How hard water wrecks your hair and what you can do about it

Beautiful woman in bathroom
Do you have hard water and hate what it’s doing to your hair? Welcome to the club!  Even though we have a water softener, half the time – make that most of the time – it doesn’t work properly. It may be due to a high concentration of minerals, sediment, etc. from our well. Who knows? As a result, I have more bad than good hair days.

If your hair is blonde or highlighted (like mine), the effects of all that iron and other metals in your water are even more noticeable. After a few weeks, my soft caramel strands look brittle and brassy!  Plus, because I can’t get the grime, soap scum, and gunk from styling products completely out of my hair, my tresses are limp and lifeless. At this point I’m tempted to shave my head and wear a wig!

woman-with-frizzy-hair-beauty-fix

Hard water is especially hard on chemically-treated hair! Photo: mavrichi.com

Sound familiar? You’ll be glad to know I’ve found some ways to combat hard water issues and restore body and luster to your locks.

Let’s start with a few homemade solutions:

Vinegar & Cream of Tartar Paste
1. Combine two parts cream of tartar with one part vinegar in a bowl to form a thick paste. The amount of cream of tartar and vinegar you use depends on the thickness and length of your hair.
2. Let the paste sit in your hair for 15-20 minutes.
3. Rinse paste out of your hair. Once half of it is rinsed out, shampoo your hair as usual to  remove remaining paste.
4. After shampooing, rinse hair with cool water.

vinegar-hairmakeupandbeauty

Rinse with vinegar for sleek and shiny locks. Photo: hairmakeupandbeauty.com

Vinegar & Water Rinse
Mix 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar with 3 cups of water. After shampooing, massage vinegar mixture into your hair, leave it in for 10-15 minutes, and rinse it out. Vinegar helps remove residue, making your hair squeaky clean and shiny.

Lemon Juice
Make a lemon rinse with 1 tablespoon of lemon juice and 3 cups of water. Mix well and massage into your scalp and hair after shampooing. Let mixture sit for 5 minutes before rinsing it off. The acidity in lemons helps remove mineral and product buildup from your hair, creating a sleek finish. It’s also good for treating dandruff!

Another idea I came across is to add bluish-purple food coloring (a combination of blue, red, and green) to your shampoo and/or conditioner to counteract the brassiness in your hair. Sounds crazy I know, but don’t knock it until you’ve tried it! See what it’s all about at theperfumeexpert.com.

If you’re a bit skeptical about this DIY remedy, try using a purple or blue tinted shampoo and conditioner for blonde/highlighted hair. Here are a few suggestions:

Biosilk Color Therapy Cool Blonde Shampoo – on sale now for $7.35 at jcpenney.com

JOICO Color Balance Purple Shampoo/Conditioner – $15.99-$17.99 at Ulta.com

John Frieda Sheer Blonde Color Renew Tone Correcting Shampoo – $6.99 at Walgreens.com

Other excellent products for treating hard water hair:

Redken Hair Cleansing Cream Shampoo – $15.50 at ulta.com
Conditions and purifies hair by removing hard water minerals and product buildup.

Ion Hard Water Conditioner – less than $8.00 at sallybeauty.com
Helps prevent buildup of minerals, reduces dryness and discoloration, and makes your hair softer and easier to style. Safe for daily use and color-treated hair.

Leven Rose Organic 100% Pure Cold Pressed Natural Jojoba Oil – around $13 at amazon.com.
Rub a small amount in your hair before styling to nourish and repair dry, frizzy ends. It’s also good for your skin and nails.

malibu-ebay

This Malibu Hard Water Hair Treatment works miracles on distressed tresses!

I’ve saved the best for last… Malibu Hard Water Hair Wellness Treatment.
The all-natural product removes mineral deposits and impurities as it moisturizes, leaving hair silky, shiny, and more manageable after just one or two applications. I’m not kidding, the results are amazing! Don’t just take my word for it, look at these glowing reviews on Amazon.com!

Packets are sold individually or in a box of 12. Get a dozen packets now for $24.98 at Amazon.com

PLEASE NOTE: most of these treatments and products should only be used once or twice a month as they can dry out your hair.

One more recommendation:
Add a shower head filter. If you don’t have a water softener (or if it’s faulty like mine), install a filter on your shower head. It will help remove rust, residue, chlorine, and impurities in your water and improve the overall condition of your hair and skin. You can buy them at home improvement stores or online at bedbathandbeyond.com.

