The hardness or softness of your home’s water can impact your shower experience. That’s because the mineral buildup in hard water can make it difficult to create a sudsy lather when shampooing and conditioning your hair, so if you notice a lack of suds when you mix soap and water, you’re likely dealing with hard water.
Soft water is water that has a very low amount of dissolved minerals, either naturally or because the water has been treated to soften it. You have none of the buildup issues listed above, and your tap water tastes sort of salty.
Treating Hard Water Hair
If hard water is a problem in your home, you may notice your hair feels filmy and straw-like. This is because the excess minerals in the water combine with shampoo to for a curd-like substance that sticks to your hair, much like soap scum sticks to the walls of your shower. Your initial reaction may be to wash your hair more frequently to remove the soapy residue from your hair; however, the more often you shampoo your hair in hard water, the less moisture can effectively enter the hair strands. This results in dry, coarse, and frizzy hair, and also dries out your scalp, causing dandruff.
You also may notice your hair has a harder time retaining color. The minerals in hard water deposit on the hair shaft, often causing colored hair to turn a brassy tone. Frequent washing may also cause the color to fade quicker as well. If you struggle with hard water hair, the good news is there are solutions that can help you tame your mane.
- Use a Clarifying Shampoo
One way to keep your hair looking great and behaving well is to wash occasionally with a clarifying shampoo. Clarifying shampoo is different than daily shampoo as it penetrates minerals in water and products left behind from styling, whereas ordinary shampoo works to solely remove excess oil from your hair and scalp.
It’s important to note that clarifying shampoos are designed to strip your hair of stubborn residue and mineral buildup and can be harsh on hair if used too frequently. To combat hard water hair, you should incorporate a clarifying shampoo into your shower routine one to two times per month.
- Create Your Own Vinegar Rinse
One do-it-yourself solution for protecting your hair against hard water is to use a vinegar rinse. Because vinegar is acidic, it works to remove the scaly buildup of minerals like magnesium and calcium from your hair.
Distilled white vinegar will work; however, the preferred type for this rinse is apple cider vinegar. To create a vinegar rinse, simply combine 1 tablespoon of vinegar with 3 cups of water. Apply this concoction close to the scalp after shampooing and allow it to sit for a few minutes before rinsing it. To retain the moisture in your hair, apply this rinse once a week.
- Rinse with Bottled or Filtered Water
Another option to protect your hair from hard water is to use bottled water or filtered water for the final rinse in your shower. While neither option offers a permanent solution to hard water in the home, this can temporarily resolve your hair’s unruliness from excessive mineral buildup.
Keeping bottles of water near your shower might seem inconvenient and can add up to be quite an expense over time. Another more sustainable alternative is to use filtered water from a pitcher or jug.
- Protect Your Hair for Good with a Water Softener
There are solutions to temporarily alleviate flat or oily hair caused by hard water, but for long-lasting, continual results, installing a water softener is the way to go.
Water softeners work to remove calcium and magnesium in your home’s water supply, leaving you with soft water and smooth, manageable hair. Soft water requires less soap and fewer rinses to achieve optimal results, meaning your hair will maintain its color and condition for much longer. Soft water also balances your hair’s pH level, so you’re left with silky smooth hair after every wash.
And, as an added bonus, soft water can help to reduce topical issues such as eczema flare-ups and dry skin.
Treating Soft Water Hair
Washing can be a challenge when water’s very soft. It takes longer to thoroughly cleanse hair of hairspray and other styling products, which results in product buildup on the scalp. This is especially an issue if you have naturally oily or fine hair—leftover products remaining on the scalp weigh hair down and make it feel greasier.
Wash your hair three times per week, doing at least two lathers and finishing with a very small amount of conditioner. It’s critical to use a good shampoo that is sulfate- and paraben-free. Always take the time to check the ingredient list. Volumizing/texturizing styling products will help offset limpness, but use them sparingly so there’s less to shampoo away.
