Most of the water found in western households is hard water. About 85% of the water in the US is classified as hard water.
Statistics indicate that about 13 million households in the UK are being served with hard water.
A lot of people are constantly looking for the best shampoo and conditioner for hard water areas, in a bid to avoid the effects of this type of water on their hair.
Here are my top three picks for the best shampoo for hard water:
My top three picks for the best conditioner for hard water are:
- Malibu C Hard Water Wellness Conditioner
- Nioxin Scalp Therapy Conditioner, System 2
- Ion Hard Water Conditioner
Best Shampoo For Hard Water – Comparison Table
|Malibu C Hard Water Wellness Shampoo||.Restores hair back to its original color
.Removes mineral build-up and impurities
.Smoothes the hair cuticle
|Ouidad Water Works Clarifying Shampoo||.Perfect for curly hair
.Removes build-up from hard water minerals
.Safe for color-treated hair
|Kenra Clarifying Shampoo||.Brightens highlighted, bleached, or gray hair
.Helps with dandruff and itchy scalp
|Ion Hard Water Shampoo||.Restores hair color
.Deals with scalp itching
|Color Wow Pre-Shampoo||.Washes away hard minerals
.Brightens the hair
|R+Co Oblivion Clarifying Shampoo||.Washes away mineral deposits
.Stimulates healthy hair growth
|Bumble and Bumble Sunday Shampoo||.Eliminates stubborn minerals
.Stimulates the scalp
|Moroccanoil Clarifying Shampoo||.Color-safe
.Smoothens the hair
|Oribe The Cleanse Clarifying Shampoo||.Eliminates impurities
.Fights oxidative stress
.Comes in a lush mousse format
|All Natural Chelating Shampoo||.All natural
.Doesn’t damage highlights
.Restores your original hair color
|Paul Mitchell Shampoo Three||.Removes minerals found in hard water
.Prevent swimmers' "chlorine green"
|Grapefruit Detox Repair Shampoo||.Gently removes hard water deposits
.Lathers up really well
Best Shampoo For Hard Water Areas
There are shampoos made purposely for hard water.
Furthermore, some of the best shampoos for use in hard water areas are chelating shampoos and clarifying shampoos.
The following are some of the most effective hard water shampoos in the market:
Malibu C Hard Water Wellness Shampoo
With water as one of the key ingredients, this shampoo is great for infusing moisture into your hair strands for a radiant shine and easy manageability.
Malibu C shampoo is popular for its ability to restore brittle, dry, discolored, and dull hair that is caused by the accumulation of minerals found in hard water.
The rice protein contained in the shampoo not only smoothes the hair cuticle but also enhances the manageability of the hair.
Additionally, it improves texture while providing a protective barrier on damaged, oxidized hair.
Allantoin, another ingredient, protects the scalp and prevents irritation and inflammation that can lead to excessive scratching.
Malibu C shampoo also fights discoloration caused by iron and copper minerals found in hard water.
This cleanser features the aroma of Orange Dreamsicle – which is a great fragrance!
Moreover, it is formulated without gluten, parabens, and sulfates.
- Can be used on all hair types
- Leaves hair soft and shiny
- Restores hair back to its original color
- Acts as a great detangler
- Doesn’t dry out hair compared to regular shampoos
- It lathers and rinses well in hard water
- The bottle of shampoo lasts a long time
- For some people with very fine hair, it can leave your hair looking a little floppy
Ouidad Water Works Clarifying Shampoo
It’s great for removing build-up from hard water minerals, sprays, oils, and many styling products.
Its gentle but powerful formula uses a blend of lemon, grapefruit, and orange flower to remove build-up without drying out the hair strands.
One wash is enough to “reboot” your hair’s curl pattern for a fresh start.
Curls are left clean, completely nourished, and ready for styling.
For people with color-treated hair, this product is safe to use, although it should not be used directly after a coloring process.
For best results, you should gently massage a small amount of shampoo through wet hair (and the scalp as well), then rinse with warm water.
Repeat if necessary.
The product can be used every 1-2 weeks.
- Gentle on curls
- Doesn’t weigh your hair down
- A little goes a long way
- Gets rid of all the build-up
- Leaves your hair feeling soft
- It has a great fruity fragrance
- Dries out hair if used often
Kenra Clarifying Shampoo
It helps to brighten highlighted, bleached or gray hair; and is also great for color-treated hair.
The shampoo contains extracts of grapefruit and witch hazel along with amino acid chelators that aid in the elimination of dulling deposits and build-up.
After exposure to hard water, you might want to give this shampoo a try because it restores hair’s natural radiance by removing build-up caused by minerals such as copper, calcium, and magnesium.
