Dry hair shouldn’t have to be a part of your daily routine. When it comes to hair care, though, a lot of factors are in play. How you style your look, the weather (humidity frizz, anyone?) and where you live can all make an impact. But before you blame your blow dryer for damaged hair, take a look at your shower water. You might need more than just some leave-in conditioner if you’re living with hard water.
When every shower you take in a year is with hard water, your hair is bound to show some unfortunate results. The minerals in hard water are soft hair’s nightmare. They leave a buildup on your hair and can make it feel lifeless, dull, and brittle. You might have noticed similar effects on your laundry. Because the minerals in hard water don’t wash or rinse easily, laundry done in hard water usually feels scratchy and dry—just like your hair.
About Hard Water
Regular tap water often has dissolved calcium and magnesium in it. These “hard water minerals” come from the rocks around groundwater supplies. Calcium, magnesium, and even iron enter our water supply naturally, but they’re not exactly helpful. Homes with hard water tend to have scale deposits on their kitchen and bathroom faucets. Another downside to showering in hard water: The water’s minerals can also build up in pipes and lower water pressure. Not cool!
The opposite of hard water is soft water. Hard water has hair-damaging minerals in it, whereas soft water filters those minerals out. The difference is pretty dramatic. With the minerals gone, soaps and shampoos lather better. Soft water also gives skin and hair a better rinse.
How to Fix Dry Hair
When you consider how much the average American spends on hair care, it makes sense that dry hair is so frustrating. Women typically pay $44 for their regular haircut. Factor in all the other hair costs—color, highlights, lowlights, blowouts, and other special treatments—and you might spend upwards of $600 per year! If you’re dealing with perpetually dry hair, all that maintenance can easily seem like money down the drain.
Some people recommend DIY methods for getting rid of that hard water residue on your hair. They’ll tell you to wash your hair in apple cider vinegar, lemon juice, or some other acid to mimic the clarifying treatments a professional salon might offer. But at the end of the day, these tricks don’t seem to cut it. Your hair is still going to feel dry and dingy.
To really get that bang for your buck, it’s best to tackle dry hair problems at the source. More likely than not, you’ll need to upgrade your home’s hard water with a water softener. These systems work to remove hard water minerals from your water. Once it’s installed, you’ll get soft water at every tap! You’ll feel the difference right away in the shower. With time, you should start to notice improvements elsewhere around your home too. Laundry and towels should stay softener, the dishwasher will stop leaving water spots on clean glasses, and soap scum ought to disappear.
As for your hair, soft water is great for silky-smooth locks. Water softeners that double as water refiners are even better for your mane. Those types of units also remove the chlorine in tap water (another culprit of dry-hair). If you take care of that too, you’ll really be able to give you hair the star treatment it deserves!