Whether you have hard water or soft water might not even be a concern to you. And, if you don’t notice any adverse effects, there’s no reason to treat it. But if you have adjusted your beauty routine and don’t notice any improvement, it could be worth checking out.
As winter slowly draws to a close, many of us are ecstatic at the thought of warmer weather. The prospects of traveling to far-away places, music festival and wedding season—this balmy time of year gives us so much to look forward to!
But, while we’re mentally ready to transition from winter to spring, our hair may need a little help. As we enter the warmer seasons, you may start to notice an oilier scalp, hair that’s lacking volume or your color may be fading quicker than usual. Fear not, we’ve got you covered with some tips that will help you spring into a new routine that will keep your hair looking stunning!
START OFF WITH A SNIP
This is the perfect time to start with a clean slate. Head to your stylist and ask for a trim to get rid of dull, dry, damaged ends. You’ll automatically start off the season with a healthier, more voluminous head of hair!
DETANGLE BEFORE YOU WASH
Make a habit of gently brushing your hair before you hop in the shower to remove any tangles. Hair is more prone to breakage when it’s wet, so removing the knots while it’s dry will help save your strands.
Using a detangling brush like like our vented detangling brush will nix knots and tangles and are super gentle so as not to cause any damage to your hair.
LIGHTEN UP YOUR CLEANSING ROUTINE
Springtime is an excellent time to switch up your shampoo and conditioner. Now that the freezing cold has passed, your hair isn’t losing moisture the way it does mid-winter. Try a lightweight, hydrating shampoo and conditioner duo that cleanses the scalp and adds body.
SAFEGUARD STRANDS BEFORE AND AFTER YOU SWIM
Spring break is almost here, and that means pool parties and plenty of opportunities to take a dip in the ocean. If you already have your swimsuit picked out, it’s time you chose a few handy products to protect your hair from the chlorine and salt water.
Applying a hydrating hair masque before you swim is a good way to prevent the ocean or pool water from penetrating the hair shaft, and leaving your hair prone to dry-out or your worse, turning green.
ARM YOURSELF TO TAME FRIZZ ANYWHERE
Getting caught in an unexpected rainstorm can leave us with pesky, frizzy hair. Keeping a small kit of frizz necessities in your purse or your car can help eliminate the problem before it gets out of hand.
Some essentials include: bobby pins, rubber bands and a lightweight shine spray to help tackle frizz and fly-aways on-the-go.
KEEP IT LIGHT, KEEP IT BRIGHT
Springtime is also a great excuse to lighten our locks! With all the time spent alfresco, a little balayage or some highlights are a great compliment to this sun-kissed season.
Chemical peels for your scalp sound bananas but they make good sense. Dead skin cells linger on your scalp between washes, which can lead to breakouts at your hairline and flakiness at your roots. Plus, there’s the oil from hair follicles and buildup from the products you’ve used. If you don’t take all of that away, your scalp and your hair won’t be as healthy. Handily, there are peels and scrubs specifically for the scalp, and you can simply massage them from your hairline to the nape of your neck once or twice a week.
Weeks after coloring your hair blonde, you start to notice something strange: the shade you left the salon with is no more, and now your hair has taken on an undesired yellow, orange or red tone. What gives? Brassy hair, that’s what.
Brassiness refers to the unwanted warm tones that show up in colored hair. It typically happens in dark hair that gets dyed platinum or blonde, but it can also occur in hair that’s been highlighted or in hair that’s been lightened to brown.
Brassy hair color becomes a problem when bleaching or lifting doesn’t get rid of all the underlying pigment in your hair, giving the warm tones an opportunity to reveal themselves. For lightened blonde hair, the underlying pigment is yellow, and for lightened brown to black hair, the underlying pigments are orange to red. When the brassiness starts creeping up, think of it as your natural hair telling you, “Hey, remember us?”
When brassiness occurs, that also means that among the red, yellow and blue color molecules your hair dye contains, the blue ones have made a faster departure, leaving—you guessed it—just the warm tones. Since the blue color molecules are smaller, they’re broken down easily and fade quicker with every wash. Unfair.