The product deeply cleans your mane without stripping moisture from the hair strands.
This helps to maintain the look and feel of healthy hair for individuals using hard water and well water.
For best results, massage the shampoo into wet hair, then add water to lather.
Rinse and repeat if necessary.
The shampoo is suitable for use on a daily basis.
- Leaves your hair shiny and healthy
- Hair retains moisture much better after using it
- It helps with dandruff and itchy scalps
- A little goes a long way
- Leaves your hair soft and manageable
- Doesn’t dry out your hair
- It smells great
- Some users are allergic to grapefruit which is one of the ingredients
Ion Hard Water Shampoo
The ion Hard Water Shampoo is instrumental in preventing the build-up of hard water and well water minerals in your hair.
Minerals such as calcium, iron, magnesium, and copper can cause dryness, damage, and discoloration of your mane.
This shampoo promises to deal with undesirable effects on your hair.
This product that can be used daily is great for all hair types.
It’s safe for color-treated hair, as well as chemically-treated hair. It’s also 100% vegan.
The shampoo helps to increase hair manageability by adding shine and moisture to your strands.
It’s formulated to smooth your hair and give it some volume.
- Eliminates frizz
- Leaves your hair soft and shiny
- Doesn’t fade color-treated hair
- Helps hair to absorb conditioner well
- Restores your original hair color
- Deals with constant itching of the scalp
- Restores your natural hair texture
- It can dry out your hair if used daily
Color Wow Dream Filter Pre-Shampoo Mineral Remover for Picture-Perfect Color
This pre-poo by Color Wow isn’t exactly a shampoo, but it’s a great first step to make sure all the gunk and hard minerals are washed away from your hair the second you step under your shower.
All you have to do is spray the solution into your hair and let it sit for three minutes.
It helps dissolve and wash away hard minerals.
This also eliminates the discoloration caused by these deposits.
After using this pre-poo, your hair will look healthy and bright in color again.
It also leaves your locks feeling soft and smooth.
- Works in as fast as three minutes
- Washes away hard minerals and the discoloration they cause
- Makes your hair color look brighter and feel softer
- A gentle formula that doesn’t include sulfates and parabens
- You need to use a substantial amount of product for it to work
R+Co Oblivion Clarifying Shampoo
Clarifying shampoos have a reputation for being overly drying on the hair.
But this one by R+Co purifies and detoxifies your strands while replenishing them with much-needed moisture.
It’s formulated with natural extracts from rosemary, tea tree, and witch hazel.
All of these help to thoroughly cleanse your hair and scalp to wash away impurities and the build-up of hard minerals.
But it’s also rich in coconut oil to moisturize the hair deeply without weighing it down.
It also helps strengthen weaker strands and stimulate good hair growth.
- Rosemary, tea tree, and witch hazel purify the scalp and hair
- Washes away the build-up mineral deposits
- Coconut oil nourishes your hair without weighing it down
- Stimulates healthy hair growth
- Can leave a greasy residue on finer hair types
Bumble and Bumble Sunday Shampoo
This cruelty-free, paraben-free shampoo by Bumble and Bumble is meant to be used on a weekly basis to remove gunk and grime from the hair.
It works to lift and eliminate mineral deposits, pollutants, excess oils, and stubborn dirt have that built up for days in your hair.
The shampoo is formulated with botanical extracts like ginseng, sage, and rosemary extracts.
These not only lend a fresh scent to the shampoo but also stimulate and purify the scalp.
- Eliminates stubborn minerals, oils, and dirt from the hair
- Contains ginseng, sage, and rosemary extracts to stimulate the scalp
- Cruelty-free and free of phthalates, parabens, and formaldehyde
- Not suitable for colored-treated hair
Moroccanoil Clarifying Shampoo
Another clarifying shampoo that still leaves your hair silky soft and adequately moisturized is this one by Moroccanoil.
It’s infused with argan oil, which is rich in vitamin E and fatty acids, to nourish the hair while adding a lustrous shine.
The formula also contains keratin and panthenol to help strengthen damaged strands.
It’s also enriched with lavender, chamomile, and rosemary extracts for extra hydration and smoothness.
Got colored hair? This clarifying shampoo is perfect for you!
It’s sulfate-free, so while it strips hard minerals from your locks, it doesn’t fade your color.
- Infused with argan oil for hydration and shine
- Keratin, panthenol, and herbal extracts strengthen and smoothen the hair
- Never leaves your hair feeling rough or stiff
- Sulfate-free, so it’s safe on colored hair
- The fragrance can be a little strong for some users
Oribe The Cleanse Clarifying Shampoo
This clarifying shampoo by Oribe feels more luxe and opulent than others because it comes in an aerosol can that deposits shampoo in a silky mousse texture.
