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The Effects of Hard Water On Hair & What To Do About It

Ever look at your hair and feel it’s dull and lacking that beautiful luster? No matter how hard you try to get it to shine, it just looks flat. There is a very real possibility that it’s the water you are using to shampoo your hair. 

Many of us deal with hard water conditions when we shower and don’t think much of it. But the effects of hard water on hair can cause more damage than you may realize. Here’s an in-depth look at what hard water does to your hair and how to repair and prevent the damage. 

Hard Water On Hair

Is Hard Water Bad for Your Hair?

Absolutely. There is no other way to say it. Hard water contains high levels of minerals like calcium and magnesium, which can leave a residue on the hair and scalp. This can lead to issues like dryness, brittleness, and dullness of the hair.

Additionally, the mineral buildup can also interfere with the effectiveness of hair products and make it harder to achieve your favorite hairstyle. Let’s take a deeper look at the effects of hard water on your hair. 

What Does Hard Water Do To Your Hair?

The most common consequences of washing your hair with hard water are the following. 

Fades Color

For those of us that invest in our hair and spend money on coloring, hard water can be our sworn enemy. Hard water can fade the hue or coloring of the hair very quickly. Worse than just a fade, depending on how much exposure to hard water a particular spot is getting, it can lead to uneven hair coloring. 

Dry, Flaky, or Greasy Scalp

When using hard water to wash our hair, the scalp can start to feel dry, flaky, or greasy. It’s also possible to have a combination of all three, which can feel the worst. When our scalp is dried out and starts to flake, our body thinks it needs to make up in oil. This can lead to the greasy overproduction of oil. Dandruff can often result from this as well.

Flat and Dull Appearance

The chemicals and deposits from hard water break down the nutrients in our hair and strip it of its natural oils. This leads to a flat and dull look because our hair may struggle to hold on to moisture and important nutrients. Often this is associated with hair that is high porosity because it’s either weighed down by grease that sits on the top of the head or lets go of the moisture as quickly as it comes in, 

Harmful to Hair Growth

Hard water leads to hair breakage and split ends, which can prevent our hair from growing long and strong. It also creates scalp issues, as mentioned. When our scalp is bogged down by debris, it doesn’t get the necessary circulation to grow healthy roots. 

Hard Water On Hair

What is Hard Water?

Hard water is water that contains high concentrations of minerals. These minerals are picked up as the water passes through rocks and soil, and their presence can cause various issues with mineral buildup in pipes, appliances, and more. Hard water can also lead to soap scum formation and negative effects for the hair and skin.

Minerals in Hard Water That Cause Hair Damage

In hard water, the minerals that primarily cause hair damage are calcium and magnesium ions. These minerals can form a buildup on the hair shaft, leading to issues like dryness, brittleness, and dullness.

As many as 85% of Americans have hard water in their home because it’s a very naturally occurring phenomenon. In other words, you aren’t alone!

The Signs of Hard Water On Hair

Do you have any of the following hair symptoms? It’s possible that hard water is the root of the problem. Pun intended!

Hair Dryness

Dry and coarse hair is one of the leading effects of hard water on hair. When minerals build up on the hair, it creates a defense barrier. Not a good one, either. This barrier locks out moisture rather than locking in moisture. People exposed to hard water may feel like, regardless of the products they use, their hair remains dry. 

Hair Loss and Hair Thinning

In the most extreme cases, hard water can lead not only to breakage but actual hair loss. As mentioned, the scalp can be affected, causing it to become dry and flaky. When our scalp is dry and doesn’t nourish our roots. With so much calcium, the hair shaft can often become brittle because it’s not getting the nutrients it needs. 

This can result in their breaking off at the base rather than split ends. You may notice extreme hair loss in the shower or even after the shower when brushing out your hair. The hair strands may fall out easily and feel less attached to the scalp. All of a sudden, we are dealing with thinning hair rather than rich, thick, luxurious hair. 

