Then it might be because of the amount of lime in your water. But don’t panic! I’m going to tell you exactly what hard water is and does to your hair, and of course what you can do to make sure that hard water doesn’t ruin your hair!
What is hard water?
Hard water is a name for water that contains a lot of minerals, including lime and calcium. The sources from which water is extracted can vary greatly in their hardness, for example, dune water and groundwater are fairly hard by nature. In the Netherlands, most of the lime is filtered out by the water treatment plants, yet the hardness of the water still varies greatly from region to region. And you can also suffer from relatively ‘soft’ water, especially if you take frequent and/or hot showers, especially finer hair seems to suffer more quickly from lime.
Why is lime bad?
Lime is good for your bones, why not for your hair? That’s for the same reason if you don’t want lime in your bathroom or kettle. Lime is piling up. It forms a suffocating layer on your hair, which gives it a strange color, becomes dull and so moisture, oils and products can no longer get into your hair properly and thus your hair dries out with all its consequences. The lime also mixes with the natural oils of your hair, making your hair look lifeless, limp and greasy. And if you suffer a lot from eczema, then it’s a good idea to take a look at how hard your water is.
How hard is your water?
You can check the hardness of the water in your region online. If you want to know the exact hardness of your water, you can also measure it yourself with special test strips. Sometimes it can happen that your water is harder than average for your region. The average hardness in the Netherlands is 8 DH (German Hardness Scale), with peaks of 2 to even 13.
Removing limescale from your hair
If there’s lime in your hair, this is hard to remove. Fortunately, it is not impossible. With a chelating shampoo you can remove lime and all other build-up from your hair. I use the Joico K-Pak Clarifying Shampoo, which I buy on eBay.
But of course, prevention is better than cure. So here are 11 more tips to tackle hard water!
11 tips to tackle lime in water
Tips for softer water:
1. Buy a water filter
A water filter filters lime but also chemicals like chlorine out of your water. There are different types of water filters. For 30 euros you already have a shower water filter that you can easily connect to your shower hose. There are also filtering showerheads for sale, so you have 2 birds with one stone.
2. Buy a water filter jug
You can also filter your water with a special water filter jug. Filters for this can you can buy separately. This is useful if you also want to filter your drinking water, for example. You can then use the water to wash your hair with.
3. Boil your water
Tea onions know like no other: if you boil water, you can descale your kettle in no time. The lime from the water stays behind in your kettle because of the boiling. The remaining water contains less lime.
It is less effective than filtering your water, but a little less lime in your water is already fine.
4. Bottle water
Why filter your water when you can buy soft water ready at the supermarket? Wash your hair with it and you’ll find that soft water softens your hair.
Don’t use demineralised water (ironing water), which is not only stripped of all calcium but also of good minerals that will make your hair happy. You could consider demineralised water as ‘dead’ water.
A heavy rain shower isn’t so bad. My hair always looks a lot better when I’ve had a downpour over me. Collect rainwater with a ton, and then use it for your hair. Are you also environmentally responsible!
Tips to protect your hair from limescale:
6. Apple vinegar
The favourite hair rinse of many rapunzel! If you’ve tasted apple vinegar before, for example when someone told you that one spoonful of apple vinegar a day would make you lose kilos in no time (guilty), then you know that apple vinegar is sour, very sour. And your hair loves that! Because your hair benefits from low acidity. I can go on for hours, and that’s what I did in my article: ‘How a wrong pH-value can ruin your hair’.
But a little back-on-topic: by ending your shower with a rinse consisting of lots of water and a dash of cider vinegar (it takes a while to find the right ratio for your hair), less lime will end up in your hair.
Attention: if you mix cider vinegar with hot water you have a chance that it will smell, try to use as cold water as possible, or else rinse with some lukewarm/cold water.
7. Vitamin C
I got this tip from a reader who swims a lot. Swimming pool water contains a lot of chlorine, and vitamin C helps a lot with that. Tap water also contains a bit of chlorine, so here too vitamin C helps. But it also removes lime and is acid, so it contributes to a good acidity of your hair and scalp.
You can buy Vitamin C in powder form, or as (effervescent) tablets. The ratio that you can best maintain is often indicated on the packaging. In the case of powder, this is generally a small spoon (half a teaspoon) to put in a glass of 200 ml with water. Vitamin C is also good for your resistance, so drink a glass with your hair.
Does Vitamin C work well for you and your hair? Then think about buying a Vitamin C shower filter. Then Vitamin C is automatically added to your shower water.
8. Aluminium powder
Aluminium in your hair? That’s new to me. But it seems to help very well with hair problems caused by hard water. Mix a small spoonful of powder with 200ml of water and use it as a rinse for your hair.
Don’t look so sour! Because acid makes your hair very happy. And hair happy = you happy. If you take a good look at the above hair rinses you will notice that they are all acidic and that is no coincidence. Acidic ingredients work well against lime, chlorine and build-up of cosmetic ingredients.
You can probably think of many more acidic rinses! Lemon juice, for example, coffee, and I even rinsed my hair for a while with organic grapefruit juice (without mixing with water).
The best thing for your hair is to avoid contact with water as much as possible. Not only with hard water, but with water in general. A little can’t hurt, but every time you let your hair get soaked, there’s a lot of pressure on your hair.
If like me, you prefer to spend an hour in the shower, then this is easier said than done. The solution is simple! Buy a shower cap! Put it on and get in the shower. Don’t take it off until you start washing your hair and then just put it back on. Also very handy if you want to do a hair mask while showering.
Of course, you can also filter your water and do an apple vinegar rinse and wear a shower cap in between. Then you can make your hair triple as happy!