Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Hard Water ~ Dire Hair


The Problem
I have had the worse time with the extra hard water here in our new place. Where we lived in VA we had a well and a water softener. My shampoo bars made my hair look perfect like Kim Kardashian without ever having to do an acid wash, any type of clarifying or use styling products. My bars, in particular, are specially formulated to be very low residue and slightly more naturally acidic than other solid shampoo recipes helping to keep hair clean, clarified and not disrupt hairs natural acid mantle. In certain types of waters, adjustments do have to be made and now I'm part of that percentage. Really hard water leaves full body residue. It doesn't wash soap off all the way, shampoo completely out whether it's liquid or solid and the same with conditioner.

It wasn't so bad when we first moved in. My hair was still looking pretty glorious until residue slowly built up over a 2-3 week period. I noticed that each time I washed my hair it looked a little dryer and frizzier than the time before until it finally got ridiculous. What most people don't realize is that all shampoo leaves a residue, liquid or otherwise. Liquid shampoo is full of detergents that strip away more of the residue and even your hairs natural oils. It doesn't really clean hair as much as it just strips it leaving it with less residue. A solid shampoo, being natural, detergent free, alkaline and moisturizing; conditions, repairs, protects, leaves natural oils in place but can, depending on water type, leave more of a noticeable residue.

The Cure
What I've been using is an acid rinse of 1/2 a tablespoon apple cider vinegar and 1 cup of water twice a week. I use my solid shampoo and rinse clean. Then I pour my vinegar water solution over my hair, leave it in the rest of my shower - about 10 minutes and rinse one last time with regular shower water. The acid rinse alone has done the job and I don't have to worry about further clarifying or even conditioning.

How to Enjoy Your Solid Shampoo
If you ever find that your water is wrecking your solid shampoo experience, try one or both of the following:

Vinegar Rinse
Start with a dilution of 1 in 10 and depending on your outcome, increase your vinegar concentration. Play around with how you use your rinse. Some people choose to do only solid shampoo, vinegar rinse and call it a day. Some shampoo, acid rinse, condition and others shampoo, condition then acid rinse. You'll know you have the perfect routine and solution concentration when your hair is shinier, smoother, fluffier, more voluminous and manageable than ever before.

Clarifying
My favorite clarifying recipe, if ever needed, is one tablespoon of baking soda dissolved in liquid conditioner. I wet my hair and massage the mixture through a few minutes and rinse. I'll then use my solid shampoo and a vinegar rinse.

I always suggest using your solid shampoo for at least 1-2 weeks before deciding you need any type of acid rinse or clarifying, but some people like to vinegar rinse right away; especially if they know they have water that will cause a problem. While playing around with an acid rinse and/or clarifying routine, give it at least 2-4 more weeks. A single solid shampoo should last the full time you're playing around to find the perfect routine, so purchasing one bar from a reputable seller is a great start - 2 is even better if you want to take advantage and give it a full try or if you have longer hair. With the price of an average solid shampoo, it shouldn't be more than a $12-$20 investment for 2 bars that will last 2 or more months. If you find that after a few weeks of use you're not a solid shampoo person, they double as amazing body and facial soaps, so not a complete loss. Good luck with your all-natural hair care routine!