When we shower or bathe every day, we do not often think about the way in which the additives in our water might effect our bodies or specifically our hair. Often it’s just a matter of turning on the shower, waiting for it to be warm enough, then getting under the water and doing what we need to do. Yet if we stopped to think for a moment what was actually inside the water we bathe and how those additives actually effect our hair, we might take a second thought before getting under that stream of shower water.
The water we use and is supplied to our homes varies greatly. Not all water is the same. There are regions of the country where water is drawn from underground sources, so the water is far more full of minerals and other things which might be in the soil, such as metals. Other regions might draw most of their water from over ground sources, so the water would have far less minerals but because of the exposure to the open, it may contain more organic material. Water companies also need to put chemicals (such as Chlorine or Chloramine) in our water supplies to kill that any bacteria and germs that are in the water or may be picked up in the pipes along the way to our homes. So depending upon where we live, we might live in an area where our water supplies are harder (more full of minerals) but has less chlorine, or we might live in an area where the water is softer, but has more anti-bacterial chemicals. Either way – the water we bathe and shower in is not as straight forward as we might superficially think.
When it comes to the health of our hair, hardness and added chemicals can play a major factor in the health and vibrancy of our hair. Below we will discuss various hair types and how unfiltered showering and bathing water can adversely effect our hair.
Those of us with oily scalp and oily hair would benefit greatly from showering in filtered water. The chemicals that are put into our water supplies to kill bacteria are solvents (such as Chlorine) and can be found in many cleaning products. This means that even if we do not wash our hair every day, simply by immersing our hair in unfiltered water we are running a powerful oil stripping chemical through it. When our hair and scalps are stripped of oil every day in this manner, our bodies naturally react by producing more natural oils to protect our scalp and hair. In some cases the body will produce too much oil to overcompensate and this can actually be the cause of over oily hair.
Curly and Nappy Hair
Curly and nappy hair (such as hair of Afro-Caribbean decent individuals) are notoriously difficult to manage and to keep healthy. One reason for this is that those with this type of hair can often put their hair through a lot of chemical treatments to straighten the hair. These chemical treatments will always contribute to hair damage. There is no way curly or nappy hair can be straightened without actually damaging the hair. When hair is damaged in this way and it encounters further chemicals found in unfiltered shower or bathing water, the hair will get further damaged and split ends and hair will begin to actually look damaged.
It is recommended that curly and nappy hair is not shampooed every day, therefore bathing in a water supply which is very hard (high in mineral contents) these minerals can easily lodge themselves within the dense fibers of the hair and produce an effect on hair shafts that is similar to the white hardness marks and stains that can be seen on glass shower doors.
One of the hardest parts of maintaining long beautiful hair is split ends. Split ends are a sure sign of hair damage. Shower water which is unfiltered will strip away natural oils from hair, which will lead to dry hair and eventually lead to split ends. It is extra hard for those who have long hair to maintain a good balance of natural oils because the hair shafts are so long and more oils need to be produced to keep the hair healthy and long. Therefore it is vital for anyone who wants to maintain healthy long hair to ensure that natural levels oils in the hair and the scalp are produced.
Coloured Treated Hair
Coloured treated hair is highly susceptible to the negative effects of unfiltered water. Chlorine and other additives in our water supplies are specifically produced as a solvent. Any colour treatment on hair, be it a wild colour or even blonde highlights will wash away at a much higher rate if washed in unfiltered water than those washed in filtered water.
In conclusion the natural oils in our hair and scalps is a major factor in the health and well being of our hair. If we want to maintain the utmost level of health in our hair or if we want to maintain the perfect healthy hair for our particular hair type, we need to stop washing and bathing our hair in unfiltered water. Instead to protect our hair we should install a shower, bath or tap filter to remove solvents and hardness which contribute to the degradation of the natural oils in our hair.