Fortunately, you have several options when it comes dealing with brassy hair, in terms of both preventing it and fixing it after it happens.
START OFF BY CHOOSING THE RIGHT PERMANENT HAIRCOLOR
Select a cool hair color, like one with the word “ash” in the name, since it’s less likely to turn brassy than one that’s warm. If you gravitate toward warmer shades, don’t worry; there are plenty of lighter hair colors you can pull off that have a good balance of cool tones.
HEAD TO THE SALON AND GET A TONER FOR BRASSY HAIR
A hair mask can help to soften and moisturize your hair. Toner, a translucent deposit of hair color that fades in a few weeks, isn’t just great for altering your hair color without the commitment. It can be a great brassy hair fix, too. Also known as demi-permanent color, glaze or gloss, toning can correct the unwanted yellow, orange or even red tones lingering on your hair since it contains just enough pigment to improve your hair color. Plus, the service will enhance the shine levels of your strands in the process, so you’ll be doing your hair multiple favors in just one sitting.
GET A BOND-PROTECTING SERVICE
Since healthy hair is less likely to turn brassy, add in a bond-protecting service during the bleaching or haircoloring process, to protect your hair from damage and strengthen your strands.
WASH YOUR HAIR WITH A PURPLE SHAMPOO TO NEUTRALIZE UNWANTED WARM TONES
Need an at-home brassy hair fix? If you’re blonde, go for a purple shampoo and if you’re brunette, go for a blue-tinted one, since yellow is opposite to purple and orange is opposite to blue on the color wheel.
AVOID THE SUN AND THE POOL
We know, we know: how can you say no to the pool and soaking up some rays? But if you want your hair color to stay put, it’s best to stay away.
The chlorine commonly found in swimming pools can strip your hair dry, leaving your locks dull and damage-prone. And when hair becomes damaged, your hair color will have a harder time staying in place, meaning more opportunities for brassy hair color to show up.
Sun exposure can also do a number on your hair color by making it fade faster and making brassiness more visible. So, the next time you go outside, make sure you cover up or use a hair sunscreen.
USE A SHAMPOO FOR COLOR-TREATED HAIR THE REST OF THE TIME
Since overusing a color-depositing hair product may end up turning your hair blue or purple, only use it once a week. The rest of the time, apply color-protecting hair products since they’re gentler than regular shampoo and tend to not include sulfate, which can fade hair color.
INVEST IN A SHOWER FILTER
Washing your hair with water that leaves a large amount of mineral deposits, including chlorine and iron, is bad news for colored hair since the buildup is drying and the chemicals could end up fading your hair color, leading to another opportunity for brassy hair to reveal itself. A shower filter can help cut down on the mineral deposits, so your hair color stays around for longer.
What is scalp exfoliation?
Although the body naturally replaces dead skin cells with new skin cells, sometimes it can use a little help in the form of exfoliation. This is true even for the scalp.
Scalp exfoliation involves using physical or chemical exfoliants to remove excess skin cells, oil, and dandruff. Many hair experts maintain that regular scalp exfoliation is the key to healthier, shinier hair from the roots to the tips.
What are the benefits of scalp exfoliation?
Scalp exfoliation can be a soothing and stress-relieving way to invigorate the scalp. In this way, exfoliation can benefit almost anyone who wishes to do it.
However, scalp exfoliation may be especially beneficial for those with:
- dry skin
- oily hair
Although the hair itself is made of dead skin cells — which is why it doesn’t hurt when you get a haircut — the scalp is a living piece of your skin. It requires care and maintenance just like the rest of your body.
Like the skin on your face, your scalp can get oily, which can lead to irritation and dandruff.
Just like the skin on your face, your scalp contains sebaceous glands that produce oil (sebum). In the right amount, sebum helps make your hair soft and shiny. But an overproduction of sebum, or buildup of oil on the scalp, can feed the malassezia furfur yeast that leads to dandruff. An oily scalp can also lead to flare-ups of seborrheic dermatitis, a chronic skin condition marked by red, greasy patches, itching or burning, and dandruff flakes. Exfoliating with a brush or with a scalp scrub can help get rid of the flakes.
