Best shampoo for hard water

By: | Last Updated: April 26, 2023

When you think of elements that can possibly cause damage to hair, you’d often think of the obvious culprits — heat damage, too much UV from the sun, chemical damage from hair color and bleaching, maybe even pollution in the air. 

But when you think of water, you’d probably assume it’s the one thing that can do your hair no wrong. 

However, like a lot of damaging factors to the hair, certain types of water can cause unseen harm to your hair. 

Water varies from place to place, and it can be from all different sources. Sometimes, when water is loaded with minerals, it’s considered as hard water. 

Hard water isn’t anything to be alarmed about health-wise, but it can cause a beating on your hair.

Over time, hard water can deposit these minerals in the hair and cause build up. 

Aside from build up, it can also dry the hair out, and affect any colors or dyes you have because of chemical reactions due to the mineral deposits.

Sadly, it’s not easy to just change the water you’re supplied with at home.

However a very simple workaround is to use a shampoo that can beat the effects of hard water. 

Hard water shampoo and conditioner

What makes a shampoo good for hard water? Well, the answer is in the ingredients, of course. 

The simplest solution is to get a clarifying shampoo that can get rid of the mineral build up. Anything that you trust with cleaning away dirt and dandruff should be a great shampoo for hard water. 

Another option is to go for a chelating shampoo. Chelating shampoos work even better than your run of the mill clarifying shampoos because they’re specifically good for minerals. Because of their chemical nature, chelating shampoos bind with minerals, making them easier to wash out of your hair.

But how do you spot a chelating shampoo out in the wild? Well it’s as simple as 4 letters. E-D-T-A. If you spot EDTA  in the ingredients, then you’ve got yourself a mineral-busting chelating shampoo! (That’s Ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid, if you’re feeling fancy.)

If you want to opt for a more natural way to rid your hair of mineral build up (or one that’s easier to remember and spell), then check out shampoos containing apple cider vinegar, or vitamin C. 

Gentle acids do wonders at removing minerals. 

Best shampoo for hard water

Now that you know the basics, here are some of the best options out there for your hair to keep the effects of hard water at bay. 

Best clarifying shampoo for hard water:
Malibu Hard Water Shampoo

Learn more and buy Malibu C Shampoo
Malibu C Shampoo is the best clarifying shampoo for hard water.

If you’re looking for a shampoo that’s literally meant to fight through hard water, then look no further than the Malibu C Shampoo

It’ll be your new best friend especially if you’re looking for an option that values more natural ingredients. 

When you think of clarifying shampoos, especially those best for hard water, it can often come at the price of stripping your hair’s natural oils away. We don’t want that! 

Malibu C’s main ingredient that reverses the effects of hard water is right in its name. Can you “C” it? The vitamin C in this formula gently breaks down mineral build up and lets it wash away without pulling your hair’s natural oils down the drain with it. 

This formula is also cruelty-free and vegan. Plus, it’s safe for color-treated hair.

Pros:

  • Less harmful chemicals in formula
  • Vegan and cruelty-free
  • Contains vitamin C

Cons:

  • Bottle can be a bit hard to work with
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* Prices and Images pulled from the Amazon Product Advertising API on 2024-02-28 at 14:04  

Best drugstore shampoo for hard water:
TRESemmé Clean and Replenish clarifying shampoo

Tresemme Shampoo is the recommended drugstore shampoo for hard water
Our pick for the best drugstore shampoo for hard water is Tresemme Shampoo

If you’re looking for a solution that only requires a quick trip to the drugstore, then this Tresemme shampoo for hard water might be your best bet there. 

It’s already a trusty choice for cleaning out your everyday dirt, product build-up and dandruff. 

This shampoo is double trouble for minerals that have deposited in your hair as it’s formula is enriched by both Vitamin C and EDTA for clarifying and chelating. 

Plus, it has green tea which is another great ingredient when you want extra clean hair. 

The best part about the Tresemme shampoo is that while it’s a surefire cleanser, it does so in a way that’s gentle. This means that you can use it a couple times a week without drying out your hair. 

Pros:

  • Formula contains lots of cleansing ingredients
  • Salon-quality smoothing effect

Cons:

  • May be harsher on thinner, dry hair

* Prices and Images pulled from the Amazon Product Advertising API on 2024-02-28 at 14:04  

Hard water shampoo for curly hair:
PURA D’OR Apple Cider Vinegar Shampoo

Learn more and buy PURA D'OR Apple Cider Vinegar
PURA D’OR Apple Cider Vinegar shampoo for curly hair in hard water.

