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How to Beat Dry Hair—Hard Water vs. Soft Water

If your hair feels more brittle or damaged in the summer months, don’t be too quick to blame your blow dryer. Strange as it may sound, the real issue for dry hair comes down to what happens when your hair is wet. Washing your hair in hard water or soft water plays a big role in hair volume and sleekness. And if you’re using the wrong kind of water, your luscious locks are going to get bone dry.

Hard Water and Hair

There are several practices that can damage your hair—like using hair straighteners without heat protection, or opting for chemical treatments like color dyes, perms, or relaxers—but the main issue for dryness always relates to how you’re managing your hair on a daily basis. If you regularly wash your hair in hard water, your hair is going to feel dull and dry, no matter how much conditioner you use. Itchy scalps, brittle hair, and even thinning hair all can be blamed on hard water too. Because hard water interferes with your hair follicles, it’s enemy no. 1 for good hair days.

The reason hard water does this is because it contains dissolved, negatively charged minerals that latch on to positively charged hair strands and wreak havoc. The two main minerals in hard water are calcium and magnesium. Having calcium in your shower water makes your scalp flaky and your hair feel heavy. Magnesium does these things too, but it also messes with curls and hair’s natural shine. These hard minerals, combined with the chlorine in tap water, are the main reasons why you find your hair feeling so dry and dingy.

Problems with City Water

Unfortunately, even places like Carmel, Indiana that claim to soften their city water are actually less reliable than you might think. Because they’re dealing with an overflow of water usage during the summer months, their softening systems often can’t keep up. And when your city can’t consistently meet the public’s demand, your own home’s water hardness is going to vary drastically day-to-day, or even hour-by-hour. If you live in one of these areas in the summer, you’re probably noticing your “soft” water is acting a lot more like hard water, which can be a real pain for your hair.

If you know your area has hard water (Indianapolis is notorious for it), the best way to prevent dry hair symptoms is to switch to soft water. A personal water softener removes the irritating minerals in tap water for your whole home. With a softener system in place, your soap will tend to lather better and your water itself will feel silky and clean.

Soft Water Benefits

Such a drastic change in your water can seem strange at first, but there are loads of benefits for having soft water over hard water once you know how to use it. For starters, you’ll probably want to start using less soap in the shower because some people find it harder to “rinse” with soft water. At first, using soft water when washing your hair might feel like you’re not getting all the shampoo out, but that’s only because hard water isn’t drying out your hair anymore. Your new water—like the name says—just feels soft!

For softer, healthier hair, get the real root of your problem and start conditioning your water. A water softener is a simple fix for more enjoyable showers, and with soft water, you’ll be able to keep you hair shiny and smooth every month of the year.

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