CurlTalk

soft water vs. hard water

Hi - I just got back from a week in CA (I live in NYC). My hair looked BAD all week. Here in the city, my fine hair has volume and softness. There, it was far from that. It laid flat, and I wasn't able to get the curls to look as good. I;m just curious, are you supposed to use different products when washing / conditioning with soft water (NYC) or hard water (CA) ?
thanks - Karen

Comments

  • one_red_centone_red_cent Posts: 15Registered Users
    I know a lot of curlies love hard water, because the minerals help weigh their hair down, but I'm not one of them! My hair, like yours, loves soft water and I get lots of volume, softness and shine when I'm in a place that has it.

    I've found that when I'm living in places where there's hard water, I have to use much stronger products - no creams or my favorite light-hold gels! - and I have to clarify, co-wash or use a gentle 'poo a whole lot more often.
  • st. louis bluest. louis blue Posts: 404Registered Users
    I am astounded that you find the water in NYC to be soft. I find it very difficult to work with.
  • SnarlsSnarls Posts: 2,537Registered Users
    St Louis Blue, I thought of you immediately!

    I'm a hard water-hater. Nothing much seems to help. I have a bunch of propaganda that says that hard water is better for your health (all those minerals and metals) but even if it's true, I'd rather have softer water and I'll take my minerals in supplement form.

    Chlorine levels in municipal water can also vary wildly.
    formerly Castella
    (my dogs aren't snarly, my hair is)
  • xcptnlxcptnl Posts: 15,678Registered Users
    How do you know if your water is hard or soft. We moved in January and it seems like since then my hair has been very difficult so I know it's because of the water change I just dont know what I changed from or to!
    Central Massachusetts

    One good reason to only maintain a small circle of friends is that three out of four murders are committed by people who know the victim. ~George Carlin~

    In regards to Vagazzling: They just want to get into the goods without worrying about getting scratched up by fake crystals. ~spring1onu~
  • SystemSystem Posts: 39,059 Administrator
    On trips to CA, I usually find that the dry weather is what makes my hair flat and lacking in curl.
  • st. louis bluest. louis blue Posts: 404Registered Users
    I don't think it's only a matter of hard vs. soft; I think it matters which minerals are present. If crusted up mineral depositis on the fixtures is any guide, the hardest water I've ever dealt with was in Spain. However, whatever those minerals were, they just held my hair down without causing my conditioner to bead up or anything. Same with north Maine, just heavy gloppy water, but no dusy residue.

    Also, other additives make a difference, too. I think the water in Chicago is technically soft, but something about it makes my hair curl up into the tiniest ringlets ever. They're not especially frizzy, just tiny.

    Water is the hardest part of this whole game, as far as I'm concerned.
  • JerseyCurlJerseyCurl Posts: 945Registered Users
    I feel your pain. I live in Florida which has not only hard water but extra, extra hard water. Imagine my surprise when we moved down here 3 years ago. OMG, overnight my hair was a tangled snarly mess. :shock:
    We ended up getting a water softener which works great when I can get the water level set correctly. Oh and the amount of chlorine also throws off the hard soft water balance. Last year, our local water company was doing it's annual water cleaning, which means that they put super mega doses of chlorine in the water for a good 6-8 weeks. My eyes burned for weeks and my hair was scary. Oh and they didn't tell any of their customers. So, we had to raise the number that we set the softener to. That worked for a while but now I have tested the water twice and it tests super hard again so I have to play with the water softener again to find the correct magic number.

    Anyhoo, Ouidad makes a really good poo for hard water and so does Robert Craig. I used both and they both work really well. I still use the Robert Craig water testing strips because they give really good reliable results. I have included links for both. /home/leaving?target=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.ouidad.com%2Fproductadvisor_product.asp%3Fdept_level%3D2%26amp%3Bp_id%3D91200" class="Popup
    /home/leaving?target=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.merchantamerica.com%2Frobertcraig%2Findex.php%3Fba%3Dview_category%26amp%3Bcategory%3D4316" class="Popup
    "Wonder Twin Powers, Activate! "
  • xcptnlxcptnl Posts: 15,678Registered Users
    Thansk for the water testing link! When we had the well tested to move in - would that give me any details?
    Central Massachusetts

