Is there anyone who does not wish for beautiful, bouncy, and well-maintained hair? We all definitely do. However, perfect results are only attained if the right hair products are used.
But what if you have tried almost every brand according to your hair type and texture yet the results are not showing up? The problem might be with the water you are putting on your hair.
Yes, you heard that right! Very surprisingly, a factor that oftentimes we tend to neglect is looking out for something as simple as your tap water and determining whether it is hard water or soft water.
Most of us are already aware of what hard water is, the harmful minerals and chemicals present inside it, and the negative effects of hard water on our hair. But, very few talk about soft water, the bad effects of soft water on the scalp and hair, and how it can be tackled.
You should know that if you live in a soft water area, then finding the best shampoo for soft water according to your hair type is equally important to achieve those flawless hair locks you have always dreamed of.
In this article, we shall tell you about soft water and its problems, how it acts on the hair and which shampoo can be used to counter your hair problems efficiently.
For this reason, we have compiled the 10 best shampoos for soft water followed by our recommendation based on our own experience, ratings, and reviews. Continue reading to find the best shampoo for soft water in this brief guide.
What Is The Difference Between Hard Water And Soft Water?
Think of the definition back from your primary chemistry classes about the kinds of water we have in our taps. Based on the level of minerals and chemicals, they have been classified into two types; hard water and soft water.
The “hardness” in the water depends on the level of calcium, magnesium, sulfates, and bicarbonates in the water. This means that the more these minerals along with iron, copper, manganese, and lead present in the water, the harder the water is.
Due to the presence of these dissolved minerals and excessive calcium buildup (that are actually not very good for your hair, skin, dishes, and clothes), hard water does not produce lather quickly and it takes a large amount of soap or shampoo to produce a sufficient amount of lather.
You may be living in a hard water area if the water is leaving a residue in your dishes, sinks, kettles, and bathtubs and in the case of hair, chalky white patches, and itchiness on your scalp.
On the other hand, soft water contains a lot of sodium and potassium ions. The mingling of these ions present in soft water with soap/shampoo produces a rich lather, even with a very little amount used. Therefore, the hair feels healthier and cleaner.
Many people have reported that their skin felt much better after using soft water. So basically, soft water is generally good for your skin, hair and for making edibles such as coffee and tea.
However, many of us are not aware about the cons of soft water because of a widespread and commonly popular belief that ONLY hard water tends to damage hair.
Just like 7.9 billion people in this world, there are a plethora of different hair textures, types and colors which is why not every hair type couples well with soft water despite it being a better option than hard water.
How Do I Know If My Hair Doesn’t Like Soft Water?
Your hair might not be liking soft water if it is appearing dull, lifeless and limp even after using the right products.
After washing your hair with soft water, if you are experiencing one of the following signs appearing to your hair physically, it means simple soft water is not suiting you, and now is the time to look for the best shampoo for soft water that not only clarifies your hair but gives you that bouncy, voluminous look as well:
- Your hair is appearing to be oily and slimy even after a shower.
- They are getting thinner.
- They are lacking noticeable volume than before.
- The hair products that always worked for you are not working for you anymore.
- Your hair is getting too slippery and soft to be transformed into any hairstyle.
Note: Other hair problems such as hair fall, dandruff, itchy scalp, and color fade might not be related to the use of soft water so it is crucial to determine other factors if any of the problems persist.
Speaking to Glamour.com Magazine, well-known celebrity hairstylist Oscar Blandi says:
“Washing can be a challenge when water’s very soft. It takes longer to thoroughly cleanse hair of hairspray and other styling products, which results in product buildup on the scalp. This is especially an issue if you have naturally oily or fine hair—leftover products remaining on the scalp weigh hair down and make it feel greasier.”
In order to avoid this serious problem, let us be your guide in choosing the best shampoo for soft water and soft water areas.
