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Hard Water vs. Soft Water

How it can Affect Skin and Hair

Hard water & Soft waterYou may not notice if you have soft water, but you will know immediately upon getting out of the shower if you have hard water. Your hair feels dry and tough, even when it is still wet. It’s nearly impossible to pull a comb from it. Simply put, you just doesn’t feel clean. You have hard water. But, don’t pitch a `for sale` sign in your yard yet. There are ways to solve it.


What is Hard Water?

The term “hard” refers to the concentration of calcium and magnesium ions present in the water. Hard water causes a problem when any type of cleansing takes place because it takes twice as much shampoo, detergent, etcetera to achieve the same level of cleanliness that it would with soft water. And on top of that, when cleansing agents combine with the calcium and magnesium ions, it forms a film that is very difficult (if not impossible) to rinse off. The film will attach to clothes, dishes, bathtubs as well as skin and hair, clogging pores and weighing down and dulling hair.


What can I do About it?

As most minerals are, magnesium and calcium are both drying elements. Filtration is an option to solve this problem, but can be extremely expensive to use for all the water in a house, so a water softener is usually a less costly solution. The idea behind a water softener is simple. The calcium and magnesium ions in the water are replaced with sodium ions that, unlike calcium and magnesium, do not precipitate out in pipes or react badly with soap. With the water softener installed, the water in the house runs through a bed of small plastic beads or through a chemical matrix called zeolite which are covered with sodium ions. As the water flows past the sodium ions, they swap places with the calcium and magnesium ions. When the beads or zeolite become saturated with calcium and magnesium you need to “cleanse” the beads through a process called regeneration.


When you use a water softener in your home, you will probably experience a slippery feel on the skin and hair - this is normal. Soft water can also cause more flyaways with the hair, so you may need to adjust your hair products accordingly.


Are there Special Hair Products that can Help?

There are hair products that are formulated to combat hard water, so they are worth checking out. Your hair stylist might have some good advice for you as to where to find them. But, still, the water softener might still be a less costly alternative to trying to find hair products that make you hair feel softer. After all, it’s the water that’s the problem, so when you solve that, you solve your hair and skin problems too.


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