Is your hair beginning to feel dry or look different? If you don’t notice an improvement in your hair after changing the products of your hair care routine, the culprit may be your water. Whether you have public water or well water, your time spent washing your hair in the shower might be doing more damage than you expect.
The hardness of your water has a significant effect on how your hair behaves. If you continue to use your water without seeking any testing or water treatment, you may notice long-term damage to your hair.
Learning about the different types of water problems and how they affect your hair can help you spot an issue early and swiftly find a solution. This guide explains the various types of home water anomalies and the effects they have on your hair.
How Hard Water Damages Hair
You’ve probably heard people talk about hard water and the problems revolving around it, but what exactly is hard water? This quality refers to water that contains dissolved compounds of magnesium and calcium and can contain metallic elements, according to the Water Quality Association. The minerals in hard water can leave a film on your hair, making it difficult for your hair products to clean and moisturize your hair properly. Showering often with hard water can make your hair extra dry and susceptible to breakage. If you continue to shower with hard water, the breakage and other hair damage can ultimately lead to hair thinning. In many areas, hard water equally effects public water and well water.
One of the main signs of hard water is noticing a film on your skin or hair after showering, but you can look for other signals of hard water, including:
- Spots on kitchenware: You may see white spots on dishes, flatware, water bottles and other kitchenware after you wash these items.
- Soap scum: Shower doors and bathtubs are quickly coated in soap scum.
- White Film: Faucets and fixtures are covered in spots or white residue, rather than being shiny.
- Low water pressure: Minerals can build up in your pipes and ultimately shrink the diameter of the pipes the water travels through, reducing your water pressure.
Water is soft if it lacks the dissolved minerals that cause hard water. Your water should be soft enough to use if it shows these characteristics:
- A strong lather from a little bit of soap
- No spots on dishes
- Soft laundry
- Shiny faucets and fixtures
Hard water and hair problems are two things people want to avoid. It’s helpful to know the signs of hard water and the long-term effects of having it in your home.
Signs of Hard Water on Hair
The mixture of calcium and magnesium in your shower water forms a hard water deposits, which is the film you feel on your hair and skin after you shower. However, you may notice other signs of hard water on your hair in addition to the film. Hard water can affect your hair differently depending on your hair type and severity of your hard water issues, but you can look out for these results of hard water on your hair:
- Frizzy or flat hair
- Dry scalp and dandruff
- Brassy hue
- Hair lacks volume
- Blocked scalp pores
- Brittle, weak hair
- Dull and thinning hair
- Tangles and messy hair
- An excessive amount of hair loss
- Bacteria growth
The damage to your hair may not seem like a huge deal right away, but the long-term effects of hard water on your hair can severely affect your hair’s appearance and longevity. You’ll likely want to take steps to treat your water by either attempting home remedies or calling professionals to help solve your hard water problem. If you’re investing in quality hair treatments, its certainly worth investing in the water you use to take care of your hair between appointments.
How the pH of Your Water Affects Your Hair
Hard water is likely the main culprit of your hair damage, but other water characteristics can also affect the quality of your hair. While minerals play a big role in making water harmful to hair, the pH levels of your home’s water can also impact your hair.
The pH levels of your shower water and your hair care products can affect how your hair acts and looks. The pH scale ranges from 0 to 14.0, and human hair typically measures toward the acid side of the scale at around 4.5 to 5.5 pH. Elements like water, with a pH between 6.5 to 8.5, and your hair products impact your hair’s pH level and the quality of your hair. Low pH is much more likely to effect untreated well water.
When your hair has a healthy pH level, the cuticles are closed and tight, giving your hair a smooth and shiny look. Adding elements that have high pH levels can impact your healthy and shiny hair.Here are some of the effects that high pH levels in your water can have on your hair:
- Certain hair products, especially hair color, cause chemical burns on scalp
- Swelling hair cuticles that cause frizziness
- Dry scalp leading to dandruff
- Weaker and brittle hair strands
- Hair breakage from friction
Maintaining a healthy pH level of your home’s water is essential to the longevity of your hair. As mentioned, low pH can even cause chemical burns to your hair and scalp when using certain hair products! Keeping the pH level of your hair and scalp neutral can help with healthy hair growth and some other important aspects like:
- Defends hair from fungus or bacteria: The right pH levels keep your hair healthy and protects against bacteria and fungus.
- Maintains moisture: Your hair’s pH level and its ability to retain moisture depend on each other. If hair cannot absorb moisture from the products you use, your hair can become weak and susceptible to breakages and tangles.
- Keeps hair strong: A healthy pH level in your water can keep your hair strong and improve its response to hair care products. Strong hair can continue to grow long and maintain a smooth and shiny texture.
The water pH balance can impact hair loss and other issues revolving around damaged hair. If you have a problem with hard water, then you likely are also experiencing the effects of high pH levels on your hair. It’s important to find a solution to lower the pH levels in your water and keep your water soft.