Our Top Picks
|Product||Key ingredients||Ideal for||Overall rating|
|Maple Holistics Degrease Shampoo
($9.95; 8 Fl. Oz)
|Jojoba, Lemon, Peach Kernel Oil, Cypress, and Basil||Oily, Color Treated, Dull, Normal Hair||4.8/5|
|Bumble and Bumble Sunday Shampoo
(27$; 8.5 Fl. Oz)
|Ginseng Root Extract, Rosemary, and Sage Leaf Extract||Straight, Curly, Non-color treated Hair||4.6/5|
|Fekkai Apple Cider Shampoo
(25$; 8 Fl. Oz)
|Apple Cider Vinegar, Sage, Rosemary, Verbena, Kukai||All Hair Types||4.6/5|
|Paul Mitchell Awapuhi Shampoo
(21.25$; 33.8 Fl. Oz)
|White Ginger, Jojoba, Rosemary, Cucumber||Frizzy, Curly, Color Treated Hair||4.6/5|
|Honey Dew Lemon Sage Cleansing Shampoo
(16.95$, 8 Fl.Oz)
|Lemon, Tea Tree, Rosemary, Jojoba||Oily, Curly, Damaged Hair, Dandruff Prone Scalp||4.5/5|
|Tree to Tub Soapberry for Hair
($22.49; 8.5 Fl. Oz)
|Peppermint, Organic Moroccan Argan Oil, Aloe Vera, Chamomile and Olive Leaves||Sensitive Scalp, Chemically treated hair||4.5/5|
|Klorane Clarifying Shampoo
($20; 13.5 Fl. Oz)
|Citrus Pulp||Normal, Oily Hair||4.4/5|
|Neutrogena Anti-Residue Clarifying Shampoo
($5.29; 6 Fl. Oz)
|Citric Acid, Castor Oil||All Hair Types||4.3/5|
|Fiora Naturals Biotin Shampoo and Conditioner Set
($24.97; 16 Fl. Oz Each)
|Lavender, Peppermint, Jojoba Oil, Aloe vera||All Hair types. Exclusively for color- treated hair.||4.0/5|
|WOW Apple Cider Vinegar Shampoo and Conditioner
($25.95; 16.9 Fl. Oz Each)
|Natural Apple Cider Vinegar, Nettle Leaf Extract, Saw Palmetto Extract, Almond Oil, Argan Oil, Virgin Coconut Oil||Thinning and Damaged Hair.||4.0/5|
Our Pick – The Best Product Overall?
The aforementioned products are all indeed ideal to be used for soft water since they act as great clarifying shampoos that effectively degrease oily scalp and limp strands while nourishing your tresses deeply from roots to tips.
However, if we may name a shampoo that qualifies as the best shampoo for soft water, it is hands down the Maple Holistics Degrease Shampoo.
Maple Holistics Degrease Shampoo
|Infusion of natural ingredients||5/5|
|Value for money||5/5|
Why Maple Holistics Degrease Shampoo?
Maple Holistics is a distinguished name in the hair care industry mainly because of its organic and natural formulation. This is the reason why most of the products by the brand are trusted by the consumers for a long time.
A gentle blend of the best essential oils like lemon, rosemary, jojoba, and peach kernel ensures deep degrease therapy to avoid soft water problems while respecting the natural balance of your scalp.
How does its natural formulation work?
Lemon essential oil present in this degrease shampoo ensures the removal of grease and grime from the scalp while the mingling of jojoba oil and rosemary oil facilitates immaculate hydration, all the while protecting the scalp from build-up, residue, and outside pollutants that may penetrate the scalp.
The additional formula of basil with cypress as active ingredients help with hair loss and thinning of the hair. Moreover, the lovely infusion of peach kernel oil boosts shine and imparts volume for fuller-looking hair.
It is compatible and suitable for both men and women which is a bonus since you do not have to go buy and review a totally different product for your partner or spouse.
- A powerhouse of unparalleled maintenance
The best part about Maple Holistics shampoo is the kind of nourishment it provides.
Usually, shampoos for soft water do manage to clarify the residue, leaving a dirt-free scalp but they may wipe out the natural oils of the scalp which in the long run damages the hair and hair follicles.
This shampoo not only provides deep degrease salon-like treatment and nourishment through high-quality Natural Moisturising Agents (NMFs) but also ensures the balance of natural oils and respects the existing pH of the scalp in the process.
As a result, the hair feels shinier, softer, and smoother without over-drying the hair and scalp.
A full 8 Fl. Oz (250ml) bottles cost only $9.95 which is a great price for the kind of professional shampoo that it is.
With the infusion of some top-notch essential oils, this price is hard to believe yet Maple Holistics has not disappointed on the pricing side by making it readily available and affordable for everyone thus debunking the myth of QUALITY IS COSTLY.
- Sulfate and Paraben Free
This shampoo is 100% Sulfate and Paraben free and also hypoallergenic, making it a great choice for conscious consumers like us.
- Organic and Environmental Friendly
All the processes related to manufacturing are powered by renewable energy and all the ingredients present in the shampoo are 100% pure and natural.
- Works for almost all hair types
Whether it is dull, limp, oily, normal, or color-treated hair, Maple Holistics Degrease Shampoo works equally well for almost all hair types.
