8 Ways to Save your Hair from Hard Water - hair buddha
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8 Ways to Save your Hair from Hard Water

8 ways to save your hair from hard water1


Do you live in a hard-water area? Is your hair giving you daily grief? No amount of conditioners or styling sprays can rescue you, as the root of the problem lies in your tap water.

I recently visited Amsterdam. This was my second visit, and my love for the city is getting bigger with every visit. And it’s not just me, but my hair too have fallen in love with the city. When I am in Amsterdam, I don’t need conditioners or hair styling products to make my hair look good. Just bathing in the Amsterdam water is enough. Amsterdam, also called as ‘City of water’, due to many water bodies – canals, dikes, podlers – is very soft compared to London. And soft water is treat for your hair and skin.

If you live in hard water areas – I live in London – you will exactly know what I am talking about. Hard water gloom!

What is hard water? Hard water is water that has a high mineral content – especially calcium and magnesium – in comparison to soft water. Although it’s not considered as harmful for your health, hard water can cause serious problems to your hair and skin. After many washing, minerals dissolved in the hard water create a scaly film on the hair. This prevents the moisture from entering the hair. The result is dry, dull, tangly, and strange coloured hair. Hard water can also cause build up on the scalp, causing a dandruff-like condition to form.

However, do not fret. Hard water need not ruin your hair. For those of you who desire silky and shiny tresses, here are some effective solutions.

8 Ways to Save your Hair from Hard Water

1. Vinegar Rinse

The acidity of vinegar works to remove scaly build up from your hair. It also balances the pH of your hair, smoothes down the cuticles, and leaves your hair feeling soft and silky.

You can use any vinegar, but apple cider vinegar is the best for hair. Mix 1 tablespoon of vinegar to 3 cups of water. After shampooing, massage this mixture on to your hair. Leave it for couple of minutes and rinse it off. Vinegar rinse also increases shine and gives body to limp hair. Use it once a week, as every day use will make your hair dry.

7 Ways to Save your Hair from Hard Water

2. Lemon/Lime Rinse

Like vinegar, the acidic nature of lemon juice will help remove buildup from your hair.

To make lemon rinse, take 1 tablespoon of lemon juice and add 3 cups of water, and mix well Apply this rinse to your scalp and hair after shampooing, and let it sit for couple of minutes before rinsing off. This rinse will add shine and luster to your hair. Plus the antiseptic properties of lemon also helps with dandruff.

Note: Lime juice can lighten your hair over time.

3. Water Softer

A water softener is a good, but expensive way to solve your hard water worries. It removes calcium and magnesium (limescale) and certain other metal cations from the hard water – making the water soft. While installing a water softer is expensive, it may be extremely useful for people experiencing hair problems, eczema and other hard water related conditions.

4. Shower Filter

Shower filter is a cheaper alternative to water softener. It can considerably reduce lime scale, chlorine and many other chemicals from hard water. There are many different types of shower filter that attach to your shower unit. You can buy these online or in home stores.

bottle water

5. Bottled Water or Filter Jug

Another option is to use bottled mineral/spring water for final rinse. Although not that expensive, but you will have plastic bottles piling up (and one plastic bottle can take up to 400 years to biodegrade). This can be a temp solution especially if your hair is giving you a hard time, or when you are visiting hard water area for a short period of time. Instead of bottled water you can also use water from filter jug, and that may not be so much of plastic waste.

collect rain water

6. Rain Water

Rain is a soft water which hair loves. And it’s free! You can catch rain water in a wide mouth container and use that to wash your hair. Although I haven’t tried it, many people swear by its benefits. It is said to make hair really soft and glossy.

The only drawback – you can’t have it all the time 🙂

7. Clarifying Shampoo

According to me one of the most effective and natural clarifying shampoo is soap nut (reetha) and shikakai shampoo. This all-natural shampoo not just cleans your hair, it adds volume and shine and makes hair feel thicker and smooth.

Market bought clarifying shampoos can be harsh on hair so use them sparingly. And when buying a clarifying shampoo or any products for that matter always choose products with natural and safer ingredients.

apply a leave-in conditioner

8. Use a leave-in Conditioner for Glossy Finish

This will not remove the buildup, but it will surely pep up your hair. After shampooing, apply a few drops of natural leave-in conditioner like argan oil, jojoba oil or almond oil. This will seal the moisture within the strands and give you that smooth glossy finish.

Please note: Lime juice may lighten your hair over time. Also, avoid using vinegar rinse and lime juice too often, as they may cause your hair to become too brittle and dry. Instead, use them only once or twice a month.

Do you live in a hard water area? have you tried any of these tips? 

You may also enjoy: 4 Things I Do to Save My Hair from Hard Water



  • nadiya lalani says:

    Thanks for the tips !!

  • […] as this will help you to find an effective remedy. Make a checklist of the most likely cause such as hard water – if you have moved city, any change in hair products, diet changes, dry or humid weather, […]

  • […] to fix my hard water hair. I was using fenugreek and honey rinse thinking that it will solve the hard water hair crises. Although this rinse didn’t do anything to get rid of the limescale build-up, it lightened my […]

  • […] shower head filter and jug filter. I have explained how each one of these work in this post: 7 ways to save your hair from hard water. I ruled out the water softener option as it was too expensive, and moreover, we lived in rented […]

  • Gods Hitman says:

    or another way is to move the hack out of that nasty craphole to a place where water is not hard and stop believing tricks that the life has a higher quality there. How by having a hard water?

