The Impact of Hard Water on Scalp and Hair Health

Date: 16/10/2021


If you’ve been battling with an irritated and flaky scalp, lifeless and flat hair, or even breakage and hair loss, your hard water showers may be the culprit. While hard water is considered healthy to drink, it has proven to have adverse effects on your skin and hair, which can lead to a myriad of issues. But first and foremost, what is hard water?

What is hard water?

Hard water refers to water that contains a high percentage of the minerals calcium and magnesium, and even traces of metallic elements, according to the Water Quality Association (1)

In comparison to ‘soft’ water sources, such as rainwater and filtered bottled water, hard water tends to cause a buildup on household appliances, can cause our clothing to become faded and stiff, and is also harsh on our scalp and hair. In fact, a study conducted in 1999 compared the uptake of calcium and magnesium by human hair from waters of 24 different locations throughout the world. Water of high hardness was found to result in greater hair absorption of these metallic elements (2)

Hard water in the United Kingdom

The UK is home to exceptionally hard water, with major cities like London, Oxford and Newcastle amongst the most severely affected, exhibiting around 200mg of calcium carbonate per litre. In fact, 60% of the UK is classified as having hard water (3), making it the default supply for most citizens across the country. So what are some of the telltale signs you have hard water on your hands?

Signs of Hard Water

  • Soap isn’t lathering sufficiently

  • Clothing feels rough to the touch

  • Build-up of limescale (deposits) on taps, glassware and appliances

  • “Film” on shower doors or bathtubs

Why is hard water harmful to your scalp and hair?

There are several ways in which hard water can impede the health of your scalp and hair. 

One 2016 study (4) involving 15 females found that hard water damaged their hair. This was found after washing hair samples in both hard water and distilled water for 30 days. At the end of the study, the participants’ hair had:

  • Decreased in thickness

  • Was rough in appearance and texture

Additionally, a global hair sampling study with over 300 participants from nine countries was conducted in 2013 (5), which investigated the levels of calcium, magnesium, copper and iron on participants’ hair. The study found that:

  • Metal levels increased from hair root to tip, which was attributed to hair contact with hard water

  • Individuals who coloured their hair had statistically significantly higher levels of metal deposits

  • Individuals who perceived their hair health as poor had higher metal levels on their hair.

The buildup of minerals found in hard water produces a film on the hair and scalp, making it difficult for moisture to penetrate, leaving it flat and lifeless. The minerals also block follicles, leading to itchiness and inflammation. Additionally, hard water lifts the cutle, compromising it’s integrity. This erodes the hair’s elasticity, making it rough to the touch, dry and more brittle. Hard water is also notorious for interfering with hair colour, resulting in faded, dull and sometimes even discoloured hair.

Primary symptoms you may experience from washing your hair with hard water include:

  • Breakage

  • Thinning

  • Tangles

  • Dry scalp

  • Dullness

  • Brassiness or a green hue

  • Frizz

  • Some experience hair loss as a result of hair breakage


MONPURE’s Guide in Counteracting the Effects of Hard Water

Firstly, consider installing a filter in your shower. While this may seem slightly excessive, filtered showerheads are specifically designed to eliminate all of the nasty minerals in your water, thus protecting your hair and scalp from their detrimental effects.

The Wonders of Vegan Silk Peptides

Vegan silk peptides are a revolutionary ingredient that can work to curb the harmful effects of hard water. Their film-forming properties deliver a physical and breathable “second-skin” to the hair and scalp. This delivers a robust barrier function against aggressors, including the damaging minerals characteristic of hard water.

In fact, vegan silk peptides improve carbon particle removal up to 26%. Additionally, the significant protective properties of this ingredient improve hair colour protection by 35%, as well repair thermal damage by 72%.

​​The application of vegan silk peptides yields scientifically-proven results, and fosters a stronger, healthier and more resilient scalp and hair environment. Vegan silk peptides also improve the hair’s smoothness and shine, leaving it silky to the touch.

Vegan silk peptides can be found in high percentages in MONPURE’s Strengthening Silk Protein Shampoo, Strengthening Essence-Conditioner and Nourish and Stimulate Scalp Mask. This foundational trio will bolster the strength and condition of the hair and scalp with every use, while combatting the effects of hard water.

The Strengthening Silk Protein Shampoo also stars vegan Keratin, a protein which forms the building blocks of the hair strand. This ingredient will also work to fortify fine hair, rebuild damaged follicles and protect the hair from future damage that may be wreaked by hard water.

Opt for a Scalp Mask

When confronted with hard water, it is essential to treat your scalp and roots to a mask that will aid in locking in moisture, conditioning the scalp, as well as reviving and softening your locks from root to tip.

MONPURE’s Nourish and Stimulate Scalp Mask works to improve scalp health by ‘feeding’ hair follicles and skin cells with the essential nutrients it needs to prosper. It stimulates follicles, while hydrating and relieving the scalp discomfort left in the wake of hard water. The mask fosters a healthy dermatological condition for the scalp, which as the hair’s incubator, will positively impact the natural growth, retention and health of the hair.

This scalp mask also stars vegan silk peptides, that not only repair fragile or damaged hair strands, but also protect the hair and scalp from harmful aggressors, including the harmful mineral deposits found in hard water.

Indulge in Vitamin-Rich Solutions

Hair-healthy vitamins, such as vitamin C are extremely effective in mitigating against the effects of hard water. Vitamin C, otherwise known as ascorbic acid, works to remove the mineral build-up and discolouration produced by hard water. 

MONPURE’s Hydrate and Soothe Scalp Serum not only works to calm irritation, quench dryness and promote cell renewal, its infusion of ascorbic acid breaks down hard water deposits and impurities, eliminates brassiness and discolouration, shields damage and bolsters supreme moisture retention - restoring life back into hair and scalps confronted by the aftermath of hard water.

MONPURE’s Follicle Boost Hair Density Serum is also imbued with Vitamin C (ascorbic acid), alongside other hair boosting ingredients such as pumpkin seed extract, retinol and lactic acid. This pioneering formula is the ideal solution for combating the hair loss that may be spurred on by the effects of hard water. Working to stimulate the scalp, decongest follicles, minimise thinning and cultivate growth - this serum actively promotes thicker and fuller hair with every use.

References:

(1) https://www.wqa.org/learn-about-water/perceptible-issues/scale-deposits

(2) https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/10570842/

(3) https://www.thameswater.co.uk/help/water-quality/hard-water

(4) https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26711619/

(5) https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23305149/



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How hard water may be at the bottom of your scalp and hair issues, and how to combat it.