Hair breakage is a common concern and while many villains are contributing to this, we’re going to talk about one such villain. It’s the water that you’re using to wash your hair. We often change shampoos and conditioners thinking that they might be the cause of the damage but it’s time we evaluate the water that we’re using to wash our hair. If the water contains a higher amount of mineral salts then it is called hard water which can cause a little too many hair concerns for us. Here’s what you need to know all about hair damage due to hard water!
What are the causes of hair breakage?
Hair breakage is nothing but when your hair easily breaks while untangling or simply combing. Hair breaks easily when your strands lose the tensile strength that is necessary for the hair to resist the stress caused to our hair. Naturally, when you lose tensile strength, you lose elasticity that keeps your hair in shape. So then the next natural question is why would your hair lose tensile strength and elasticity? For a lot of reasons, let’s have a look at some:
1. Using a hairdryer every time
Hot air can affect your hair follicles and also dehydrate your strands. Dehydrated hair is the weakest and vulnerable to damage so they easily break. A Hair Dryer also blows air at a pretty high velocity. Your hair does not need that harshness to dry off every time especially when they’re wet and at its weakest state.
2. Styling frequently
Just like a hair dryer’s hot blow of air that can irritate your scalp, your styling tools release a lot of heat that dehydrates and weakens your hair. The moral of the story is to ditch hot air and find ways to style your hair without extreme heat. If styling tools aren’t something that you can avoid then make sure you use a heat protector before styling your hair.
3. Stepping out with wet hair
Just like your skin, even your hair follicles are more receptive when you’ve stepped out of a shower and your hair isn’t completely dry. This is because your follicles are still open due to steam and water. If your hair faces any external stressors then you bet you will be losing hair.
4. Sun damage and pollution
UV rays do nothing good to your hair and skin. It can damage the protein that gives structure to your hair. Just like how it breaks down collagen in your skin to give you wrinkles. Even pollution can cause hair breakage due to the free radicals that it generates. Free radicals lead to oxidative stress and can steal the moisture from your skin and hair, making them more fragile.
5. Hard water
When the mineral salt content exceeds the count of 250 mg/L then that water is considered to be hard water. It is extremely drying and irritating for your skin and scalp. If you wash your hair with hard water then it will leave with an itchy and extremely dry scalp. That just means that your locks are going to be dull, brittle, and lifeless. This is also one of the most common irritants that cause hair breakage. Let’s learn a bit more about how it damages your hair!
How does hard water damage your hair?
Hard water contains a heavy deposit of mineral salt deposits of Calcium, Magnesium, Chlorine, etc. This might remind you of bottled water that contains added minerals. They’re not wrong. Your body needs a certain amount of minerals. The problem is when they exceed in quantity. If you wash your hair with hard water then it will leave your scalp with residues of these salts. Salts will dry up your scalp and leave it itchy. They also form a film on your scalp and strands that makes it difficult for your hair to absorb moisture.
So all of this explains dryness, dandruff, and poor scalp health. Let’s understand how it causes hair breakage. Hair breaks when they’re weak with little or no nutrition and moisture to survive on. This happens when the mineral salts cling onto your strands and dries up your strand. This is the reason why your hair stiffens. Once your hair is completely dry, your hair will look dull, lifeless, and ready to break at the first attempt of untangling them
How to prevent hard water related hair damage?
Hard water damage is more often caused when you’re traveling to remote regions. But if you’re a traveler, this ain’t stopping you. To avoid hard water damage, here’s what you have to keep in mind-
1. Focus on scalp health
It all starts when your hair follicles weaken. So to prevent irritation and keep the pH of your scalp, ensure to add a hair mask. A hair mask revitalises your scalp by moisturising your scalp. You must opt for a hair mask rich in Panthenol, Honey, etc that is a mix of humectants and moisturisers to nourish your scalp.
Sublime recommends Flawsome Cake Therapy Intense Repair & Hydration Hair Mask that has a blend of rich oils to hydrate and seal in moisture, leaving you with nourished locks.
2. Add a water filter
To avoid harsh water damage, add a filter. With the help of advancements in technology, one can easily find a detachable water filter that you can carry while traveling as well. The other way to avoid harsh water is to use drinking water to wash your hair while traveling. It will be heavy on your pocket but not on your hair!
