Protect Your Hair From Hard Water: The Best Chelating Shampoos

Up to 85% of us live in areas that have hard water. Which makes it really surprising that shampoos to combat the effects of hard water are so unheard of, or marketed very poorly.

Hard water can have very harmful effects on human hair, especially long female hair. The only way to combat the effects of hard water on the hair is to use specialist shampoos and conditioners. That way the harmful content in hard water can be rinsed away.

If you don’t use a specialist hair product and you live in hard water area, you could be suffering from poor hair quality without realizing the reason why. Many people could be spending a lot of time, money and effort on hair treatments that are unnecessary, when the reason for their lank hair is due to the water they are washing with. Are you one of those people?

The great news is that with good quality hair products you can successfully combat the effects of hard water on your hair, and get that shine and luxurious feel that others enjoy.

Why Hard Water Can Destroy Your Hair

Hard water simply means water that is high in mineral content and other agents. Hard water usually contains high proportions of the following:









In particular, it is the magnesium and calcium that can damage the hair. When it rains, hard water is formed as the water works its way through deposits of limestone and chalk, taking on board higher proportions of magnesium and calcium.

So it’s not that the rain falling from the sky is hard, it’s the way it is filtered through the rocks in the area you live that makes a difference.

When you wash your hair with hard water, the substances build up in the hair and the follicles, and are not removed through washing with the shampoo and conditioner. So over time, your hair can be greatly affected by hard water.

The key to changing this is to use what is known as a chelating shampoo. This can help to address the problems hard water can cause:


    Stop hair being dry


    List Element


    Make the hair less tangled


    Stop the build-up of unwanted hard water minerals


Note: This post is part of our series about hard water and its effects on hair. Don’t miss the other posts on that subject:

If you’re not sure whether the area you live in is affected by hard water, there’s a simple test for it:

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What Is A Chelating Shampoo?

When you wash your hair in soft water, you will feel how easily it comes untangled. It is soft to the touch, your fingers run through it easily, and it’s a delight to deal with.

On top of that, soap and shampoo washes out with ease, and the whole process becomes pleasant. Your hair is left feeling soft and luxurious.

But in a hard water area, the hair remains full of tangles, feels flat, and you can almost feel the build-up of toxins, and the way your hair has been stripped of goodness.

To counter this, chelating shampoos have been created. They help to combat the build-up of minerals by literally taking them on, breaking them down and washing them away.

Without getting scientific, it basically does more “heavy lifting” than a normal shampoo.

On top of that, a good quality chelating shampoo will help to moisturize the hair, and then lock that moisture in, helping to protect the hair from damage once it has been stripped of the heavy metals in it.

Should I Use Chelating Or Clarifying Shampoo?

Some people get confused about the difference between a clarifying shampoo and a chelating shampoo. Although they are similar in purpose, they are actually meant to be used for different situations.

A clarifying shampoo is good for removing the build-up of substances on the surface of the hair. So things like beauty products, things like hair spray, air pollutants, stuff like that.

A chelating shampoo is stronger than a clarifying shampoo. Although it does the same thing up to a point, it’s ingredients allow minerals, metals, and chlorine to be stripped from the hair as well.

So if you live in a hard water area, it’s essential that you use a chelating shampoo rather than a clarifying one.

Review: Best Chelating Shampoos For Hard Water

LifeLab Grapefruit Detox Shine Repair Conditioner | Conditions and Locks in Moisture While Absorbing…
Malibu C Hard Water Weekly Demineralizer 12-pk.

Our Choice

Kenra Clarifying Shampoo, 10.1-Ounce
LifeLab Grapefruit Detox Shine Repair Conditioner | Conditions and Locks in Moisture While Absorbing...
Malibu C Hard Water Weekly Demineralizer 12-pk.
Kenra Clarifying Shampoo, 10.1-Ounce
LifeLab Grapefruit Detox Shine Repair Conditioner | Conditions and Locks in Moisture While Absorbing…
LifeLab Grapefruit Detox Shine Repair Conditioner | Conditions and Locks in Moisture While Absorbing...
Malibu C Hard Water Weekly Demineralizer 12-pk.
Malibu C Hard Water Weekly Demineralizer 12-pk.