- Reapplication is a big NO: Reapplying the second time within one session may dry out the hair.
- Does not produce sufficient lather: This might feel a bit odd since soft water does produce lather quickly but this is very normal with this product. However, this also means that people may end up using quite a lot of this product at once.
How does it feel on the scalp?
The first application works wonders because the essential oils present within the shampoo did feel like infusing right onto the scalp, leaving a cooling effect which we really loved!
At the same time, these pure essential oils also worked to impart moisture and freshness.
However, since it is a gel-based shampoo in consistency, we found out that the lather is not forming quickly as we gradually massaged our hair, yet at the same time the hair was all covered up.
Thus, we recommend not to take a lot of quantity for the sake of forming a rich lather. Just take the required amount as per your hair length.
Work your way all over from the roots to the tips. Do not forget the back of the scalp. Simply rinse with cold water and couple it up with Maple Holistics Tea Tree conditioner to lock in the moisture.
After rinsing, the hair felt as smooth and soft as feathers and felt much bouncier and voluminous.
The scent is somewhat a blend of lemon oil and tea tree essential oil which is amazing yet strong. We love products with nice smelling fragrances because it makes the shampooing session much more fun, satisfying our olfactory sense. However, people who only like a mild scent may find it to be a bit overpowering.
Results after using it for a month?
- No gunky slimy stuff on the hairbrush
- Hair did not feel brittle or like straw after washing.
- Almost no visible grease or greasy partings.
- Roots imparted better volume.
- Even on days without using shampoo, the hair looked fine and not greasy at all.
- Very very few tangles and knots. We would say it detangles the hair quite well.
- Perfect and healthy balance of moisture without greasiness.
Some of the influencers and regular consumers gave their reviews about Maple Holistics Degrease Shampoo as below:
- “My hair was responding badly to soft water so I tried many other shampoos but they only tend to dry out the hair. With Maple Holistics, the natural moisture feels locked inside the hair yet I felt so refreshed and my hair felt cleaner. So do your scalp and hair a favor and try out this amazing degrease shampoo!” – Linda Keyz.
- “Great for its price! Works really good for greasy hair.” Amber Pickler, CNA and influencer.
- “If you have greasy and color-treated hair then it will be your go-to product for sure! However, I did not like the scent. A much softer and milder scent would have been better. Moreover, no product can give you immediate results so try it for a month and then evaluate the results. For my extremely greasy hair, it worked like a miracle.” – Lucy Jay.
Bumble and Bumble Sunday Shampoo
Infused with the goodness of Ginseng root extract, rosemary, and sage leaf extract, Bumble and Bumble Sunday Shampoo promises excellent results when it comes to deep cleaning that hair that does not get along with soft water.
It is synonymous with a professional hair care therapy that comes into play when your hair has almost given up responding to other products.
A lovely mix of its key ingredients strip impurities and dirt build-up from the scalp, leaving behind an oil-free and dirt-free scalp, and healthy-looking hair.
Bumble and Bumble Sunday Shampoo is meant to be used only once a week so it is a go-to product for infrequent washers.
- Deeply cleanses the hair yet leaves the hair feeling soft and shiny.
- Works well for almost all hair types except color-treated hair.
- A little goes a long way! It forms a rich lather quickly and since you have to use it only once a week, a single bottle lasts longer.
- Shampooing your hair only once a week also promotes healthy hair growth and restores perfect and natural scalp oil balance.
- Refreshing scent.
- Not safe for color-treated hair.
- Quite expensive.
Fekkai Apple Cider Vinegar Shampoo
Who does not like completely natural, organic, and pure products, free of artificial chemicals? Fekkai Apple Cider Vinegar Shampoo has incorporated 100% pure and raw Himalayan Apple Cider Vinegar to genuinely treat your soft water problems.
Apple Cider Vinegar is known for its clarifying and reviving properties thus it works like a miracle for damaged hair.
The additional goodness of sage, rosemary, verbena, and kukai makes it a rich formulation but won’t weigh your hair down.
Just take out a little amount and spread it onto your hair. Form a lather, let it sit for 3 minutes, and rinse thoroughly.
- Works for all hair types. Also safe for color-treated hair.
- Silicones, sulfate, and paraben-free.
- 100% organic and natural ingredients. Moreover, Fekkai is a Vegan company.
- Lovely fragrance of pear and fresh apples.
- Stunts fungal growth and allergies.
- May not be ideal for very oily hair.
- Not budget-friendly.
Paul Mitchell Awapuhi Shampoo
Paul Mitchell is yet another trusted and well-reputed name for the hair care and beauty industry.
