By Audrey Sivasothy, author of The Science of Black Hair: A Comprehensive Guide to Textured Hair Care

Are you having chronic hair breakage? Your hard water could be to blame. While black hair needs water to thrive, hard water can be a total hair breakage nightmare. The very thing that we depend on to take care of our hair and fight breakage can also be the very thing that slowly destroys it. Unfortunately, hard water is a common problem. Nearly 85% of homes have hard water coming through the taps.

What is Hard Water?

Hard water is water that is full of dissolved minerals and metals like calcium, magnesium, iron, copper, silica, lead, and manganese, scientists at Malibu Wellness Solutions say. But you’re thinking, ” . . . wait, minerals are good, right?”Well, yes and no. Minerals are excellent INSIDE the body as part of a healthy, well balanced diet. Inside, they are able to travel through the blood stream and nourish hair follicles for new hair cell regeneration. But minerals deposited on the exterior of the hair shaft can cause breakage and dryness problems in black hair care.

How Does Hard Water damage Black Hair?

Minerals like calcium and magnesium can collect in water and bind to the hair shaft during normal washing and conditioning. Our hair naturally has a negative electrical charge, Malibu Wellness Solutions scientists say. Minerals like calcium and magnesium carry a positive charge and when they encounter hair, they attach to it. The chlorine that is often added to hard water also has negative effects on black hair. These minerals have a drying effect on the outer hair cuticle because they prevent moisture from entering the hair. The result? Hard, dry, tangly, puffy, strange-colored black hair. The deposits can also build up on the scalp and cause a dandruff-like condition to form.

The minerals in hard water also react with shampoo detergents and make them less likely to produce a big, foamy lather. Those with no-lye relaxers are also no strangers to mineral buildup on the hair shaft. Like hard water, no-lye relaxers also leave calcium deposits behind on the hair shaft which can dry out black hair if not treated promptly. Interestingly, the hard water mineral deposits left on black hair can also interfere with the success of future chemical services including relaxers and colors.

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63 Comments on "Hard Water and Hair Breakage"

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I don’t like when articles call it black hair. As if no one fully or even partially black could possibly have kinky/curly hair. Also, hard water is a problem for hair in general not just kinky/curly hair.

amina 6591

In the USA partially Black IS Black. That is part of our history. We (% of Blacks) are all mixed with a little something.


The name of the site is Black Girl with Long Hair. The use of the term black hair is probably gonna come up. Yes there are many people of other races who have kinky/curly hair, but this particular page seems to be directed to a specific group. What I found helpful was the information. I live in a hard water area and that was more important info than the terms used to describe hair.


No offense but the site is called “Black Girl With Long Hair” So, it’s targeted to a specific community. Though, sure, that’s not stopping other people from taking the advice and hell, it’s encouraged but no one is saying anything about other ethnic makeups can’t have kinky-curly hair. It’s just a general statement for what the site is called.


Well, the book IS called the science of black hair, so………


i prefer afro-textured or highly textured hair, kinky/curly as well. but i have come to realise that although i do not categorize my hair or myself as black or African American perhaps some authors/vloggers/bloggers etc limit their readership/audience to a specific group of people unknowingly. its unfortunate.


I buy 2 to 3 gallons of distilled water from the store. I usually use one gallon to shampoo and then the other to rinse out conditioner. I use the leftover water for my spray bottle.

This helped my hair so much and its the cheapiest way for me.






Yep, we have hard water in London.
And yeah, it’s horrible on my hair.
I use a cider vinegar rinse to try to combat the calcium deposits and acidify myself. I also go to the petrol station and buy a big bottle of de-ionised water to put in my spray bottle instead of tap water.


Yep I agree, the hard water in London is terrible on the strands. I deal with hard water by using ORS aloe shampoo regularly, the ACV rinse I can’t stand seems to make the tangling that is associated with the hard water worse.


I have been dealing with this problem for years now. I find that add more moisture to my hair and scalp makes a major difference. Instead of using the basic spray moisturizers. I use all natural oils such as olive, jojoba, coconut, apricot, etc. In their oil forms or medium to thick creams and protective styles. Depends on the season.