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

  1. 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.
  2. Frizz: Other than humidity, the most important environmental issue regarding frizz and maintenance of naturally curly hair is the minerals in the water.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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

Tom Porter

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