We all know how buildup and grease take over the hair (especially oily hair) that does not interact well with soft water. For this purpose, this basic regular shampoo has a special ingredient Hawaiian awapuhi that cleanses the hair thoroughly.
Suitable for daily use, Paul Mitchell Awapuhi shampoo is infused with white ginger, jojoba, rosemary, and cucumbers that further deliver nourishment to your tresses by gently detoxifying your scalp of pollutants and dirt thus alleviating the accumulation of residues caused by soft water.
Whether your hair is normal, oily, dry, curly, frizzy, thinning, or even color-treated, it is absolutely safe, and good to use for all types.
What more? The scent is lovely with cucumber, melons, and soft undertones of violet, water, and lily!
- Suitable for daily wash and all hair types.
- Paraben and gluten-free.
- Can be used as a substitute for body wash.
- Refreshingly amazing scent.
- Retains and locks moisture pretty well even without a conditioner.
- Consistency is way too runny and watery.
Honey Dew Lemon Sage Cleansing Shampoo
If you are still looking out for the best shampoo for soft water, then take a look at this amazing cruelty-free cleansing shampoo. Basically, the scalp starts getting greasy due to greasy hair strands first.
The chief ingredients like lemon, tea tree, and rosemary essential oils ensure that your scalp feels comfortable and clean by removing an excessive build-up of oil.
On the other hand, having an oily scalp with dry hair is also possible as the hair strands might not be getting proper nourishment. This is where the power of jojoba oil and argan oil comes in to provide those dry hair strands with adequate hydration.
- Compatible for both men and women.
- Sulfate and paraben-free.
- Contains anti-fungal properties to avoid dandruff flakes and itchy scalp.
- Promotes hair growth by helping with hair loss.
- Very thoughtful and balanced formulation and composition.
- May not work on very oily hair.
- Does not have any noticeable scent.
Tree to Tub Soapberry for hair
Sustainably harvested with love in eco-reserves in Taiwan, this product is amazingly gentle for your hair.
Made with wild-grown and pure saponin-rich soapberries, this shampoo not only cleanses the scalp but provides immense volume to the hair.
The nourishing blend of high-quality botanicals like saw palmetto and pumpkin seed along with volumizing boosters such as biotin, rosemary oil, and stimulating caffeine make hair thick and luscious.
Moreover, the perfect pH balance of 5.5 works to balance the scalp’s natural oils. So if your hair is craving for a full follicle detox, then make sure to try this 100% organic shampoo for soft water.
- All ingredients and even the packaged bottle are eco-friendly since the bottle is made from rPET (recycled polyethylene tetraphyte).
- Free from toxins, sulfates, parabens, silicone, SLS, DEA/MEA, and gluten. Vegan and cruelty-free.
- No artificial fragrance. Mild and gentle scent of awakening peppermint.
- Ideal for all hair types, exclusively for sensitive scalps.
- Antifungal and antibacterial properties in this shampoo help with dandruff and itchy scalp.
- A full-fledged refund if you do not like the product.
- Very expensive if quantity is considered.
- Would not really work on heavily greasy or very oily hair due to an infusion of raw essential oils.
Klorane Clarifying Shampoo
Here is another natural and organic shampoo for soft water problems! As the name suggests, it is a clarifying and purifying shampoo that shields the scalp from outside aggressors that may weigh the hair down causing them to become dull.
Being rich in citrus pulp which contains amino acids necessary to nourish the hair, it works as a great energizing antioxidant.
- Biodegradable, Vegan and free from SLS, parabens, and silicone.
- Since it does not contain harsh chemicals, you can use it daily, weekly, or as per your requirement without any worry of disrupting the pH of your scalp.
- Works equally well for softened well water.
- Can be used before coloring the hair to remove all the build-up on your scalp for better absorption of color.
- Very strong and overpowering smell.
- Does not work well for dyed hair.
- Tends to make sensitive scalps itchy and flaky.
Neutrogena Anti-residue Clarifying Shampoo
When it comes to skin and hair care, the canvas of the mind immediately paints the picture of Neutrogena and its products.
Highly likable for stocking the market with a diverse range of products, Neutrogena has come up with this anti-residue clarifying shampoo that is exclusively designed for soft water and works well to tackle all that grime and slime that is usually aggravated by soft water on super oily hair.
It does manage to leave the hair squeaky clean by wiping out more than 90% of dirt and impurities from the hair.
Moreover, the activation of citric acid and castor oil promotes deep cleaning and healthy hair strands for a nice balance.
- Very affordable and economical. Available in various quantities and sizes.
