soft water vs. hard water

Hi - I just got back from a week in CA (I live in NYC). My hair looked BAD all week. Here in the city, my fine hair has volume and softness. There, it was far from that. It laid flat, and I wasn't able to get the curls to look as good. I;m just curious, are you supposed to use different products when washing / conditioning with soft water (NYC) or hard water (CA) ?
thanks - Karen
I know a lot of curlies love hard water, because the minerals help weigh their hair down, but I'm not one of them! My hair, like yours, loves soft water and I get lots of volume, softness and shine when I'm in a place that has it.

I've found that when I'm living in places where there's hard water, I have to use much stronger products - no creams or my favorite light-hold gels! - and I have to clarify, co-wash or use a gentle 'poo a whole lot more often.
I am astounded that you find the water in NYC to be soft. I find it very difficult to work with.
St Louis Blue, I thought of you immediately!

I'm a hard water-hater. Nothing much seems to help. I have a bunch of propaganda that says that hard water is better for your health (all those minerals and metals) but even if it's true, I'd rather have softer water and I'll take my minerals in supplement form.

Chlorine levels in municipal water can also vary wildly.
formerly Castella
(my dogs aren't snarly, my hair is)
How do you know if your water is hard or soft. We moved in January and it seems like since then my hair has been very difficult so I know it's because of the water change I just dont know what I changed from or to!
Central Massachusetts

One good reason to only maintain a small circle of friends is that three out of four murders are committed by people who know the victim. ~George Carlin~

In regards to Vagazzling: They just want to get into the goods without worrying about getting scratched up by fake crystals. ~spring1onu~
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On trips to CA, I usually find that the dry weather is what makes my hair flat and lacking in curl.
I don't think it's only a matter of hard vs. soft; I think it matters which minerals are present. If crusted up mineral depositis on the fixtures is any guide, the hardest water I've ever dealt with was in Spain. However, whatever those minerals were, they just held my hair down without causing my conditioner to bead up or anything. Same with north Maine, just heavy gloppy water, but no dusy residue.

Also, other additives make a difference, too. I think the water in Chicago is technically soft, but something about it makes my hair curl up into the tiniest ringlets ever. They're not especially frizzy, just tiny.

Water is the hardest part of this whole game, as far as I'm concerned.
I feel your pain. I live in Florida which has not only hard water but extra, extra hard water. Imagine my surprise when we moved down here 3 years ago. OMG, overnight my hair was a tangled snarly mess.
We ended up getting a water softener which works great when I can get the water level set correctly. Oh and the amount of chlorine also throws off the hard soft water balance. Last year, our local water company was doing it's annual water cleaning, which means that they put super mega doses of chlorine in the water for a good 6-8 weeks. My eyes burned for weeks and my hair was scary. Oh and they didn't tell any of their customers. So, we had to raise the number that we set the softener to. That worked for a while but now I have tested the water twice and it tests super hard again so I have to play with the water softener again to find the correct magic number.

Anyhoo, Ouidad makes a really good poo for hard water and so does Robert Craig. I used both and they both work really well. I still use the Robert Craig water testing strips because they give really good reliable results. I have included links for both. http://www.ouidad.com/productadvisor...l=2&p_id=91200
http://www.merchantamerica.com/rober...&category=4316
"Wonder Twin Powers, Activate! "
Thansk for the water testing link! When we had the well tested to move in - would that give me any details?
Central Massachusetts

One good reason to only maintain a small circle of friends is that three out of four murders are committed by people who know the victim. ~George Carlin~

In regards to Vagazzling: They just want to get into the goods without worrying about getting scratched up by fake crystals. ~spring1onu~
Thansk for the water testing link! When we had the well tested to move in - would that give me any details?
Originally Posted by xcptnl
The test strips will tell you whether your water is super hard, hard or soft.
"Wonder Twin Powers, Activate! "
Oh yes, it makes a HUGE difference. When I lived in New Mexico, the water there had varying degrees of hardness(all pretty hard though!). There was a standing joke around about "Santa Fe hair" - dry, dull, and droopy from the hard water. Of course, many people there were into the totally natural look whether it looked good on them or not(as in no haircoloring, lack of a decent haircut, whatever the length, and no visible makeup of any sort either - in fact almost any kind of glamour(aside from some wealth folks)was almost frowned on! I don't how many scraggly-haired women I saw at Wild Oats-especially older women. Clarifying shampoos and treatments are a must in that situation to make one's hair behave and look better. I found that the hard water, along with the extremely dry climate, made my curls loosen a good bit, especially when I first moved there(my hair freaked out and went almost straight at first) I'm a mixed texture 2C-3A, so my curl pattern is not as tight as other curl types, so it was more obvious. Anyhow, when I moved back to SF that has much softer water, the difference in my hair is stunning. I don't have to use as much shampoo either to get my hair clean with the soft water. With hard water I had to use twice as much.
Now I know the solution to my hair problems and why my hair is always so much softer and frizz-free when we're staying at our holiday house (south of Switzerland)! I did some research and found out that the water here is VERY hard whereas in the south of Switzerland it's soft.
I told my mum (who's also a curly - grey 3b/a) about it and we're going to try rinsing with filtered water first, and if that makes any difference and my father agrees we're maybe going to buy a water softener.
Natural blonde 3b with some 3c & 3a, thick and coarse
modified CG since September '06
I'm a Cali girl and I must say that having really soft water in Santa Barbara (also CA) was horrid for me. I like my hard water that actually gets soap and things off. Bleh.
OMG, LOOK!!

