Struggling with Low Porosity Hair? You Might Just Have Hard Water.

Struggling with Low Porosity Hair? You Might Just Have Hard Water.

Over the past several months, my hair has been giving me nothing but trouble. Holy grail products were doin' a fool on my curls. NOTHING could seem to contain my frizz. I developed a random patch of damage in the front/center area of my hair, and some of my crown.

Ya girl was SKRESSED. 

I did what any natural with common sense would do - clarify, switch products, lay off the protein, ramp up the protein, pray, buy expensive treatments (cough, cough, Olaplex), try juices and berries and bentonite - NOTHING worked. At least for the long term. 

I found myself catching serious hair envy over all the perfectly spiraled curls and flawless definition on Instagram. I even considered coloring my hair just to soften my stubborn curls-turnt-frizz sections. I was desperate - the hair I spent so many years growing and getting to know was an unfamiliar shell of its former self.

Only very recently did a light bulb click. I had a brief but impactful conversation with Sharita aka @theloftmedford via Instagram DM. I walked away from that exchange realizing that I was worried about the wrong things. I was so focused on trying to find what gel, deep conditioner, leave-in, or miracle serum gave her flawless results on her clients that I overlooked the foundation of a great style - clean hair.

Sharita mentioned a professional clarifying treatment that she swears by. I researched it, found rave reviews, and of course, stumbled upon a Sally's version that happened to be much more affordable. I was in - but it's not like I had very many options left anyway. And almost immediately I discovered the culprit of my several month struggle - HARD @$$ WATER.

So if you've got ridiculous, borderline unmanageable frizz, hair that disrespects your hydration efforts, and damage after trying everything under the sun to fix it - this blog post is for you. And you my friend, just might have hard @$$ water.

Let's explore.

What is Hard Water?
According to the US Geological Survey,
"Water hardness is the amount of dissolved calcium and magnesium in the water. Hard water is high in dissolved minerals... In hard water, soap reacts with the calcium to form "soap scum". When using hard water, more soap or detergent is needed to get things clean, be it your hands, hair, or your laundry. Have you done a load of dishes in the dishwasher, taken out the glasses, and noticed spots or film on them? This is hard water residue - not dangerous, but unsightly..." (Source)
A couple of important things here. One, hard water = high amount of dissolved minerals. Two, hard water + soap = film/soap scum. Three, more soap is needed to get things clean.

How does Hard Water Impact Hair?
In short, hard water minerals behave just like your favorite conditioner. They bond to the strands, and even find their way underneath surface layers. Hard water minerals can make hair feel stiff, inflexible, dull, and brittle. If your hair is low porosity (which my front half 137% is), hard water can even cause your favorite conditioners and oils to be ineffective.

Hard water buildup tends to make hair feel dry, stiff, rough, tangly, and not as soft - on top of being dull and frizzy. And if you've been having issues breaking past a growth plateau, hard water could be the culprit. Thanks to rigid, brittle strands, hair with hard water buildup is more susceptible to breakage and damage - leading to length retention issues.

I've also personally found that my home hard water situation combined with my bootleg attempts to fix it have rendered my low porosity sections damaged. SIGH.


I've been through this damage and regrowth cycle so many times at this point - and honestly, y'all, I's tiiiiide. ✅ Heat damage. ✅ Color damage. ✅ Hard water damage. I'm thissssclose to just spending the rest of my life in a satin beanie. 😂

Oddly enough, all of the hair under my top layers that aren't low porosity, are just fine and chugging along. But my top layers have the triple-whammy of exposure to the atmosphere (wind + sun + elements), low porosity drama, and the highest likelihood of being manipulated to fall in line with the rest of my hair. All of this left my po' lil' strands wiiiiide open for the hard water attack. But with the products and regimen below, we've been getting back on track.

Plus, as you've seen in some recent pics - I went ahead and snipped the worst offenders. ✂️

Struggling with Low Porosity Hair? You Might Just Have Hard Water.

What's the Fix?
Unfortunately, you can't pray, bentonite, chebe, hot oil, or overnight condition the buildup away. Juices, berries, and positive vibes won't get the minerals out of your strands. If you want your hair to even vaguely pretend like its normal again, you're gonna have to lean on science.

