Although water is everywhere and it all seems the same, water can have many different properties. In the same way that not all water can be consumed by humans, not every kind of water is suitable for other uses.
One prominent type of water, if we can call it that, is known “hard water.” Hard water, in layman’s terms, is water high in mineral content. This is the water, with increased quantities of various minerals, primarily calcium, magnesium bicarbonate, and sulfates. All these minerals change the composition of water and change its effectiveness for some uses.
How To Know Your Water Is Hard
Some ways to identify hard water are:
- Cloudy film on a clean glass of water
- Soap and shampoo don’t seem to wash away
- Slimy hands even after washing
- Mineral stains
- Mineral build-up on shower heads, faucets, etc.
- Less water pressure
- Build up in your dishwasher, washing machine, and other appliances
Hard water is natural in many places and cannot be avoided. If your house has hard water, you have to adjust to it, make the best out of it, and put in appliances to deal with it if you find it to be annoying or problematic. There are many activities that can get affected by hard water, which you can systematically improve. One of these activities is washing your hair.
Washing Your Hard With Hard Water
Haircare is very important for many of us but, unfortunately, hard water has a negative effect on the quality of one’s hair because it makes haircare more difficult.
There are certain tips and tricks that can be used to protect hair from the effects of hard water. The most common and effective tips are discussed below:
Vinegar, particularly apple cider vinegar, has many benefits to our health — for example, it is anti-bacterial and anti-fungal agent. When using vinegar in combination with hard water, the acidic vinegar partially nullifies the effect the water.
The prime attribute here is the of acidity of the vinegar. It washes away the calcium that build up in the hair follicles. The hair is left looking shiny and voluminous, instead of flat and dull as you’d expect from a hard water shower.
Any type of vinegar can be used. The use of apple cider vinegar is recommended, due to its added nutrients and food-safe nature, but regular white vinegar can be used as well. Avoid red wine vinegar, rice vinegar, and anything flavored.
The trick to using it is to apply vinegar on the scalp after one shampoo wash. It should be left untouched for roughly five minutes and then rinsed. This way vinegar directly touches the roots of the hair and improves it. Just remember to use it weekly, and not daily as it can lead to dryness.
Use Filtered Water (Or Bottled Water In An Emergency)
Sometimes when the effects of hard water can’t be ignored, you can opt for bottled water. Bottled water is generally not a solution as it is expensive and can lead to lots of waste. Thus, occasionally bottled water can be used for the final rinse if you regularly wash hair in hard water.
There are shower head water filters that will help with hard water but you will have to install one of these on each of the showers in your home.
Leave-in conditioners are quite an in trend these days. These conditioners are simply used after the shampoo wash and are not rinsed. There are both chemical and natural variants available for the same. You must opt for the natural variant as it can be helpful in many ways. The natural variant has added nutrients and even essential oils, such as jojoba oil and coconut oil.
Such a natural conditioner can combat the effects of hard water, especially improving the overall look of your hair.
Use A Clarifying Shampoo
There are shampoos in the world that are dedicated just to hard water. There is quite a range available in such kind, although they are generally on the higher end. You can opt for a combination of regular and clarifying shampoo – using the latter two times a week. This way your hair will maintain a balanced nutrient status-quo.
Can You Use Rainwater?
One question people have is if they can avoid hard ground water by washing their hair with rainwater. This is, of course, the most natural and affordable way to get water that isn’t hard, but rain water is far from an ideal solution
But rainwater can not be directly used! You can collected rainwater (at least 3 cups, depending on the length of your hair) and mix it with 4-5 cups of hard water. After mixing both, you should boil the water. After boiling it, let it cool down. Don’t drink the rainwater.
Generally speaking the method is more trouble than it’s worth and not something most homeowners will need to resort to.
It is advisable to use the above fixes by themselves that first and then in combination with each other in order to understand which one works the best for you — as everyone has different hair types. You can then follow a routine for the same, and set a proper hair care regime for yourself. You should keep on experimenting with new products and tricks, as your hair changes with time as well.