It makes washing minerals and impurities out of your hair feel super decadent!
It’s formulated with volcanic ash, which absorbs oils and grime from your hair and washes them away.
You’ll also find Oribe’s signature complex in this formula – a blend of watermelon, edelweiss, and lychee extracts that fight oxidative stress and photo-aging.
- Volcanic ash absorbs excess oils and eliminates impurities
- Contains watermelon, edelweiss, and lychee extracts to fight oxidative stress
- Comes in a lush mousse format for a silky cleanse
- Lacks deeply moisturizing ingredients, so it could leave the hair dry
Hairprint – 99% Plant-Based/All Natural Chelating Shampoo
It uses specific botanicals that heal, exfoliate, stimulate and soothe the scalp.
This scent-free cleanser is made from leaves, bark, seeds, roots, oils, petals, and fruits.
It’s also paraben-free and sulfate-free.
Some of the ingredients are fermented.
This is because many plant ingredients are not bio-available to the skin cells unless they are broken down by bacteria.
This chelating shampoo shouldn’t be used on a daily basis since it can dry out your hair.
- Leaves the hair squeaky clean
- It leaves your hair feeling soft
- Improves the hair’s radiance
- It doesn’t damage highlights
- Restores your original hair color
- Strips away the hair’s natural oils
Paul Mitchell Shampoo Three
It also removes minerals found in hard water.
Shampoo Three from Paul Mitchell deeply cleans the hair and removes impurities while keeping the hair strands strong.
Repeated use of this cleanser will result in soft and bouncy hair.
For best results, apply a small amount of shampoo and massage it into your hair and scalp.
Rinse after you’re done with the massage.
This shampoo is suitable for daily use except on color-treated hair.
- Removes build-up on hair
- Brightens the hair
- Keeps swimmers’ hair from turning green
- Leaves hair soft, silky and shiny
- It’s not color-safe
Grapefruit Detox Re-Nutrient Shine Repair Shampoo
It deeply cleans your hair without drying it out.
It’s a sulfate-free formula that reverses the damaging effects of environmental factors and hard water minerals.
This helps to restore the natural shine and body of your hair.
The shampoo is good at enhancing vibrancy for touchably soft hair with a glossy shine.
It does not contain any synthetic dyes, colors, or fragrances.
It’s also paraben-free, DEA-free, BPA/phthalate-free and isn’t tested on animals.
This cleanser has a refreshing grapefruit scent and is color-safe.
For best results, massage the shampoo into wet hair, lather, and then rinse.
- It smoothes your hair
- Strips hard water build-up
- It doesn’t affect color-treated hair
- It lathers up really well
- Leaves hair soft and shiny
- A little goes a long way
- Great for oily hair
- Some people react to the citrus ingredient
Best Conditioner For Hard Water – Comparison Table
|Malibu C Hard Water Wellness Conditioner||.Leaves hair soft, silky and shiny
.Eliminates scalp irritation and itching
.Great for swimmers
|Nioxin Scalp Therapy Conditioner||.Improves hair texture
.Reduces hair breakage
.Leaves hair looking fuller
|Ion Hard Water Conditioner||.100% vegan
.Leaves hair soft, shiny and manageable
.Safe for daily use
Best Conditioner For Hard Water
Most chelating and clarifying shampoos can dry out your hair, especially if they are used on a daily basis.
This is because they are powerful cleansing agents that are designed to strip out mineral deposits, dirt and product build-up.
They end up stripping the hair’s natural moisture as well.
This is where good conditioners come in.
They are moisturizing agents that help to replenish your hair’s natural moisture that is stripped out during the cleansing process.
Malibu C Hard Water Wellness Conditioner
It preserves the overall health of your hair by moisturizing and strengthening it.
It infuses moisture to protect your locks from dryness.
Moreover, it leaves your hair shiny, soft, and easy to manage.
The formula is 100% vegan with plant-derived proteins that strengthen the hair.
One of the ingredients – allantoin – protects the scalp and prevents irritation and inflammation.
Another great thing about this conditioner is that it instantly removes ashy discoloration that is caused by the copper found naturally in the ground and in homes containing copper pipes.
The conditioner is effective for daily use and is also formulated without sulfates, parabens, gluten, and salt.
- Instantly removes orange discoloration from the hair
- Leaves hair soft, silky and shiny
- Eliminates scalp irritation and itching
- Great for swimmers
- Increases hair volume
- Prevents frizz
- Doesn’t weigh down your hair
- Can leave some hair types greasy
Nioxin Scalp Therapy Conditioner, System 2
It’s a lightweight conditioner that is recommended for daily use.
