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Thread: My water might be TOO soft? Or hard? Dry hair problem!

  1. #1
    violagirl23 is offline Junior Member
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    Default My water might be TOO soft? Or hard? Dry hair problem!

    I live in Hawaii and according to water maps we have some of the softest water in the USA. HOWEVER, I have been having issues with my water drying out my hair.
    I called the Honolulu water board and they said my exact location might have a hardness of anywhere from 33 to 64ppm. I belive this IS considered soft; however, I am still getting a build-up from something. It is on my drinking glass which I have filled up with water daily for the past few months. It seems to have a white, chalky residue on it. But that is not actually my problem...
    It is my shower. I have dry hair naturally so I have been trying to shampoo very little and scrub and wash my hair thoroughly with conditioner every day and shampoo infrequently. However, I am noticing that I am getting a build-up from my water when I don't use shampoo. I know it is not my conditioner, as it contains no silicones and all ingredients are water-soluble. Rather, it feels like the minute the shower water hits my hair, it gets very dry and rough and stiff and tangly. The longer I go without shampooing, the drier it gets. My hair is actually getting coated with something, which is actually sealing my hair and preventing moisture from getting in. I found that after 5 days of no shampoo my hair was already barely able to get damp, even if I took a 45-minute shower. My hair is now rough, stiff, dry, and frizzy while soaking wet, until I use a shampoo to remove whatever is building up on my hair. However, the buildup is caused by the water itself. So how can I test what the buildup is? How can I find out what exactly in my water is causing this?
    So I have a theory... I either really DO have hard water (which seems unlikely, given what the city board told me) or the salt or chlorine from the city water is causing this. I'm wondering if the residue which is on my cup could actually even be a SALT residue.
    It reminded me a lot of swimming in the ocean in salt water, actually. While my hair is wet (and I'm no longer IN the water), it feels incredibly stiff and dry, but once it is dry it feels okay and softer again.
    So... if you have hard water, you can get shower filters to fix that, right? But how do you filter excess salt out of shower water? Are there tests that can check not only how hard you water is, but how much salt it is? Is there a showerhead I could get that could remove salt, if that is indeed the problem?
    This is kind of driving me bonkers, because it's forcing me to use shampoo and strip my hair of its natural oils, even though I don't have a greasy scalp to begin with.

    Here is a picture of the residue I have on drinking cup after a few months of use: hard water cup.JPG
    Last edited by violagirl23; 12-02-2009 at 01:53 AM.

  2. #2
    Andy CWS is offline Moderator
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    Default

    Ohayo gozaimasu!

    I live in Hawaii
    I'm jealous!

    and according to water maps we have some of the softest water in the USA. HOWEVER, I have been having issues with my water drying out my hair.
    Selecting a shampoo may be a trial and nerror process until the right one is found. PH levels as well must be considerd.

    I called the Honolulu water board and they said my exact location might have a hardness of anywhere from 33 to 64ppm.
    That would be 2-4 grains per gallon, which is low to moderate hardness according to the Water Quality Association. This level will still leave a small amount of spotting as you see on the cup.

    I belive this IS considered soft; however, I am still getting a build-up from something. It is on my drinking glass which I have filled up with water daily for the past few months. It seems to have a white, chalky residue on it. But that is not actually my problem...
    There may be other contaminants in your water that may also leave spots. Sodium can build up. One difference between calcium and sodium is that sodium spots are water soluable and should be wiped away with a moist towel (use RO dampened cloth). Calcium will be more difficult to wash away.

    It is my shower. I have dry hair naturally so I have been trying to shampoo very little and scrub and wash my hair thoroughly with conditioner every day and shampoo infrequently. However, I am noticing that I am getting a build-up from my water when I don't use shampoo.
    You mean the build up on your hair?

    I know it is not my conditioner, as it contains no silicones and all ingredients are water-soluble. Rather, it feels like the minute the shower water hits my hair, it gets very dry and rough and stiff and tangly. The longer I go without shampooing, the drier it gets. My hair is actually getting coated with something, which is actually sealing my hair and preventing moisture from getting in. I found that after 5 days of no shampoo my hair was already barely able to get damp, even if I took a 45-minute shower. My hair is now rough, stiff, dry, and frizzy while soaking wet, until I use a shampoo to remove whatever is building up on my hair. However, the buildup is caused by the water itself. So how can I test what the buildup is? How can I find out what exactly in my water is causing this?
    People often think that if my wate is only 2-4 grains hard that it shouldn't have much of an effect. Well, less than if it were 45 grains but still hard enough to cause the problem you are describing.

