Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Hard Water...the hard, cold facts!

This past weekend was wash day for me and I realized that some naturals may not know that hard water reeks havoc on natural tresses. I'll share my experience with using hard water to wash and condition.

For the first few years since becoming natural, I would wash my hair in the shower.  As soon as my hair was saturated with water, it would tangle something fierce. I couldn't finger comb my strands while wet, and to detangle my hair after conditioning was something I did not look forward to.  I broke combs trying to detangle my hair and loss lots of hair due to breakage.  It wasn't until I washed my hair while visiting my Mom back home that I realized how the water at my own home (hard) was affecting my hair.  When shampooing my hair in the shower (soft water) at my Mom's my hair immediately felt softer and didn't tangle nearly as much.  I could finger comb my strands while wet.  It took less time to detangle and set/style my tresses.  I couldn't believe that all this time prior to going back home to visit, my strands were truly taking a beating from using the hard water to wash and condition my strands.  I thought that the dryness and brittleness were characteristics of natural tresses.  There were times when I thought to myself to go back to relaxing my strands, because I was having a hard time with managing my hair in its natural state.  Thank goodness for this water find!

Towel dried hair, no product applied.
Upon returning home, I knew that I could no longer wash my hair in the home shower, so after doing a bit of research, I discovered a water filter for my shower.  Although it did help some, the water that was filtered was still hard (used a hard water strip to test hardness).  More research lead me to discover water softener systems and distilled water.  Installing a water softener in the home was not in the budget at the time, thus I opted to use distilled water. 

Over the years, I've discovered that not all brands of distilled waters are the same.  My hair loves the Ozarka brand! All others I have tried I could tell immediately it was a no go because my strands begin to tangle immediately and I would lose a lot of hair after detangling and styling.  Now mind you, although my hair loves the Ozarka brand, it still does not produce the same results I obtained back at by Mom's home.  You can test your water in your home or your distilled water by using hard water test strips.  I use to find them within the water sofetner sections at home improvements stores like Home Depot and Lowes.  You can also request strips from Diamond Crystal Salt.

In the images within this post you can see coils and curls (prior to applying product), however, it would be a totally different look if my hair had been washed using hard water. My hair would always look like a bird's nest (due to excessive shrinkage) after washing in hard water and I would have to use more products to create curl definition.  I hated to wear my hair in a wash and go from using hard water.  It was always a tangled mess.

Now the time and effort to use distilled water to wash not only my head of hair, but that of my family is a lot of work, but it is well worth it IMO (more on my method in a later post)!  Why not just have the water softener installed? It would make washing/conditioning so much simpler.  Well, there's a time and season for everything, and depending upon the size and location of your home, this can be quite expensive.  There was a time, when I was looking into having this done, but wasn't ready to make the financial commitment. Also, I guess I may have become complacent over time in using the DW.  Since, I'm blogging about it, might as well take another look at a water softener system for the home and may have to include it among the "many" other ongoing home projects! DH will just love that!  LOL!!!
  Use soft (or Distilled Water) to wash your natural tresses or go bust! 


  1. Wow, I want to order that water tester kit. I keep hearing that NYC has some of the best water in the country, but I will test at some point anyway.

    My aunt had hard water and she lived down south and my skin broke out like hives from drinking it when I mixed drink mix with it.

  2. I use to pick them from either Lowe's or Home Depot on the spot. I too live in the south and the hard water is no joke! Dry skin, dry brittle hair, hair loss, clogged follicles, dingy clothes after washing, strange taste in drinking water, etc..

  3. i really need to get on this. thanks for the extra motivation!

  4. wow, thank you for this information!


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