There’s a sneaky reason why the water in your shower may be making your hair less manageable than Medusa’s.
Tap water plays an important role in your everyday life that goes beyond small talk about H2O quality in your respective state (braggadocious New Yorkers, you know what we’re talking about). You drink it, you wash your beloved coffee mug with it, and — assuming you bathe regularly — you consistently immerse your entire body in it. But there are a few hard facts you may not know about tap water and how it can do a number on your hair and skin.
Below, we dig into the truth about hard water and how it may be affecting your beauty routine.
Hard water and hair health
There are actually different types of water in your pipes depending upon where you live. Some tap water contains dissolved minerals – creating what’s known as hard water – and it’s responsible for a variety of household inconveniences. If you’ve noticed sporadic spurting interrupting the flow of your showerhead, for example, or if you’re constantly re-washing dishes because of splotchy residue, it’s likely that your local water supply contains hard water.
Hard water is also the culprit behind the garden shed-like odor that often accompanies the H2O flowing from your faucet and has a different feel to it than soft water does. While the dichotomy may not be too noticeable when washing your hands, it’s apparent when it comes time to get sudsy in the shower, as it affects the consistency of soap and shampoo, making it more difficult to lather up.
The reason this happens has to do with both chemistry and geology. Water becomes “hard” when it comes in contact with and collects minerals from the ground and in local waterways. Calcium, magnesium and lime are the most common minerals absorbed into our tap water — and some parts of the country (and specific water reservoirs/supplies) contain more of these minerals than others do. Even after showering just once in hard water, minerals can stick to hair, causing the scales on individual strands to stand up — which makes hair more brittle and increases the intensity of tangling.
When hair is exposed to the minerals in hard water, it can become more difficult to style, less pliable, and, especially if your locks are color-treated, less lustrous. Over time, hard water can also lead to unwanted build-up and even a dandruff-like condition — not exactly a stylish seasonal look.
Here’s the good news: There’s an easy fix. Installing a water treatment system, such as a Culligan Water Softener, can remove damaging minerals in your tap water. These softening systems provide gentle, treated water that contains fewer hair-harming minerals than standard tap does. Clarifying shampoos and leave-in conditioners can also lend a hand, particularly if you travel frequently to areas known to have hard water. Use this handy map to help you figure out the hardness of the water in your home.
If you’re sick of going into battle when it comes time to brush and blow-dry, it may be time to invest in a softener for your home — your hair will thank you for it.
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