Hair Treatment for Hard Water

by M.H. Dyer ; Updated July 18, 2017

Found in varying degrees in water supplies across the United States, hard water contains minerals from rocks and soil, primarily calcium and magnesium. This mineral-rich water decreases the lathering ability of soaps and shampoos and ultimately leaves mineral residue on the hair. If a water softener or filter is out of the question, a vinegar rinse is the next best thing.

Not Just for Pickles

A vinegar rinse cuts through the buildup of minerals and other residue that cause hair to look dull. To make a vinegar rinse, mix a small amount of apple cider vinegar with distilled water, then apply the rinse to your hair after shampooing. Rinse or leave the vinegar in your hair to create shine and eliminate snarls. The vinegar smell evaporates relatively quickly. Vinegar can dry the hair, so once or twice every week is enough.

Chelating Shampoos Say What?

Chelating shampoos contain chelating agents that dissolve and remove minerals from the hair. Generally, the label indicates that the product is a chelating shampoo, but it may be labeled as a swimmer's shampoo because it removes buildup of chlorine and other impurities. EDTA is one common chelating agent that is often -- but not always -- found on the list of ingredients. Most chelating shampoos are safe for daily use, but always follow with good conditioner to moisturize the hair and scalp.

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About the Author

M.H. Dyer began her writing career as a staff writer at a community newspaper and is now a full-time commercial writer. She writes about a variety of topics, with a focus on sustainable, pesticide- and herbicide-free gardening. She is an Oregon State University Master Gardener and Master Naturalist and holds a Master of Fine Arts in creative nonfiction writing.