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The effect of hard water vs. soft water on your curls

From co-washing to mastering your drying technique, we do it all to keep our curls healthy and happy. But did you know that the type of water you use can have a big impact on your curls? That's right, hard water vs. soft water can make the world of difference in the health and look of your curls.

The effect of hard water vs. soft water on your curls

Now, you might be thinking, "What does hard water have to do with my curly hair?" Well, it turns out that this kind of water can have some not-so-great effects on those luscious curls of yours. But we’re here to guide you through it.

What is hard water?

Let’s start with the big one, what exactly is hard water? In a nutshell, hard water is high in minerals such as dissolved calcium and magnesium. You might have noticed that it leaves a residue on your showerhead or sink, or that it's harder to work up some suds come wash day.

The “hardness” of water varies depending on where in the UK is home. We’re sorry to say, but if you’re in the South East, the water that is flowing from your shower will be the hardest. This is because the area’s bedrock is made up of ancient sedimentary rocks.

On the bright side, hard water is great for your heart health and bone strength thanks to its mineral makeup. However, you might have noticed that it can have some not-so-desirable effects on your hair and skin. Which we’ll get into very soon.

What’s the difference between hard water vs. soft water?

The main difference between hard water and soft water is that hard water contains high levels of minerals like calcium and magnesium. Soft water, on the other hand, has fewer minerals and a lower pH level. 

So, soft water feels "softer" and is easier to lather up. Since it's easier to get a lather going, you'll be able to get a deep clean without having to use as much shampoo. And because there's no mineral buildup, your hair will look and feel softer and shinier. As soft water doesn't strip away your hair's natural oils, it'll be easier to manage and style your curls without dealing with as much frizz that comes with hard water.

The effect of hard water on curls

So how does hard water affect your curls? Well, it can be tough on your hair in a few different ways. For one thing, it can make it harder for your shampoo to do its job. That means that your hair might not feel as clean as it should, and you might need to use more product to get the results you're looking for. 

If you've ever noticed that your hair feels extra dry or brittle after washing it with hard water, that's because those darn minerals can strip away some of the natural oils that your curls need to stay healthy. Some research has even found that hard water can potentially decrease the elasticity and strength of your hair. The minerals in hard water can also cause buildup on your scalp, which can lead to itching and flaking.

Protecting your curls from hard water

Sadly, we don’t have a huge amount of say in the water we use. But don't worry, if you've got hard water, there are a few things you can do to protect your beloved curls. 

1. Try a shower filter

You might like to consider getting yourself a water softener or shower filter. These tools can help remove the mineral buildup in your water, leaving it softer and gentler on your curls. According to water experts, if you do decide to install a water softener, it is important that you make sure that it is correctly installed, and you don’t soften the water you use for drinking or cooking.

2. Reach for the ACV

If you're not quite ready to invest in a water softener or shower filter, then that’s totally fine! There are still some easy, affordable things you can do to protect your curls. Apple cider vinegar is one of those incredible products with so many uses outside the kitchen. For skin care, you can sub it in as a toner or even a face wash. And we’re happy to say it also has its place in curl care. Try adding a bit of apple cider vinegar to your rinse water to help remove any mineral buildup. You can also try rinsing your hair with a vinegar solution (diluted with water) to help remove some of the mineral residue left behind by the hard water.

3. Use some nourishing products

Another option is to use a shampoo to help remove buildup. The 01 Shampoo is enriched with natural extract of the Mojave Yucca Plant, which works as an incredible natural cleanser, and also baobab oil, which will help put back in some of the softness that the hard water has taken out. You can also try the deep conditioning 05 Curl Mask once a week to help hydrate your curls and prevent dryness.

So there you have it – hard water vs. soft water can make a big difference in the health and appearance of your curly hair. While soft water might be the ideal choice for keeping your curls looking their finest, there are still ways to make the most of whatever water you're working with.

If you have hard water, consider investing in a shower filter or adding apple cider vinegar to your rinse water. And don't forget to keep your curls hydrated and nourished with leave-in conditioner, hair oil, and deep conditioning treatments. With a little bit of TLC, your curly hair can look and feel amazing no matter what!

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