I often see articles discussing water quality and it’s effects on natural hair. I stroll right on pass that mess and think…lawd something else I got to watch out for? Why must there be so many variables to having healthy hair lol? How am I suppose to remember all the do’s and don’ts. GEESH.
Despite my lazy ways of thinking …the topic finally caught up with me and curiosity killed the kitty.
Now let’s get straight to the damage…why should I care about water quality?
Harsh water can make your hair dry!
Harsh water can cause hair breakage!
How do you know if your water is harsh ? What can you do to combat this?
Well first check out this article below originally posted on BGLH…
HARD WATER AND
Are you having chronic hair breakage? Your hard water could be to blame. While black hair needs water to thrive, hard water can be a total hair breakage nightmare. The very thing that we depend on to take care of our hair and fight breakage can also be the very thing that slowly destroys it. Unfortunately, hard water is a common problem. Nearly 85% of homes have hard water coming through the taps.
What is Hard Water?
Hard water is water that is full of dissolved minerals and metals like calcium, magnesium, iron, copper, silica, lead, and manganese, scientists at Malibu Wellness Solutions say. But you’re thinking, ” . . . wait, minerals are good, right?”Well, yes and no. Minerals are excellent INSIDE the body as part of a healthy, well balanced diet. Inside, they are able to travel through the blood stream and nourish hair follicles for new hair cell regeneration. But minerals deposited on the exterior of the hair shaft can cause breakage and dryness problems in black hair care.
How Does Hard Water damage Black Hair?
Minerals like calcium and magnesium can collect in water and bind to the hair shaft during normal washing and conditioning. Our hair naturally has a negative electrical charge, Malibu Wellness Solutions scientists say. Minerals like calcium and magnesium carry a positive charge and when they encounter hair, they attach to it. The chlorine that is often added to hard water also has negative effects on black hair. These minerals have a drying effect on the outer hair cuticle because they prevent moisture from entering the hair. The result? Hard, dry, tangly, puffy, strange-colored black hair. The deposits can also build up on the scalp and cause a dandruff-like condition to form.
The minerals in hard water also react with shampoo detergents and make them less likely to produce a big, foamy lather. Those with no-lye relaxers are also no strangers to mineral buildup on the hair shaft. Like hard water, no-lye relaxers also leave calcium deposits behind on the hair shaft which can dry out black hair if not treated promptly. Interestingly, the hard water mineral deposits left on black hair can also interfere with the success of future chemical services including relaxers and colors.
Finally, scientists at the Nuffield Foundation point out that the general chemistry of hard water, with its increased -OH ion content, renders it slightly more alkaline (pH= 8.5) than regular water which has a neutral pH of 7. Hair has a slightly acidic pH, and most hair products are formulated to help the hair maintain its acid mantle. Hard water works against this process. In fact, hard water’s elevated pH causes the hair shaft to swell and the cuticle layers to lift more than normal. This regular exposure to high pH water can lead to breakage and cause tangly, unmanageable black hair.
Is My Water Hard?
When you have hard water, you certainly know it. The following questions will help your determine if you may be battling a hard water problem:
Does your hair feel really dry no matter how much you wash and deep condition it?
Do you have problems with your shampoo lathering?
Does your hair tangle excessively after washing?
Does your hair color fade or turn brassy and dull rapidly?
Do you have chronic hair breakage problems that defy treatment and care?
Are you having problems with your chemical services (i.e. relaxers and permanent colors) “taking?”
If you’ve answered yes to any of the above questions, then you may have a hard water problem.
One of the biggest tell-tell signs of a hard water problem is breakage that just will not end no matter what. You may have even performed a wet assessment on the hair to determine the cause of breakage, only to still be left grasping for straws and battling hair breakage. Hard water-damaged, black hair simply does not respond to anything, but feels like it NEEDS EVERYTHING. It can feel weighed down (needs to be clarified), like coarse hay (needs moisture), and gummy or limp (needs protein) all at once in some cases. Hard water damaged hair is truly ambiguous.
Am I Living in a Hard Water Area?
According to the US Geological Survey, the areas with the least amount of water hardness are parts of New England, the South Atlantic-Gulf States, the Pacific Northwest, and Hawaii. Moderately hard waters exist in Tennessee, the Great Lakes area, and the Pacific Northwest regions of the United States. Hard to very hard waters can be found in Texas, New Mexico, Kansas, Arizona, and southern California, the Survey reports.
Hard Water Solutions for Black hair
Hard water mineral deposits on black hair cannot be removed by regular shampoos and clarifying formulas. A specially formulated chelating shampoo is required to remove mineral deposits from the hair. Chelating shampoos chemically bind to hard water minerals and help to lift them away. Joico and Kenra make great chelating shampoos. Kenra’s formula is actually a clarifying shampoo with chelation abilities. This shampoo is great for black hair because it moisturizes while it chelates and clarifies.
For roughly $70-$100, these portable gadgets will attach to your shower head and filter out dirt and metals coming through the tap. Minerals and salts, however, cannot be filtered out. Some permanent, “whole home” units are available. These are also different from kitchen sink, reverse osmosis machines, say Clearwatergmx staff, which ‘removes salt and some contaminants from your drinking water at a very slow rate and . . . wastes a lot of water.”
The priciest option is a water softener which converts the old mineral ions into less harmful sodium ions. Water softeners are permanent plumbing fixtures that affect water going to all places in the home. Units may cost into the hundreds of dollars.
Ladies, have you ever experienced breakage due to hard water? How did you deal with it?