    • wils says:

      Gods Hitman. Love your comment 🙂

  • Deane Alban says:

    I learned this tip as a kid – collect rainwater to rinse your hair. Keeping it in the fridge is best but in a pinch it will keep in a closed container in the dark (like closet) for surprisingly long. Unfortunately, I live in the desert and we often go several months without rain. However that shouldn’t be a problem in London. 🙂
    My first husband was from London. When we’d visit my hair would almost turn into cotton candy. It was awful.

    • Hello Deane, yes I have heard that rain water is excellent for your hair. I so want to give it a try but unfortunately I live in an apartment 🙁

    • wils says:

      Not sure on rainwater….do you remember that whole thing about ‘acid rain’ from pollutants? I would check it out. maybe the situation has gotten better from when that was a thing.

    • charlice says:

      Hello Minaz, I also live in an apartment. But that does not stop me from getting rain water if I wanted to. May you live upstairs, if you really are in need of it, just come out when it’s raining and you should have plenty of that.

      Moreover, I don’t believe in acid rain unless when a particular environment is affected by some pollutants.

  • Manila Chhotray says:

    I disagree with your opinion that Amsterdam water is best for the hair. I am living in Amsterdam and my hair fall is doubled. I lived in London as well and I still had the same problem. I am using Lemons and it is making a difference and I agree ritha works best.

  • […] have talked about using lime/lemon juice rinse in my previous posts on hard water, but I don’t use it anymore. After using it for few months, I realised that regular […]

  • John says:

    Thank you for such useful tips

  • Ruth says:

    I have hard water and I just buy some distilled water, warm it up and use as a final rinse.

  • Dee says:

    Thank god for this post! I just moved to a different city and
    my hair has just been dull and sad ! I thought I had something wrong
    with me! Going to be trying the apple cider soon for sure.

  • Natascha Sood says:

    i am from Amsterdam. when i lived there my hair was fine. now living in india for the last 5 years. My hair is a drama. Hairloss, brittle, frizzy… Definitely going to try your tips, using filtered water and vinegar or lime rinse.

  • Susan Anziano-Perry says:

    I had my hair bleached today to blonde. I have hard water. How can I keep my hair blonde and not the brassy yucky looking hair from hard water. thanks

    • Susan, try using this hair rinse once or twice a week

    • ArtAlli says:

      My hair was platinum for years. Grab a purple shampoo from the beauty store. Wash with it like regular shampoo, then a second time, leaving it in this time for about 2 minutes. You’ll see a difference, but keep doing it daily until you get the shade of white you want, then switch to a few times a week, then less.

  • Libby Neill says:

    After applying the apple cider vinegar rinse, should I use my regular conditioner? Shampoo, ACV rinse, conditioner. Thank you for your help!

    • No, but if your hair is dry you can apply a few drops of almond/argan oil as a leave-in conditioner (after towel drying your hair).

    • Libby Neill says:

      As I was applying the ACV rinse last night, I could tell that my hair would be too dry without my conditioning balm, so I conditioned as usual. The combination worked great! I could immediately tell a difference in my hair, even before it dried, and today it is so much softer and more manageable. I am using the rinse to repair damage from hard water. Thank you!

  • Georgiegirl says:

    Mineral deposits from the copper pipes are turning my hair green. When I trim my ends the color is so obvious against the porcelain. Horrible! I wonder what others see when I am out in sunlight. I am going to try the vinegar and see if i can rid my hair of the color. I am 60 and my natural color is totally grey, which I have no desire to alter. But I do not want green hair.

    • ArtAlli says:

      Try a purple or silver shampoo from a beauty store. They will help you find the right one. 🙂

    • wils says:

      Also, another problem could be that your water is very acidic. That happened to me at our first house, and I had so many skin problems from it. Test the acidity. If it’s acidic then there are treatments for that as well as for hardness.

  • Max Jones says:

    I really like how you talked about a shower filter being a great way to help protect you from hard water. We moved into a new home a couple months ago and found out that we have hard water, and wondered what our solutions could be. I’m going to have to see if I can find a good shower filter for us, and see what other hard water solutions we could find to help us at home!

  • Hannah says:

    I use aloe Vera in my hair. Either gel (like for sunburns) or the juice. And the acv rince. Feels great. The aloe leaves it manageable. Soft. Definitely worth a try.

    • Minaz says:

      Great! Thanks for sharing!

  • Christine says:

    I have blonde hair that turns orange with my hard water and the only thing I’ve found to fix it is a product called fruit fresh that is intended for canning fruits to keep them from turning brown. I just mix some of the powder with a clarifying shampoo and leave it on for a bit whenever I notice my hair getting brassy! It’s a great fix and a lot cheaper than the salon treatments I used to try.

  • abhijeet says:

    Hey, I am From India so in my city water is so hard but whenever I go Indore ( Madhya Pradesh ) my hair goes healthy and thicker compare to my city and their people also have thicker hair so what is the reason, please tell me……

    • Minaz says:

      Where do you live?

    • abhijeet says:

      I am live in narsinghpur Mp

    • Minaz says:

      Yes, it could be the water quality is better in Indore.

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