    One good reason to only maintain a small circle of friends is that three out of four murders are committed by people who know the victim. ~George Carlin~

    In regards to Vagazzling: They just want to get into the goods without worrying about getting scratched up by fake crystals. ~spring1onu~
  • JerseyCurlJerseyCurl Posts: 945Registered Users
    xcptnl wrote:
    Thansk for the water testing link! When we had the well tested to move in - would that give me any details?
    The test strips will tell you whether your water is super hard, hard or soft. :)
    "Wonder Twin Powers, Activate! "
  • cara4curlscara4curls Posts: 336Registered Users
    Oh yes, it makes a HUGE difference. When I lived in New Mexico, the water there had varying degrees of hardness(all pretty hard though!). There was a standing joke around about "Santa Fe hair" - dry, dull, and droopy from the hard water. Of course, many people there were into the totally natural look whether it looked good on them or not(as in no haircoloring, lack of a decent haircut, whatever the length, and no visible makeup of any sort either - in fact almost any kind of glamour(aside from some wealth folks)was almost frowned on! I don't how many scraggly-haired women I saw at Wild Oats-especially older women. Clarifying shampoos and treatments are a must in that situation to make one's hair behave and look better. I found that the hard water, along with the extremely dry climate, made my curls loosen a good bit, especially when I first moved there(my hair freaked out and went almost straight at first) I'm a mixed texture 2C-3A, so my curl pattern is not as tight as other curl types, so it was more obvious. Anyhow, when I moved back to SF that has much softer water, the difference in my hair is stunning. I don't have to use as much shampoo either to get my hair clean with the soft water. With hard water I had to use twice as much.
    health-conscious, visionary artist in transition
  • CarmenCarmen Posts: 31Registered Users
    Now I know the solution to my hair problems and why my hair is always so much softer and frizz-free when we're staying at our holiday house (south of Switzerland)! I did some research and found out that the water here is VERY hard whereas in the south of Switzerland it's soft. :roll:
    I told my mum (who's also a curly - grey 3b/a) about it and we're going to try rinsing with filtered water first, and if that makes any difference and my father agrees we're maybe going to buy a water softener. :D
    Natural blonde 3b with some 3c & 3a, thick and coarse
    modified CG since September '06
  • wild_sasparillawild_sasparilla Posts: 4,306Registered Users
    I'm a Cali girl and I must say that having really soft water in Santa Barbara (also CA) was horrid for me. I like my hard water that actually gets soap and things off. Bleh.
    OMG, LOOK!!

    ...It's a siggie. :shock:
  • HalfWavyHalfCurlyHalfWavyHalfCurly Posts: 907Registered Users
    I decided to post because I saw a few generalizations and inaccurate statements that could lead many "viewers" to the wrong conclusions.

    First, unlike one_red_cent, to date I've never heard of any curly who really prefers really hard water, it causes way too many problems! But I think some are confusing normal water, which contains a certain amount of minerals, with hard water which leaves visible residue on bathroom and kitchen fixtures very quickly and even tastes "funny". Normal water doesn't cause any problems and it's preferable to sodium softened water because you can't ever seem to rinse products off well enough with it.

    Second, in almost every state it's almost guaranteed that the water could be very different from one region to another, city to city, and even within one city because many places have well water too. I live in FL, which is a big state, and I can't agree with Jerseycurl because I think the water where I live is fine.:)

    2A/3A, medium length, layered, colored dark/medium ash blonde - "CGer" since April '02.

    "Converting the 'curlskeptics' one curly head at a time..." HWHC ;-)
  • JerseyCurlJerseyCurl Posts: 945Registered Users
    I decided to post because I saw a few generalizations and inaccurate statements that could lead many "viewers" to the wrong conclusions.

    First, unlike one_red_cent, to date I've never heard of any curly who really prefers really hard water, it causes way too many problems! But I think some are confusing normal water, which contains a certain amount of minerals, with hard water which leaves visible residue on bathroom and kitchen fixtures very quickly and even tastes "funny". Normal water doesn't cause any problems and it's preferable to sodium softened water because you can't ever seem to rinse products off well enough with it.

