Jan 8, 2013

Question: Hardwater on natural curls! (UPDATED)

Only two days into running this blog and we already have a reader question:

"Know a way to get rid of excess product in natural hair? No matter how much I rinse, something is still there. I don't know if it's the hard water or what!"
This is a great question! When I came to college in TN I dealt with the same problem. I had a relaxer at the time but there was a noticable difference in the way my hair felt after I washed it. The dorm director informed us that since we lived in TN, we were prone to have lime and calcium build-up.  My hair was dry and my skin was super dry, itchy, and tight. I tried conditioning my hair like a maniac, but that didn't really help as much as I'd like. Living in the dorm left me with no choice, I couldn't buy a water filter to help decrease the amount of mineral deposits in the water so I had to deal with having weird hair that wasn't quite as bouncy as I wanted it to be.
Hard water contains significant quantities of dissolved minerals, such as iron, calcium, magnesium, and silicon. These metals can react with substances in soaps and shampoos and reduce the effectiveness of those products’ cleansing properties, making it necessary to use more of the cleanser (source).
Doing some research on the subject, I found several great ways to decrease mineral deposits and help rinse extra build-up out of natural hair:
  • Buy a water filter - water filter do just as they say, filters unwanted metals and ions from your water when you shower.
  • Use a gentle shampoo that is sulfate free. Such shampoos need to be followed by a deep conditioning treatment. Many times sulfate free shampoos may cause dryness.
  • Pre-oil hair with Extra Virgin Olive Oil before washing it. This will protect the hair from potential hard water damage.
  • Co-Wash hair with  hair conditioner - this will help coat your hair from the effects of hard water.
  • Clarify hair with a clarifying shampoo at least once a month.
Hope this helps - I know dealing with product build-up due to hard water is a challenge. Make sure to test each technique before you commit to any routine.
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