Real Simpleanswers your questions.

By Real Simple
Updated November 28, 2007
Sang An

Q. Do you have any recommendations for hair and body products for people living in states with hard water?

A. As water travels through the ground, it picks up minerals from rocks and soil. When water contains an increased amount of calcium and magnesium, it is said to be “hard.”

More than 85 percent of the country’s water supply is considered hard, with Texas, New Mexico, and Kansas among the states having some of the highest levels, or hardest water. This type of water reduces the foaming ability of shampoos, conditioners, and soaps and can leave residue in the hair and on the skin even after rinsing. Hard water also prevents detergents from sudsing, and the resulting residue can deteriorate clothing.

By purchasing a water softener or filter, or by buying products that negate the effects of hard water, you can scrub-a-dub with ease. Shampoos, conditioners, and body washes with chelating agents are the best type to use if you don’t filter your water. According to Doris Day, a New York City dermatologist, “chemical chelating agents bond to excess calcium and magnesium minerals, effectively dissolving them.”

With the extra minerals gone, soaps, detergents, and shampoos are able to foam and rinse clean. Pantene and Garnier shampoos and conditioners work well with hard water, as does Olay Ribbons Body Wash. Any type of face or body lotion is fine to use once the residue issue is resolved. Just remember to apply the lotion within three minutes of coming out of the shower or bath to seal in moisture.

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