Black hair tends to be drier than other textures, but if it’s properly cared for it can grow just as long and beautiful. For the past two months since I big chopped, I have been trying different products to see what works best to keep my hair moisturized. However, regardless of what product I would put on my hair, it still was dry and brittle. It wasn’t until some weeks ago while washing my hair that I figured out what was causing the problem, “Hard water”. Here are some things that cause dry hair:
Hard water is used to describe water that has a high mineral content. The minerals usually found in hard water are calcium and magnesium, but it may also include bicarbonates. Hard water is formed when water filters through deposits in the earth (lime and chalk) which is mostly made up of calcium and magnesium.
How does hard water affect my hair?
Hard water affects how well your hair accepts moisture. Hard water contains calcium and magnesium deposits which sit on top of your hair strands. This prevents your moisturizing products from penetrating your hair. Your hair will be dry like the Sahara Desert even though you are moisturizing it all the time.
Hard water also prevents your cleansing products from working well on your hair because shampoos and other cleansing agents do not lather in hard water as well as they do in soft water. I did some researched and found out that the area that I live in (San Diego) have some of the hardest water in the country. This revelation has helped me to figure out why my hair was so dry even though I would moisturize it every day.
What can you do to help your hair?
When I found out that I had hard water, I did an experiment with my hair. I went to the store and bought some distilled water (water that has many of its impurities removed through distillation) and washed my hair with it.
First I saturated my hair with the distilled water then I clarified it using the Trader Joe’s Tea tree Tingle Shampoo. I rinsed, applied my conditioner (Trader Joe’s Tea tree Tingle Conditioner),and detangled my hair. I deep conditioned using the Raw Shea butter deep treatment mask for 30 minutes, rinsed my hair out, applied my leave-in, and twisted my hair up.
I felt the difference immediately. My intent was to figure out if hard water really made my hair dry. Yes it does! My hair was so much softer than it ever was, it wasn’t dry or brittle, and my twists felt so soft and bouncy. Here are some things you can do if you have hard water:
- Use a chelating/clarifying shampoo.
This shampoo is formulated to remove deposit buildup and to really give the hair a fresh start. The chelating shampoo binds to the minerals on the hair and remove them. If the mineral aren’t removed, you will have super dry hair that won’t receive moisture due to deposit build-up. This will cause breakage and dry, brittle hair.
- Use apple-cider vinegar(or any vinegar).
The acidity of the apple-cider vinegar will remove the mineral build-up from your hair. It also balances your hair’s pH, smooths the cuticles of your hair, and leaves your hair shiny. I combine 1 tbsp of apple-cider vinegar to 8oz (1 cup) of water in a spray bottle, and after shampooing I spray it all over my hair and scalp. I leave it on for about 15 mins, rinse it out, and proceed with my deep conditioning.
- Get a filter.
Some filters can greatly reduce chlorine and many other chemicals in your water. This is a cheaper alternative to getting a water softening system in your house. I bought my filter today, so I hope that it does a good job of filtering the minerals from my water.
- Use rain water.
Growing up in Jamaica we use rain water (soft water) for everything, so I didn’t have any hard water problems. If you are fortunate enough to be able to catch rain water in a container then I would recommend you do that to reduce your use of hard water on your hair.
2. Temperature of your water.
Knowing when to use warm or cold water on your hair can be the difference between having dry,brittle hair or having moisturized hair. Hot/Warm water lifts the cuticles of your hair and allows products and moisture to leave/enter the hair, and cold water closes the hair cuticles preventing anything from going in or out.
When do I use warm water?
You should always use warm water when cleansing your hair. The warm water causes the hair to expand to lift the cuticles. This allows all the products that you’ve used throughout the week to get out of your hair. Ladies with low porosity hair should use warm water to open their cuticles to get moisture in their hair, but it is very important to also seal that moisture in with a butter or oil to keep that moisture in the hair.
When do I use cold water?
I would recommend using cold water for your final rinse when washing/conditioning your hair. Cold water causes the hair to contract to close the cuticles which locks in the moisture you’ve applied. After using warm water to open the cuticles to remove all the gunk from your hair, you should always do a cold rinse after adding moisture to close that moisture in your hair.
3. You only co-wash ( conditioner wash) your hair.
Co-washing is great when you want to amp up the moisture levels in your hair. However, it doesn’t do much when it comes to really cleansing your hair and scalp. It is great to co-wash between your shampoo days to add moisture, but if you only use a conditioner to cleanse your hair then you are going to have a lot of product build-up.
It is especially important for ladies with low porosity hair to use a shampoo on a regular basis (every week) because your cuticles are closed and products don’t always penetrate your hair. After a while there will be so much product on the hair that you won’t be able to get moisture through to your hair strands. I do use a co-wash, but only between my usual shampoo wash days.
4.Over washing your hair (using harsh shampoos).
While it is very important to wash your hair, it is also important that you do not use too much harsh shampoos on your hair. Shampoos that contain harsh ingredients like sodium lauryl sulphate can strip your hair of the natural oils and make it dry. This might not hold true for everyone, so you should always do what works for your hair.
Low porosity ladies may need to shampoo more often because of product build-up on their hair, but there are sulphate-free shampoos available that won’t strip the hair too much. I use a clarifying shampoo once every three weeks and use a sulphate-free shampoo in between.
5. Using too much heat.
Yes I say this in all my post because it is true. Heat, especially direct heat, can dry your hair out. When you put heat on your hair it opens the cuticles, all the moisture that you’ve applied to your hair now have an open window to escape through. Having your cuticles raised all the time can cause tangles and ultimately breakage. Direct heat can fry your strands and cause extreme heat damage as well. Remember, with heat less is more.
6. Getting chemical treatments.
Getting your hair colored, texturized, or relaxed, might cause dryness at some point. When I had a relaxer,I had a hard time getting my hair to stay moisturized. I would use a moisturizer and within 10 minutes of application my hair would feel dry. I didn’t realize that it was dry because the relaxer had changed the structure of my hair. Chemical treatments change the structure of the hair, and may change how the hair accepts and retain moisture (porosity).
7. Internal Condition.
If you have extremely dry hair and you’ve tried everything that you can to keep it moisturized but it’s still dry then an internal condition might the cause. Make sure that you check with you physician to see if you are lacking any nutrients/vitamins, or if you may have a condition that’s causing your dryness.
Not drinking enough water will lead to dehydration and dryness. Dryness in your skin, hair, and your whole body. Experts recommend drinking 64 oz of water each day, but I aim to drink as much as I can throughout the day. My goal each day is to drink 1 gallon, but sometimes I don’t get there 🙂 . It’s hard to drink that much water, but it is essential that you get your daily water intake to carry out body functions. So drink up!
9. You do not deep condition after washing your hair.
Washing your hair is great, but not adding moisture back to your hair will leave it dry and prone to breakage. You should deep condition every time you use a shampoo to reduce frizz, tangles, and breakage.
10. You have low porosity hair.
Low porosity hair is difficult to moisturize, but once it does accept moisture it retains it very well. A lot of women might not know that they have low porosity hair which might be one cause of their dryness. Knowing your porosity is essential in growing your hair long and in creating a good regimen. Read here to find out your hair’s porosity.
Knowing what causes your hair to be dry and frizzy is pretty important, and this is definitely a contributing factor in preventing breakage and growing your hair out to longer lengths. Always keep your hair moisturized, slow down on the heat, and most importantly just love and treat your hair like fine silk.
Thanks again for stopping by for another post. I hope this is of some value to you and if so please go ahead and share it with others.You can like, share, and follow for more posts using the links below.