Asian woman showering outdoors.

Did you know the water in your shower can affect hair health? Water quality is one of the reasons your locks behave differently in other countries – apart from climate, humidity, and your hair products, of course. If you’ve ever noticed how smooth and shiny your hair is in, let’s say, Japan, you may wonder: “Is the water in the Philippines bad for my hair?”Let’s find out.

The Effects of Water Quality on Hair

Water quality is not determined by mere cleanliness or purity but by its physical, chemical, and biological characteristics. In the Philippines, tap water, which is the water that comes directly from faucets or showers, is mostly untreated and unpurified except in Metro Manila. 

It’s also classified as , which is a product of percolating through limestone, chalk, and other surfaces with calcium, magnesium carbonates, and sulfates. This means it has a high mineral content compared to soft water. While hard water is , it can leave limescale on your piles, kettles, and faucets (a good indicator!). It also affects the performance of soap.

Hard water residue can lead to scalp issues.

Instead of creating lather when in contact with detergents in soap or shampoo, hard water forms soap scum. This white and filmy residue can stick to your strands along with oil, dead skin, and product buildup. It’s difficult to rinse off and may aggravate conditions like , which can cause itching and dandruff.

Exposure to hard water can weaken strands.

In addition, a 2018 study published in the International Journal of Trichology found that exposing hair samples to hard water for three months resulted in weakened strands. However, the study notes that shampoos and conditioners mitigate these effects by lifting minerals from the shaft. 

A clarifying product can help cleanse your hair and scalp of residue with continued use. Try Dove Botanical Selection Silicone Free Shampoo for Fresh Hair Clarify and Dove Botanical Selection Silicone Free Conditioner for Fresh Hair Clarify. These have 100% botanical oil and white tea extract, which help soothe and address scalp problems while refreshing your strands.

The high pH of hard water can result in hair fall.

The scalp’s is 5.5 and the hair shaft’s pH is 3.5. Hard water is alkaline with a pH of 8 or 9. A clash in pH levels can increase the friction between fibers and damage, which results in , , and .

Haircycling to Remove Buildup

So, yes, water quality can affect your hair and scalp, but that’s a widespread problem that most people can do nothing about. You could try using a whole-house filtration system to convert hard water into soft water (or buy an expensive yet magical showerhead that does the same). You could also move where the water is soft (Iceland is nice!), but if these aren’t options for you, a can help.

Use products suited to your hair’s needs regularly: anti-dandruff shampoo for dandruff, keratin conditioner for frizz and damage, and hair oils for dryness. But don’t forget to routinely switch to a clarifying shampoo to eliminate inevitable buildup. You could also get a scalp detoxifying treatment at your favorite salon once a month. And don’t forget to rinse well!

Sometimes, a good haircare routine, awareness of products, and proper rinsing are enough. You may not be able to do anything about the water quality where you live, but you can control other factors contributing to your hair’s health.