance. Additional symptoms included tangles, breakage, dryness, dullness, and frizziness.
The higher magnesium and calcium content in hard water can change the skin’s pH balance. This can ultimately alter the skin’s microbiome, which prefers a more acidic pH of about 5.0. Hard water tends to dry out the skin and make it more sensitive, and drying out the scalp can decrease the health of your hair. The damage may not seem like a big deal straight away, but hard water can have long-term effects, affecting hair’s appearance and longevity. It’s beneficial to take steps that help you either counteract hard water or avoid it completely. That may require calling a professional to help solve your hard water problem.
Install A Water Softener Shower Head
Soft water is the opposite of hard water and although it contains some minerals, the concentration is much lower. Cleaner and healthier water means that it won’t damage your hair and scalp as much. The best way to achieve softer water is by installing a water softener in the home, but this can be quite expensive. A simpler, cost-effective alternative is to install a water softener shower head, which has carbon-filled cartridges that remove the minerals from the water before it cascades onto your body.
Try A Citrus Vinegar Rinse
In order to combat the damage from hard water, you have to start at the scalp. A mixture of distilled water, apple cider vinegar, and citrus juice is one of the best ways give life to the scalp. Apple cider vinegar helps to lower the pH of the skin and contains hair-healthy vitamins, including vitamins B and C.
Use A Hair Mask
If you want to restore shine and moisture to your hair, a nourishing mask twice per week is an excellent choice. The most important step when applying the hair mask is to massage it into the scalp. Ideally, you should start massaging at the scalp and slowly work the mask through the tips of your hair. Leave the mask on for a minimum of five minutes. If you don’t want to use a hair mask, a leave-in conditioner is also beneficial, but choose one that has a low pH.