Select a treatment to
get started

How To Clarify Hair If You Have Hard Water: Chelating Shampoos & More 

Hard water can cause hair build-up and dryness, learn how to soften your water and heal your hair here.

Read on

So, you suspect hard water is damaging your hair. Well, you’re not alone.

A whopping 85% of US water is hard water. And, over time, hard water can leave a residue on anything it touches -- including your hair. 

But, what is hard water? How do you clarify hair and reverse the effects of hard water build-up on your hair? 

In the simplest terms, hard water is water that’s full of minerals. On the surface, this doesn’t sound like such a bad thing. (It does have its benefits.)

But because it’s full of minerals like calcium, magnesium, copper, and iron, hard water can leave a heavy film behind. 

When washing your locks with a traditional shampoo you’re removing oil, dirt, sweat, and grime, but you aren’t removing minerals. If you live in a city with hard water, that can cause hair problems over time.  

To remove mineral deposits you’ll need a specific type of cleanser. Keep reading to find out how to clarify your hair without damaging your locks. 

Watch Related Video: Dr. Alan Bauman: Explains Nizoral (Ketoconazole) Hair Growth Shampoos (Video)

What does hard water do to your hair? 

When showering in hard water, the minerals in the water can form a film over the surface of your hair (and body). A 'mineral film' sounds like it could be healthy or beneficial, but it’s not.  

Left-behind minerals harden and can act as a huge barrier between your hair and the nutrition and moisture it needs. This leads hair to become dry, brittle, and breakage-prone. 

If your hair is easily tangled, dry, brittle, dull, or even thinning, you may have hair damage as a result of hard water.

Your hair color might even change and take on a brassy or greenish hue. It might also cause scalp irritation or dandruff. 

Read more: 5 Tips To Soften Your Shower Water

In short, washing your hair in hard water may damage your hair. 

In a small study, researchers found that hard water damages hair over time. At the end of the 30-day study, it was reported that the hair washed in hard water was thinner and frizzier than hair washed in soft water.

Find out if you have hard water  

Since 85% of the country’s water supply is considered hard water, hair damage may be an issue for a lot of people. 

Check out the map below to see if your area has hard water. To know for certain, check out your local water supply reports.  

Image source: GE Appliances Pressroom

Get rid of mineral build-up on your hair

The good news is, even if your water is hard, you can remove mineral deposits. If the minerals don’t get a chance to build up over time, your hair is not likely to be changed by hard water at all. 

But, doesn’t normal shampoo get rid of it? Surprisingly, no. 

Most shampoos you can pick up at a drug store are sulfate shampoos designed to degrease hair. But, sulfates don’t get rid of minerals because of their neutral pH level. 

If you feel like your hair isn’t clean even after cleansing, it’s possibly because of the film left behind from hard water. 

That’s why knowing how to clarify hair can be a game-changer. Here is what to consider if you want to remove mineral build-up from your hair. 

Try chelating or clarifying hard water shampoos 

Not all shampoos are designed with the same goal in mind. Every day shampoos are designed to degrease our hair. 

Clarifying shampoos, on the other hand, are designed to strip hair of stubborn product build-up, and mineral build-up. 

Chelating shampoos are specifically made as hard water shampoos as they contain compounds that bond to minerals or metals and remove them. 

Both clarifying and chelating shampoos break down and remove residue. 

If your problem is product build-up (from heavy creams or butters) clarifying shampoos might be your best bet. If you’re worried about hard water build-up, look for hard water shampoo or chelating shampoos designed for hard water.

DIY chelating treatment that really works 

Want a natural alternative to chelating shampoo? Vinegar is a naturally chelating hair treatment that has been used for centuries

Vinegar is a mild chelating agent that is gentle enough to be used to remove mineral and residue buildup. It’s recommended to use diluted apple cider vinegar once a week.

You can use a vinegar and water mixture as a final rinse after your shower to help clarify and seal your hair cuticle.  

Avoid over-stripping your hair 

So, we’ve learned that hard water build-up can change your hair texture by leaving behind a film.

But, that doesn’t mean you should strip your hair every day with chelating or clarifying shampoos.

These products can be pretty powerful and may be drying. While they are definitely beneficial, using them too often can cause their own issues. 

Start with using a hard water shampoo, chelating shampoo, or clarifying shampoo once a week followed by a deep conditioning.

You might find you need less conditioning over time as removing build-up allows products to penetrate deeper. 

Strut Health prescription hair loss treatments online

If you are having issues with your hair that extent beyond just a little build-up, you may also want to consider adding on a hair loss treatment medication to help combat male pattern hair loss of female pattern hair loss.

Here at Strut Health, we offer oral and topical hair loss treatments with a range of innovative acitive ingredients to help you retain your hair or potentially see growth improvements.

Choose your hair loss treatment and get started with your free online questionnaire-based consultation today.

Free shipping
Free follow-up care
Cancel anytime, no fees
Free online MD visit

Related posts