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Is Your Water Killing Your Hair??

Updated: Jun 30, 2023

Your water could be hindering you from having the hair you’ve always wanted

And you don’t even know it!

Do you ever wonder why your gorgeous blonde you just paid top dollar for starts to get dull and brassy after just one shampoo?

Maybe you’ve noticed your scalp looking flaky and feeling itchy?

Maybe your locks sometimes feel gummy when they're wet, as if you didn't get all the shampoo out?

Do you have trouble brushing through your wet hair, thinking, “It’s just so tangly”? Has your stylist ever had unexplained issues with getting your hair to a bright blonde?

If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, you probably have fallen victim to the…


Hard water, you’ve head the term sounds like an oxymoron, but do you know what it is? It’s simply water that has a high mineral content and it could be affecting in a not so wonderful way. All water is… liquid, so how could it be hard? Simply hard water refers to the percentage of mineral salts that water

If you have struggled to achieve the perfect color results, don’t fret your dream hair may not be as hard to achieve as you believe. The hidden culprit behind many bad color results, fade to soon or become discolored hair can be attributed to hard water.

It is estimated that 85% of Americans have hard water in their home.

The degree of hardness varies by your location, but those with extremely hard water are more prone to hair. You’ve may have experienced that horrible moment when a you look in the mirror and realized your new haircolor has changed, suddenly it looks different than when you left the salon. It may appears faded, looks dull, or maybe you constantly deal with inaccurate color results, or your hair always feels dry and brittle – many of these issues can be traced back to hard water.

Hard water creates a scaly film on the hair, preventing it from absorbing moisture and retaining color. Minerals like calcium, copper, and magnesium bond strongly to the hair, weighing it down. And when combined with hair care products like shampoo, the hair looks super dull, coarse, and frizzy.

No one is immune to the effects of metal on hair. Everyone has some form of metal, either from your shower or swimming in a pool. So inevitably, you will be affected in some form. Some hair types might feel it a bit more than others. Hair textures that are highly porous are more susceptible to minerals penetrating deeper into the hair structure, making it more susceptible to hard water. Color treated and chemically treated hair fall into this category, curly hair types will also feel the effects of hard water a bit more, since their hair is already prone to dryness and frizz.

Signs metals might be affecting your hair:

  • A change in the color of your hair, especially a green or brassy tint, can be a clue that metal can be lurking in your water.

  • Brittle, lifeless hair that’s experiencing increased breakage can also be a result of metal.

  • Hair that never feels fully clean, or the need to shampoo every day.

  • Roots that feel weighed down felling heavy, greasy and looks separated, ‘oily’ , the build-up might be present on ends of hair also leaving it drier regardless of hydration product used.

  • You might notice your hair lacking luster and unable to hold style or respond to products

  • Shampoo is more difficult to wash out, which can lead to skin irritation on your scalp.


Yes, blondes are seriously effected by hard water especially when it comes to maintaining tone. While a normal amount of fading is expected regarding glaze or toners, at no point in time should blonde get darker. If you leave the salon with awesome bright blonde hair, and a week later feel darker, brassy or green, hard water is the likely the offender.

Blonde getting brassy? It’s copper. Hair turning green after being in the pool? It’s copper! Chlorine in pools acts as a oxidizer that attracts all the copper onto your hair, making it turn green.

If your hair is important to you, you will probably want a solution for hard water problems, yes?

Most of the recommended solutions for the effects of hard water on hair are temporary. Many involve the use of a light acid, such as vinegar or baking soda. This acid is used to strip the mineral coating from your hair. These temporary solutions may not actually solve the problems caused by hard water and can lead to further damage to your hair.

It’s also important to remember that hard water affects much more than your hair.

Some of the top issues – from problems with household surfaces to effects of hard water on skin – include:

  • Mineral deposits reducing water flow from faucets and shower heads;

  • Mineral deposits that weaken fabrics, causing them to become brittle over time and lose their color quicker;

  • Mineral deposits that reduce the efficiency of certain appliances over time, such as dishwashers, water heaters, and coffee makers;

  • Mineral buildup in piping can lead to reductions in water flow over time.

So you have hard water. Now what? Well, you can’t help where your water comes from. If you live in an area that sources water from subterranean aquifers, springs, or rivers, it will just naturally have more minerals states in the Midwest, where the Mississippi River is a major water source, have the highest concentration of hard water in the country. But there are a few steps to not only lessen hard water damage, but repair it.

1. Buy a Filter for Your Shower Head

If you want to limit as many minerals as possible in your water, start with your shower head. If your a homeowner you can install an entire soft water system to your home, but it’s expensive and for those of us in apartments, a non-starter. As a small-scale option, I recommends attaching a water filter to your shower head, to filter out minerals like calcium and magnesium—two common culprits when it comes to dry and brittle hair—and should lessen some of the buildup and residue on your strands.

2. Use a Chelating or Clarifying Shampoo

Clarifying shampoo has agents that bind with metals and minerals in water to then be rinsed away. It's stronger than a regular shampoo, which would only cleanse away dirt and residue. When looking for a chelating shampoo, look for products that are labeled as clarifying or detoxifying and check for an ingredient called tetrasodium EDTA or EDTA complex—an effective chelating agent. We love MALIBU -UN-DO-GOO CLARIFYING SHAMPOO. because not only will it lift away impurities, but it contains hydrolyzed keratin to smooth hair cuticles. It’s important to note that chelating agents can be irritating, so something like this would be a great once-a-week product instead of your regular shampoo. Be sure to follow up with a good condition.

3. Rinse with Apple Cider Vinegar

“Acidic ingredients work well to reverse the pH imbalance from hard water damage. Apple cider vinegar is a great example and a popular ingredient for DIY treatments, since most of us have it in our pantries. I recommends using an organic, unfiltered, and unpasteurized apple cider vinegar that looks a little cloudy. If you’re going the home-remedy route, mix five parts water to one part vinegar in a spray bottle, spray your scalp and work the formula into your ends, let it sit for five minutes, then rinse.

If this all sounds like a bit too much effort for your taste, you can buy a pre-made hair treatment like this color-safe MALIBU HARD WATER TREATMENT. Whatever treatment you choose. I recommend doing the treatments at least once a month and definitely before coming to the salon for any color treatment.

Do you have more question? Well don’t worry this is just the 1st part of the two-part series. Next time we will talk about the different types of minerals and how they can affect your hair. Can’t wait, or have questions about what might be lurking in your water, please talk to your stylist at your next appointment at Refinery Salon.

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