How to Deal with the Effects of Hard Water on Curly Hair

Having curly hair is a beautiful thing, but it comes with its unique challenges, especially when dealing with hard water. This article shares top tips for managing hard water, its impact on curly hair, and an easy trick for your best curls.

What is Hard Water?

Hard water is water that has a high mineral content, primarily calcium and magnesium. It's common in many areas, especially where water comes from limestone or chalky regions. These minerals can wreak havoc on household appliances and, more importantly, on your hair & skin.

How Does Water Hardness Affect Curly Hair?

Curly hair is naturally prone to dryness, and hard water exacerbates this by leaving mineral deposits on your hair. These deposits can make your curls feel stiff and straw-like, reducing their natural bounce and shine. 

The damaging effects of hard water on curly hair are highlighted here:

Drying Effect on Natural Oils

Curly hair naturally lacks moisture due to its shape, which restricts the flow of natural oils from the scalp. Hard water's high mineral content further dries out the hair by leaving a coating on the strands. This barrier can prevent the natural oils from conditioning the hair, leading to drier, frizzier curls.

Impact on Hair Texture and Manageability

The minerals in hard water, like calcium and magnesium, can cause build-up on curly hair which makes it feel stiff and straw-like. This residue can weigh down curls, reducing their natural bounce and shine. It also makes hair more difficult to detangle and style, leading to a higher risk of breakage during combing and styling.

Altered Effectiveness of Hair Products

The buildup from hard water can also affect how hair products perform. Shampoos, conditioners, and styling products may not lather or penetrate effectively, leading to less efficient cleaning and conditioning. This can leave curls looking dull and lifeless, as the products aren't able to provide their full benefits.

Changes in Hair Porosity

Prolonged exposure to hard water can affect the porosity of curly hair. The mineral buildup can open up the cuticles, making the hair more porous. High porosity hair tends to absorb moisture quickly but also lose it just as fast, leading to a cycle of dryness and frizz.

Signs of Hard Water Buildup on Your Hair

Here's how to identify if your hair has experienced damage from hard, unfiltered water:

  1. Reduced Lather and Effectiveness of Hair Products: One of the first signs of hard water buildup is a noticeable change in how hair care products work. You might find that shampoos and conditioners don't lather as well, and leave your hair feeling unclean or coated despite regular washing.
  2. Hair Feels Coarse and Tangly: Over time, the mineral deposits can make your hair feel rougher and more prone to tangling. This can be particularly challenging for curly hair, which is naturally more susceptible to knots and tangles.
  3. Dullness and Lack of Shine: Another sign is a noticeable lack of shine and vibrancy in your hair. The buildup can make your hair appear dull and lifeless, as the minerals interfere with the light-reflecting properties of healthy hair.
  4. Itchy Scalp and Dandruff: Hard water can also contribute to scalp issues. An itchy scalp or an increase in dandruff can be a reaction to the minerals in hard water, as they can irritate the scalp and disrupt its natural balance.

By being aware of these signs, you can take proactive steps to address hard water buildup and protect the health and appearance of your curly hair. This brings us to the next part of the blog.

How to Prevent Hard Water from Damaging Your Hair?

Dealing with the effects of hard water on your hair involves both preventive and corrective measures. Here's how you can protect your curls:

Apple Cider Vinegar Rinse

If you’ve already developed buildup due to washing with hard water, try rinsing with apple cider vinegar (ACV) after your next wash. Mix two parts of water with one part of ACV to break down minerals and leave your tresses fresh and clean. But remember: Unless you're washing with a filtered shower head, the issues caused by excess minerals will persist.
Use this method if you are not using a filtered shower head; this process is not needed if you have a Vitaclean Shower Head.

Cleanse Every 7 days

Limiting your hair-washing routine to once a week can be beneficial. Hard water can strip natural oils from your hair, leading to increased dryness and frizz. By reducing the frequency of shampooing, you can help maintain the natural moisture balance of your hair, which is especially crucial for curly hair types.

Use a Clarifying Shampoo 1-2 Times Per Month

Incorporating a clarifying shampoo into your curly hair routine 1-2 times a month can make a huge difference. We recommend using Shungite Shampoo, specially formulated with powerful Shungite to bind with minerals and remove them from your hair. Regular use can prevent the buildup of hard water minerals, keeping your curls bouncy and healthy.

Vitaclean Shungite Shampoo uses naturally derived ingredients and is infused with high-quality Shungite to help cleanse the scalp.

Install a Water Softener

A more permanent solution is to install a water softener system in your home. This system works by removing excess minerals like calcium and magnesium from your water supply, turning hard water into soft water. By doing so, it not only benefits your hair but also improves the overall quality of water for other uses in your home.

Incorporating a Vitaclean vitamin C shower filter in addition to a water softener is an excellent way to further enhance your shower experience. Moreover, adding aromatherapy into your shower time has great wellness benefits as well.

Install a Shower Filter

Using shower head sets equipped with vitamin C shower filters is an excellent solution for those living in hard water areas. These filters significantly reduce the mineral and chlorine content in your shower water. The vitamin C in the filters also offers additional benefits for your hair, promoting health and vitality. 

Installing a shower filter is easier than you think. If you have a handheld shower head, unscrew it from the hose by twisting to the left. If you don't see a black rubber ring on top of the hose, go ahead and slip one on there. Next up, take the hose and attach it to your new shower head handle. Make sure it's nice and tight by twisting it clockwise. And don't forget to pop in the Vitamin C & essential oil filter – cap side down, of course. 

If you have a Wall Mount shower head, the installation process is similar to handheld shower head – easy and quick. 

For the final step, just screw the head piece onto the top of the handle, tighten it up, and you're done! Turn on the water and enjoy your upgraded shower experience!


Hard water can coat curly hair with mineral buildup, but with the right knowledge and tools, it's a manageable issue. Incorporating some of these methods into your hair care routine can help preserve the health and beauty of your curls. Remember, understanding the effects of hard water on hair and taking proactive steps can make a world of difference.

Tips from our favorite 'Curly Girls'!