10 Signs Of Hard Water On Hair And Why You Should Fix It

Last Updated on January 19, 2023 by Mattias

Hard water is water with high mineral content. These minerals are hardness minerals such as magnesium and calcium carbonate. 

The presence of hard water minerals in your water supply has many adverse effects on your body and your appliances. 

Hard water affects the performance and efficiency of your washing machine, water heater, and other water-using appliances. 

It leaves soap scum, and soap residue, on your dishes and leaves mineral deposits in different areas of your home.

It also causes mineral buildup and minerals stains on your bathroom fixtures and other plumbing systems. 

In addition, it causes you to have itchy skin, dry hair, and dry skin

Other hard water effects include mineral residue, the difficulty of soaps and detergents to form a lather, and the faded look of clothes after being washed. 

However, in this article, we will be focusing on the effects and signs of hard water on your hair and the practical ways how to solve the hair problems solved by the hardness of the water.

Signs And Effects Of Hard Water On Your Hair

woman looking at her hair in a mirror

Hair Breakage and Weakening 

When you use hard water on your hair for a long time, it weakens it and hence causes it to break. 

Studies show that hair strands treated with hard water are much more brittle and fragile than those treated with distilled or soft water. 

As your hair becomes fragile, it tends to break easily. 

When your hair starts to break, you will start noticing it sticking to your sweater or pieces in your hair brush. 

Hair Thinning  

Signs Of Hard Water On Hair

The weakening and breaking of hair can also cause it to be thinner. 

Studies have shown this effect also show that using hard water on your hair makes it thinner than when distilled or soft water is used to treat it. 

Note: There are other reasons your hair might get thinner, so ensure you notice other effects stated in this article before concluding that hard water is the reason behind it. 

Buildup Of Minerals On Your Hair Cuticle 

The outer part of your hair shaft, called the hair cuticle, can protect your hair from elements that might cause harm to it. Still, when you use hard water on your hair over a while, the mineral deposits from your hard water build up on the cuticle and make it unable to carry out its duty. 

Studies also show that mineral residue on the cuticle of both damaged and undamaged hair can cause it to stiffen.

Mineral buildup on your hair could also leave you with lifeless hair and hair that has a greasy look immediately after being washed. 

Dry Hair 

When the minerals from the hardness of your water build up on your hair cuticle, it prevents moisture from passing through it, even if you use moisturizing products. It also prevents your leave-in conditioner from hydrating as expected. 

Which leaves your hair dry and gives it a straw-like feeling. 

Faded Hair Color 

Using hard water on your hair also blocks your cuticle from sealing and causes its color to fade, even if you use hair dye on it or visit your colorist frequently.

Itchy Scalp

The build of hard minerals on your hair also blocks your hair follicles, causing inflammation, and covers the scalp causing it to dry out, causing the scalp to become itchy. 

Frequently Tangled Hair 

brunette with tangled hair

When there is a mineral buildup on your cuticle, it loses its smoothness and flexibility. It begins to tangle more frequently and quickly, not minding if you usually brush it. 

Split Ends

Hair breakage due to hard water can also cause it to split and spread down to the end of your hair strands. 

When you start experiencing this, the tips of your hair strands look like a V or W shape, and at this point, you need to start looking for solutions to it. 

Difficulty In Holding Hairstyles 

When you start noticing difficulty in the curls or your hairstyle to hold on for a long time, it could be a sign that your hair is affected by hard water. 

The first step you must take in this case is to know the typical behavior of your hair after styling, as this will make it easier for you to notice when there is a change in your hair’s behavior. 

Frizzy Hair 

Treating hair with hard water could also give it a frizzy appearance. 

However, frizzy hair could also be caused by hair dryness, hair breakage, and added humidity in the air, among others.

So ensure you experience frizz and other effects stated in this article before concluding that hard water is the reason behind it. 

How To Protect Your Hair From Hard Water

blonde woman's hair

Install A Water Softener 

The best way to protect your hair from hard water is to remove the minerals causing the hardness of your water, and a great way to do this is by installing a water softener. 

A water softener removes the hard minerals in your water supply and replaces them with sodium ions to produce soft water for your whole house. 

Removing these minerals gives you healthier hair and skin when you use water. 

Removing these minerals produces water that balances your hair’s pH level and prevents those with sensitive skin from experiencing skin conditions.

Using a water softener to soften your water also prevents you from spending more on shampoos, detergents, and spans. 

Install Shower Head Filters

Installing a shower filter is another effective way of treating the water you use in the bathroom — one of the places where water comes in contact with your hair the most. 

It is also less expensive than a water softener, so if you are looking for a cost-effective solution to the hard water problem affecting your hair, you can go for it.

Use An Apple Cider Vinegar Rinse

An apple cider vinegar rinse is a homemade solution you can try.

Add a tablespoon of vinegar (preferably apple cider vinegar) to 2-3 cups of filtered water and then mix it. 

After washing your hair, apply it on it, leave it for 3 to 5 minutes, and then rinse it off properly. 

Ensure you use filtered water for the final rinse to prevent the countering of the vinegar effects. 

This will help balance the pH level of your hair and remove the hard mineral buildup on your hair, restoring your silky and smooth hair feels. 

Use a Clarifying Shampoo 

You can also use a clarifying or chelating shampoo for this purpose. This is an effective method of removing hard water deposits from your hair. 

However, ensure you use it just once a week and then use a moisturizing conditioner on your hair afterward every time you use it.

Use a Citrus Rinse 

A citrus rinse using lemon juice or lime is another effective homemade solution to neutralize hard water effects on your hair.

To make this, add 1/4 cup of lime or lemon juice in a 3/4 cup of water to dilute it. 

You can then use shampoo on your hair, pour the mixture, and work it on it. 

Allow it to stay on your hair for 5 to 15 minutes, then rinse it. 

Use a Moisturizing Conditioner 

You can also use conditioning products that contain argan oil, coconut oil, or almond oil to moisturize your hair and solve the issue of dry hair. 

Use Filtered Water To Rinse Your Hair After Washing It With Hard Water 

Another way to reduce hard water damage on your hair is to use filtered water to rinse it after washing it with hard water.

Signs Of Hard Water On Hair Summary

Hard water affects the health of your hair and also that of your skin and your appliances. Still, the good news is with a water softener; you can remove the minerals causing the hardness of the water you use and preserve your hair, skin, and appliances from these adverse effects. 

A water softener is the best solution to give your hair and skin a healthy and bright look.