Swimming pools nationwide are required to have chlorine levels that are no less than 1.0 ppm (parts per million) in order to control potentially harmful bacteria levels in the water. But water treatment facilities are also adding at least that amount of chlorine, often more, to your household water, especially this time of year for the same reasons. You already know what high amounts chlorine from pool water can do to your hair, scalp and skin. Now you understand why you experience the most damage to those areas during the summer months when you are not only exposed to chlorine on a regular basis in your shower, but also in the pool. Following is a ranking of the cities with the highest levels of chlorine present in the shower water based on Water Quality Reports from the respective cities measuring chlorine levels.
Tom Porter at Malibu C Wellness
Over half of the population is shampooing in water that contains calcium and magnesium and is otherwise considered “hard water.” While these minerals are important for us to drink and take as supplements, they can actually attach to the hair and cause problems for textured hair, such as textural changes and difficulty getting chemical services, including color and straightening, to take to the hair.
Some of the best drinking water can be the worst water for shampooing or cleansing your curls.
Hard Water Hair Issues
- Texture: With curly hair, you’ll notice a difference in hair texture in areas with various levels of water hardness. For example, areas with soft water typically have more relaxed, soft and manageable curls while areas with hard water will note their curls are heavier and the texture is rougher.
- Frizz: Other than humidity, the most important environmental issue regarding frizz and maintenance of naturally curly hair is the minerals in the water.
- Gray Coverage: Often you’ll note increased difficulty with gray coverage because the color will attach onto the minerals and not onto the hair, making it impossible to cover up those pesky gray strands, especially at your crown.
- Longer Lasting Color: Similar to the problem listed above about gray coverage, you’re colorist will notice it is difficult to get vibrant shades to deposit onto the hair, due to the mineral buildup resulting from hard water, resulting in a lack of satisfaction with your color service.
- Blondes: A common problem for blondes who shampoo in hard water is that the color appears to lose vibrancy and appear “muddy,” which is often referred to as fading, when really, blondes don’t fade.
- Relaxer/Straighteners: These chemical services have a harder time taking in areas with hard water, which can yield to unhappy clients when the services seems to have “not worked” the first time. Often, the problem is the minerals attached to the hair, and not the salon professional performing the chemical service.
Below is the ranking of the best and worst cities for textured hair, based on water quality reports from the respective cities measuring water hardness. If any of the problems above seem to be occurring to your waves, curls or coils, your city’s water service may be the culprit.
Worst Cities for Textured Hair
1. Indianapolis, Indiana
2. Jacksonville, Florida
3. Phoenix, Arizona
4. San Antonio, Texas
5. San Jose, California
6. San Diego, California
7. Los Angeles, California
8. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
9. El Paso, Texas
10. Dallas, Texas
11. Washington, D.C.
12. Chicago, Illinois
13. Milwaukee, Wisconsin
14. Columbus, Ohio
15. Houston, Texas
Best Cities for Textured Hair
1. Atlanta, Georgia
2. Boston, Massachusetts
3. Seattle, Washington
4. Memphis, Tennessee
5. San Francisco, California
6. Nashville, Tennessee
7. New York, New York
8. Austin City, Texas
9. Baltimore, Maryland
10. Detroit, Michigan
In the last forty years, showers have become a vital part of the American lifestyle. In the time when showers were not customary and/or widely used, women were shampooing and rinsing their hair under the kitchen sink, usually once a week. Now, women (and men) are shampooing no less than 3-4 times a week, and many are even shampooing daily, which can lend itself to serious hair issues.
This is the first in a series of articles sharing research that seriously impacts every single person who shampoos their hair in the shower.
Naturally curly hair, straightened hair, relaxed hair and hair styled with a large round brush with intense heat are all affected by the water in your shower. If your hair is colored, bleached or highlighted, the condition of your water affects you. The issue is not a “good or bad” water issue; the issue is specifically about the the conditions of the water that affects your hair every day and how can you best manage your hair knowing those conditions.
What’s in Your Water
You get in the shower to remove dirt and other elements from your hair, scalp and skin. But have you ever thought about how your shower could actually be depositing common minerals and oxidizers invisible to the bare eye? These sneaky compounds latch onto your hair and create a wall of rock that compound and intensify frustrations with your hair. A few of the major culprits include calcium, copper, iron, lead, magnesium and chlorine.
The Temperature of the Water
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We look forward to empowering you, as together we explore customized conditions and wellness solutions in upcoming monthly articles.
Keep in mind that the temperature of your water affects the quality of your hair. Hot water opens the cuticle and allows more of the oxidizers listed above as well as other chemicals to get in. Cold water, on the other hand, closes the cuticle and essentially aids in preventing such factors to enter. It also “locks in” potentially harmful elements, such as those listed above.
Naturally curly hair has more of a flat structure as opposed to straight hair that is round and reflects more light. When you use hot water, the cuticle expands open, allowing more elements into and onto the hair affecting the texture and manageability of your hair.
How Long You Stand Under the Shower
In contrast to when women were shampooing under the faucet at the kitchen sink, most women stand under the shower for long periods of time, allowing warm-hot water to massage their scalp and hair for extended “relaxation.” However, what might be perceived as short term relaxation actually causes more stress due to all the elements blasting through the shower head and attaching deep into the hair structure.
Upcoming articles will help you better understand how your textured hair is uniquely effected by what’s in your water, and how your water affects your hair so that you can make smarter decisions with a better understanding of how to control and manage your hair. Knowing what is in your water, how it affects your hair and other lifestyle choices that impact your hair will empower you to make wiser decisions about the services, styles and the products you choose to use on your hair.
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