Removing mineral build-up means incorporating a product into your regimen that contains one or a few chelating ingredients that pull minerals out of your strands. According to Scienc-y Hair Blog, those ingredients are:
  • Disodium EDTA (Ethylamine Diamine Tetraacetic Acid)
  • Tetrasodium EDTA
  • Pentasodium Pentetate
  • Sodium Gluconate
  • Sodium Phytate // Phytic Acid 
Your best bet is to grab hold of a product (or products) that contain these ingredients, and specify that they are a chelating, hard water removal, or clarifying treatment. My picks in this category are from Sally Beauty's Ion at Home brand: their Purify Hard Water Shampoo, Conditioner, and Crystal Clarifying Treatment. Please note that these products are NOT protein free, curly girl friendly, or any of that jazz - because they've been engineered for a specific purpose.

Struggling with Low Porosity Hair? You Might Just Have Hard Water.

About My Product Picks
I've been quietly adding these Ion products into my rotation for about about 2 months, and I'm seeing a huge difference in how my hair behaves. While I'm not the biggest fan of the Purify Hard Water Shampoo (it honestly just functions like a regular degular shampoo), I use it just to keep the benefits going. I get far more mileage out of the Purify Hard Water Conditioner - it has slip, works well, and of course, contributes to preventing hard water buildup.

But my absolute, most favoritest in the world? Hands down the Color Solutions Crystal Clarifying Treatment. It's the closest to the salon-grade product Sherita mentioned earlier. It comes in a tiny, unassuming packet - but when mixed with warm water, it turns into an ultra-slippery gel that detangles, clarifies, and works miracles.

Struggling with Low Porosity Hair? You Might Just Have Hard Water.

My hair is virtually frizz-free when the Crystal Clarifying Treatment is applied, and remains that way after rinsing. Oh, and it makes my hair SOFT. Like, the hair I had been missing soft. Like new towel draped around my shoulders soft.

Although some of the frizz returns and a lil' softness goes away after the shampoo, I find that my hair is much more manageable in general after using the trio (and the softness returns). I use them about ever 3 weeks together, until I can find a water filtration system I like for my shower.

I've noticed that since incorporating products specifically for hard water into my regimen, my hair feels better, is more defined, and substantially less disrespectful.

Struggling with Low Porosity Hair? You Might Just Have Hard Water.

The photo above is about 3 weeks into my new regimen, after I had already decided to snip those annoying fronts. You can see in the area near my hand, that there's still a ways to go - but I'm on the road to recovery for sure.

Hard Water Hair Regimen
I've been doing this thing for quite a bit now, so I've pretty much gotten it down to a science. Here's what my regimen looks like very 3 weeks:
During weeks 1, 2, and 4, I use the other products I love for wash day. That regimen looks something like this:
Struggling with Low Porosity Hair? You Might Just Have Hard Water.
And here's my hair literally, last weekend. 👏🏽

Because ridding myself of this damage is my #1 priority, you probably won't see much product junkie variation from me in the way of shampoos and conditioners. I've got to stay the course and ride this thing on out. But I WILL be incorporating new leave-ins, sealants, and stylers - so be on the look out for those reviews!

Got questions about battling hard water and porosity issues? Let me know in the comments below! Also, if you have any shower filter recommendations, PLEASE SHARE! #helpanaturalout 🚿


  1. I’ve been dealing with extreme frizz. I talked to my coworker about that earlier because I found a ton of chlorine in my water while getting my floors done and they actually cleaned my pipes but they told me i had so much my water was turning brown because it was making the pipes rot. I changed it out but seem like I’ve been having more frizz than normal. Do you think I need a filtering system?

  2. Love your blog! Have you tried using bottled water (Distilled or Spring) as your final rinse. I always have distilled water on hand because I do not like the hard water rings left on my glass tea pots and on occasion when facial skin misbehaves, I cleanse my face with distilled water and my regular products.

  3. You share the immense message for the all inclusive community and people should aware of their security and website share well instruction. I know stacks of the affiliations are working in this field and try to pass on the considerable information about the prosperity of the all inclusive community. This is the immense information.

  4. No need to shop regularly, good habits and simple enough to help you have soft curly hair, wave as care in the salon.Vietnam hair

  5. Hair requires a regular and systematic approach in order to achieve a good appearance and shine that looks great.

  6. Adorable! I love it. Those little details do make a big difference, and bargains are the best. We recently had to replace our faucets because of hard water, too.

  7. I never comment on blogs but your article is so best that I never stop myself to say something about it. You’re amazing Man, I like it water treatment<2/>... Keep it up.

