How to tell if you have hard water & what it means for your hair

How to tell if you have hard water & what it means for your hair

Many things can impact your hair’s overall health, wellbeing, and appearance. One of the biggest culprits may even be lurking in your shower. The water you use to cleanse your hair may be doing more harm than good. 

Hard water contains minerals and trace metals that can do serious damage to your hair, as they build up over time. Let’s review some tell-tale signs of hard water and talk about what you can do to mitigate the effects on your hair.  

How to tell if you have hard water 

First off, let’s talk about what makes water hard vs. soft. Hard water contains trace amounts of minerals like calcium, and/or metals such as copper, lead, and iron. Both can build up on surfaces, causing discoloration.  
Softened water is typically run through a salt-based filtration system to help remove these elements. You will notice with soft water that your soaps make a richer lather and can take a little longer to rinse. 

There are a couple of easy ways to determine whether your water is considered “hard”. First, look at your sink and tub or shower drains. If you notice a ring of discoloration, it’s likely that there are elements in your water causing it.  

You may also notice a film or build up on your shower head or around your bath tub. This is a sign of excessive calcium build up, which can actualyl cause plumbing issues.  

If you notice that your hair is looking dull and your hair color less vibrant, your water could be part of the problem.  

While these are all signs that you could have hard water, the best way to be sure is to have your water tested.  

*FUN FACT: if you have a local pet shop with a fish department, they may offer free water testing. Otherwise, ask at your local hardware store. They often stock mail-in kits.  


How to get rid of hard water build up on your hair 

There are a few solutions for treating and preventing hard water build up on your hair. The first (& easiest!) is to use a detoxifying shampoo 1-2x per week like milk_shake Deep Detox shampoo. This gentle, yet powerful cleanser removes up to 55.5% of copper and 63.% of lead from hair lengths and ends as well as product build up and excessive oils from the scalp.  

You can also install a water softener, or filter on your shower head, to prevent hard water from reaching your hair in the first place.