Shampoo bars are becoming very popular indeed and whilst there are varieties for all types of hair, options for using the bars in different water types remains a challenge.
Of all the water types hard water is really the only type that can cause issues when using natural shampoo and conditioner bars.
Even if your water is slightly hard, you’ll be able to use solid shampoo bars.
The main issues caused by hard water is that it may be difficult to get a good lather and you may be left with a film residue in your hair even after rinsing.
What Exactly is Hard Water ?
Hard water is water that has a large mineral content and is formed when water travels through softer rock such as limestone or chalk.
As water passes through the soft rock minerals are absorbed.
The more minerals the harder the water will be.
It’s not all bad – because of the minerals within it, hard water can be considered to have moderate health benefits.
How Common is Hard Water ?
Depending on where you live will depend on how hard the water coming into your home is.
Here in the UK there are quite a few areas where water is considered hard with a smaller subsection of that being extremely hard.
How Can I Tell if my Water is Hard or Soft ?
You’ll probably already know if the water in your home is hard or not.
The main signs of having hard water is the rapid build up of limescale on taps and in appliances such as kettles etc.
Limescale will build up even in areas where water is slightly hard so it’s important to distinguish if the build up is rapid or not.
One option is to purchase an inexpensive testing kit.
These kits contain a liquid that you drip into a sample of your household water.
The number of liquid drips it takes to change the water colour indicates how hard the water is.
What Effect Does Hard Water Have When Using Natural Shampoo Bars?
Without getting too technical here, the calcium contained in the hard water attaches to the soap molecules which when combined does not easily dissolve in water.
When using natural soap bars this has the effect of leaving a film behind even when you’ve rinsed your hair thoroughly.
Synthetic shampoos, those common brands found in bottles, would have the same issues as natural soap however they contain additives that reduce the reaction with the minerals in hard water.
This additive ensures the soapy film is rinsed away during washing.
They also have an additive to make sure the product lathers well.
Of course, all these additives have downsides as well as upsides.
The main downside is that these types of shampoo strip your hair of the natural oils
Most people get around this issue by buying expensive conditioners to put artificial oils back into their hair.
So Can Shampoo Bars be used with Hard Water?
Yes you can use shampoo bars in areas of hard water but you may need to make a change or two.
My first suggestion is to understand how hard the water is because if the water is only moderately hard then it’s very likely you’ll not need to change anything.
If hard water is an issue, then the easiest thing to do is to rinse your hair with water that is not from the tap.
For example, bottled water from the supermarket or rainwater.
This will help remove the film left behind.
Another simple and inexpensive option is to fit a new shower head.
Shower heads now come with filters that remove the hardness from the water.
My final suggestion is a bit more invasive but if you do live in a hard water area, you’ll probably be experiencing other problems caused by limescale build up in kettles and washing machines etc.
Adding a whole house water softener could be the solution to many of your household problems.
This will by default resolve any problems your having with using natural soap bars.
Although some companies claim to produce shampoo bars for hard water you should check the ingredients thoroughly to make sure they are 100% natural.
My advice is to try the shampoo bar specifically for your hair type and see the results.
If you do find there are issues with creating a lather or a soapy film residue then there are several ways to resolve them as I’ve described above.
What’s your thoughts, do you have any other suggestion on how to use solid shampoo bars with hard water?