Hard water is a definite no-no when you want to maintain curly hair. Finding the best clarifying shampoo for curly hair can also be an entire search for the holy grail in itself. 

The Pura D’Or Shampoo ticks all the boxes for curly girls that need some extra clarifying to get rid of the hard water build up that can accumulate. It’s free of sulfates, silicons and other red flag chemicals that curly hair should avoid. 

Meanwhile, the apple cider vinegar provides a gentler cleanse that gets rid of the minerals that make hair coarse and dry. 

As a plus, it contains biotin for thicker, lusher hair and natural oils to keep your curls nice and shiny.

Pros:

  • Curl-friendly cleansing formula
  • Nourish botanical ingredients

Cons:

  • May be drying for very thin hair
PURA D’OR Apple Cider Vinegar Thin2Thick Set (16oz x 2) ACV Shampoo & Conditioner, Clarifying, Detox…*
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* Prices and Images pulled from the Amazon Product Advertising API on 2024-02-28 at 14:04  

Best shampoo for hard water and dry hair:
Dove Nutritive Solutions Anti-Frizz Oil Therapy

Dove Nutritive Solutions Anti-Frizz Oil Therapy is the best shampoo for hard water and dry hair
Dove Nutritive Solutions Anti-Frizz Oil Therapy works best for hard water and dry hair.

Hard water can be especially damaging on hair that’s already predisposed to dryness. The minerals that build up harden the hair and make them even dryer and more prone to breakage. 

This Dove shampoo for hard water is one of the best options for dry hair. Dove is known for their rich, nourishing formulas and this is definitely one of them. 

With a blend of coconut, argan and almond oil, it brings back the nourishment into your hair while eliminating mineral build-up. 

It’s a gentle formula, despite being a chelating shampoo containing EDTA! 

Plus, don’t let all the oils scare you away. It’s actually quite a lightweight formula, especially considering all the nourishment it can bring. 

Pros:

  • Nourishing formula for dry hair 

Cons:

  • Strong fragrance
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* Prices and Images pulled from the Amazon Product Advertising API on 2024-02-28 at 14:04  

Best chelating shampoo for hard water:
Neutrogena T/Gel Therapeutic Shampoo

Neutrogena T/Gel Therapeutic Shampoo is the best chelating shampoo for hard water
Neutrogena T/Gel Therapeutic Shampoo Original Formula

If those minerals are being extra stubborn in your hair, then a tried and true option is the Neutrogena T/Gel. 

It’s a go-to drugstore option for bad dandruff and even psoriasis, so you bet it can pack a punch against hard water.

The secret ingredient? Coal tar extract. Now, while it doesn’t sound as fun as argan oil or fruit extract or vitamins, trust them on this. According to experts, it keeps cleansing the scalp even hours after your shower. 

While it’s recommended to use this twice a week, it’s gentle enough for everyday use. 

Pros:

  • Anti-itch clarifying formula 
  • Gentle on the scalp

Cons:

  • Strong scent
Neutrogena Therapeutic Anti-Dandruff Shampoo – 16 Fl Oz*
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* Prices and Images pulled from the Amazon Product Advertising API on 2024-02-27 at 22:02  

Image
Malibu C Hard Water Wellness Shampoo (9 oz) - Hydrating Sulfate-Free Shampoo for Hair Vibrancy -...*
Tresemme Shampoo Deep Cleansing 500Ml*
PURA D'OR Apple Cider Vinegar Thin2Thick Set (16oz x 2) ACV Shampoo & Conditioner, Clarifying, Detox...*
Dove Nutritive Solutions Anti Frizz Shampoo for Frizzy, Tangled Hair Oil Therapy with Nutri-Oils...*
Neutrogena Therapeutic Anti-Dandruff Shampoo - 16 Fl Oz*
Name
Malibu C Hard Water Wellness Shampoo (9 oz) – Hydrating Sulfate-Free Shampoo for Hair Vibrancy -…*
Tresemme Shampoo Deep Cleansing 500Ml*
PURA D’OR Apple Cider Vinegar Thin2Thick Set (16oz x 2) ACV Shampoo & Conditioner, Clarifying, Detox…*
Dove Nutritive Solutions Anti Frizz Shampoo for Frizzy, Tangled Hair Oil Therapy with Nutri-Oils…*
Neutrogena Therapeutic Anti-Dandruff Shampoo – 16 Fl Oz*
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Malibu C Hard Water Wellness Shampoo (9 oz) - Hydrating Sulfate-Free Shampoo for Hair Vibrancy -...*
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Malibu C Hard Water Wellness Shampoo (9 oz) – Hydrating Sulfate-Free Shampoo for Hair Vibrancy -…*
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Tresemme Shampoo Deep Cleansing 500Ml*
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Tresemme Shampoo Deep Cleansing 500Ml*
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PURA D'OR Apple Cider Vinegar Thin2Thick Set (16oz x 2) ACV Shampoo & Conditioner, Clarifying, Detox...*
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Amazon Prime
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$29.99
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Dove Nutritive Solutions Anti Frizz Shampoo for Frizzy, Tangled Hair Oil Therapy with Nutri-Oils...*
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Dove Nutritive Solutions Anti Frizz Shampoo for Frizzy, Tangled Hair Oil Therapy with Nutri-Oils…*
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$9.79
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Neutrogena Therapeutic Anti-Dandruff Shampoo - 16 Fl Oz*
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Neutrogena Therapeutic Anti-Dandruff Shampoo – 16 Fl Oz*
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* Prices and Images pulled from the Amazon Product Advertising API on 2024-02-28 at 14:04  