  8. For most surfaces, Tripodi really suggests managing hair while it's somewhat sodden. "On the off chance that it's towel-dried and a great deal of dampness is removed from the hair, yet you can in any case see its regular surface, that is a for the most part fun chance to trim it," she clarifies. If you want to know more, Please check out here - Japanese scissor brands

  9. Wow your hair routine is extremely confusing! How many products are in your routine 12 or more? I tried to keep up with it, but it seems very confusing and stressful

  10. I also was curious to know how much you are spending to keep up with this complex routine every month. Every article I read talks about a simplified routine so you know what works for your hair and what doesn't. Yours is by far the most confusing and complex I've ever seen. I too have hard water that's ruining my hair, but doi have to have a routine like this that has almost 20 products to have nice hair with hard water? I live on a budget. If I have to have that many products and that many steps to a routine, not only will it get expensive, but where do you find the time and energy to do a mask, wash your hair, do another treatment and so on (I couldn't keep up with your routine bc there were so many steps)? Seems very over whelming and time consuming. I'm already stressed about my hard water situation and this just made it more stressful. Is there any way that you can simplify this for someone who is not you to follow along with it? I know that this is your routine so you would understand the steps, but for someone like me who is not you, it's not easy to understand. I would love a simple version to this. I need help with my hair asap

  11. Hi there

    Very nice content and blog, I found it very informative and useful, hope to read more nice articles like this one around here,

    Keep sharing the best content,

    Best regards!

    Your follower

    Salvatore from:

    Compra de Ingresso on-line – Os ingressos para visitar o Patrimônio Mundial Natural e uma das 7 Maravilhas da Natureza, que abriga as Cataratas do Iguaçu, são limitados e vendidos exclusivamente on-line, com agendamento de dia e horário para o passeio no site Tour Cataratas. Conheça também: Hotel das Cataratas É importante lembrar que não existe a opção de compra de bilhete físico no parque. É necessário adquirir o ingresso de entrada no Parque Nacional do Iguaçu com antecedência em sites autorizados.

    Thanks and take care

  12. made available for free download on the Armor Games website. fireboy and watergirl

  13. My hair is not good because I don't know how to take care of it. Many people also told me that because I often sit on the computer to play cuphead online a shooting action game too much, my hair is also affected.

  14. I can SOOO relate. Having been cursed with super low porosity hair (actually water repelling) AND some of the hardest water in the hair situation is nothing short of a gd nightmare. I couldn't even tell you if my hair would be naturally straight or wavy because I've never been able to have healthy hydrated hair. 🤬

    I too dont care for the ION shampoo. I dont think it does squat tbh. But I'm def gonna try out those crystals. Im also looking for some nano spray water.

    Oh and i recently purchased Camille Rose Sweet Ginger Cleansing Rinse. Even though I later discovered its formulated for HP hair, its AMAZING on my LP hair. Its not chelating but rather mildly clarifying

    Anyway, i feel your pain my girl.

  15. How many times did you do this treatment to see results?

  16. Thank you so much!

    This is exactly what I've been going through after moving to a hard water area, and while my process is similar to yours, it's not quite working for me (Malibu HWW instead of Ion and Aphogee 2-Step instead of the 2-Minute). RIP wallet. The Olaplex gods have repeatedly refused to bestow the same blessing upon me they give to virtually everyone else that's ever tried it. They're just laughing at me at this point.

    I wonder if hard water causes the 2-Step to not work properly. It never fully hardens on my crown/top layer now. It's too bad, because I've always sworn by it. I know it's not because my virgin hair is too damaged. It used to work miracles back when I was bleaching my hair to bubble gum, and it definitely sinks into everything except my top layer. Maybe regular application of the 2-minute with heat and distilled water will be more effective. I don't know why I haven't considered letting the hard water conditioner sit with heat before proceeding with leave-in/oils. Good thinking.

    I too considered coloring to try to soften my hair, but I was worried any permanent hair color would react poorly with whatever build-up I was experiencing. I feel so silly with my awkward post-hard-water-damage haircut, having also desperately snipped off most of the worst offenders on my crown/top layer a few times over. Top layer is still bristly, just shorter and awkward now. Luckily my texture mostly hides the mullet effect?

    Most of the information I've found on hard water damage is from fine-haired blondes trying to keep their strands from changing color. Good for them, but that just doesn't cut it for curly haired girls with a range of porosity around their head and serious moisture/protein needs. Gentle sulfate-free cleansing and conditioning is not enough here.

    The Malibu HWW shampoo and conditioner are really nice, but the hair remedy isn't helping as much as I expected. They have most of the same ingredients, but Ion's addition of polyquaternium-10 and malic acid might give the formula an edge. Definitely going to check out the Ion HW line. At the very least, the crystal treatment.

    Anyway! All that to say that I'm going to try your method now.

    Thanks again! You've given me some hope.