What does hard water do to hair?
Hard water can wreak havoc on otherwise healthy hair. If you live in the tropics then perhaps you haven’t experienced the agony of hard water. For those of us that live in non-tropical zones or have a water supply coming from the mountains, you’ll know the frustrations of not being able to generate a lather or having to use vast amounts of shampoo to get the job done. Worse yet, the calcium and other minerals in the water actually build up in your hair and on your scalp. The outcome isn’t pretty, with residue that's annoying hard to wash out. If you have color treated hair, you can expect it to fade faster and if you suffer from dry locks you might end up with brittle strands or even hair loss. Hard water has also been known to alter the natural color of hair!
Are some shampoos better than others for hard water?
Yes. Most natural shampoos that have a pH level of between 5-6 are considered ideal. These tend to be slightly acidic to combat the alkalinity in the hard water. You’ll know when the water is too alkaline when you see flakes or feel itchiness on your scalp. The alkalinity causes the cuticles to open up and you are reacting with those symptoms. In the house the telltale signs are white build up on the shower heads and around the faucets.
Isn’t there a way to use vinegar to combat hard water?
Yes, absolutely! Apple cider vinegar works great. All you have to do is mix up a couple tablespoons of it with three cups of water and use it as a rinse after you shampoo. You’ll have to keep it in for about 2 minutes before washing it out. The problem is you’ll smell like a french vinaigrette for a little while. Some people will drop in a few drops of lavender oil to counteract the odor if they are in a rush. Honestly, this is probably the best solution for the weekends when you have time to leave in the rinse and also to wait out the smell. But, for the rest of the week you are better off with an organic shampoo and conditioner that has a slightly acidic pH.