How Do I Choose the Best Shampoo for Hard Water?

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  • Written By: M. Chambers
  • Edited By: Jessica Seminara
  • Last Modified Date: 11 September 2019
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Choosing the best shampoo for hard water can be a difficult task, and hard water tends to build up in the hair and scalp over time. Although the problem is worse in some areas than others, much of the United States' water supply is considered hard. When washing hair in areas with extremely hard water, it is important to choose a shampoo that will remove buildup in the hair and tend to your personal haircare needs.

For those who have hard water, the water supply can be softened using a water filter or softener. Not everyone has the luxury of owning a water softener, however, and many must learn to live with the situation. In addition to causing eventual buildup in the hair, hard water can make it difficult to obtain a sufficient lather with soaps and cleansers. Many find that they must use more soap when washing with harder water than with soft. Shampoos for hard water and soaps with chelating agents are the best at dissolving minerals in the water and allowing proper sudsing.


Hard water contains high concentrations of minerals such as magnesium and calcium. If the hair is continually washed in such water, the minerals can build up in the hair and cause breakage, dullness, and heaviness. A shampoo for hard water that clarifies and cleanses is the best option for removing mineral buildup. There are various clarifying shampoos available, and most can be found in regular supermarkets. In addition to removing buildup, clarifying shampoo effectively removes hair products such as hairspray, mousse, and gels.

If you have extremely hard water in your home, it is best to use a clarifying shampoo at least once a week. Following the shampoo with a moisturizing conditioner will ensure that the hair does not get dried out from the deep cleaning. There are several shampoos that are made especially for hard water, but it is not always necessary to purchase one. Any clarifying or deep cleansing shampoo should effectively remove mineral buildup when used frequently.

When choosing shampoo for hard water, it is also a good idea to look for a product that best suits your haircare needs. Those with dry hair should choose a shampoo that also has moisturizing agents as well as clarifying agents. If this is not an option, it is best to only use the clarifying shampoo once or twice a week, and to use a hydrating shampoo the rest of the time. A deep conditioner can also help prevent dryness. If you have oily hair, a shampoo for hard water can generally be used more frequently.


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Post 3

Apple cider vinegar rinse is a great way to soften hair. It also makes hair shiny. As for shampoos for hard water, I like a moisturizing shampoo. Currently, I'm using one with coconut oil in it. It works great.

Post 2

@burcinc-- I think most clarifying shampoos contain EDTA which is a type of acid that helps remove buildup in hair.

You can get clarifying shampoos at all stores. They're usually labeled as "clarifying," "anti-residue" or "anti-buildup" on the label. I use a very affordable one, once a week to remove residue from hard water. It works great. There are some more expensive ones, but I think they all work fairly the same regardless of the price.

Post 1

I stay with my grandparents every summer in Florida and they have extremely hard water there. It's great to drink, but not so great to shower with.

Our water in Virgina is not very hard, so my hair usually does fine there. But the water in Florida is extremely hard. After a single shower after arriving in Florida, my hair feels very coarse and rough. It doesn't take shape and becomes dull.

I haven't been doing much about it, aside from using a ton of hair conditioner in the shower. I think I need a clarifying shampoo. What do clarifying shampoos contain? Will it say "clarifying shampoo" on the label? Can I find it anywhere?

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