    Second, in almost every state it's almost guaranteed that the water could be very different from one region to another, city to city, and even within one city because many places have well water too. I live in FL, which is a big state, and I can't agree with Jerseycurl because I think the water where I live is fine.:)

    My data not only comes from my experience but from my local water company that told me , when I first moved to Florida, that hard water is a part of life in Florida and then proceeded to tell me to get use to it. :? I too prefer normal water to softened water.
    "Wonder Twin Powers, Activate! "
  • medusahairmedusahair Posts: 3,515Registered Users
    I prefer normal water to soft water too. I'm so tired of trying to get things rinse out of my hair! I can't just rinse well and be done with things oooooooooooh no no no. It's such a pain! And rinse soap off the body? It's a chore!
    At least if you have normal or hard water you can put on a softner. No one makes anything that I can find to help things get rinsed out of my hair and off the rest of me.

    It's easy to get over conditioned, hard to get volume. I suppose I don't have dry hair that's something but that's because the conditioner won't get the heck off my hair!
    2c/3a?
    Low porosity, medium texture.
    /home/leaving?target=http%3A%2F%2Fpublic.fotki.com%2FMedusahair%2F" class="Popup

    If it smells good put it in your hair, if it tastes good spit it out!
  • HalfWavyHalfCurlyHalfWavyHalfCurly Posts: 907Registered Users
    Jerseycurl:

    I used to live in Dover, DE where the water was really hard and once we lived with my m-i-l for a while and her house had a sodium water softener which I didn't like, couldn't drink the water either, tasted salty so I bought bottled. I moved here 10 years ago and I suppose by comparison it has never seemed to me that the water here is hard BUT I'm one of those that can't use Suave COs on a regular basis because their ingredients bind with the minerals in our water and cause build up pretty soon. However, other than that I have done very, very well on CG which doesn't seem to work well at all for those who have truly hard water.
    2A/3A, medium length, layered, colored dark/medium ash blonde - "CGer" since April '02.

    "Converting the 'curlskeptics' one curly head at a time..." HWHC ;-)
  • MaloryMalory Posts: 379Registered Users
    I moved from New York City to a hard water area, and have also found that I have to shampoo my hair more frequently with harsher products. I also can't condition as much because the conditioner weighs may hair down and flattens my waves.

    The way I can tell I have hard water is if I boil water, a white ring of mineral deposits is left over on the pot after I boil the water off. I also get limescale deposits around the taps on my sink.
  • MaloryMalory Posts: 379Registered Users
    I moved from New York City to a hard water area, and have also found that I have to shampoo my hair more frequently with harsher products. I also can't condition as much because the conditioner weighs may hair down and flattens my waves, and just general makes my hair look greasy and dirty.

    The way I can tell I have hard water is if I boil water, a white ring of mineral deposits is left over on the pot after I boil the water off. I also get limescale deposits around the taps on my sink.
  • JerseyCurlJerseyCurl Posts: 945Registered Users
    Jerseycurl:

    I used to live in Dover, DE where the water was really hard and once we lived with my m-i-l for a while and her house had a sodium water softener which I didn't like, couldn't drink the water either, tasted salty so I bought bottled. I moved here 10 years ago and I suppose by comparison it has never seemed to me that the water here is hard BUT I'm one of those that can't use Suave COs on a regular basis because their ingredients bind with the minerals in our water and cause build up pretty soon. However, other than that I have done very, very well on CG which doesn't seem to work well at all for those who have truly hard water.
    Oh, ok that makes sense. See prior to moving to Florida I had never lived in a place with such crappy water. For me I can do CG here in this part of Florida but not for very long without buildup and my hair when I rinse it in the water down here becomes a rat's nest. I need not only lots more poo but globs and globs of condish to detangle. I started CG when I lived in Virginia and never experienced this and we didn't have a softener then because we didn't need it. Oh and very true about the sodium water softeners. We don't drink the water either. Hubby, Me and our Cats drink bottled water. We are still experimenting with the potassium which is supposed to be better. :D
    "Wonder Twin Powers, Activate! "
  • JerseyCurlJerseyCurl Posts: 945Registered Users
    Jerseycurl:

