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Hard Water Vs Soft Water? What’s The Effect On Your Hair?

My hair hates soft water! Is soft water bad for your hair?


Hard water vs. soft water - an age-old conundrum, and kind of a big deal when it comes to the behavior and welfare of your hair.

But, what’s the difference and how can you help your hair if it’s not agreeing with your local water type…?

Hard Water Vs. Soft Water For Hair: Hard Water

What is hard water?

Hard water is when the water in your area has a high concentration of dissolved minerals (in particular, magnesium and calcium), which find themselves in the water supply from rock.

You know if you have hard water if occasionally you find a white chalky build up on your showerheads, taps, and you might notice that your wash products don’t lather that well.

What does hard water do to your hair?

The dissolved minerals in the water stick to the hair’s surface which can lead to discoloration of the hair, a brittle nature and unwanted build-up on the scalp. Hair may tend to be a bit limp and lifeless too…

How to soften hard water for hair wash

How do you make hard water into soft water for washing your hair? Well, the best recommendation we can give is to fit a water filter onto your shower head. This may seem expensive up front, but will pay off over time.

Alternatively, if you live in a hard water area, you can use a “chelating” shampoo (often labeled as “clarifying”) that works to strip away build-up, once a week. These shampoos are tough on build-up, so only suitable for occasional use – not for a regular shampoo!

When you use a chelating shampoo, always offset it’s drying, harsher tendencies with a deep conditioner like Cel’s Microstem Hair Thickening Mask. The formula is a powerful blend of scientifically-optimized plant extracts, including Ginseng, that strengthens and smooths hair. This advanced keratin, biotin, and argan oil rich hair thickening mask thickens the appearance of hair whilst providing astonishing hydration.

Utilizing advanced argan oil; heat, color, hard water, and environmentally damaged hair can be restored from the first use, helping to instantly improve the appearance of split ends & frizz caused by hard water.

The ingredient list boasts glycerin; a strong sugar compound that increases moisture in our hair and scalp, adding hydration that prevents skin irritations and encourages healthy hair growth. Try the popular Cel Microstem Hair Thickening Mask today!

For your regular hair washing products when living in a hard water area, make sure to use a gentle, hypoallergenic, and hydrating shampoo and conditioner, like Cel’s Microstem Shampoo & Conditioner which will leave hair washed with hard water feeling healthy, hydrated, smooth and manageable.

woman shower

Hard Water Vs. Soft Water Hair: Soft Water

What is soft water?

The opposite of hard water, soft water has a very low amount of dissolved minerals. This either occurs naturally in your area or the water has been manually softened before it reaches your pipes! You know if you have it if your tap water tastes a little salty…

What does soft water do to your hair?

Soft water hair problems exist, just like hard water hair problems. If your water is super soft, washing it can be a little challenging! It can take longer to thoroughly clear the hair of product with soft water, which in turn can leave behind product build-up.

If you have fine or greasy locks, this can exasperate the issue as left behind product can weigh your hair strands down even more and leave your tresses looking and feeling oilier.

Read more on The Reasons Behind Greasy Hair here.

Soft water hair: How to manage it. And, what are the best products for soft water?

Making sure your shampoo and conditioner is paraben and sulfate-free, as well as high quality,  is vital when it comes to hair being bathed in soft water. A thickening shampoo will help reduce any limp or lifeless appearance, too.

This makes Cel’s Microstem Shampoo perfect for soft water hair. As well as being paraben and sulfate-free, it’s designed specifically for thin, flat hair lacking volume. This powerful formula of biotin, keratin, and ginseng is ground-breaking and clinically tested to ensure optimum hair and scalp health; perfect for soft water hair.

When it comes to washing your hair in soft water, simply wash it as regularly as it demands, but make sure you shampoo and lather twice per wash, with a gently cleansing shampoo that’s suitable for all hair types like Cel’s Microstem Shampoo. And with your conditioner, you only need a small amount, just applied to the mid-length and ends of the strands.

Hard Water vs. Soft Water Hair: The Cel Verdict…

Both hard water and soft water present different issues for hair, but using the right, high-quality products can help you and your locks on their way to fighting off the unwanted effects of each. 

Hard water can coat the hair with mineral build-up, and soft water is trickier to wash with and thus can leave product build-up behind.

But, knowledge is power. So, now you’re in the know, you can provide the support your hair needs with whichever water type it has to deal with.



Sarah Milton

A passionate content writer, with a specific interest in the science behind hair care. Having created content for several years, I’ve grown my knowledge exponentially in the science behind hair growth, quality and texture, and what ingredients our tresses need to thrive. When not in the office, I’m walking my dog along the beach or invested in a brilliant television drama.