Garden Hose Guide
Whenever you shower at a hotel or friend’s home, you may notice a difference in your hair. The characteristics of a shower water may determine how well your hair care routine works. Soaps and detergents behave differently in hard water. “Hard water” is water that has a high mineral content.
Hard water makes it harder to wash your hair.
Hard water requires more soap or shampoo than soft water. The minerals in hard water lessen the effectiveness of hard water when it comes to cleaning your hair. When you wash your hair with hard water, your hair may feel rough and tangled. This feeling is due to the way hard water makes the “scales” of your hair stand up, which makes it even more difficult to rinse out all of the shampoo or conditioner in your hair. If you wash your hair in soft water, it will leave fewer insoluble deposits in your hair.
Shampoo makes the difference.
In commercial shampoos, synthetic surfactants replace natural soaps. Synthetic surfactants are made up by petrochemcials in factories. They don’t react with hard water minerals as much, but they don’t produce the lather consumers like to see in their shampoo.
Detergent shampoos are very harsh and damage your hair. They clean out your hair thoroughly, so while it strips out dirt and oil, it’s also stripping the natural oil that makes your hair shiny and strong. When your hair feels dry and brittle, this is because it’s lost its natural oils. Conditioners were created to put artificial oils back in your hair since hair was becoming dry and losing its natural oils to shampoo. Natural shampoos are much better for preserving your hair’s health.
What can I do?
The first thing you need to do is determine the hardness of your water. You can do this by running a home test or reaching out to your water company.
If your water isn’t too hard, use natural shampoo and a bit of conditioner to preserve your hair’s health and natural oils.
If your water is hard, try other ways of rinsing out your hair. You can use rainwater or distilled water, or a weak aid rinse, like vinegar. Vinegar will remove the buildup of minerals like magnesium or calcium from your hair. A less desirable, but still doable option is to rinse your hair with distilled or bottled water.
Use a clarifying shampoo. This shampoo penetrates minerals in water, instead of just removing oil like regular shampoos. Only use this shampoo one or two times a month, so you avoid constantly stripping your hair of necessary minerals. A leave-in conditioner can provide some extra strength to your hair by sealing in moisture. You can also purchase an inexpensive filter for your showerhead.
The only long term solution to protect your hair is to install a water softener. A water softener removes calcium and magnesium from your home’s water supply. It requires less soap and fewer rinses, which is easier on your hair. And it balances your hair’s pH level. A water softener is the best, permanent fix to improve your hairs strength and silkiness.