If you’ve ever left the beach with dry, dry, dry hair, you know how hard the pooling water can be. Luckily, hard water hair treatments such as clarifying shampoos, serums, or rinses can address that feeling and deep cleanse and restore your hair in just a few uses.
Whether you’ve never considered the hardness of your tap water or are familiar with it, hard water hair damage can quickly cause discomfort or cause long-term problems for your hair. There is. Here’s what you need to know about hard water and whether you should add treatments to your hair care routine to combat its effects.
What is hard water and how does it affect your hair?
Hard water is water characterized by high mineral content, particularly calcium, magnesium, and salt.Marisa Garthick, M.D., FAAD, Board Board Certified Dermatologist, Cornell New York Presbyterian Medical Center Dermatology Clinic An assistant professor tells SELF. Washing your hair with hard water can cause dissolved minerals to build up in your hair and scalp, making it more difficult for your hair to absorb moisture. Again, think of that crisp, ocean-swept feel. Your hair may be difficult to comb or brush, and it may not feel as soft as usual.
And in the long run, “build-ups can tax your hair and lead to breakage,” says Azade Shirazi, board-certified dermatologist and owner of La Jolla Laserderm in La Jolla, California. All the experts we spoke to pointed out that washing hair with hard water on a regular basis increased the risk of breakage and brittleness. Also, if your shampoo lathers and dissolves and cannot be rinsed out completely, it is not effectively removing dirt, oil, and hard water residue from your scalp and hair. No, says Dr. Siraj. (Talk about the vicious cycle.)
Lauren Penzi, M.D., a board-certified dermatologist in New York City for medical dermatology and cosmetic surgery, says that if you dye it regularly, you can see the effects of hard water on your hair color. Blonde-dyed hair can look like brass and fade more quickly if it’s washed with hard water on a regular basis, she explains.
What types of hair treatments can combat the effects of hard water?
You can start with a clarifying shampoo that contains surfactants (aka cleansers). As SELF previously reported, some products use sulfates (most commonly sodium lauryl sulfate or sodium laureth sulfate) as surfactants. , avoiding sulfates in the formulation because they are known to be drying for some people (and depending on your hair type, they can even build up eventually, says Dr. Penzi) .