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If you live in an old building, there’s a good chance your water softener might be old or even nonexistent. While you might not feel a difference when you are taking a shower, the effects of repeatedly washing your hair, face, and body with mineral-laden water will manifest over time. If you or your family member/significant other owns the home you live in, replacing or adding a water softener might just be a matter of saving for awhile. But if your landlord is not willing to fix the problem or you are not able to afford an installation, you are going to want to find an alternate method to help feel and look your best. Here are two signs you may be suffering from hard water – and what to do about it.
1. Your Hair Texture is v Weird
Situation: It’s not wavy, it’s not straight, and while your scalp might be full of frizz, your hair lacks volume or definition of any kind. It is almost impossible to comb through in the shower. It has turned a bit orange recently. You have tried virtually every trick in the book and are at the point where even though you don’t color or heat-style your hair, it looks like you forgot to brush. Your hair doesn’t cooperate, but none of the top 10 tips in those Buzzfeed listicles even apply to you. What gives? You’ve tried every type of shampoo and conditioner on the shelf!
What Gives? Hard water is, by definition, “hard” because of its high mineral density. The more minerals that are present in the water you are showering in, the harder the water is. While having minerals in your hair may sound like a good thing, they actually coat and weigh down your hair instead of having any nutritional value. Hard water-treated hair often has damaged strands, an orange tint, and unhealthy roots, which occur because the mineral coating prevents your shampoo from lathering and your conditioner from absorbing into your hair follicles.
Solution: If where you’re living has hard water, you’re going to have to invest in your hair if you want to see a change. Installing a shower head water filter is the biggest step you can take without actually purchasing a water softener and is thankfully more affordable than you might think. To supplement your shower head water filter, or to accommodate for hard water while traveling, you’ll want to invest in a set of shampoo and conditioner specifically created to treat hair damaged by hard water. It is always a good idea to to an apple cider vinegar rinse as well!
2. Your Skin is Dry 24/7/365
Situation: Your face is flakier than your friends. Your scalp starts burning when you brush. That dry Wisconsin winter has turned into a humid Wisconsin summer, but your skin looks like it is perpetually January. You prefer powder foundation but use liquid exclusively because it hides the dry skin and maybe (you hope) acts as a second moisturizer. You have redefined what it means to have bacne. At one point in your life, you may have complained about oily skin… but now? You’d do anything to get it back.
What gives? Those same minerals that coat your hair also sink into your skin and can clog your pores. When that happens, your skin becomes irritated and is prone to flaking and/or developing acne. If you are also washing your clothes in hard water, constant contact with the minerals while wearing them can lead to acne on your back and pretty much anywhere your clothing touches. Sensitive skin is especially prone to respond differently when exposed to hard water, so those of us who give our skin extra TLC already are also the likely victims of hard water’s effects.
Solution: Use a moisturizer after showering. Always. That might be a part of your routine anyway, but, like flossing, just because you know you should do it regularly doesn’t mean you always do. Find natural oils and hydrating treatments to use on your face and body. Reduce the amount of soap and laundry detergent you use, as mixing them with hard water will leave residue that coats and drys out your skin. The most important thing you will want to look for in a new skincare product, however, is whether it has a chelator – a slightly complicated chemistry term by definition, but in practical terms is the only proven way to remove calcium buildup on the skin.
Have you ever struggled to deal with the effects of hard water? Let me know in the comments below! If you’ve found other remedies for your hair and skin problems, help a sister out and share what worked for you!