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We have spent many years dodging raindrops and running from swimming pools because of what water can do to our hair. Freshly straightened tresses have had to undergo an extreme protective procedure to prevent reverting or “washing out a relaxer”. From wearing pony tails to bonnets, scarves or do rags, covering and protecting the hair from moisture, including perspiration, is common practice. 

Some issues surrounding water/moisture and Afro textured hair are:

If we wash our hair too often, it will strip a relaxer or color

I can’t work out because the sweat will mess up my hair

I can’t swim because I can’t get my hair wet

 

So many women forego relaxers to be free from the stigma related to relaxers and yet still find themselves trapped in a net when it comes to caring for their hair. Going natural and water are supposed to go hand in hand, but there are still concerns about combining the two. So often, it has been said that even with water, people are finding that their hair is still very dry. The spray bottle filled with water is a staple hair care item for naturals, but what is happening that people are finding their hair drier and drier after using water? 

While water is our hair, skin and scalp’s best friend, there may be some unfriendly contaminants in water that changes the way it affects our hair and skin. Have you ever showered and found that your skin is overly dry? It could be the water itself. 

Tap water may contain some of the following contaminants:

  • Chlorine
  • Fluoride
  • Aluminum
  • Dirt or Rust
  • Copper or Lead
  • Calcium
  • Pesticides or Herbicides
  • Magnesium
  • Nitrates
  • Fertilizer

 

When you think of the bottled water age, and how people are no longer drinking water from their own faucets, this same idea gets lost when it comes to bathing. If you live in an area where you are closer to sea level or where the water filtration is poor, you may also find that you have softer skin and hair. For instance, in New Orleans, a city under sea level, has water that may come out of the faucet a yellowish brown color, and is not safe to drink, but works wonders for the hair and skin. This is because the water has not been through such harsh filtration systems as in some other cities. To a fault, however, bathing in sitting water could cause bacterial infections in women because of the environmental contaminants that aren’t killed off during the filtration process. Topically, it may be safe, but may cause illness if ingested without a filter on the faucet. Likewise “sulfur” or well water may have a bad smell because it contains a high amount of gas. This is because the water basically isn’t filtered enough, but it isn’t considered dangerous. 

Water that has been through a rigid filtration system is also known as “hard water”. This type of water can wreak havoc on the hair in skin especially in colder climates and winter months. Contaminants may still find their way into tap water because of aged pipes or sewer systems in older homes or neighborhoods. So the cause of dry hair may not be in the products you use after you wet your hair with water, it may be the water itself. 

What is the remedy? Well, it would be extreme to buy bottled water to bathe in or to boil all the water you use for your skin and body, but you can simply invest in a filter that can assist in softening the water from your shower head. 

Some other factors that can cause hair to be very dry are not shampooing the hair regularly, avoiding conditioner, not using moisturizing products between washing and using too many protein rich products. Always review your hair care regimen and the products and methods you use to see if a small change will make a big difference.