Soft water is water with a high degree of mineral content that dissolves over time. Most people in the UK and Europe commonly use this type of water.
The high degree of mineral content comes from the method of treatment used on the groundwater. Moisture from groundwater seeps through soil and rock and into the earth’s crust, evaporating into the air.
As the mineral content increases in-depth, its concentration also increases, which means that more arduous waters below a certain depth may be considered soft.
How Does Soft Water Affect My Hair?
In researching this blog post, I have become aware of many contrasting misconceptions about soft water that lead to false associations between softness and healthiness.
In this post, I will come clean and explain precisely why soft water is terrible for your hair and why it makes it more likely to break.
The truth of the matter is that not all hair needs soft water. If you have dehydrated and straw-like hair, it might be wise to use complex, unfiltered water to wash your hair.
What Are the Effects of Soft Water on Your Hair?
Here are some of the reasons why soft water is not suitable for hair;
Soft water can cause dandruff
Since soft water causes the pH level to change, it makes your scalp more vulnerable to fungal infections, leading to dandruff. If you have soft water at home, you are more likely to develop this problem.
When you wash your hair with soft water, it can leave your scalp dry and flaky. It tends to strip away the natural oils that keep dandruff at bay, so flakes may frequently appear on the scalp once this occurs.
It is especially true if you use shampoo too often and not enough conditioner.
If you only have access to soft water, you can use a shampoo and conditioner formulated specifically for soft water types.
A good example is the Garnier Fructis Damage Eraser for best results. This specific type of shampoo repairs damage and restores shine.
Soft water is not good when it gets into contact with your scalp
One of the worst things about soft water is the minerals left behind in your shower without noticing them. What this does is a mess with the natural pH levels on our scalp.
Our scalp is not supposed to have a high pH level, but our hair needs to be slightly acidic to work correctly. It is excellent when combined with a hair care product with a low pH level like a shampoo.
When we wash our hair with soft water, the pH level becomes more acidic, and the dead skin cells, fat, and other substances that get left behind cause the natural balance of our scalp to shift.
Your scalp becomes more vulnerable to serious health problems, and your hair will potentially become dull, lifeless, and dry.
Low pH = not good for the scalp
The pH is the measure of hydrogen in water, determined by the concentration of hydrogen ions. The lower the level of hydrogen ions, the higher the pH of water.
Various salts (sodium chloride, for example) and acids (such as carbonic acid) can lower this pH level as they dissolve in water.
It is how the water goes from being neutral to acidic and acidic waters that are too high can cause serious health problems.
Soft water does not hydrate your hair as much as it should
Soft water contains fewer minerals, which means it has less potential to hydrate your hair compared to hard water.
Water loses its ability to hydrate hair with the following components: anions with low electrolyte concentration (chloride, for instance) and cations that don’t bend easily to your hair’s protein. (calcium, magnesium, and sodium).
Soft water can make your hair look dull and dry.
If you have used soft water for a long time, the cuticle layer on the hair follicles may become hard and brittle.
When you wash your hair with hard water, it will feel dry and rough after a few hours because of the less amount of soft minerals in hard water.
The cuticle layer on hair follicles will be rough to let out natural oils. Finally, you wash the natural oils away, leaving the hair dry.
Many women find that their hair looks and feels healthier when using hard water than soft water. Hard water leaves the hair with a beautiful sheen and in good health.
On the other hand, soft water leaves the hair dull and dry.
If you use soft water, make sure it contains a product explicitly designed for people’s hair. There are cheap shampoos that may contain harmful chemicals that could damage your hair in the long run.
An example of a good product is Kinky-Curly Knot Today; a good protein treatment contains all of these properties so that it doesn’t dry out your hair as much as products with high protein concentrations do.
Soft water can lead to the formation of stiff tangles on your hair
If you wash your hair with softened water, it will harm its overall appearance. You might experience curly or wiry tangles that are coarse to the touch, and these are just some of the effects.
The adverse effects of soft water go far beyond your hair’s physical appearance. For example, you may also notice tangles that are extremely hard to get out, and this can end up causing a lot of unnecessary stress.
Soft water contains various salts that scientists and the general public are yet to understand fully.
Salt is a surface-active agent, meaning it attracts and holds moisture. It is one of the reasons hard water stains and leaves minerals behind.
For those with soft water, this is not the case. Since soft water doesn’t contain the same electrolytes (salts) as hard water, it’s more challenging to wash out.
Researchers have been studying salt substitutes for over a decade, but many unknowns exist. The Daily Mail has investigated this field, and they address some of these concerns in their article below.
Soft water can damage the outer layers of your hair.
You have to look at your hair to know if it’s suitable to use hard or soft water. The mineral content of your water affects its appearance.
It can be good or bad, but soft water isn’t what your hair needs either way! You might think you don’t need anything to protect your hair if it’s got soft water, but this couldn’t be further from the truth.
If you have oily hair, soft water will not do much to help get rid of the excess oil since it will just exacerbate its effects.
If you have curly hair, soft water may only worsen it since it will open up your scalp to additional damage. The minerals and chemicals in soft water also increase build-up in the hair follicles.
Build-up can result in a flaky scalp and dull and dry hair. The minerals in soft water also have a more challenging time getting rinsed out of your hair, creating more frizz and waviness for people with curly hair.
In the end, it comes down to how these factors affect you on a day-to-day basis. If your scalp seems to be adjusting to a superficial level of minerals and doesn’t like it, soft water may not suit you.
So using soft water is not always a wise choice for your hair. Ensure you wash your hair with hard water every few days to keep your hair fresh and healthy.