Our Choice

Kenra Clarifying Shampoo, 10.1-Ounce
Kenra Clarifying Shampoo, 10.1-Ounce

When it comes to choosing a shampoo for hard water areas, you are spoilt for choice. That’s actually part of the problem, there are so many chelating shampoos available, how do you choose one which actually works, at a reasonable price?

To help you, with chosen our top three chelating shampoos to help get you started.

They have been thoroughly tested and researched, to ensure that they are truly capable of stripping minerals and impurities from the hair, while still leaving it looking and feeling great.

They are all reasonably priced, which means it doesn’t matter which one you choose up to a point, any of our three choices are great starting point in getting rid of both that horrible dry and tangled feeling from heavy water, and also removing the build-up of unwanted tones in the hair.

This incredibly high quality detox shampoo is our number one choice. It claims to be able to reverse the dulling effects of product build-up and hard water. It certainly seems to be the case that it can achieve this.

At the heart of this product lays the power of grapefruit seed. It is highly concentrated and nourishing, and is delivered when you wash your hair to help remove toxins and increase durability.

As well as our own testing proving the point, it’s great to read that user reviews on big sites like Amazon also back up the claims being made, with typical positive user experiences like:

Grapfruit Detox Hard Water Shampoo

    «I have hard well water and just one wash with the shampoo, conditioner, and lemon rinse left me with super soft, smooth hair. »

Grapefruit detox shine shampoo by LifeLab is easy to use, a little goes a long way and it really does wash away easily, leaving your hair feeling much softer and stronger.

We love this chelating shampoo because not only does it strip the hair of minerals, but it also helps to remove color build-up. This makes it especially useful if you have colored hair, or if your hair retains unwanted tones.

Some people’s hair can be hard and frizzy, which means the hair is broken and allows toxins in. Over time, this type of hair can allow the build-up of different unwanted tones. Some people in hard water areas for example report that they are always getting a green tint to blonde hair, while others report an orange tint.

User reviews back up product testing, reporting that it’s very good for stripping away brassy colors and unwanted tones:

Malibu Hard Water Shampoo

    «Every time my hair shows a little bit of copper I have died blonde hair swim a lot and have iron in my water so my hair gets a copper tent to it very often I use just half a pack for my hair which is medium length and very fine and every time I use it all the copper has been removed from my hair.»

Make no mistake, this is a high-quality shampoo. However it can dry the hair out if you don’t carefully condition after, and it should be used sparingly, perhaps once a week for maximum effect and minimum damage.

Our third choice is the high quality product from Kenra. It’s a luxurious clarifying shampoo that really hits the mark.

Based around amino acid chelators, it is also strongly infused with grapefruit and witch hazel to create a product that naturally strips minerals from the hair, removes unwanted tones and locks in moisture.

As with the other shampoos, it is very strong and we recommend you only use it once a week on average. This should be enough however, because it is a very high quality product that can really remove all the toxins you could imagine.

User reviews back up our own findings in reporting mainly that this product smells great and works well:

Kenra Clarifying Shampoo Hard Water

    «This product is sophisticated. I wish I had known what clarifying shampoo was before. Kenra makes getting my hair thoroughly shampooed quick and painless. It has a fresh grapefruit smell and it doesn’t dry my hair out.»


We would have actually put this chelating shampoo in first position if it hadn’t been for the price. It really is a high quality product that works brilliantly.

Any of our three recommended products are worth a try if you are suffering from dry and tangled hair due to the water you wash it in.

The key point is to remember that you should use them sparingly, maybe once or twice a week, and to back them up with a very high quality nourishing conditioner.


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