Hard Water vs. Soft water – The Effects on Your Hair

Hard Water vs. Soft water

We all want to have healthy, shiny hair. And while we may not be able to change the natural fate of our hair (i.e., curly or straight), we can control what type of water we use in washing and conditioning it.

The two types of water are hard and soft. Which one is better for your hair? This article will discuss how each type affects your hair and which might be best for you!


Comparison Table Between Hard Water & Soft Water

Some Major comparisons between hard and soft water are given below. 


Hard Water Soft Water
High Mineral Content Few Mineral Content
Contain Magnesium & Calcium ions Contains Sodium ions
Often has a characteristics Taste Normal Taste
Formed When Water flows through limestone & chalk Produced by hard water over an ion exchange resin
Soap has a less effect Soap has a great effect
A film is formed rather than foam Foam is formed
Adverse effect on skin and hair Doesn’t cause any adverse effect on skin and hair
Not suitable for boilers and other machines Suitable for boilers and other machines


What Is Hard Water?

Hard water is just what it sounds like: highly mineralized water. This high concentration of minerals (usually calcium and magnesium) increases the density of hard water making it more difficult to dissolve soap, which in turn makes it harder for you to cleanse your hair with shampoo. 

Soft water on the other hand contains very few minerals–in fact, some people refer to soft water as distilled! This low mineral content makes soft water easier to wash out than its hard counterpart and leaves behind less residue in your hair after each rinse.

While hard water is safe to drink, it doesn’t make for the best hair or skin. Water with high mineral content can lead to dryness and damage to your hair because minerals don’t dissolve fully when they come into contact with each other.

Hard water is known to cause residue on the skin, leading to breakouts, dryness, and irritation. Additionally, hard water can affect the scalp causing itchy dry hair.

So how do we know if our local water supply has a lot of minerals or not? Try this test: place about one tablespoon of regular white vinegar into a glass bowl filled halfway up with tap/faucet water. If the water in the bowl turns cloudy, then you have hard water and should invest in a shower filter to improve your hair’s health!


The Effects of Hard Water

The effects of hard water on your hair can be damaging. It leaves behind minerals, which causes you to lose some volume when styling your hair. Also, hard water makes it difficult for shampoos, soaps to lather up like they normally would. 

Drinking hard water helps people meet their daily magnesium and calcium intake needs. This is especially beneficial for those who have a lack of access to vegetables, dairy products, or other food sources that provide these minerals naturally.

However, it is widely believed that drinking hard water can have cardiovascular benefits. While there isn’t a definitive conclusion about this claim yet, many believe in its benefit to the human body.


What Is Soft Water?

Soft water is a type of filtered/treated tap water. It lacks the minerals that are found in hard water which leaves your hair feeling smooth and looking shiny after you have washed it with shampoo or soap. Check out 15 Best Shampoos For Soft Water

Soft water actually leaves the body feeling moisturized. Some people even compare it to an effect they experience after using lotions and soaps. Soft water doesn’t create any health risks, unlike hard water that can leave a buildup of minerals on appliances like washing machines or coffee makers over time.


The Effects of Soft Water

Soft water is preferred for cleaning because it’s less likely to cause soap scum or mineral stains. You may also take shorter showers because of the increased lather produced by soaps and shampoos.

The effects of soft water on your hair can be beneficial. Soft water leaves behind less residue in the hair after each rinse which means you will have more volume when styling and there is no build-up that needs to be washed away with a clarifying shampoo every few weeks.

The water-softening system is not the only thing that affects your drinking water. There are two other problems: bacteria and fungi can grow in this type of water, and there’s an additional risk of sodium intake if you’re on a low-sodium diet.



The result is that hard water can strip hair of its natural oils, causing it to be dry and brittle. Soft water has the opposite effect on hair. It softens it by removing any buildup and minerals which may cause an unpleasant sensation when you touch your tresses after a shower!

While there may not always be something wrong with having naturally curly, frizzy locks (after all, many people envy this type of texture), sometimes we need to do whatever it takes to make our strands happy. This means getting rid of hard water in favor of a softer variety!


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