What Type of Shampoo is Good for Well Water?

What Type Of Shampoo Is Good For Well Water featured photo

Private wells are prevalent across the country. And while it’s not inherently so, most well water is hard water. With growing concerns about hard water on the scalp and hair, many wonder what type of shampoo is good for well water.

Using regular shampoos to wash hair with hard well water does more harm than good. The best types of shampoos to use with well water are clarifying and chelating shampoos. Clarifying shampoos get rid of styling product buildup while chelating shampoos remove mineral buildup from your hair and scalp.

Of course, shampoos are not the only part of your haircare regimen you should consider changing when you’re dealing with the effects of hard well water. There are other ways and products you can turn to to repair the damage.

Below, we’ll cover everything you need to know about hard well water and how it affects and damages your hair. Then, we’ll tell you why clarifying and chelating shampoos are your best bet along with other tips for reversing the damage.

What is Well Water?

Well water, also known as groundwater, comes from the ground.

The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that about 23 million households in the United States have private wells and rely on them for drinking, cooking, and daily use of water.

Unlike city or municipal water, well water is an untreated, unregulated source of water. Private well owners are responsible for the safety of their water. That means annual testing and keeping contaminants out of their own water supply.

Is well water hard water?

Well water is not always hard water, but most of the time it is.

Because well water comes straight from underground, it passes through a lot of rocks and soils so mineral content may be present as well.

Hard water means high mineral content. These minerals include calcium, magnesium, salt, iron, and others. The more minerals present, the harder the water is.

Hard water isn’t a cause for concern, even if consumed, but can be a pain to deal with.

How to tell if you have hard water at home

If you’re not sure if you have hard water at home, you can keep an eye out for these telltale signs:

  • White-scale deposits on faucets, sinks, and plumbing fixtures
  • Soaps, shampoos, and detergents don’t lather as much
  • Thin gray film or rusty brown stains
  • Stained and dull clothes
  • Thin, sticky layers of soap and shampoo residue
  • Damage to appliances that use water (coffee makers, dishwashers, washing machines, etc.)
  • Dry skin and dull hair

What Does Hard Water Do to Hair?

Though hard water is not a major health concern if consumed, it can be difficult to deal with it if it leaves stains and white-scale deposits on your home’s bathroom fixtures. Moreover, regular use can have very damaging effects on hair:

  • Flaky and itchy scalp

An incessant itchy scalp is one major tell sign that hard water has damaged your hair and scalp, regardless of various hair types.

When you’re washing your hair with hard water, your hair and scalp feel dry. Moreover, when you use shampoo on your scalp, instead of breaking down all the dirt, natural oils, and debris, the shampoo sticks to your scalp instead. This could make you feel like you have oily hair instead.

Plus with the mineral buildup from hard water, this leaves behind an annoying and itchy soap scum right on your scalp.

What you thought was dandruff due to flaking and itching could very much be due to your regular use of hard water on your hair.

  • Dry, frizzy, and tangled

Mineral buildup not only affects bathroom and plumbing fixtures but also the strands on your head, no matter your natural hair type.

Regularly washing with hard water leaves a buildup of natural minerals on your hair. And when there is too much buildup, this prevents your hair strands from absorbing moisture. This leads to dry hair which can then lead to excessive frizziness and tangled strands.

  • Brittle hair and breakage

When your hair is unable to absorb the moisture it needs, it becomes brittle and straw-like. Dry and brittle hair easily breaks off.

  • Thinning, fine hair and strands falling out

Brittle hair and constant hair breakage can lead to more and more of your hair falling out. And this is only the short-term effect. In the long run, you might end up with thin hair.

  • Dull and lifeless

Dry, brittle, and falling-out hair gives it a dull and lifeless appearance. Where there is an absence of healthy moisture, your hair doesn’t appear shiny, which it should be. It instead looks dull, rough, flat, and lifeless.

  • Discoloration on color-treated hair

Hard water makes it difficult to maintain color-treated hair and chemically-treated hair. It makes hair color dull and colored hair fade faster. Moreover, those who dyed their hair blonde and use hard water regularly will end up with a brassy, orange hair color instead.

How Does Well Water and Hard Water Affect Shampoo?

Hard water makes shampoo difficult to lather.

When you shampoo your scalp and hair with hard water, the shampoo will grab onto the oil and dirt particles and stick to your scalp. And instead of breaking down all these particles and rinsing them off properly, they will remain on your scalp and hair, leaving a layer of residue and soap scum.

Do regular shampoos help with hard water effects on hair?

Regular shampoos are simply not designed and formulated for hard water. They’re not cut out to break down the buildup of minerals on your hair and scalp to do right by your hair health.

To really get the oil, dirt, and mineral buildup out, you would need special shampoos for hard water.

What Type of Shampoo is Good for Well Water?

If you have hard water at home and your hair is suffering the consequences of it, here are the best types of shampoos that will help you with your problems:

A good hard water shampoo: clarifying shampoo

A clarifying shampoo, unlike a regular shampoo, is specially formulated to remove residue and buildup on the hair and scalp. It offers a much deeper and more thorough cleanse than regular shampoo.

Clarifying shampoos have stronger formulas as well. This is why they’re not meant for daily use. They can be considered as a treatment instead. They should not be used too frequently as doing so can dry out your scalp and hair.

They remove buildup from styling products and do so by trapping the residue and buildup so they wash easily with water.

Clarifying shampoos work best for product buildup removal. Those who find their strands oiler and more limp should also reap the most benefits.

The best hard water shampoo: chelating shampoo

A chelating shampoo, also known as demineralizing shampoo, is a special type of clarifying shampoo for hard water, specifically. It contains the ingredient EDTA or Ethylene Diamine Tetra-acetic Acid.

EDTA is a chelating agent that forms bonds with mineral deposits like calcium and magnesium to easily wash them away with water. This effectively strips off mineral buildup on your scalp and hair.

Like clarifying shampoos, chelating shampoos are meant to be used sparingly.

For hard water with very high mineral content, a chelating shampoo may be your best bet.

How to Repair (and Prevent) Damaged Hair By Hard Water

Here are more ways you can repair and prevent hair damage due to hard water:

  • Install a water softener in the shower.
  • Switch to either a clarifying or chelating shampoo to remove product and mineral buildup.
  • Use hair masks and other hair treatments at least two times per week to bring back moisture to your locks.
  • Soften and moisturize the hair with a leave-in conditioner.
  • Rinse with an apple cider vinegar hair solution (one part vinegar to five parts water) to remove the stubborn product and mineral buildup.


While it isn’t always the case, well water is usually hard water. And though hard water isn’t a cause for health concerns, it does do some major damage to the scalp and hair. For the benefit of their hair, many ask and wonder what type of shampoo is good for well water.

Regular shampoos simply won’t cut when it comes to hard well water. To take your hair and scalp’s health to the next level, consider switching to a clarifying or chelating shampoo – the best shampoos for hard water. Clarifying shampoos will help remove product buildup while chelating shampoos are your best bet for stripping off mineral buildup.

And that has been our detailed guide on the query for hard water shampoos. You can reach out to us below for any more of your questions!

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