Hard water/soft water and your hair

woman washing hair

In this article, we'll discuss the difference between how hard and soft water  impact your hair and what you can do  about it if you have hard water (without moving).


Hard water

Hard water contains high levels of minerals, such as calcium and magnesium. It's not uncommon in the United States: about half of Americans have hard water in their homes. Hard water is most common in eastern states like New York and Pennsylvania, but it can also be found throughout much of California, Texas and Florida--and even parts of Colorado. 


Some people with naturally soft hair that’s thin, may benefit from hard water as it can add some volume…but for most people, soft water is better for your hair.  If you have hard water, you can mitigate the problem by using sulfate free shampoos and conditioners.  Consider products that are rich in nutrients, proteins and amino acids.  A deep masque from time to time is a great treatment for homes with hard water.


Another fix is to change the water in your home with a water softening system.  These can be very effective, but they can also be pricey, starting from a hundred dollars and going up, but they may be an excellent long term solution for your hair.



Soft water

Soft water is found in many places around the world, but it's most common in areas with a lot of rain. The water from these places tends to be very soft because of all the minerals that have been washed down into the earth over time.


Soft water is particularly good for fine hair because it doesn't dry hair out  and makes it easier to comb through your locks. It can also help offset frizz, particularly if you use products like gels or hairspray.


Soft water is also great for curly hair because it adds volume without weighing down curls like hard water does (which is why some people find that their curls become limp when they use hard-water shampoos).  Soft water is also generally better for your skin than hard water, which can dry it out.


Hair types that almost always improve with soft water

  • Fine hair: If you have fine hair, soft water is a no-brainer. The minerals in hard water can make it feel dry and brittle.
  • Thick hair: If you have thick strands, they'll benefit from the conditioning effects of soft water.
  • Curly/wavy hair: If your curls are coarse or frizzy (or if there's lots of natural texture), then switching to a softer option, if you can, might help tame them into something more manageable.
  • Dry scalp issues: If you suffer from dandruff or other scalp problems caused by hard water deposits on your head, using a water softening system might make a difference.

 woman washing her hair


Soft water is generally better for your hair than hard water.  If you have hard water, you can pick products that will offset the impact of the water on your hair, or you can invest in a water softening system for your home.  This is an expensive option but over time, you may save a lot of money on conditioners and masques and softer water may be beneficial to the overall health and appearance of your hair and your skin.