    So I have a theory... I either really DO have hard water (which seems unlikely, given what the city board told me) or the salt or chlorine from the city water is causing this. I'm wondering if the residue which is on my cup could actually even be a SALT residue.
    The really doesn't care if your hard water is affecting you the way it is. Some ar more particular than others. They are comparing with other water conditions and also say what most people want to as long as it doesn't involve health. Do you really think they would imply "our water may cause problems for your hair"? No.

    It reminded me a lot of swimming in the ocean in salt water, actually. While my hair is wet (and I'm no longer IN the water), it feels incredibly stiff and dry, but once it is dry it feels okay and softer again.
    So... if you have hard water, you can get shower filters to fix that, right?
    Not really. I single shower filter won't soften the water. It can filter it but a softener is not a filter. You would need a whole house softener.

    But how do you filter excess salt out of shower water?
    Wait a minute. Now you are saying you have salt in your water? How did you come to this conclusion?

    Are there tests that can check not only how hard you water is, but how much salt it is?
    Hardness tests are very easy. Checking for salt (sodium chloridea) is mor difficult and expensive. You could check for Total Dissolved Solids (TDS) and if the number is high, there may be a chance there is salt or sodium in your water. Of course it could include other solids as well

    Is there a showerhead I could get that could remove salt, if that is indeed the problem?
    Again, salt in the water is another issue. Have you concluded that there IS salt in your city water?

    This is kind of driving me bonkers, because it's forcing me to use shampoo and strip my hair of its natural oils, even though I don't have a greasy scalp to begin with.
    I am not a hair specialist-and maybe one should be consulted. I use softend water and shampoo with a bar of Ivory bar soap without conditioner.

    Good luck,
    Andy Christensen, CWS-II


    Here is a picture of the residue I have on drinking cup after a few months of use: hard water cup.JPG

  3. #3
    dimewater Guest

    Default Want to combat the effects of hard water?

    Hi ViolaGirl,
    I wrote an article on this very topic and thought you'd appreciate learning a little more about hard water and how to combat it.

    Water Conditioners - The Environmentally Friendly and Low Cost Solution to Combat Hard Water

    Have you ever traveled to another part of the US and noticed a difference in how your skin and hair felt after showering? Depending on where you are in the country, you may find yourself using more cleanser than you’re accustomed to. For more than 85% of American homes, this is the reality of living with hard water - the hardest occurring in the Southwest region of the country including southern California. Hard water in simple terms means it has a high mineral content, with calcium and magnesium dissolved in water being the two most common minerals that make water "hard." The degree of hardness becomes greater as the calcium and magnesium content increases.

    While hard water is not a health risk, it is important to pay attention to how hard your water is for many reasons. Hard water causes scaling, which is the leftover mineral deposits that are formed after hard water has evaporated. This is also known as limescale. The scale can clog pipes, ruin water heaters, produce mineral buildup on fixtures and give you poor soap and/or detergent performance. On an industrial scale, hard water should be avoided as it can cause costly breakdowns in boilers, cooling towers, and other equipment that comes in contact with water. Hard water can also have a significant impact on your wallet. Here’s just a few hard water problems you may have experienced:
    *The need for continuous laundering, which can damage fibers and shorten the life of clothes by up to 40 percent.
    *Bathing with soap in hard water leaves a film of sticky soap curd on the skin. The film may prevent removal of soil and bacteria.
    *When washing dishes, especially in a dishwasher, hard water may cause spotting and/or leave a film.
    *Hard water also contributes to inefficient and costly operation of water-using appliances.
    *Pipes can become clogged with scale that reduces water flow and ultimately requires pipe replacement. Limescale has been known to increase energy bills by up to 25%

    So what can you do to offset the unwanted effects of hard water? When looking for a hard water solution, it may be worth trying a water conditioner first as they will often be significantly cheaper than a water softener, and more environmentally friendly, since they use little to no water and energy in its process. Water conditioners come with a low purchase and installation cost (easy DIY install), in addition to a low running cost.

    When looking at hard water solutions, water conditioners are a great alternative to water softeners. In softened water the calcium and magnesium content is replaced with sodium, increasing the sodium content of the water, potentially making it unsuitable for drinking. In conditioned water, the calcium ions remain suspended in the water as small particles, but their propensity to form limescale is reduced. Additionally, conditioned water has the added benefit of the calcium remaining in the water, which is a good dietary mineral. Water conditioners help protect Reverse Osmosis units, eliminate harmful effects of hard water scale, improve plant growth, and makes soaps and detergents go further. All good news for the maintenance of your home and ultimately your wallet!


    Thanks! Dianne
    Last edited by Andy CWS; 07-13-2010 at 01:36 PM.

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