If you live in an area that is serviced by well water, you may notice the effect that it has on your hair. The high concentrations of iron, calcium and magnesium contained in hard well water often build up in the hair and create unattractive stains or tints in the hair. It is extremely difficult to remove this buildup because the cleansing power of shampoos and soaps is usually affected by the content of well water. Fortunately, there are several methods to remove well water from your hair at home, many of which involve inexpensive products that you may already have around the house.
Many companies make shampoo that is specifically designed for hair with orange stains from rust or buildup from other well-water minerals. Instructions vary by product, so follow the usage guidelines on the packaging. For particularly noticeable stains, you may consider washing your hair more often than you normally would to speed up the removal process. Rust removal conditioners are also available, which help reduce well water stains and moisturize hair so it does not become dry or brittle.
Vinegar is often used as a cleansing rinse for hair, and it works well for well-water buildup as well. White or apple cider vinegar usually works best, and should be mixed with water so it does not dry or damage the hair. One part water to one half part vinegar is an effective solution. For extra cleansing, cream of tartar may be added to the mixture as well. Allow the solution to sit on the hair for approximately 10 minutes and wash it out with cool water. The vinegar rinse should not be used more than a couple of times a month because it can dry the hair.
To remove mineral deposits in the hair left from well water, you can also try rinsing with lemon juice. Because of its acidic nature, lemon juice helps remove residue left on the scalp and hair from calcium, magnesium and other well-water minerals. For best results, work the lemon juice through the hair and allow it to sit for approximately 10 minutes. Rinse hair with warm water afterward. This may be done on a weekly basis. Using a lemon juice rinse has the added benefit of making hair shiner.
Using warm oil on your scalp may also help remove well-water buildup from your hair. Olive oil is the usual choice, but coconut oil may work as well. The warm oil helps soften buildup that has accumulated at the scalp, so it may be rinsed away. Be careful not to overheat the oil; warming for a few seconds is usually sufficient. Work the warmed oil into your scalp and massage for approximately 30 to 40 minutes. You may also wrap a warm towel around your head when the oil is on the scalp to create steam and deepen the effect. Rinse hair afterward and the well-water residue should wash out.
In some cases, well water deposits iron in the hair, which leaves red stains that are not easily removed. As a result, the best remedy is to be patient and allow the hair to grow, so the stained section can be trimmed away. You must be sure to use mineral-free water when washing your hair, however, or the stains may return.