Effects of Hard Water on Skin and Hair: Natural Solutions and Beneficial Ingredients
A lot of us are not aware that water can have bad effects on our skin and hair. This is because we've all heard, "Water is life." Indeed, it is. But what happens when your water is bad for your skin and hair? While there are two types of water - Hard and soft water, both do not have the same effect.
Just like the name implies, soft water is soft and good for the skin; however, hard water can be very harsh on your skin and hair. This is because hard water is heavy in calcium and magnesium and can harm skin and hair over time. So, if you’ve been noticing some changes recently, hard water may be the cause of your hair breaking easily and skin sensitivities that have changed.
But don't worry — this blog post will discuss how hard water affects skin and hair and offer simple, natural solutions to restore health and vitality.
How hard water affects the hair
Hard water can have a noticeable impact on your hair's health and appearance. Here are ten ways in which hard water can affect your hair:
Buildup of Minerals: Compared to its soft counterparts, hard water contains high levels of minerals like calcium and magnesium. When you wash your hair with hard water, these minerals can accumulate on your hair shafts, creating a heavy and dull appearance.
Reduced Lather: Hard water doesn't lather well with soap or shampoo. As a result, you may end up using more products to get a satisfactory lather, which can further strip your hair of oils and moisture.
Color Fading: If you color your hair, hard water can cause the color to fade more quickly. The mineral buildup can also make your hair appear brassy or discolored.
Difficulty Rinsing: If you’ve been wondering why your scalp feels weird after washing, it can be because of the water you use. This is because hard water can make it hard to remove shampoo and conditioner from hair, leaving a residue that makes hair seem thicker and clogs pores.
Residue buildup: Hard water contains minerals like calcium and magnesium. Over time, these minerals can accumulate on the hair shaft, making it feel heavy and weighed down.
Hair thinning: Minerals in hard water can accumulate and weaken hair strands, leaving them more prone to breakage and thinning.
Product ineffectiveness: Hair care products such as shampoo, conditioners, and serums may not work as effectively in hard water. This is because the minerals can interfere with their performance.
How hard water affects the skin
Have you wondered why your skin doesn't look or feel good despite using many skincare products and following a seemingly perfect routine? If yes, Instead of changing your skincare products or routine, focus on the water you use. How your skin appears and feels depends on your water, whether hard or soft. This is because hard, mineral-rich water can damage your skin, causing a variety of problems which include:
Reduced effectiveness of skincare products: If you’re already planning to change your skincare products because of their ineffectiveness, then you should wait. The problem is probably not with your skincare products or routine but the water you use. Hard water can hinder the effectiveness of your skincare products. The mineral deposits can prevent serums, creams, and other treatments from fully absorbing into the skin, diminishing their potential benefits.
Eczema flare-ups: If you have eczema and now you’re noticing more reactions, then you should know that hard water affects the skin's moisture balance. This results in more frequent and severe flare-ups.
Sensitivity: Compared to soft water, hard water can make skin more vulnerable to UV radiation and pollution, causing redness and irritation.
Soap inefficiency: Soap and cleansers may not lather well in hard water, leading to inadequate cleansing and leaving impurities on the skin.
Dryness irritation: Hard water causes dryness and irritation, which is one of its most noticeable impacts. This is because hard water's minerals can disrupt your skin's oil balance, making it harder for your skin to stay moisturized and hydrated.
Clogged pores: Hard water can also contribute to clogged pores. When the minerals in hard water combine with soap or cleansers, they can form a residue that lingers on your skin. Over time, this residue can block your pores, potentially leading to acne and breakouts.
Dullness: If you've noticed that your skin appears lackluster and dull, hard water might be the culprit. The mineral deposits can create a barrier that prevents your skin from reflecting light, leaving it looking less radiant.
How can I protect my skin from hard water?
If you are looking for natural ways to reduce the effect of hard water on your skin, below are a few ways.
One major natural product that you should have with you, especially if you’re experiencing any of those mentioned above, is coconut oil. It works for your skin and hair. Coconut oil is versatile and natural for skin protection. Its fatty acids, antioxidants, and anti-inflammatory properties moisturize and soothe rough water-irritated skin. As such, applying coconut oil daily can reduce dryness, irritation, and redness, leaving your skin soft and supple.
Use Warm Water
Interestingly, water temperature affects skin health. Hard water can damage skin, but warming it helps. So shower or wash your face with warm water instead of cold or hot. Cold/hot water removes skin oils more quickly than warm water. However, using warm water helps maintain your skin's moisture balance and prevents dryness and irritation.
Natural exfoliation removes dead skin cells and prevents hard water mineral deposits. A moderate, natural exfoliant like sugar or oatmeal removes dead skin cells to reveal fresher, smoother skin. Regular exfoliation helps moisturizing goods penetrate deeper into the skin.
Chamomile, lavender, and rose petals soothe skin. Add a handful of dried herbs or essential oils to your bathwater. Relax and renew your skin in this 15-20-minute herbal bath. Herbal remedies soften skin and combat hard water.
Use moisturizing body lotion
Healthy skin requires moisturization, especially when dealing with hard water. A rich, hydrating body lotion helps protect your skin against hard water minerals by trapping in moisture. Lotions with shea butter, essential oils, or cocoa butter provide optimal hydration and skin protection.
How can I protect my hair from hard water?
Hard water is known to damage hair. This is because its high mineral content, especially calcium and magnesium, can dry, brittle, and break hair. However, natural solutions to combat the effect.
Vinegar, especially apple cider vinegar, acts as a natural clarifying agent. Its acidic nature helps dissolve mineral buildup in the hair caused by hard water. To create a vinegar rinse, mix one part vinegar with three parts water and use it as a final rinse after shampooing. This helps restore the natural pH balance of your hair and leaves it soft and manageable.
Aloe vera treatment
Aloe vera is packed with antioxidants, which makes it a good hair treatment to fight the effect of hard water. Therefore, applying aloe vera gel or juice to your hair can reduce hard water damage. It hydrates and protects hair from mineral deposits. Also, regular use can greatly enhance hair health and texture.
Honey is more than just a natural sweetener; it’s a powerhouse of nutrients and antioxidants. Honey functions as a humectant in the hair, pulling moisture into the shaft and sealing it in. Mix raw honey with warm water to make it workable, then liberally apply it to hair. Wait 20–30 minutes before rinsing. It is worth noting that regular use deeply hydrates your hair, making it more resistant to hard water.
Clarifying shampoos are specially formulated to remove stubborn buildup caused by hard water minerals, styling products, and environmental pollutants. They cleanse hair and scalp better than normal shampoos and prevent hard water damage, leaving it rejuvenated and revitalized. So, if you're battling with the after-effects of hard water, use a clarifying shampoo weekly to keep your hair healthy. Avoid overusing it because it might rob your hair of its natural oils.
Rich in fatty acids and vitamins, shea butter provides deep nourishment to the hair, making it softer, smoother, and more manageable. Applying shea butter to your hair after washing and conditioning creates a protective barrier that locks in moisture and shields your hair from the harsh effects of hard water. Opt for raw, unrefined shea butter for the maximum benefits.
It’s no longer news that the effects of hard water on skin and hair can be quite distressing. However, by diligently following the simple steps above, you can restore the health and vitality of your skin and hair, ensuring they remain radiant and hydrated in the face of hard water challenges.