Find all kinds of solutions for hard water hair on Pinterest!

Sources: Reader’s Digest, everydaycheapskate.com, theperfumeexpert.com, and allwomenstalk.com.

pinterest-hair

Yeah, I wish! Photo of Jennifer Lopez from hairstylezz.com.

Smart Perks blogger Catherine B. wishes she had thick, gorgeous hair like J.Lo, but since that’ll never happen she’ll settle for softer water. 

Tips for Sensational Summer Hair

Hairstyle with colorful flowers. Haircare concept. Backside view

There’s no doubt about it, summer is hard on your hair. High heat and humidity can cause your locks to go limp like a wet noodle or, in my case, frizz out like dandelion fuzz. Too much exposure to UV rays can make your tresses weak, brittle and more susceptible to split ends, especially if they’re color-treated, and chlorine from the pool or salt water from the ocean makes hair more porous and parched too.

With these tips, you can have healthy, great-looking hair all summer (and all year) long!

  1. Keep it hydrated. Use moisturizing shampoos and conditioners, especially if your hair is dry and damaged already. Follow it up with nourishing oils (e.g., Argan) or silicone serums to smooth out the kinks and lock in the moisture. Then once a week treat your hair to a deep conditioning mask, like the ones featured on realsimple.com.

    There are all kinds of conditioning treatments out there, but you can also make your own out of natural ingredients like honey, avocado and egg whites. Check out these easy recipes for homemade natural hair treatments.

    lathered head

    Skipping the shampoo for a day or two is better for your hair!

  2. Lather up less. According to the pros, you should wash your hair every other day or even every few days to allow natural oils from your hair and scalp to surface. Less shampooing actually improves your hair’s appearance, making it softer, shinier and easier to style. If your hair feels too oily (or smells a little funky) between shampoos, try a dry shampoo spray – there’s a fine selection at Sephora.

    If you’re having a horrible hair day (we all have those, right?) you can always pin it up, pull it back in a pony tail, or braid it. If it’s short, spritz it with water and style.

    Back view of relaxed woman in swimming pool with blue water

    After taking a dip in the pool use a clarifying shampoo!

    If you spend a lot of time in the pool, you should use a clarifying shampoo, like Paul Mitchell Shampoo Three, to help remove chlorine buildup and other impurities. It also keeps your hair from turning green (yes, that can happen!).

    Of course,  it’s important to pick the right products for your hair type. Click here to find the best shampoos and conditioners for you.

3. Cover it up. If you plan to be out in the sun for any length of time, consider wearing a hat – like a fun straw fedora or a cool ball cap – or even a colorful scarf to protect your hair and scalp from the elements and keep color-treated hair from fading or turning brassy.

4. Get a trim. Because hair tends to be more frazzled this time of year, it’s a good idea to have the ends trimmed at least every 4 to 6 weeks.

5. Comb it out. Use a wide-tooth comb instead of a brush to detangle your hair when it’s wet. Pulling a brush through damp hair can snag strands and cause breakage.

6. Limit heated styling tools. Give your hair a break from blow dryers and flat irons as often as you can to prevent split ends. If you do need to use them, protect your tresses from the heat with the right styling products – totalbeauty.com ranks the 10 best heat protectant products.

Bad Hair Day

Talk about a wild mane! My hair has actually looked like this on a humid day!

NOTE: If your hair is fine and curly, like mine, you’re better off letting it air-dry, especially on humid days. If I don’t style it right, I end up looking like a Chia Pet! I don’t want tight tendrils like a poodle either, so I’ll unwind my curls a bit with a straightening cream or gel – I like  John Frieda Frizz Ease Unwind Curls Calming Cream.

If you have thick, wavy hair, you should apply styling products only on the ends. Otherwise, you get that Sphinx-head look, all bushed out on the sides.

To tame unruly flyaways, I use Kenra Platinum Silkening Gloss –  a 2.2 oz. bottle costs around $20, but it lasts a long time and is worth every penny! Plus, it smells heavenly!

Learn how to air-dry your hair like a pro with these tricks from Allure.com

7. Drink lots of water. In other words, hydrate your hair from the inside out.
keep calm hair
Here’s to a great hair day, every day!

Smart Perks blogger Catherine B. wishes she had a live-in stylist to do her hair every morning.