We all have thrown the terms "hard water" and "mineral build-up" around, but to be honest, even I questioned what these really meant.
As I always say, my mission is to inspire and empower through my own learnings...so I did a little research to get some more clarity on hard water and mineral buildup and I'm excited to share with you what I've learned!
"Hard Water" is actually very common, in fact I learned that over 85% of the US population is bathing with hard water. (*According to the water quality association). The "hardness" of water is mainly determined by how much CALCIUM is in the water, but there are other elements that effect the hair as well.
Apparently, this "hard water" is fine for drinking (?) but can cause some issues for our hair and scalp.
- Hair that lacks body
- Hair that looks dull
- Thinning hair
- Color fading too quickly
- Eczema on the scalp
- Hair that becomes difficult to color or lighten
- Hair appearing darker or discolored
I learned that there are 2 main sources in how we get our water:
Ground water + Surface water.
Ground water is typically water from a well. Either your own well or your local treatment plants that pumps from a well. Well water is from rain that passes through layers of minerals...since rain water is more acidic (below 7), the acidity increases the dissolving of these minerals which are then IN the water when the water is pumped above ground causing the water to have excess minerals.
Surface water is typically from a lake or a river. This contains less minerals typically because the water didn't have to pass through layers of minerals. What does happen though, is that water treatment plants sometimes will have to add chlorine to kill bacteria in this water and then use additional chemicals to control the chlorine levels.
BUT..how do these minerals "STICK" to the hair?
Well, our scalp and hair (and even skin) are electrically charged. Naturally, it's a negative charge(healthy hair, damaged hair is slightly positive). Minerals are a positive charges. Anything that has a positive charge will connect, like a magnet, to something with a negative charge...which is HOW these minerals STAY on the hair.
So what are these minerals and elements that build up on the hair, and how do they effect the hair?
Chlorine is not a mineral, but it is an oxidizer. Like I mentioned above, it is typically used to kill bacteria (hence the reason you need chlorine in your pool). But since chlorine is an oxidizer, not only does it have negative effects on the hair, it can also oxidize the minerals already on the hair causing even more issues.
- Chlorine can cause the hair to become brittle.
- Chlorine can caused the hair to feel gummy and stretchy when wet.
- Chlorine can cause the hair to feel extremely dry and brittle when dry.
- Chlorine can also damage the cuticle layers.
- Chlorine can cause the hair to look dull and lack shine.
Copper is a naturally occurring mineral in the ground and can leak into well water when being pumped. Copper can also get into the hair from copper piping. When the pipes get corroded from hair water buildup, the corrosion can take copper particles from the pipes through your shower head onto your hair. Copper is also added into pools and lakes to kill algae.
- Copper can cause the hair to turn green and can darker hair.
- Copper can cause hair to be dry.
- Copper can interfere with hair coloring and chemical procedures causing unpredictable results.
Iron is typically found in wells or water plants that pump from wells.
- Iron can cause hair to get darker
- Iron can cause an orange tint to blonde hair
- Iron leaves the hair feeling dry and brittle
- Iron can interfere with hair coloring and chemical procedures causing unpredictable results.
Anywhere in the ground that has calcium, will typically have magnesium and is one of the biggest culprits of hard water second to calcium.
- Magnesium causes hair to feel dry.
- Magnesium can weight the hair down, making hair look limp.
- Magnesium causes hair to lack shine and luster.
- Magnesium can interfere with hair coloring and chemical procedures causing unpredictable results.
Calcium is found in all well water and is always added to surface water as well. Calcium is the main mineral that is associated with hard water.
- Calcium causes hair to feel dry.
- Calcium can build up on the scalp, giving the appearance of dandruff.
- Calcium can build up around the hair follicle and suffocate the follicle causing the hair to break.
- Calcium can build up on the scalp and prevent new hair growth.
WHOA. Talk about learning huh?
I've seen so many stylists use Malibu C products religiously (like crystal gel) to remove hard water and mineral buildup..I see why now more than ever.
I personally don't use crystal gel regularly, but you bet I'm going to stock up.
I can only imagine how much better my colors and my blondes will be once all that gunk is off! (PS- I love watching @elyserox00 do her Malibu pulls...soooo grossly satisfying haha!)
I hope you learned some things today, I know I did!
Until next time,