Can Hard Water Cause Hair Loss? What You Can Do About It?


A busy work schedule and fast-paced life can leave you with little or no time to follow a hair care routine. By the time you start caring for your hair, the damage is already done. If you are sick of losing your beautiful hair, identifying the cause of the damage is critical. You can’t do much about genes, but there are several others contributing factors that many women tend to ignore. If you are showing in hard water, all your efforts to strengthen your hair may be going down the drain. You may ask can hard water hair loss? Yes, not directly but hard water can have a negative impact on your hair quality causing damage and hair loss.

What is Hard Water?

Let’s start with the basics—what is hard water in the first place? Water with excessive levels of dissolved calcium and magnesium content is called hard water. It’s a natural result of minerals accumulating during the water cycle, and it can happen with well water and even public water supply. Hard water is formed when rainwater percolates through mineral deposits such as limestone present inside the earth’s surface. This is why certain counties in Ireland have higher water hardness than others. Counties such as Dublin, Meath, Kildare, Wexford, Limerick, and Cork have very hard water. The more calcium and magnesium dissolved in the water, the harder the water becomes. Water having a mineral concentration greater than 200 mg/L would be considered hard water.

How to know if you’re using Hard Water?

If you are in doubt about whether your home water is indeed hard, you should look for several clues. Here are a few tell-tale signs that you have hard water in the home.

  • Water faucets have low-flow
  • Tap water tastes odd
  • Scale buildup on appliances
  • Laundry seems dull and dingy
  • Skin feels dry & itchy
  • Hair feels dull and frizzy
  • The shampoo doesn’t form lather

For households on mains water supply, you can easily get an idea of water hardness levels in your area by using our free water hardness checker tool. If you are on a private well, you can get your water tested. Generally, private wells also have iron, manganese, sulphur, bacteria and other contaminants present in the water which would require a specialist treatment system to solve the problem.

What Does Hard Water Do To Your Hair?

The effects of hard water on your hair can be quite unpleasant. Perhaps, the biggest problem with hard water is the buildup it can leave behind on both your hair and scalp. Hard water reacts with cleansing products to form a film that clings to the hair and scalp. The buildup of excessive minerals weighs your hair down, making it look flat and lifeless and making your stands feel dry and brittle.

Here is what hard water can do to your hair:

Colour fading

Hard water is notorious for interfering with hair colour, causing it to become dull, faded, and in some cases. If you recently got your hair coloured, you may notice it fading away faster. You may also tend to notice that your reds may turn into hues of orange.

Unmanageable Hair

Excessive mineral content in water causes hair to appear frizzy, dull and tangled which can even make it quite difficult to manage.

Dry and Damaged Hair

Frequently washing your hair with hard water can strip away its essential oils and moisture causing them to feel dry. As the hair becomes rougher, it can further cause the different minerals to stick to the hair together with your shampoo’s ingredients.

Thin & Weakened Hair

Calcium salts in the water can also stick to the cuticles, leading to a dull appearance, brittle strands, and overall poor-quality hair. This can also interfere with the growth of new hair strands.

Itchy & Irritated Scalp

Hard water can make your hair feel dry, flaky and itchy as well. That’s thanks to the soapy residue left on your body, which clogs pores.

How to Save Your Hair from Hard Water?

Chelating Shampoos

Incorporating special clarifying shampoos into your hair care routine once or twice a week can help counteract the negative effects of hard water. Shampoos with ‘chelating’ or ‘clarifying’ qualities, especially with the ingredient EDTA can be good for preventing mineral build-up in your hair. Chelating shampoos boast anti-static features which enable them to bind to mineral deposits to make them soluble. The chelating agents allow you to get enough lather to clean your hair and make it possible for you to rinse out the dirt. Chelating formulas are stronger and work by actually attaching to the various minerals and metals found in hard water and whisking them away. They leave your hair feeling cleaner, lighter and even free of grease.

Home Remedies

If you’re looking for inexpensive options to reverse the effects of hard water on your hair, home remedies could be for you. Add a few drops of apple cider vinegar to warm water and use it to rinse your hair. Vinegar removes mineral build-up from your hair and makes it softer and lighter. It also prevents hair colour from fading. Another alternative rinsing method is adding lemon or lime to your water and using it to treat your scalp. The mixture will help break down the residual salts and minerals that might be leftover from shampooing.

Soften Your Water

By far, softening the incoming water is the only permanent solution on this list. You can do this by installing a water softening system. A water-softener is designed to eliminate hard water problems by capturing calcium and magnesium minerals as soon as water enters the home. As a result, only soft water moves through your home’s pipes. Water softeners may seem expensive at first, but they are totally worth the investment. They offer a huge range of benefits such as:

  • No more limescale in-house
  • Soft skin and silky hair
  • Saves almost €600 a year
  • Bright & soft clothes
  • Less time cleaning
  • Longer lifespan of appliances
  • Increased efficiency of appliances

As one of the leading suppliers of water softeners in Ireland, we have helped more than 20,000+ homeowners solve limescale problems in their homes, achieve better skin and hair, and save money. If you have tried everything to improve your hair quality, it’s time to use a water softener. Book an Installation