    I used to live in Dover, DE where the water was really hard and once we lived with my m-i-l for a while and her house had a sodium water softener which I didn't like, couldn't drink the water either, tasted salty so I bought bottled. I moved here 10 years ago and I suppose by comparison it has never seemed to me that the water here is hard BUT I'm one of those that can't use Suave COs on a regular basis because their ingredients bind with the minerals in our water and cause build up pretty soon. However, other than that I have done very, very well on CG which doesn't seem to work well at all for those who have truly hard water.
    Oh, ok that makes sense. See prior to moving to Florida I had never lived in a place with such crappy water. For me I can do CG here in this part of Florida but not for very long without buildup and my hair when I rinse it in the water down here becomes a rat's nest. I need not only lots more poo but globs and globs of condish to detangle. I started CG when I lived in Virginia and never experienced this and we didn't have a softener then because we didn't need it. Oh and very true about the sodium water softeners. We don't drink the water either. Hubby, Me and our Cats drink bottled water. We are still experimenting with the potassium which is supposed to be better. :D
    "Wonder Twin Powers, Activate! "
  • MaloryMalory Posts: 379Registered Users
    I had the same experience. CG worked for me when I was in New York City, but it stopped working when I moved to York. I saw some photos of myself when I was outdoors and I looked absolutely hideous - my hair was greasy and stringly and plastered to my face; I looked 10-20 years older and like I hadn't been near a shower in ages. I gave up CG from that moment. I now focus on keeping my hair clean and healthy looking, and don't focus on on how wavy or straight it is.
  • cara4curlscara4curls Posts: 336Registered Users
    "Normal water doesn't cause any problems and it's preferable to sodium softened water because you can't ever seem to rinse products off well enough with it. " - HalfWavyHalfCurly

    Agree with this, too! While living in New Mexico, sometimes my husband and I would house-sit for folks that had the sodium-softened water(on account of the very hard water that we had in our village than in some areas was undrinkable), and yes, I did notice that it seemed to take alot longer to rinse products off. Here in San Francisco it's a happy medium with water that is on the soft side of normal, at least on this side of town! From New Mexico living I know all about the scale build-up on faucets and fixtures, and the white residue from boiling water in a saucepan!
    health-conscious, visionary artist in transition
  • HalfWavyHalfCurlyHalfWavyHalfCurly Posts: 907Registered Users
    It still seems to me there is a considerable difference between the water you have in Clearwater and ours here in W. Palm Beach because I've never had any problems rinsing my hair (much less a "rats nest" problem :lol:). Only at the beginning of CG (when my hair was moderately damaged) one day I couldn't detangle my hair while using I think Suave Coconut and when I added more it just made things worse, so I had to "cut" the gummy mess with lemon juice. But as soon as I switched to a better CO everything went great, so much so that I didn't need to use a gel during my first year on CG (and that because I had my hair bleached and it got damaged again) and my (color-treated) hair was always shiny and totally frizz-free, something that would not have happened if my water was hard.
    2A/3A, medium length, layered, colored dark/medium ash blonde - "CGer" since April '02.

    "Converting the 'curlskeptics' one curly head at a time..." HWHC ;-)
  • JerseyCurlJerseyCurl Posts: 945Registered Users
    It still seems to me there is a considerable difference between the water you have in Clearwater and ours here in W. Palm Beach because I've never had any problems rinsing my hair (much less a "rats nest" problem :lol:). Only at the beginning of CG (when my hair was moderately damaged) one day I couldn't detangle my hair while using I think Suave Coconut and when I added more it just made things worse, so I had to "cut" the gummy mess with lemon juice. But as soon as I switched to a better CO everything went great, so much so that I didn't need to use a gel during my first year on CG (and that because I had my hair bleached and it got damaged again) and my (color-treated) hair was always shiny and totally frizz-free, something that would not have happened if my water was hard.
    Believe me it is not pretty.:lol: According to our local Water company, our hardness level is 12-14 gpg, which is super hard. 1-3 is considered slightly hard (which is not great but it is okay) and anything over 10 is off the charts. I am not sure what the hardness level is where you live but you could find out from calling your Water company and they can give you the hardness level. :D
    "Wonder Twin Powers, Activate! "