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How Can I Protect My Hair From Hard Water? Choosing The Best Clarifying Shampoo for Hard Water


Frizzy hair, don't care? Well, I think you should care, and there is a possibility of hard water being the reason behind it. With over 85 percent of water in the U.S. being hard, most American homes have to deal with the cold/harsh reality: washing their face and hair with hard water.

To make things clear, hard water is water that has high mineral content like calcium, magnesium carbonates, and sulfates. It can make your scalp itchy and flaky and lead to numerous hair problems like hair fall and mineral buildup.

Below, we have answered the most asked questions related to hard water and the best clarifying shampoo to protect your hair from it. So keep on reading!

Table of contents:

1. How to Identify Hard Water Build-up in Hair
2. How to Treat and Prevent Hard Water Hair Damage
3. The Best Clarifying Shampoo to Remove Buildup from Your Hair and Scalp
  3.1 How Shampoos for Hard Water Help Your Hair
  3.2 Is a Clarifying Shampoo Safe on Colored Hair?
4. The Bottom Line

1. How to Identify Hard Water Build-up in Hair

If you are not sure whether you have developed hard water buildup in your hair, clear it up now (pun intended). Here are a few signs that will clear your doubts about whether you have hard water or not:

  • One of the most common signs of hard water is that the shampoo takes longer than usual to lather. Hard water could also make your shampoo difficult to distribute.
  • You may feel like the conditioner is useless, and it doesn’t moisturize your hair whatsoever.
  • A spot-on sign is that you notice a reddish tint/color in your hair quite similar to the color of copper.
  • You experience the following issues:
  1. Dry & tangled hair;
  2. Flaky scalp;
  3. No more curls;
  4. Weighed down hair.

2. How to Treat and Prevent Hard Water Hair Damage?

Can you fix the hard water mineral buildup? For those situations when you just don't have any choice but to deal with the fact that you need to wash your hair with hard water, here is what you can do:

Clarifying shampoos

Many people would recommend you to use a chelating shampoo, which is considered to be the best shampoo for hard water; however, they probably don't know that chelating shampoos might be a little too harsh and strong for your hair. We recommend you go for a clarifying shampoo that works by removing the buildup on your hair gently, yet effectively.

Hair masks

After you shampoo your hair with a good, clarifying shampoo, use a moisturizing hair mask or a thick conditioner. It is always a good thing to follow up on your clarifying shampoo with a hair mask.

Hair rinse

Rinsing your hair with natural acids like citrus juice or apple cider vinegar before shampooing can have incredible benefits for hair that is washed with hard water. It can help dissolve the buildup, reduce hair fall due to breakage issues and also deal with an itchy scalp.

3. The Best Clarifying Shampoo to Remove Buildup from Your Hair and Scalp

As mentioned before, the key to preventing hard water damage is to use a clarifying shampoo; here are a few good options:

Best one: Apple cider vinegar shampoo

Apple cider vinegar (ACV) is the most popular ingredient when it comes to clarifying your hair, being able to reverse the effects of hard water on hair and scalp. It is also packed with vitamins and minerals that are good for your hair, it's sulfate free, and it also helps maintain the pH balance of your scalp.

If you are looking for an ACV infused, sulfate free and paraben free shampoo, this combo of ACV shampoo and coconut + avocado oil conditioner is an excellent pick. It is loaded with natural ingredients which help clear scalp buildup and make your hair nourished, soft and shiny. 

Best detoxifying: Charcoal shampoo

Get rid of the hard water buildup on your scalp by introducing charcoal in your hair care routine. For that clean and detoxifying effect, charcoal is a great ingredient. It absorbs excess sebum from the scalp and makes your hair clean, giving you that non-stripping feeling.

An effective sulfate-free, charcoal-based shampoo that not only cleans your scalp but also moisturizes is Charcoal & Keratin shampoo from WOW.

Another charcoal-infused product, designed for the particular needs of men, is the WOW Charcoal 2 in 1 shampoo and body wash. Ingredients like Shea butter and Vitamin E are moisturizing for the body, and the activated charcoal washes away dirt and impurities.

3.1 How Shampoos for Hard Water Help Your Hair

The primary purpose of any shampoo is to cleanse your scalp, but to deal with specific conditions like hard water damage it is advisable to use a clarifying shampoo, which prevents the formation of buildup by thoroughly cleansing your scalp.

Make sure that, although it is recommended to use a clarifying shampoo just as you would a regular shampoo, you do not overdo it. Also, use a good nourishing conditioner to prevent moisture loss and natural oil loss in your hair.

3.2 Is a Clarifying Shampoo Safe on Colored Hair?

If you have freshly colored your hair, it is advisable not to use a clarifying shampoo for at least a week, if possible. But if it has been a while since you colored your hair, then using a clarifying shampoo shouldn’t be an issue.

4. The Bottom Line

When it comes to taking care of your hair, nothing is more important than picking the right products. Ingredients matter a lot when it comes to the best clarifying shampoos for hard water, and ACV is one of the most amazing natural ingredients for the task out there. 

Krati Darak

I am a full-throttle freelance writer and an Instagram blogger. I am quite passionate about beauty, and this is the sole reason I started my page on Instagram. I write product reviews and a few tips and tricks that I have learnt over the years. No matter what conversation I am having, skincare is an add-on. Watching makeup videos and horror movies is my therapy.

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