When water isn't such a good thing...
Moisture, moisture, moisture. I can't stress it enough. Your napptural hair needs it. But your home's water may be your hair's worst enemy.
If your hair is dry and unmanageable, it may not be your products, it may be your water. Did you know that the quality of your water can actually determine how well (or badly) your shampoo and conditioning routine works? And if your house water is chlorinated, mineralized or fluoridated, it can cause your hair to break and split.
You may not have noticed the effects of water quality when you had relaxed hair because you probably didn't wet your hair as often and had to employ extra damage control methods anyway. But now that you're napptural, water problems may present in the form of dry, hard, tangled hair. And no amount of conditioning, deep conditioning or product application will change it.
Hard water is a fact in 85% of American homes according to the U.S. Geological Survey.
Water that has a high mineral (calcium and magnesium) content is called "hard water." Often, if you live in an older area where copper pipes are still in use, you may have additional minerals in your water such as copper and iron. (among others). Of course, the more minerals present, the more pronounced the hard water symptoms will be.
What does hard water do?
- The calcium and magnesium in hard water coats and builds up on everything the water comes into contact with, including your hair and scalp.
- The buildup leaves hair coated and unmanageable, sometimes rough. The coating prevents conditioners from working directly on the hair strand.
- The minerals dry out the hair.
- Synthetic detergents such as the sulfates found in shampoos (SLS, ALS) are less effective in hard water because the active ingredient is partially inactivated by hardness.
- Soap used in hard water combines with the minerals to form a sticky soap curd.
- Bathing with soap in hard water leaves a film of sticky soap curd on the skin which may prevent removal of soil and bacteria.
- Soap curd interferes with the return of skin to its normal, slightly acid condition, and may lead to irritation.
- Soap curd on hair makes it dull, lifeless, tangled and difficult to manage.
- Using harsher shampoos or shampooing more often to attempt to remove buildup will worsen hair's condition.
Also, your white clothes will not look as white as they should after washing in hard water, and may even look grey. Clothes will feel hard and rough � Detergents don't froth very well, including shampoos. � Your dishes will not clean properly, especially if you use a dishwasher - the glasses may look spotty and coated.
I may have hard water, what can I do?:
Well, if you suspect you have hard water, test your water for hardness by using a kit you can purchase from any hardware store. The kits are usually cheap, around $5 for a single use kit. Any kit will give you a good indication of the degree of water hardness.
There are a few ways to remedy your hard-water-hair-problem. You can go ahead and purchase from Ouidad their Water Works Shampoo system which comes with a water testing kit. There are other shampoos out there that claim to counteract the hard water problem, too.
But the best way is to purchase a whole house water conditioner, which may seem expensive until you compare it with having to purchase special shampoos all the time and re-wash dishes and clothes.
A cheaper way is to purchase a special unit for just your shower. Either way, filtering is the only safe and sure way to eliminate your water problem and improve your hair's condition.
Once your filter system is in place, you will notice a big difference in you hair's manageability and softness.