3. Avoid harsh cleansers
Harsh cleansers which we find in the generic market generally contain cheaper detergents that can inflame your scalp. We do see a lot of brands coming up without the nasties and are gentle on the scalp. So pick cleansers that not just cleanse but also moisturises to maintain the pH of the scalp.
Sublime recommends Maui Moisture Revive & Hydrate + Shea Butter Shampoo which is gentle and revives your hair by healing and hydrating with the help of its rich formulation containing Coconut milk, Macadamia Oil, and Shea Butter.
4. Add hair serum
Right after washing, your scalp is moist and receptive to the surrounding. You might be tempted to untangle and dry your hair but since your hair is still wet, you must resist any harsh actions. It’s the right time to add a hair serum that can balance out the lost moisture while washing.
Sublime recommends Earth Rhythm Fenugreek, Tamarind Fruit & Shikkakai Hair Serum. If you have dry and fine hair then make this your best friend because this one will literally be through thick and thin to replenish your hair health.
5. Hair oil frequently
Hair oil stimulates the follicles to enhance the growth phase of the hair strands. Once your hair is completely dry, apply warm oil. Start with applying oil on the centre of your head which is located 8 fingers above your eyebrows. This is where one of your spiritual chakras is located and this enhances your experience of ‘champi’. Once this is done, move towards massaging and oiling your head with warm oil.
Sublime recommends Sova Brahmi & Hibiscus Hair Massage Oil that is infused with a total of 16 exotic herbs and is perfectly capable of giving you strong and healthy hair if you remain consistent with champis.
Learn more about hair oiling here.
How to repair hard water related hair damage?
If you know that your hair is damaged due to hard water, the obvious first step is to eliminate the usage of hard water. What follows with it is a series of actions that aims to restore the moisture to your hair and repair the scalp barrier. Here are the changes that you must make:
1. Add a mineral-canceling cleanser
Use shampoo that has clarifying properties so it can cut off the minerals clinging to your strands. Also, make sure that the cleanser does not contain nasties. Luckily, our platform aims to serve you products that do not contain nasties like Phthalates, Sulphates, Mineral Oils, Paraben, Heavy metals, etc.
Sublime recommends Detoxie Hard Water Relief, Hair Fall Control & Pro Growth Shampoo. The best part is along with ingredients that can relieve your hair from hard water damage, it also contains Redensyl which is an ingredient proven to help with hair fall.
2. Hydrate them strands
The reason why your hair breaks is because hard water dries up your hair. To cancel this effect, add a hydrating conditioner right after shampooing. Pick something hydrating and soothing to your strands. So a conditioner that has Aloe vera extracts, Honey, Rosemary, Lavender can work great to soothe and hydrate.
Sublime recommends Prakriti Herbals Smoothening Jojoba Aloe Vera Hair Conditioner. It is one of those conditioners that will leave your hair feeling smooth and frizz-free.
Learn more about conditioners here.
Yes, scalp exfoliation is a thing. Similar to your skin, the scalp sheds dead skin. Over time, if this dead skin is not exfoliated then it can attract pathogens and lead to an itchy scalp. Hard water leaves mineral traces on your scalp that irritates hair follicles. To avoid this, exfoliation is essential. Use a scalp exfoliator once or twice a week when you feel like your scalp could do with some cleaning.
Sublime recommends Flawsome Mean Clean Pre Shampoo Scalp Exfoliating Treatment. It’s a no-fuss, no-mess formula to exfoliate the gunk off your scalp once in a while.
4. Nourish right after washing
Harsh mineral salts present in hard water can suck up all the moisture which will result in brittle, fragile hair strands. To treat this, make sure that you use a hair serum. Just pat it on your scalp and not rub it on your wet hair.
Sublime recommends Oleum Cottage Conditioning Hair Serum that has the benefits of Jojoba, Rosemary, Vitamin E oil to promote thick hair and control frizz.
Hard water causes multiple hair damage. The generous amount of mineral traces present in hard water clings to your scalp and strands to absorb the moisture and leave your hair fragile, brittle, and lifeless. If you know that hard water is the reason why your hair is damaged, then the first obvious step is to eliminate it and then treat it with gentle cleansers, nourishing hair masks, and oils. All you need to bring back life to your hair is moisture, moisture, and moisture!