- A win-win for infrequent washers as it tends to leave the hair super refreshed and clean in just one wash.
- Does not spread well so you may need a good amount of shampoo.
- Not suitable for daily use because it may overdry the hair strands in the process of cleaning it; not for dry hair.
- Should definitely be coupled with a good conditioner and a hair mask because it does not properly moisturize the hair; it only cleanses it.
Fiora Naturals Biotin Shampoo and Conditioner Set
Fiora is doing a pretty good job of coming up with products that address different hair problems. This particular product is in our list of the best shampoos for soft water due to its thickening properties.
The incorporation of lavender and peppermint oil not only allows sufficient hydration for the hair but also awakens your senses by its calm and gentle scent.
Packed with natural biotin, it works well to stop hair loss thus avoiding thinning hair which in turn makes the hair look thicker and healthier.
- Unisex; suitable for both men and women.
- Free from harsh preservatives, GMOs, parabens, sulfates, synthetic colors, and fragrances. Vegan and cruelty-free. A good choice for color-treated hair.
- Amazing scent.
- Comes with a conditioner for additional moisture.
- Pumps of both shampoos and conditioners are stiff. Requires a little effort to pump and let the product out.
- Tends to tangle the hair. Not for curly hair.
WOW Apple Cider Vinegar Shampoo and Conditioner
Like Fekkai, WOW has also incorporated Apple Cider Vinegar as its main agent to work through problematic and thinning hair exclusively.
With a heavenly scent of fresh sweet apples and coconut, it works as a 5 in 1 shampoo and conditioner by providing: Repair against damage, Nourishment, Conditioning, Strength, and Softness of the hair strands.
While Apple cider vinegar works to detox itchy scalps, build-ups, and clogged hair follicles to facilitate deep cleaning, the softening qualities of argan oil, avocado oil, and virgin coconut oil are present in the conditioner lends immaculate velvety shine, volume, and smoothness to your tresses.
- Color-safe; free from harsh chemicals, sulfates, silicone, gluten, and parabens.
- Suitable for all hair types including grey hair.
- Great value for money. Good quantity.
- Reported dryness in some cases resulted in a dry and itchy scalp.
- Old school packaging; less control and grip on the flow hence a lot of product comes out of the bottle.
- Do not detangle the hair.
Does soft water make the hair slippery? Why is it so?
Yes, it does. This is because, unlike hard water, soft water lacks minerals and chemicals and a lesser quantity of mineral content means a lesser opportunity for friction.
As a result, it gets difficult for soft water to gain traction with the hair shaft leading to minimal friction and more slipperiness.
What hair type is most suitable for soft water?
Soft water works the best for curly, frizzy, and dry hair mostly and it is often seen that these types of hair feel much bouncier and voluminous when washed with soft water.
The opposite goes for people with oily hair. As already mentioned that soft water tends to make the hair slippery so if you have oily hair, it would result in more slimy-looking, greasy and thinner hair.
Since soft water also produces a lot of lather very quickly, it may not rinse the product off quite effectively resulting in more build-ups, increasing oiliness, and greasy texture.
What measures can be taken to avoid slimy hair other than using a shampoo for soft water?
Other than using a clarifying shampoo, we recommend using a sea salt spray as well as using dry shampoo more often to degrease the hair.
How do sulfates act with soft water?
Let us first and foremost mention some of the chemicals that should be ideally avoided to tackle soft water problems. The best shampoo for soft water will be free of the following:
- Formaldehyde releasers
Now, since sulfates work as great cleansing agents, most of the shampoos and soaps do have them.
Sulfates help the potential of soap or shampoo to wipe out any grease, dirt, and build-up and leave the hair and skin squeaky clean. But, they are very harmful and damaging for your hair.
Because soft water struggles to rinse off the lather, the sulfates might be left as a residue on the scalp which over a short span of time results in more build-ups making hair problems worse.
It is therefore recommended to use shampoos that are free of these ingredients so that it interacts well with soft water.
Choosing the right shampoo for your hair can be the most arduous task ever. One mistake, and your hair may suffer badly.
On the other hand, it is quite overwhelming to see so many products saturated within the market that it gets even more difficult to make a perfect choice.
Because choosing the best shampoo for soft water requires considering certain factors such as your hair type, the sensitivity of your hair, and whether your hair is chemically treated; we hope that through this guide, we have been able to answer most of your questions while clearing out confusions about finding the best shampoo for soft water.
Whether you live in soft water or hard water, we wish you amazing, lustrous, and bouncy hair that you carry with pride and style! Good hair days ahead and more power to your shiny locks!