Excess oil can also cause hair thinning.
Over time, the buildup of dandruff and sebum can clog hair follicles, which can lead to hair loss and hair thinning. In most cases, the follicle has two or more hairs growing from it. When it’s clogged, the follicle shrinks and therefore the number of hairs growing from it are reduced. Exfoliating the scalp can clear these blockages, which will help hair grow in better and appear fuller.
Exfoliating can keep hairstyling products from building up on the scalp, which can make the hair look dull.
Hairstyling products can also pile up along the scalp and clog hair follicles, especially fan-favorite dry shampoo. The current trend for dry shampoos and only shampooing the hair once a week is also not a good thing for the scalp. Compare it to someone wearing makeup to bed and waking up and putting on more makeup, without ever washing it off. The same can be said about re-applying styling product and not shampooing the hair for a week. Even if you do shampoo multiple times a week, it doesn’t mean you’re getting everything removed from the scalp. There is a big difference between shampooing the hair and exfoliating the scalp.
How to exfoliate your scalp
Scalp exfoliation can be one-part scalp massage, another part skin treatment.
Although it’s safe to massage your scalp every day, you shouldn’t exfoliate your scalp more than once or twice a week. Exfoliation removes oil from the scalp, and more frequent exfoliation may cause the scalp to panic and over-produce oil.
Scalp exfoliation is usually performed on wet, just-shampooed hair. After you comb through and separate sections of your hair, you can apply the scrub with your fingertips. You can also use a brush or glove designed for exfoliation. If you’re using a physical exfoliant, rubbing in a gentle, circular motion can help.
In some cases, scalp exfoliation can make the scalp feel more sensitive. You may wish to apply a protective spray-on sunscreen formulated for hair to protect against sun damage and reduce sensitivity.
Natural exfoliants you can make at home
You can often make your own scalp exfoliant using household products.
Brown sugar and oatmeal scrub
To make a brown sugar and oatmeal scrub, mix:
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons oatmeal, finely ground
2 tablespoons of a hair conditioner of your choice
The sugar-oatmeal combination creates a physical exfoliant that will help slough off dead skin cells. After you shampoo, apply the mixture to your wet hair. Use gentle, circular motions to reach the scalp, and rinse thoroughly when done.
To make an aspirin scrub, mix:
6 to 8 aspirin
4 tablespoons warm water
Aspirin contains salicylic acid, a chemical exfoliant. You can take things up a notch by using a toothbrush to apply the mixture to your scalp. Light scrubbing will help physically remove the dead skin cells. Rinse thoroughly when done and follow up with your favorite conditioner.
Hair dusting is a technique in which you don’t get rid of any hair length, but only the damaged hair tips. This can be done by snipping the very bottom of each hair strand. Think of it in terms of removing fuzz from clothes. The point is to get rid of hair that no longer serves you. Hair gets damaged because of weather, coloring, bad haircuts, hot tools, and most of time, just the age of the hair.
The technique works on any hair type or texture, but for ladies with very wavy or curly hair, the stylist will need to smooth it out to see the damaged ends that need to be dusted. It won’t thin out your hair either—in fact, in the long run, it does quite the opposite. By removing split ends regularly, you keep the damage from creeping up your strands. That’s incredibly important for those who color treat or style their hair with heat tools regularly.
These are cut off vertically, working along the entire length of the hair. For best results, first of all the hair is straightened (the technique can work on curly hair, too): when the hair’s smooth, split ends are more visible, as they stick out from the rest. In the struggle against split ends, hair dusting is actually more effective than simply chopping off a couple of centimeters because ends are often split much higher up the hair shaft, not just at the longest part. Hair dusting deals with the entire length of the hair so all the split ends can be removed.
Not all stylists are masters of hair dusting though, so make sure to verify that your hairdresser can do the job properly. It goes without saying, dusting needs to be up to snuff for the outcome to be hair that looks and feels enviably healthy.