How to Successfully Use Shampoo Bars in Hard Water? 

Shampoo bars are not only more practical and environmentally friendly, but they are also healthier for your hair. This is because they are typically created with organic substances.

Since most liquid shampoos contain roughly 80% water, your shampoo bar will last approximately twice as much time.

However, shampoo bars don’t function as effectively in hard water as in soft water. If you live in a region with hard water, you may have waxy or oily hair after switching to a shampoo bar. That greasy sensation may cause you to return to your old plastic bottle shampoos or get obsessed with headgear.

So, why is it impossible to use a shampoo bar in hard water? The high pH level creates mineral residues in your hair, making it hard to wash away shampoo and leaving you with straw-like threads.

Why Does the Type of Water Matter?

Hard Water
Hard Water

When selecting a shampoo bar, the type of water is crucial. If you have soft water, you could use whichever bar you want, and it will almost always work. However, this is not the case with hard water.

The addition of minerals, primarily magnesium and calcium, distinguishes soft from hard water. By observing, you can know if you are using hard water or soft water. The simplest sign of hard water is that your faucets and appliances such as your kettle, water heater, etc. have lime deposits.

You can also observe the rate of limescale build-up to determine if the water you are using is slightly hard or hard water.

Shampoos Hub
Shampoos Hub

To be absolutely sure, you can use a test kit to check the mineral levels in your water.

Aside from this, because of the mineral composition in hard water, transitioning to solid shampoo bars can be difficult. This is because the minerals present in hard water can react with the bar’s formula, reducing its lather and making it more challenging to cover your hair thoroughly.

Therefore, no matter how many times you wash and rinse, bar soap combined with hard water will still leave residue and film on your hair.

In addition, hard water can make your hair feel rougher and cause more tangles, making it more difficult to rinse out the shampoo from your hair.

Despite your water type, the most critical thing to remember is that not all shampoo bars are the same.

Steps for Using a Shampoo Bar in Hard Water

Related: 2 Techniques To Use Shampoo Bar

Fortunately, it is still possible to use a shampoo bar in hard water. Here are some steps to follow to help your shampoo bar function in hard water.

Step 1: Buy the Right Shampoo Bar

You first need to ensure that you purchase a shampoo bar and not just soap. Technically, it is impossible to manufacture a soap-based bar that isn’t alkaline. The following are some of the most common critical ingredients in a soap-based shampoo bar:

  • Olive oil
  • Coconut oil
  • Sunflower oil
  • Shea butter
  • Castor oil
  • Water & a preservative
  • Glycerine

Suppose your shampoo bar contains the above ingredients. In that case, it is highly recommended to do PH-balancing care afterward, like rinsing your hair with an apple cider vinegar rinse.

Surfactant-based bars can manage their pH level, but it doesn’t imply they’re all made equal. Therefore, you should choose a reputable brand or inquire if you’re uncertain. Furthermore, it is advised to avoid using an alkaline shampoo if you’ve colored or bleached your hair because it will degrade the color.

Step 2: Get Your Hair Ready

Begin by shampooing your hair while it is still damp. Soak your hair in water and let it saturate the hair from the roots to the tips.

Step 3: Massage the Shampoo Bar

Then, using the wet shampoo bar, make a foamy lather on your hands and massage it to the hair in a rotational movement from the scalp to the ends. Make sure that you massage the lather into the scalp and work your way down to the tips of your hair.

To make good foam, add extra water to the hair. It is advisable not to run the shampoo bar directly on the hair as this will leave too much residue and make your hair greasy.

Step 4: Comb Your Hair Using Your Fingers

When you just stack your hair on top of your head and massage your hands inwardly, tangles are likely to occur. Use your fingers like a comb to untangle your hair and create a smooth texture.

Step 5: Rinse

Rinse your hair as much as possible to remove any shampoo residue. This step should take a little longer than the soaping and washing. This is especially important if you have long hair, as you may want to divide it into portions.

Use the same technique of washing to rinse your hair to prevent product build-up. You should particularly pay attention to the base of your crown.

Step 6: Apply Apple Cider Vinegar

For best results, you can mix 2 to 4 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar in 250ml water and apply it to your wet hair. Afterward, style your hair as desired.

Shampoo bars

Why Does Your Hair Get Waxy After Using Shampoo Bars?

Because certain bars are indeed bars of soap, they might leave your hair feeling waxy. They’re manufactured from saponified oils, which is the scientific term for making soap by combining oils (such as coconut or olive oil) with just an alkali. Clearly, it’s a lot more complicated than that.

When you wash your hair with hard water, the soap molecules link to the mineral elements and produce waxy residues. Consequently, your hair will look oily and straw-like even after many washes.

Mineral build-up should never be an issue if you have soft water. If you have issues, it’s because of your type of hair and the pH of the soap.

Here are some suggestions for combating the waxy hair look caused by shampoo bars.

  • Use a Shampoo Bar with a pH Balance

A pH-balanced shampoo bar functions in hard water and is even gentler on your hair than your regular solid shampoos. These bars are free of silicones, sulfates, and parabens and are also soap-free.

Soap has a higher pH than your hair and skin (9–10 pH vs. 4.75–5.5 pH), and when you mix it with the high pH of hard water, you get tough hairs that stick to residues.

On the other hand, PH-balanced shampoo bars eliminate the waxy hair problem by eradicating the soap and utilizing only mild cleaning agents and oils, leaving you with luxurious hair.

  • Rinse with Apple Cider Vinegar

This extra step in your hair cleaning process might prevent you from getting unpleasant waxiness if you use a soap-based instead of pH-balanced shampoo bar. Besides, apple cider vinegar can help your hair transition to the shampoo bar of your choice.

Washing your hair with apple cider vinegar restores the acidity. It also smoothens the hair cuticles, preventing the shampoo from adhering to your hair. Mix one part vinegar and three parts water in a hair conditioner, and you’re ready to go!

The only drawback is that it might be drying to the hair. So, it is recommended to use it once a week.

  • Rinse with Citric Acid

Besides ACV, you can also use citric acid from the natural juices of lemons and lime to help address the effects of hard water on your hair. For this, you can dilute the juice in three parts water and use the mixture to rinse your hair after shampooing.

However, to maximize its benefits, you should leave it in for a couple of minutes before rinsing again and using your preferred conditioner.

  • Use Filtered Water Last

To prevent further damage to your hair from hard water, you can use filtered water for the last time you rinse your hair. This ensures that no minerals are left in your hair after you shower.

  • Filter for Shower Water

Suppose you don’t have a tight budget. In that case, you can consider investing in a shower water filter to solve your hard water problems. Interestingly enough, a shower head filter works just like a tap water filter. So, it can help eliminate any pollutants and hard water elements from your water supply.

Hence, you will use soft water, which lathers much easily and will leave your skin healthier. This makes it a worthwhile investment in the long run!

Bottom Line

If you’re having trouble using your shampoo bar in hard water, we hope that you find the above step-by-step guide useful.

Don’t be put off by the difficulties. With shampoo bars, you can make your hair look amazing while also working to protect the environment.

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Edna Feber

I’m Edna. I'm here to guide you about hair products and maintenance tips. You'll fine here product reviews regarding hair tools, hair color, hair care and more along with tips to keep your hair healthy!

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