...It's a siggie.
I decided to post because I saw a few generalizations and inaccurate statements that could lead many "viewers" to the wrong conclusions.

First, unlike one_red_cent, to date I've never heard of any curly who really prefers really hard water, it causes way too many problems! But I think some are confusing normal water, which contains a certain amount of minerals, with hard water which leaves visible residue on bathroom and kitchen fixtures very quickly and even tastes "funny". Normal water doesn't cause any problems and it's preferable to sodium softened water because you can't ever seem to rinse products off well enough with it.

Second, in almost every state it's almost guaranteed that the water could be very different from one region to another, city to city, and even within one city because many places have well water too. I live in FL, which is a big state, and I can't agree with Jerseycurl because I think the water where I live is fine.

2A/3A, medium length, layered, colored dark/medium ash blonde - "CGer" since April '02.

"Converting the 'curlskeptics' one curly head at a time..." HWHC
I decided to post because I saw a few generalizations and inaccurate statements that could lead many "viewers" to the wrong conclusions.

First, unlike one_red_cent, to date I've never heard of any curly who really prefers really hard water, it causes way too many problems! But I think some are confusing normal water, which contains a certain amount of minerals, with hard water which leaves visible residue on bathroom and kitchen fixtures very quickly and even tastes "funny". Normal water doesn't cause any problems and it's preferable to sodium softened water because you can't ever seem to rinse products off well enough with it.

Second, in almost every state it's almost guaranteed that the water could be very different from one region to another, city to city, and even within one city because many places have well water too. I live in FL, which is a big state, and I can't agree with Jerseycurl because I think the water where I live is fine.

Originally Posted by HalfWavyHalfCurly
My data not only comes from my experience but from my local water company that told me , when I first moved to Florida, that hard water is a part of life in Florida and then proceeded to tell me to get use to it. I too prefer normal water to softened water.
"Wonder Twin Powers, Activate! "
I prefer normal water to soft water too. I'm so tired of trying to get things rinse out of my hair! I can't just rinse well and be done with things oooooooooooh no no no. It's such a pain! And rinse soap off the body? It's a chore!
At least if you have normal or hard water you can put on a softner. No one makes anything that I can find to help things get rinsed out of my hair and off the rest of me.

It's easy to get over conditioned, hard to get volume. I suppose I don't have dry hair that's something but that's because the conditioner won't get the heck off my hair!
2c/3a?
Low porosity, medium texture.
http://public.fotki.com/Medusahair/

If it smells good put it in your hair, if it tastes good spit it out!
Jerseycurl:

I used to live in Dover, DE where the water was really hard and once we lived with my m-i-l for a while and her house had a sodium water softener which I didn't like, couldn't drink the water either, tasted salty so I bought bottled. I moved here 10 years ago and I suppose by comparison it has never seemed to me that the water here is hard BUT I'm one of those that can't use Suave COs on a regular basis because their ingredients bind with the minerals in our water and cause build up pretty soon. However, other than that I have done very, very well on CG which doesn't seem to work well at all for those who have truly hard water.
2A/3A, medium length, layered, colored dark/medium ash blonde - "CGer" since April '02.

"Converting the 'curlskeptics' one curly head at a time..." HWHC
I moved from New York City to a hard water area, and have also found that I have to shampoo my hair more frequently with harsher products. I also can't condition as much because the conditioner weighs may hair down and flattens my waves.

The way I can tell I have hard water is if I boil water, a white ring of mineral deposits is left over on the pot after I boil the water off. I also get limescale deposits around the taps on my sink.
I moved from New York City to a hard water area, and have also found that I have to shampoo my hair more frequently with harsher products. I also can't condition as much because the conditioner weighs may hair down and flattens my waves, and just general makes my hair look greasy and dirty.

The way I can tell I have hard water is if I boil water, a white ring of mineral deposits is left over on the pot after I boil the water off. I also get limescale deposits around the taps on my sink.
Jerseycurl:

I used to live in Dover, DE where the water was really hard and once we lived with my m-i-l for a while and her house had a sodium water softener which I didn't like, couldn't drink the water either, tasted salty so I bought bottled. I moved here 10 years ago and I suppose by comparison it has never seemed to me that the water here is hard BUT I'm one of those that can't use Suave COs on a regular basis because their ingredients bind with the minerals in our water and cause build up pretty soon. However, other than that I have done very, very well on CG which doesn't seem to work well at all for those who have truly hard water.
Originally Posted by HalfWavyHalfCurly
Oh, ok that makes sense. See prior to moving to Florida I had never lived in a place with such crappy water. For me I can do CG here in this part of Florida but not for very long without buildup and my hair when I rinse it in the water down here becomes a rat's nest. I need not only lots more poo but globs and globs of condish to detangle. I started CG when I lived in Virginia and never experienced this and we didn't have a softener then because we didn't need it. Oh and very true about the sodium water softeners. We don't drink the water either. Hubby, Me and our Cats drink bottled water. We are still experimenting with the potassium which is supposed to be better.
"Wonder Twin Powers, Activate! "

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