Tips for Taps Blog
Signs of Hard Water on Hair
Why is my hair dry?
Why does my hair feel brittle?
Why does my hair have a greenish tinge?
If you've asked yourself any of these questions, you are not alone. These and other conditions are common effects that water quality can have your hair. If you've recently moved, live with copper pipes and/or wash your hair in heavily chlorinated water then it’s possible that your tap water is harming your hair.
While tap water is often treated to a baseline standard for human consumption, there is still a lot of variability in water quality chemistry. Certain concentrations of chemicals in your tap water (e.g. shower water) might be causing your hair problems.
Why Is My Hair Dull and Brittle?
Hard water is water that has elevated concentrations of minerals, namely magnesium and calcium. Hard water can cause hair to have weaker tensile strength, meaning your hair can break more easily.  Hard water can also leave a layer of minerals on the hair and scalp that prevents water from breaking through and moisturizing, leaving you with brittle hair and a dry scalp. Dry hair often results in dullness and frizz.
Hard water also prevents the lathering of soaps, which can decrease the ability for shampoos and conditioners to work on your hair. It is also suggested that hard water can weaken hair dyes and potentially turn hair grey.
There are many telltale signs to indicate you have hard water. For example, you might notice a mineral deposit, known as scale, on your faucets or other plumbing appliances. You may also notice white or grey stains on your glassware.
Some claim soft water can cause your hair to look flat, but we could not find any studies to back up the effects of soft water on your hair.
Why Is My Hair Green?
If you are noticing your hair turning slightly green, it might be that your tap water has high levels of chlorine or copper.
Greenish, brittle hair due to chlorine in the water is common among swimmers who spend a large amount of time swimming in pools with high concentrations of chlorine.  Chlorine concentrations can also be high in drinking water (but not as high as swimming pools).
Chlorine is the most common disinfectant used to kill disease-causing pathogens in tap water. Chlorine levels are maintained in our water after leaving water treatment plants in order to kill pathogens that live in the pipes.
Normal, healthy hair has a thin layer of natural oil that protects the hair itself from over-drying. Chlorine strips away those natural oils and can cause your hair and scalp to dry out quickly. Excessive exposure to chlorine can make your scalp itchy and your hair turn brittle and green.
Additionally, showering with hot water can open your hair follicles so they absorb more chlorine. Although many postulate that chlorine causes hair loss, there were no studies that indicated that being the case.
Chlorine isn’t the only culprit when it comes to green, brittle, or dry hair. Your hair might look green because of the concentration of copper in your tap water. When copper undergoes a chemical reaction known as oxidation, it turns green. Deposition of copper on hair in this oxidized form causes your hair to have a greenish tint!
The most common way for copper to get into your tap water is through the corrosion of copper pipes, faucets, and appliances. A sign that copper is in your water is if you notice blue-green stains on your clothing and fixtures, or if your water has an unfavorable metallic favor.
How Do I Know If I Have Hard Water?
If every day seems to be a bad hair day, it may be time to test your tap water.
Water testing can include anything you want, for example water hardness, magnesium, calcium, copper, chlorine and more. Chlorine test strips are an easy and affordable way to learn how much free and total chlorine you have in your water. Reach out to the Tap Score team if you have questions about which water test might be right for you!