The System 2 Scalp Therapy Conditioner optimizes the scalp environment for healthy hair growth.
Its BioAmp technology helps it to retain moisture balance, as it’s designed to strengthen your hair and amplify the hair structure.
This conditioner moisturizes both the hair and scalp for thicker, fuller-looking hair.
For best results, apply the conditioner onto freshly shampooed hair and massage it into the scalp and throughout the hair.
Leave it for 1-3 minutes and then rinse thoroughly.
- It smoothes and softens your hair
- Improves hair texture
- Great for detangling
- Adds shine to the hair
- Leaves hair looking fuller
- Reduces hair breakage
Ion Hard Water Conditioner
It is 100% vegan and is safe for daily use on all hair types.
Ion Hard Water Conditioner reduces dryness and damage while adding shine and moisture.
It also increases the manageability of your hair and helps reverse and prevent discoloration.
For best results, massage the conditioner into wet hair after cleansing with shampoo.
Leave it in for 1-2 minutes and then rinse.
- Leaves hair soft and manageable
- It eliminates frizz
- Perfect for detangling your hair
- It eliminates scalp irritation
- Brightens your hair
- It smells nice
- Weighs down some hair types
What Are The Signs Of Hard Water On Hair?
There are various signs that will strongly hint that your hair is suffering from exposure to hard water.
The calcium and magnesium deposits found in hard water can cause discoloration, and make your hair dry and dull.
The minerals present in hard water pile up and can make your hair brittle and flat.
People living in hard water areas may also have an itchy scalp and suffer from dandruff.
The minerals contained in hard water accumulate on the scalp and cause irritation to the scalp.
This explains the itchiness.
The minerals on the scalp may also end up forming dandruff which increases the itching.
Itchiness leads to scratching which can cause injury to some of the hair follicles and result in some hair loss.
If nothing is done to counter the effects of hard water over time, the buildup of dandruff can clog hair follicles, which can lead to hair thinning.
The minerals in hard water create a challenging atmosphere for hair to grow – there is no room to develop from the mass accumulation of minerals on the scalp.
This explains the stunted hair growth that some people experience.
Tips For Washing Hair In Hard Water
We all want to avoid any kind of contact with hard water.
Some people wash their hair using bottled water, while others opt to harvest rainwater.
Due to pollution – especially in big cities, some people have reservations about using rainwater as a solution to the challenges brought about by hard water.
For a more long-term solution, a lot of people buy shower filters that easily remove contaminants from the water that you shower with.
This also helps your skin which is greatly affected by hard water.
The minerals increase dryness on your skin, worsen breakouts and cause irritation.
It’s worse for people who suffer from conditions such as eczema.
Another long-term solution involves using a water softener that removes the hard water minerals through an ion-exchange process.
Another commonly used long-term solution is the reverse osmosis system which is a water purification approach that focuses on the use of a semi-permeable membrane to effectively remove unwanted minerals.
If these solutions are not available to you, worry not.
I’ve reviewed some of the shampoos and conditioners that are specifically made for use in hard water areas.
How To Choose The Best Shampoo For Hard Water
As mentioned earlier, the best shampoos for use in hard water areas are chelating shampoos and clarifying shampoos.
A clarifying shampoo is one that helps to get rid of build-up in your hair.
These shampoos work by exfoliating the cuticle and breaking down residual product, such as product left on the surface of the strands by hair sprays.
This type of shampoo should be used occasionally, in cases where quite a bit of residue has accumulated on your hair.
Chelating shampoos, on the other hand, are usually stronger than clarifying shampoos and are used to remove chlorine and minerals that can cause damage to your hair.
Just like clarifying shampoos, these shampoos should be used occasionally because they can dry out your hair if they’re used regularly.
A chelating shampoo is essential for hair exposed to hard water.
Regular shampoos are important in consistently keeping the hair and the scalp clean.
However, hair already experiencing a build-up of dandruff, itchiness or frizz needs a stronger shampoo.
Mineral build-up caused by hard water can be managed through the use of a chelating shampoo that offers a deeper clean compared to regular shampoos.
The deep clean revives the bouncy nature of your tresses while restoring the hair to its original color.
It also leaves your hair soft and shiny.
The products reviewed above will help you in dealing with the effects of using hard water on your hair.
A good chelating or clarifying shampoo will deeply cleanse your hair and strip all hard water minerals, as well as grime and product build-up.
Always make sure to follow it up with a good moisturizing conditioner because most of these shampoos really dry out your hair.
The chelating and clarifying shampoos should not be used on a daily basis unless the manufacturer says otherwise.