Get your hair looking like you just stepped out of the salon.

By Jennifer Aldrich
November 20, 2020
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Just about everyone, no matter how much you spend on your hair, what color your hair is, or what type of hair you have, desires one thing: shiny, healthy locks. To keep your tresses looking sleek, it's important to protect your hair from heat and use good quality products. Plus, regular cuts and colorings, too, if you get them. But for some people, it seems as though they do everything right, but their hair still dull. So, what gives? Well, it could boil down to what water you're using to wash your locks. No matter what you're dealing with, there are ways to fix your water situation for the 'do of your dreams.

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Hard Water vs. Soft Water

Hard water is already considered the lesser of two options. "The minerals in hard water tend to deposit onto damaged or dry parts of the hair where the cuticle has raised away from the hair shaft," Melanie Bolton, hairstylist and educational director at Flow, says. "Over time, the continued deposition of minerals onto the hair will create a coating that makes the hair appear dull or may even change the tone of your hair color." Some of the results of the mineral deposits include turning hair an orange shade thanks to copper, making strands dry, and making hair overall feel weighed down. Anyone with naturally curly strands is likely to suffer the most, Bolton adds. "Curls are produced from more porous cuticles, which unfortunately means more opportunity for minerals to deposit."

So, are the soft water users totally fine? Not totally, says Bolton. Although soft water is far less mineralized, it can limit the ability to remove the product from your strands and scalp. "What you end up with overtime is a build-up of hair care and styling products that make the hair and scalp feel greasy," Bolton explains. Those of us with finer hair and soft water can easily feel "weighed down" by the excess product. 

Is Well Water Bad for Your Hair?

Some people aren't connected to their area's water system. As a dishwater blonde, I've always craved a cool, icy tone. Whenever I visit the salon for fresh color, I'm obsessed with my shade, but after a few washes, my hair is back to boring. When I told my stylist about it, we went over my routine and figured out the culprit: I have well water. "Well water notoriously consists of hard water that contains lots of different kinds of minerals along with excess calcium and magnesium," Bolton explains. 

So, what type of water should you be using to wash your hair? "In general, it is best to have a happy medium," Bolton says. If you have well water or hard water, you can purchase a water softener ($400, The Home Depot), a shower filter ($45, Target), or a water conditioner ($160, The Home Depot). "For soft water, there are water hardening options that can re-mineralize the water for better performance in the shower," Bolton says. You can also switch up your products to combat the issues you're experiencing. For example, those with product build-up should try a detox shampoo such as OUAI Detox Shampoo ($30, Sephora). Anyone with drier, frizzier hair needs a hydrating conditioner like Pureology Hydrate Conditioner ($32, Ulta).

No, you don't have to move if you don't have ideal water. Try switching up your products or investing in some new appliances, and you can have sleek and shiny hair without the salon.

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