Hard Water Effects on Hair and What You Can Do About it

Hard Water Giving Your Hair a Hard Time?

If your hair seems lackluster you might blame it on your products, but your hair products might not be the problem. If your water supply comes from a hard water source you may be experiencing effects of hard water. In this blog we’ll cover everything you need to know about the harmful effects of hard water on hair. Read to the end to learn about treatments for hard water. Before we get into everything and explain the relationship between hard water and hair we have to look at Dihydrogen Monoxide.

Have You Heard of Dihydrogen Monoxide?

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According to the Dihydrogen Monoxide Research Division, Dihydrogen Monoxide (DHMO) is a colorless and odorless chemical compound, also referred to by some as Dihydrogen Oxide, Hydrogen Hydroxide, Hydronium Hydroxide, or simply Hydric acid.

Dangers of Dihydrogen Monoxide According to DMRD:

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“Death due to accidental inhalation of DHMO, even in small quantities.”

“Prolonged exposure to solid DHMO causes severe tissue damage.”

“DHMO is a major component of acid rain.”

“Leads to corrosion and oxidation of many metals.”

“Contamination of electrical systems often causes short-circuits.”

The Most Crucial Thing to Know about Dihydrogen Monoxide

It’s also known as water.

Dihydrogen Monoxide is Water?

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Yes, DHMO is water. The Dihydrogen Monoxide Parody is used as a way to highlight how a lack of scientific literacy and misleading wording can create misplaced fear. My tenth grade chemistry teacher actually made us write a paper on why or why not we should ban DHMO and then used it as a prank to teach us that not everything you read online is trustworthy (and made all of us feel super silly. Thanks, Mr. Shipway.)

While anyone would argue that the pros of water outweigh the cons, there is some truth to the idea that water isn’t always beneficial…in fact, hard water can wreak havoc on your hair. 

Today we’re going to talk about hard water vs soft water, how you determine your water’s hardness, the effects of hard water on your hair, and how you can protect your hair from hard water. 

So, without further ado…Mr. Shipway, this one’s for you.

What is Hard Water?

According to USGS, Hard water is water with a high content of dissolved minerals, specifically calcium and magnesium. 

What is Soft Water?

Soft water is treated water with a low concentration of dissolved minerals and as APEC water explains, the only ion in soft water is sodium.

How Hard is My Water?

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Water hardness is measured on a scale and is dependent on where you live and where you get your water from.

An easy way to determine if you have hard water is to pay attention to whether your skin or glassware maintains a film/residue after using your water. If your hands still feel slimy like you’ve been playing pattycake with a fish…or your glasses have white traces then you may have harder water. 

Like I said, water hardness depends on where your water comes from and where you live.

If you live in a city that gets its water supply from a river, then you will likely have soft water. If you live in a city (or rural area) that gets its water from wells, then you will likely have hard water.

According to Premier Water Technologies, where I live, the water hardness is 22-24 gpg (grains per gallon). That’s about five times harder than the average. 

Trust me, I don’t need a bunch of fancy research to confirm this fact because I wash my hair with it all the time.

The Effects of Hard Water on Your Hair

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All of the extra minerals in hard water interact with the hair shaft, rubbing up against them in such a way that causes the hair scales to stand up instead of laying smoothly. This puts hair strands at risk for being more vulnerable to breakage, but also leaves them exposed to soap residue. 

While we want the nutrients in soap to penetrate our hair, we also want to be able to rinse out the excess. When the hair shaft is rough, soap gets stuck in the cracks, leaving a residue that leaves hair dull and weighed down. 

As you can imagine, our super moisturizing shampoo bars do not like hard water.

Solutions for Washing Your Hair with Hard Water

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If you’re bummed because it seems like your hard water situation may prevent you from using Apple Valley Natural Soap Shampoo Bars, you might be in luck. We have some hard water solutions that will allow you to keep sudsing away with our shampoo bars.

  1. Filtered Shower-head
    • A filtered shower-head will filter out chemicals and leave you with softer water. A previous customer had great success with a Culligan Filtered Showerhead. Although Marianne has soft water and has never had the need for a filtered shower-head, she’s heard positive reviews from people who use an Aquasauna filter as well.
  2. Baking Soda
    • Another possible solution which some customers have had success with both at home when hard water is present, and when traveling, is with baking soda. Baking soda may help with hard water and even transitioning to shampoo bars as it counteracts the buildup from hard water minerals. There are two ways that people have found works well using baking soda:
      • One: take your damp shampoo bar and dip into a little baking soda and then lather the bar up on your head. Rinse and then follow with an acidic rinse which will pH balance your hair and scalp. Using a hair rinse changed my curl game. You can read about the importance of hair rinses here.
      • Two: mix 1 tablespoon of baking soda with 8 ounces of water, shake well and saturate hair with this mixture before shampooing. Rinse, and then finish with an acidic rinse which will pH balance your hair and scalp. I’ve used this method with happy results.
  3. Distilled Water: 
    • If you’d prefer not to use baking soda, there is always the option of using distilled water to saturate your hair before shampooing and then again afterwards to rinse. Distilled water contains no minerals, so once hair is saturated, shampooing with a natural shampoo bar will be a breeze.

Mr.Shipway may have tricked me, but he taught me a valuable lesson, too. Now that you know the truth about hard water, you’ll be ready the next time someone tries to pull one over on you with the old “Dihydrogen Monoxide Scare. ” Just teach them all about the effects of hard water, see who’s scared then (but don’t let them worry too much, because you have a solution for that!)

Much Love,


7 thoughts on “Hard Water Effects on Hair and What You Can Do About it

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