You just moved into a new home, and out of nowhere your hair is dry, brittle, and not as shiny as it usually is.
You’re using the same products and treating your hair the same as before, so what gives?
If your new house uses well water, it could be that the cause of your damaged hair is actually the water you’re using in your shower. So, is well water bad for your hair, and is there anything you can do about it?
Is Well Water Bad for Your Hair?
Some types of well water are not good for your hair and may damage it over long periods. It often contains high levels of minerals like iron, magnesium, and calcium. These can build up on the scalp and hair, making them dry, brittle, and prone to breakage. You can use well water long-term for your hair, but the water must be treated correctly before use.
Which contaminants in well water could be bad for your hair and why?
Well water differs from city water because it doesn’t go through a treatment plant. Because many people use city water, the city ensures it is safe to use by building treatment plants that filter out various contaminants.
The water is then deemed safe to drink for the general population.
Well water doesn’t go through various filters to remove all the contaminants. As a result, it is more likely to contain things like chlorine, iron, lead, magnesium, calcium, and other minerals.
Small amounts of magnesium are good and may even prevent cardiovascular disease. Iron can help transport small amounts of oxygen through your blood.
But, over time, these can accumulate on your hair and scalp, causing damage to the hair follicles. Your dry hair follicles end up drying out and will break easily .
While the contaminants in well water can harm your hair, you’ll want to determine if there are any other causes before taking action.
Other causes of damaged hair & how to be sure well water is to blame
Unlike soft water, well water has contaminants that may harm your hair color and texture.
But it isn’t the only cause of hair damage.
Your hair care routine, over-styling, regular heat treatment, and harsh styling products can all take a toll on your hair.
Erin Elizabeth, a beauty influencer, didn’t know what was happening to her hair and needed help. “I went to my doctor, I had a blood test done, I had my hormones checked, but nothing seemed to work.”
To be sure that well water is the culprit for your damaged hair, you should start by eliminating other possible causes. For example, overusing hot tools or using too many hair products.
Changing your hair care routine
Try to use alternative hair products that are natural and organic. Strong shampoos and conditioners often contain harsh chemicals that can strip your hair of its natural oils and cause dry, brittle strands.
You should also try to reduce the number of times you wash your hair every week. Washing more than three times a week can strip your scalp and hair of essential oils, leading to breakage and split ends .
Don’t put your hair through lots of stress, like extremely hot water or getting your hair treated constantly.
Getting a water test
To be entirely sure if your well water is to blame for your healthy hair loss, get a professional water test for well water.
It’s the only way you’ll be able to get definitive evidence if your water has too much iron or other contaminants.
The professional test will include a water-collecting kit you will use to gather the water.
Once collected, you’ll send it to the lab for testing. The results will let you know the water quality and how many contaminants are inside.
You can expect to get your results within a week or two.
Need to find out what’s damaging our hair fast?
We recommend My Tap Score’s Home Well Water Testing Kit.
You’ll know how hard your water is and if it contains iron within one week of testing (five days, to be exact).
It’s also endorsed by the US Water Systems Council.
Treating hair damaged by well water
Once the damage has been done, you will need to put in some extra work to get your hair healthy again.
Elizabeth says, “hard water can be extremely damaging for your hair and skin because the minerals can cause a buildup.”
An apple cider vinegar rinse can help to remove the minerals and toxins from your hair. 
Mix equal parts of apple cider vinegar with water and pour it over your hair after shampooing. Leave it on for a few minutes before rinsing it off with cool water.
Apple cider vinegar has several benefits for your hair, such as:
promotes healthy scalp
reduced color fading
detangles your hair
reduced hair loss
Using a clarifying shampoo at least once a week is also important. This type of shampoo helps to collect any excess oil and rinses it away.
The result is your hair will have more volume and healthy hair growth.
Leave-in conditioners also promote hydration at the roots of your hair. Your follicles won’t be as vulnerable to breaking.
Avoid using hot tools and excessive heat or chemical treatments, as they can further damage your hair.
You should also be mindful of how you are styling your hair; tight ponytails, cornrows, and buns can all cause serious breakage if done too often.
If the damage to your hair is severe, you may need to seek the help of a doctor. They can prescribe topical medications that can help the infected areas.
How to Fix Your Well Water & Prevent Damaged Hair
You don’t have to suffer through damaged hair when showering with well water.
Some solutions will remove the problem contaminants from the well water.
Using A Water Softener
The best way to fix well water, so it doesn’t damage your hair is to install a water softener to reduce minerals.
A good water softener should be able to remove magnesium and calcium, which will soften your water.
Water softeners come with an option to have them salt-based or salt-free.
Salt-based softeners use ion exchange to break down the minerals in your water. This softens your water and will make the water much less likely to damage your hair.
Salt-free softeners use a method that crystallizes minerals and prevents scales. But it’s not a softener at all – it’s technically just a ‘descaler.’ While it will protect your appliances from scale, it won’t soften the water or help your hair.
So if you think hard water may be causing problems for your hair, look at some of the water softeners we found to be best for well water.
Using a Shower Head Filter
A more accessible and less costly option is installing a water filter on your shower head.
While this solution won’t solve hard water in other parts of the home, it can protect your hair from damage.
Find a filter that fits your specific water head and then replace the filter every few months. This way, you can be sure that your water’s contaminants are filtered out before they reach your scalp and hair.
The Berkey Shower Head Filter is well-reviewed by users with hard well water who have issues with their hair and skin.
Using A Whole House Iron Filter
After doing a professional water test, you will need to use a whole-house iron filter if you have too much iron in your well water.
These systems are made to remove high levels of iron from your water and require little maintenance.
Once installed, you’ll start seeing the difference in your hair, with less breakage and more softness.
Protect Your Hair
Well water has an abundance of contaminants like iron, magnesium, calcium, and chlorine. You’ll need to take action to prevent it from damaging your hair.
Installing a shower head filter, water softener, or whole house filter will prevent further damage to your healthy hair.
Using the tips in this article, you can protect your hair and fix your well water problem for good.