Split Ends and Breakage

When nutrients can’t penetrate the hair shaft because of the barrier, it’s easy for the hair to become brittle and split, causing split ends. This results in tons of breakage, making it hard to grow our hair longer. And, the longer it grows without the necessary nutrients, the weaker it becomes. 


Naturally, when our hair gets dry and has a lot of split ends, it becomes frizzy. Our hair needs a certain level of moisture to be tamed without also looking greasy. Moisturized hair from the inside out reduces frizziness, but it’s not as easy when dealing with hard water. 

Hard Water On Hair

How to Repair Hard Water Damage On Hair

So, can you repair hard water damage on hair? The good news is that we can do a number of things to break down the build-up and give our hair the reset that it deserves. This includes both treating our hair and using preventative measures. 

Use a Pre-Shampoo Treatment

Using a pre-shampoo treatment works hard to reset the hair and address issues caused by hard water. A pre-shampoo treatment can come from a number of avenues. 

It provides immediate relief as well as long-term results thanks to natural actives like Mirsalehi Honey. Honey is an anti-inflammatory as well as an antioxidant. When our scalp is nourished from these ingredients, we start addressing healthy hair from the root on out. 

Hair oiling can also be used as the last step in your styling routine to add moisture and shine to dull, damaged hair. Combining the two treatments together reaps double the benefits. 

Use a Chelating or Clarifying Shampoo

After a pre-shampoo treatment, the next stage is using a gentle, yet effective chelating or clarifying shampoo that will break down some of the buildup and deposits left behind by hard water. The important thing to remember is that after the build-up is cleansed, the hair needs to be nourished.  

Use a Deep Conditioning Hair Mask

It’s never a bad idea to give our hair extra love. A deep-conditioning hair mask is the perfect way to do this. You can use a deep conditioning hair mask overnight, before washing, or after shampooing. Depending on your hair needs will determine the frequency at which you use it. 

But what makes a good deep-conditioning hair mask? Let’s take a look!

  • It should be rich in amino acids, vitamins, minerals (good ones), and antioxidants to repair damaged hair
  • It should be able to be applied on damp, wet, or dry hair
  • It can be used as a short-term or overnight treatment

Our Honey Infused Hair Mask covers all these bases and much more. It’s rich in natural and powerful ingredients, like Mirsalehi Honey, to bring your hair back to life.   


Get Regular Trims

Allowing split ends to remain on our hair is never good for our overall hair health. It can lead to more breakage and the continual weakening of the hair shaft. The higher up the hair split goes, the more we’ll have to chop off later. If we get regular trims, it gets ahead of this issue and can give us a fresh start in terms of keeping our hair healthy. 

How to Prevent the Effects of Hard Water On Hair

While we can certainly treat our hair once there is damage, it’s always best to take preventative action. Here is what we can do. 

Buy a Filter for Your Shower Head

A filter for your shower head is a great solution. This helps prevent the deposits from ever reaching your hair and scalp. Keep in mind that filters will have to be changed out every so often, and they come in a wide range of prices and options. Investing in a quality filter is important to ensure that you’re getting the best results possible.

Install a Water Softener

Water softeners are also highly effective for eliminating hard water issues throughout your entire home. They address the entire house's water system rather than just one area, using a process called ion exchange. Water passes through a resin where the minerals are removed from the water before entering your interior plumbing system.

Rinse with Apple Cider Vinegar

Last but not least, a simple solution is to rinse your hair with apple cider vinegar whenever you notice that it’s looking dull or not styling as it should. Apple cider vinegar is more acidic than shampoos and works to remove mineral build-up from the hair.

Don’t Wait To Protect Your Hair

Understanding the effects of hard water on our hair is crucial for maintaining healthy and vibrant locks. The buildup caused by hard water usage can leave our hair looking lackluster, dry, and damaged. The good news is that there are effective solutions to repair and protect our tresses from the harmful effects of hard water.

To combat the damage and bring back the natural shine and strength of your hair, incorporate our Honey-Infused Hair Care line into your daily routine. Embrace the power of Mirsalehi Honey and experience the transformation as your hair begins to thrive and flourish! Don’t wait any longer to give your hair the tender, loving care it needs!

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