Homemade shampoo for hard water

Now, there are tons of options out there for drugstore, high-end and even luxury shampoos that can be good if you have to contend with hard water every day.

But did you know you can make your own homemade shampoo?

Whether you just want to experiment, need a quick fix for vacation somewhere that has hard water, or if you want a long-term fix that you can whip up on your own, here are a few options:

Homemade Apple Cider Vinegar Shampoo

You might have noticed that a lot of the options at the drugstore contain trusty old apple cider vinegar that you might already have at home! 

So, if you don’t want to go through the trouble of buying and testing out a new shampoo, then you can try DIY-ing one.

It might take a couple of washes for your hair to adjust to this, but it might just be worth a shot!

All you need is some water, apple cider vinegar and baking soda. 

  1. Put a few tablespoons of baking soda into a squeeze bottle and cover it with water. 
  2. Shake until the baking soda and water are well incorporated 
  3. Working in sections, apply the mixture to your scalp
  4. Rinse out with ½ cup of apple cider vinegar

Coconut milk shampoo

If you’re looking for a bit more of a project, and have some time to stand over the stove for a bit, then this DIY shampoo is an extra nourishing option. 

Unlike the baking soda “shampoo” that doesn’t bubble or lather, this recipe is a lot more similar to traditional shampoo. 

You will need a bar of castile soap, aloe vera juice and full-fat coconut milk (one with no additives!).

To amp up its effects versus hard water, rinse this shampoo out with apple cider vinegar

  1. Grate ⅓ cup of the castile soap and add it into a pot. 
  2. Add ¼ cup of the aloe vera juice to the pot. 
  3. Cover the mixture with ½ cup of coconut milk
  4. Place on low heat and allow all the soap shavings to melt into the coconut milk and aloe vera juice 
  5. Once everything is fully incorporated, take off the heat and let it cool before using. 
  6. Store in the fridge when not in use!

Then, it’s as simple as using it like normal shampoo. Don’t forget that ACV rinse!

Tea tree oil shampoo

If the coconut milk concoction is a bit heavy for you, you can try and benefit from the clarifying effects of tea tree oil. 

This recipe is a spa treatment in a bottle with ingredients like herbal infusions, honey and tea tree oil. It results in a very gentle mixture that uses the tea tree oil to knock out the build up caused by hard water. 

Aside from the ingredients mentioned above, all you need is some castile soap! You can pick up the liquid kind, or melt down a solid bar for this one.

  1. Prepare ¼ cup of your herbal infusion of choice by soaking tea or a few sprigs of fresh herbs in some hot water for about 20 minutes. Make sure to use distilled water and bring it up to a rolling boil to kill any bacteria! 
  2. Place your herbal infusion into a bowl. Strain out any of the tea or leaves in the mixture. 
  3. Mix in ¼ cup of liquid castile soap
  4. Add ⅛ cup of honey for extra nourishment and germ-fighting action
  5. Then, add in 30 drops of our special ingredient–tea tree oil!

And voila, you have an extra nourishing clarifying shampoo mixed up at your own kitchen counter. 

Looks like hard water isn’t that hard to deal with after all! 

Once you have a good clarifying shampoo in your arsenal, and some DIY tips and tricks in case you’re caught in a pinch, you’re all good to go. 

No more dry, brittle hair and weird discoloration! 

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