Hard Water Sucks For Your Skin & Hair

By Minji

  • Hard water has high levels of mineral buildup and can make skin and hair feel drier and rougher
  • There’s an easy DIY fix and you'll be able to feel the difference
  • Especially important if you suffer from eczema or dry skin conditions

You’ve heard about how water from different regions can impact the quality of a bagel or pizza dough, right? Well, the quality of water – in particular how hard or soft your water is – matters a lot for your skin and hair too. I’m not just saying this based on scientific research or stuff I’ve read – I’ve actually felt the difference and I bet if you paid attention, you would too. My recent DIY fix to change the hardness level in my shower has made a huge difference for both my hair and skin – and it was so easy to do.  Let me share in further detail.

One of the things I love about going back home to Seoul (besides seeing my friends and family, the food, shopping...and everything else!), is how my hair and skin feel after a shower. It’s effortless to get all the tangles out of my long thick hair. When the water hits my strands, they feel buttery soft. My skin also feels soft, clean and hydrated afterwards. Once I get back to LA, it’s a totally different story. For my hair, I have to make sure I’ve had an ample amount of hair conditioner on for at least a minute or two before I even attempt to detangle my mane.  Also, my skin feels tighter and drier right after a shower.

Even before I knew what hard and soft water was, I noticed the difference. I always wondered about the cause, but never did any research on it as I figured changing the quality of shower water would not be an easy personal project.  However, eczema has reared its ugly head within my household and I came to learn about the differences in hard versus soft water. I found that it can have a great impact on both skin and hair. This made sense in particular after I found out that Seoul naturally has soft water and LA water is notorious for its hardness levels. 

Taking a step back, how is the hardness of water measured anyways?  Basically, it comes down to the amount of buildup of minerals like copper, calcium, and magnesium in the water (the more minerals, the harder the water).  These minerals can make both your skin and hair feel drier and rougher – to the degree most of us will be able to feel an immediate difference (all three members of my family could). 

Fortunately, I also found there’s a pretty effective DIY solution – there are a variety of  affordable shower filters you can easily add to your shower system. Mine was less than $40 on amazon and it took my husband less than 5 minutes to install it. They say these filters can filter out a substantial amount of minerals that are responsible for the hardness of your water.  I’m not sure it’s 100% (my water still feels less soft than the naturally soft water in Seoul), but I can easily feel a difference in how both my hair and skin feel since the installment. I would highly recommend it if you’re living in an area like LA that is known to have hard water.

Another tip is to use a cotton round and micellar water cleanser (instead of sink water) on days when you’re not wearing much makeup (caution: a full face of makeup deserves a proper sink-based double-cleanse). Micellar water is popular in Paris, which also is known for its hard water.        

I’m still not sure whether importing water to make bagels and pizza dough actually makes a difference in taste or if it’s all just advertising hype.  However, I can say based on personal experience, hard water sucks for your skin and hair. You should look into ways to fix it if you live in one of the hard water regions.