As a rule of thumb, the harder the water you wash with, the tougher this will be on your hair. For a start, you may well have found that it’s difficult to get a nice lather from the shampoo and conditioners you use. This is because mineral content in the water – like calcium and magnesium, which gives the water its hardness – makes it difficult to get a decent amount of lather, meaning you need to use more products to compensate.
So you end up shampooing more often to try and get rid of the heaviness. But all this ends up doing is that you run the risk of stripping natural oils and moisture from your hair, making it drier, coarser and more prone to dandruff.
So, from a washing and cleaning perspective, hard water doesn’t have much to commend it – and your hair is living proof of this!
How Soft Water can be a Salvation
For the majority of people, washing hair in soft water is far more satisfying. A water softener will provide the long-term solution to tired, flat, lifeless looking hair caused by washing it in hard water. Water softeners rid the water of the minerals which cause the problems in the first place.
At the same time, soft water assists in balancing your hair’s pH level. This will ensure your hair looks and feels silky smooth and healthy. And you won’t need to use nearly as much shampoo as you would do with hard water. Your scalp will be grateful too, as soft water will help overcome dry skin conditions.
Job done, then! Well, not for everyone.
Ways to overcome hair issues caused by soft water
If you have fine, flyaway hair and/or you are prone to a greasy mop, soft water can sometimes leave your locks looking limp and oily. Not what you want!
So how do you get round this problem if it occurs, without ditching all the advantages that having soft water provides in the home? Here are some tips that will help.
- Choose your products carefully. Use special volumising shampoos, conditioners and styling products. Dry shampoo can act as an excellent volumiser helping add texture and grip which make styling easier. For extra lift, spray the underside of the hair shaft and at root level.
- If you blow dry your hair after washing, use a round vent brush. This should help it look more full-bodied and vibrant.
- Don’t use styling cream on your roots. This can increase the grease and reduce lift from the hair root.
- If you currently have a heavy conditioner, go for a lighter one instead. If a greasy scalp persists, only apply the conditioner to the ends of your hair rather than rubbing it right into your scalp.
- Rinse your hair in approx 60ml (2 fl.oz) of lemon juice mixed with one 240ml (8 fl. oz) cup of warm water. Lemon juice acts as an astringent, helping to shrink the pores and to reduce oily scalps. An added bonus of this technique is that, if you are looking for natural highlights, lemon juice can assist with this, because it will lighten your hair.
- Finally, check your own shampooing technique. It can be easy to miss areas of your hair, especially at the back if your hair is quite long. Make sure you get product across all areas of your scalp, so that your hair has a consistent look after washing.
Here’s what a Water Softener can do for a bad hair day
The following observation was sent to me recently by a lady I know, which I thought would be great to share with you if you are considering having a soft water system installed in your home.
Having moved away from the Sussex area several years ago, this Christmas and New Year, it was wonderful to be back home in the sunny south, catching up with friends and family and generally being reacquainted with places that were once so familiar.
We moved to the Isle of Man in 2003 – a place with a charm of its own, but an Island that is, nevertheless, very different to the Sussex I knew and loved when growing up.
The list of dissimilarities between the two locations is as long as your arm, but there’s one big issue that raises its head (literally!) every time we venture back to the south of England – the water!
For all its faults, one thing that the Isle of Man caters for extremely well is soft water. Everywhere you go there is a plentiful supply of soft water from the mains. It doesn’t taste particularly great, mind you, but as far as washing is concerned, alongside general daily use, the water is fine.
Compare and contrast this with Sussex. It’s like night and day. When visiting, we normally stay in hotels or Air BnB accommodation which rarely, if ever, has anything other than good old fashioned hard water running through the taps.
This makes for some exceedingly bad hair days!
As a natural redhead with curly locks, I take great pride in having hair that has retained both its original colour and vibrant looks.
But within 24 hours of being back in Sussex, wow, do I notice the change!
The colour remains the same, thankfully, but whereas on the Isle of Man my hair stays permanently curly, after one hair wash in Sussex, the curls all but disappear. The longer we stay, the worse it gets. Out with the curls, in with straight, lifeless locks! What is a girl to do!
The solution, of course, lies in soft water. Hard water is harsh on your skin and on your hair. Yes, hard water washes your hair okay but it flushes away all the natural vigour and vibrancy at the same time. If you have stayed away from the area for any period of time, on holiday for example, in a place where there is soft water, you’ll almost certainly know what I’m talking about.
When we return to live in Sussex, which is our plan, we will either make sure we move to a house where a soft water system has already been installed or make it a priority to have a soft water system installed.
Sussex is great in so many ways, but I can’t take many more bad hair days.
Scott, can you come to the rescue, please!
If you do find that washing your hair in soft water is leaving your mane looking limp, these tips should help wash away the problem. Happy hair washing!If you are interested in having a soft water system installed in your property,
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