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    September 04, 2020 5 min read

    What Does Soft Water Do To Your Hair?

    women wearing a robe

    Do you live in a hard water area? It may seem like your hair has no choice but to suffer the damaging effects of hard water - but there is a solution. Install a water softener! As its name suggests, a softener removed the hardness causing minerals such as calcium and magnesium, allowing only softened water to enter your home. By removing the harmful ions in your water supply, soft water changes the dry texture of your hair, making it soft and shiny.

    Soft water will also save you money spent on shampoos and conditioners, as it binds better with hair products to create a thicker and richer lather. This means it's easier to cleanse your hair while washing, so you can use up to 70% less products! Keep reading to learn why you might want to consider switching to soft water.

    What does Hard water do to your hair?

    yellow straw on ground

    You may also notice that hard water leaves your hair feeling filmy and straw-like. Your initial reaction may be to wash your hair more frequently to remove the soapy residue from your hair. However, for the same reason above, the more often you shampoo your hair in hard water, the less moisture retained in the hair strands. This results in dry, coarse, and frizzy hair, and also dries out your scalp, causing dandruff. 

    As mentioned before, the high levels of minerals that are present in hard water will mix up with the shampoo to form limescale or salts. These salts would then form a scum that settles in your scalp and hair follicles. This limescale will then prevent your hair from absorbing any moistures from the conditioner, causing dryness and itchiness.

    With dry and straw-like hair that causes unmanageable tangles, this can make your hair susceptible to breakage. In turn, breakage can lead to thinning hair if you don’t do anything about it. Hard water can also cause you dyed hair to change colours, especially if there are high levels of other minerals like iron in the water.

    Is soft water good for your hair?

    hair with highlights

    Soft water, free of calcium and magnesium ions, is actually quite moisturizing for your hair, you may have heard many say that it leaves hair feeling shinier and softer

    One common misunderstanding is the "slippery" feeling that soft water leaves on skin and hair mean that their hair is thinning. This "slippery" feeling is actually a result of your skin's natural oils moisturizing your scalp, as your follicles are no longer clogged by limescale buildup. In reality, when washing your hair with soft water, the shampoo will foam and lather more easily than in hard water, meaning you won't have to use as much product! Soft water is also considered to be much gentler on coloured hair as it protects the longevity of hair dyes.

    How to soften water for washing hair?

    Are there any other ways to get softened water to protect your hair from hard water's effects? Here are a couple of tricks people have tried:

    1. Do a Vinegar Rinse

    The acidity of vinegar works to remove calcium build-up from your hair by balancing the pH of your hair to leave your hair feeling soft and silky. When you wash your hair in hard water, calcium builds up on all your follicles, the acidity of vinegar neutralizes that build-up.

    DIY: Any vinegar will work, but apple cider vinegar is the strongest. Mix 1 part of vinegar to 2 parts of water. After you shampoo, pour it onto your hair and massage your scalp, working your vinegar mixture through your hair. Leave it on for 5 minutes and then rinse it out.

    Use it once a week, as every day use will make your hair dry.

    You could also put your solution in a spray bottle, and add coconut oil and lavender oil for a more luxurious treatment. Spray and massage into your roots, leave it for 15 minutes before you rinse it out. Make sure that your final rinse is with purified water or else you will counter the vinegar effects.


    2. Use Bottled or Filtered Water for Your Final Rinse

    Although we do not encourage using plastic water bottles as it's harmful to the environment, many have opted to use filtered water as the final rinse to help to reduce hard water damage. If you pursue this option, use a larger bottle that you can refill with filtered water so that you aren’t wasting so much plastic, and only use it for your final rinse before stepping out of the showers.

    3. Use a Leave-In Conditioner

    To combat dry hair and reduce damage to follicles, try a deep moisturizing leave-in conditioner at least once or twice a week. We recommend looking for products with all-natural ingredients such as jojoba oil, almond oil, coconut oil, and argan oil. These are known to seal in moisture within each strand, leaving you with a smooth and glossy finish.

    4. Do a Citrus Rinse

    Similar to vinegar, citric acids like lime or lemon juice is an effective remedy for neutralizing the effects of hard water on hair. Lemon rinse not only enhances the shine of your hair, it's antiseptic properties also prevent dandruff formation.

    DIY: Use 1/4 cup fresh lemon or lime juice and dilute with 3/4 cup water. After you shampoo, pour the mixture on and thoroughly massage it in your hair, paying special attention to your roots. Leave it on for 5-15 minutes before you rinse and condition.

    Note: Lime juice can lighten your hair over time.

    5. Use a Clarifying Shampoo

    This is another option to remove the build-up hard water causes. Using clarifying shampoo for a deep cleanse once a week will wash away lingering residue and restore shine. When you find one that works for you, you’ll find that your hair feels less itchy, oily and heavy.

    Note: Search for products that have all-natural ingredients and stay away from those containing alcohol and harsh chemicals that can damage your hair.

    6. Get a Showerhead Filter

    Showerhead filters are the cheaper alternative to whole house water softeners. They can be found at any home improvement store and are simple to install. Just attach it to your shower head and let the water run normally. Filters reduce the calcium and magnesium concentration coming from your taps, preventing scale buildup in your shower, sink and faucet. While it’s not as effective as a water softener, it’ll significantly reduce limescale, and other chemicals found in hard water!

    7. Get a Water Softener

    All of the solutions mentioned above are temporary. Plus, you have to use them regularly to enjoy long-lasting effects. A water softener is a permanent fix that will keep your locks looking vibrant and healthy while saving you money on shampoo, conditioners, and styling products.

    Water softeners work to remove magnesium and calcium in your house’s water supply, leaving you with soft water, transforming your dull, dry hair into silky, manageable, and healthy locks.

    If you’re tired of dull, lifeless, unruly hair, don’t wait any longer for a permanent solution!


    So what does soft water do for your hair? It helps it to stay healthy and looking at its best!

    whole-home water softener provides high quality, soft water at every faucet and tap in your home so you can experience the benefits all the time, everywhere. And the benefits don’t stop with your hair, from added skin benefits to lower utility bills, and longer-lasting appliances.