How the Chlorine in Your Water Affects Your Hair
A common chemical cities add to water supplies to disinfect water is chlorine. Adding chlorine to water supplies helps protect against harmful bacteria and pathogens that can make people sick. The chlorine in the water supply should mostly dissipate by the time it arrives at your home, but high amounts of chlorine remaining in your water may cause some issues.
Chlorine in your home’s water can affect your hair and skin. When there is too much chlorine in your shower water, it will absorb all of your hair and skin’s natural oils. This exposure to chlorine will leave your hair extremely dry and cause other damage. Some other side effects of chlorine on hair include:
- Fading hair color
- Leaving your hair tangled and rough.
- Causing your hair to be more susceptible to breakage.
- Over-drying your hair and head, leading to an itchy scalp and dandruff.
- Weakening hair and causing split ends.
One of the most noticeable changes that chlorine can make to your hair is altering your hair’s natural color. When a high amount of chlorine washes through your hair, it causes a chemical reaction that changes your hair color and weakens it at the same time. This chemical reaction leaves hard metals behind that cause your hair to look brassy or have a greenish hue. This effect is especially problematic for people who spend money color-treating their hair or invest in high-quality hair products.
Most people don’t want to experience the effects of chlorine in their water and try different solutions to decrease the amount of chlorine to keep their hair healthy and soft.
How to Save Your Hair From a Water Problem in Your Home
Recognizing if your water is hard, has low pH, or contains high amounts of chlorine is the first step in finding a solution to bring your home’s water back to normal. You can try various methods to protect your hair from the effects of hard water with long-term and short-term solutions.
The best solution to ensure your home’s water is clean and healthy for you to use is to contact a team of water professionals to test your water and recommend effective solutions for your home. A knowledgeable water treatment company can provide the best products and treatments that will work to solve your water problems.
If you want to try combating the problem on your own and taking steps to protect your hair, here are a few suggestions to help keep your hair healthy while showering with hard water. We recommend talking with your hair professional before trying them.
Use a Shower Filter
If you think hard water is the culprit of your dry hair, try installing a shower filter, which can decrease the levels of chlorine and the number of minerals in your shower water. You may notice a difference in the texture and look of your hair after installing a shower filter, but they aren’t always a good long-term solution. Professional water treatments and water softeners will be more effective than a shower filter.
Apply a Moisturizing Hair Mask
Hard water makes it difficult for your hair to absorb all of the moisture it needs to stay soft and healthy, so applying a high quality moisturizing mask or leave-in conditioner is a great option to make up for all of the missing moisture. Moisturizing masks that contain ingredients like almond oil or argan oil are perfect for providing hair with the oils and nutrients it needs to continue to grow and look amazing. While using these moisturizing products will help, it’s a temporary solution to the minerals, chlorine or high pH levels of your water.
Try a Lemon Rinse
The acidity of lemon juice fights to remove build-up in your hair and restore its natural shine and smooth texture. All you need to make a lemon rinse is about a tablespoon of lemon juice and three cups of water. Mix these ingredients together and work them into your hair after you shampoo. Let the mix sit for a couple of minutes and rinse. This temporary solution can also help with a dry scalp or dandruff resulting from hard water.
Try an Apple Cider Vinegar Rinse
Another acidic rinse that helps remove mineral build-up and help fight against other hard water damages is an apple cider vinegar rinse. This rinse can enhance the shine and texture of your hair while protecting against the effects of water that is high in chlorine, pH or minerals. You’ll need around a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar with a few cups of water. Work this mixture into your scalp after you shampoo and condition your hair and let it sit for a few minutes before you rinse it out. This wash is a temporary solution to keep your hair healthy from water problems.
Rinse With Purified Water
If your shower water is damaging your hair, you can try rinsing your hair with purified water. While buying bottled water can help decrease the effects of hard water on your hair, it can be expensive over time. This solution is good for people who travel if the location they’re visiting has water issues, but it’s only a temporary fix for any water problems you have in your home.
Learn About Your Local Water
It’s beneficial to educate yourself on the water quality in your local area. You can use different resources to see if the water in your home is likely to be damaging your hair and whether you should reach out to a professional water treatment company. Organizations like The U.S Geological Survey update their reports on water quality across the nation regularly, so you can check them at any time. Your town or city’s water supplier should also release a local drinking water quality report annually. You can also check the pH level in your home’s water supply with pH test strips.
Choose Long’s EcoWater for Your Water Treatment Needs
The water in your home should always be clean and safe. If you need a team that can provide excellent water treatment solutions, reach out to Long’s EcoWater Systems.
Long’s EcoWater Systems is the oldest water treatment company in the area. We are proud to have served our community for over 70 years and continue to provide custom solutions for home water problems. If you’ve noticed an issue with your water or are unsure if there might be a problem, we can help. Our knowledgeable staff and water technicians will take their time to identify the problem, create a permanent solution and install any products your home might need.
You can feel confident that you will have healthy hair after receiving quality service from Long’s EcoWater Systems. If you’re concerned about possible water problems in your home, contact us for a free water test today.