UPDATE: This post originally ran August 1, 2012, but we wanted to share these helpful tips with you again! As the weather gets colder and drier, you may notice your hair drying out along with it, so make sure you follow these tips if you’re a victim of hard water hair!
When I first moved to Philadelphia, I anticipated a lot of things. I was ready to start a completely new life; to start my first “real” job; to move into an apartment on my own; to make an entirely new group of friends. But there was one thing for which I wasn’t prepared: hard water.
I come from New York where the water is brilliantly soft. It’s great for skin, great for hair, and (perhaps most importantly) great for bagels and pizza. Within my first week in Philly, I began to notice that my hair was behaving quite strangely. It was dry and straw-like. It felt brittle and lifeless. It was extremely knotty and almost sticky to the touch. I had no idea what was going wrong, and then it finally hit me: It was the change in water.
Hard water is water that contains a large amount of minerals. Mineral content in water can vary from state to state – even from city to city. While it’s not harmful to your health, hard water can bring serious problems to your skin and hair, adding to them a buildup of minerals and drying them out. If you’ve ever moved from a soft water city to a hard water city, I know you can feel my pain. But don’t fret my dears, because hard water does not have to ruin your life!
After three months of researching and experimenting, I’m finally figuring out the best ways to bring hard water hair back to its naturally beautiful state. Here are my tips on how to beat hard water hair:
Install a showerhead water filter
Yes, these exist! Showerhead water filters work just like drinking water filters by enhancing pH balance, filtering out unwanted chemicals and letting only the good stuff pass through! These filters are built into their own showerheads, so just be prepared to replace your entire showerhead. They vary in price depending on their various functions and designs, but you can get a good one from Aquasana for around $70!
Use a chelating shampoo
Chelating shampoos are specifically designed to prevent and remove mineral buildup in your hair. A chelating agent will chemically bind to minerals, removing them before you even have a chance to notice that they’re there. Some shampoo companies throw around words like “clarifying,” “chelating,” and “neutralizing,” so to be sure you’re using the right product, look for one that has the ingredient EDTA. Because a chelating shampoo will strip your hair, they should only be used about once a week, and should be followed with an intensely moisturizing conditioner.
Make an apple cider vinegar rinse
This is one thing I have not yet tried, but plan to do this week! A vinegar rinse will not only remove buildup from your hair, but also give it bounce and shine! Mix 1/3 cup of apple cider vinegar with 1 qt. of distilled water. First shampoo your hair and rinse well. Apply the mixture, leave on for a few seconds, and rinse with cold water. There’s no need to condition afterwards. Due to the acidic nature of vinegar, use this rinse only once a week – perhaps alternating weeks with your chelating shampoo, if you choose to use one of those, as well.
Finish off with argan oil
Argan oil is an amazing product that will make your hair the shiniest, most moisturized, and healthiest looking it has ever been. Hard water will dry out your hair and argan oil will restore the moisture right away. Simply apply to damp hair after you get out of the shower and style as usual! You can apply to your ends only or all over, depending on how dry your hair is. Just be careful not to use too much (or any at all) by your roots, as this could cause your hair to appear greasy. UPDATE: Make sure you choose pure argan oil rather than a silicone-based hair product that will only contain a small amount. A good choice is Josie Maran 100% Pure Argan Oil. (Thanks for your comments on this!)
Do you have any tips on beating hard water hair? We’d love to hear them. Comment below and let us know!
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More beauty tips on the BLDG 25 blog!