Can Hard Water Lead to Hair Loss?

Short story | Full story | Conclusion

  • Concerns that hard water is associated with hair loss
  • South-east England is dominated by hard water
  • Using special shampoos and chelating agents can protect your hair
  • Soft water showerheads can also prevent hair damage
  • Water softeners combat the adverse effects of hard water in one go

The full story

Having recently visited south-western France, the English owners of the gite where we stayed made great play on the fact that they’d had a water softener fitted, to combat the undesirable effects of hard water.

They explained that numerous homes in this area of France were fitted with softeners because the mains water was excessively hard, so much so that many people had complained it had made their hair fall out. From what we were told, once a water softener had been installed, the hair loss issues dramatically slowed or ceased altogether. So, could the presence of hard water explain what the locals were experiencing?

The link between hard water and hair loss

What scientific evidence exists to support these claims about hard water?
Well, from a dermatological standpoint, if you regularly wash your hair in hard water, which contains lots of calcium and magnesium mineral deposits, these deposits will build up on the scalp and in the hair strands. This can prevent moisture from being absorbed. It is moisture that keeps the hair’s elasticity and shine. The more that moisture is blocked, the duller and less vibrant the hair’s appearance. This drying out process can also cause itchy scalp.
However, to say that hard water is directly attributable to hair loss is quite another thing. For although hard water has been proven to have a number of adverse effects on hair and skin, at present, there is no peer-reviewed science out there that directly links hair loss to hard water.
That said, if you continually wash your hair in hard water, this is certainly going to increase the likelihood of hair breakage and dryness (due to the moisturisation issues previously mentioned)

How to overcome the problems of hard water when washing your hair

There are various actions you can take to help repair hair from the damage caused by hard water. Washing your hair in a clarifying shampoo, or one that is specially formulated to remove calcium and magnesium mineral deposit build-up, can be a step in the right direction. Using conditioning masks or oils is also known to help repair and nourish damaged hair.

Chelating agents, which are chemical compounds that react with metal ions to form a stable, water-soluble complex – like apple cider vinegar – can also be effective.

As well as looking into cleansing product options, you could invest in a special water softening shower head, which has a built-in filter that removes hard water-causing minerals.

Whilst these interim fixes have their merits, the longer term, one stop solution that covers all the bases is to have a water softener fitted. This will cover the entire home, rather than just one showerhead and won’t require making up concoctions to negate the effects of hard water. The water softener will remove all the negative effects of hard water in one go.


If you live in the south-east of England, there is a very high chance that you will be exposed to an exceptionally or very hard water area. That’s because most places across the region will register readings well above 200ppm – the base level at which water is considered hard. Incidentally, with a water softener those levels will plummet to virtually zero.

Reducing your locks’ exposure to hard water will make a positive contribution to its overall health. As for the connection between hair loss and hard water – well, we’ll leave you to reach your own conclusions.

If you have any concerns about the effects of hard water on your household, we can provide tailor-made solutions to suit your lifestyle and budget. Scott Jenkins Water Softeners are one of the leading water softener companies in the south of England – with coverage across West and East Sussex, Surrey, Hampshire and Dorset. For all installation and maintenance enquiries about water softener products, filters and accessories, contact SJ Water Softeners on 01243 607494 or email: