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 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.
The acidity of vinegar works to remove cal 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 teaspoons of vinegar to 2 cups of water. ( I also like to add a tablespoon of coconut water, makes the rinse luxury). After shampooing, pour this mixture on to your hair. Massage the scalp and work through your hair and leave it for a couple of minutes, then wash 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.
You may also like: Apple cider vinegar rinse: Get soft, shiny and pH balanced Hair
Like vinegar, the acidic nature of lemon juice will help remove buildup from your hair.
To make the lemon rinse, take a tablespoon of lemon juice and add 3 cups of water, and mix well. After shampooing, pour this rinse on to your hair. Massage the scalp and work through your hair and leave it for a couple of minutes, then wash it off. Lemon rinse will enhance shine and look of your hair. Plus the antiseptic properties of lemon also remedy dandruff.
Note: Lime juice can lighten your hair over time.
Other than vinegar and lime juice, I also like to use herbal hair rinses. My favorite herbs for hair are chamomile and shikakai. I place a tablespoon each in a pot and add 2 cups of hot water, bring to a boil, switch off the flame and let it steep until cool. Strain and use as above.
You can use any herb you like, s ome good ones for your hair are: marshmallow, hibiscus, nettle, amla, sage, rosemary and rose petals.
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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.
When you touch the soft water, it will not look or feel any different, although your skin and hair will be much happier. Also, soft water can be useful for people experiencing hair build up, eczema, dandruff and other hard water-related conditions.
A shower filter is a cheaper alternative to the water softener. It can considerably reduce limescale, 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.
Another option is to use bottled mineral/spring water for final rinse. Although not that expensive, you will have plastic bottles piling up (and one plastic bottle can take up to 400 years to biodegrade). It can be a temp solution especially if your hair is giving you a hard time, or when you are visiting the hard water area for a few days.
Instead of bottled water, you can also use water from filter jug, and that may not be so much plastic waste.
I share my experience of using water jug here
Rain is soft water. And it’s free! You can catch rainwater 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’s said to make hair really soft and glossy.
The only drawback – you can’t have it all the time 🙂
According to me one of the most effective and natural clarifying shampoos 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.
This will not remove the buildup, but it will surely pep up your hair. After shampooing and towel drying, when the hair is still damp, apply a few drops of natural leave-in conditioner like coconut oil, argan oil, jojoba oil or almond oil. It will seal the moisture within the strands and give you that smooth, glossy finish.
Do you live in a hard water area? have you tried any of these tips?
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4 Things I Do to Save My Hair from Hard Water
How I Protect my Hair from London’s Hard Water
How to Use Castor Oil to Stimulate Thick Hair Growth