As most of you may know, we are currently living in London and I have been here for a little over a year now. In the time that I was here, I was able to discover the positives and, unfortunately, the negatives, of this beautiful city. One of the negative aspects of living in London, which I found out the hard way, is the hard water!
Water is considered to be hard when it has a considerably high amount of minerals in it (specifically calcium and magnesium). The types of rocks present in a certain area are the defining factors of whether the water will be hard in your region or not. This type of water is a huge problem because it is more difficult to form a lather with soap and shampoos making it harder to eliminate dirt and grease, can block your pipes, decreases your appliances’ life span and the build-up can clog your pores and hair, so products don’t penetrate with ease (which is a huge problem especially if you’re on a hair journey).
When I first got to London, I noticed a huge difference in my skin and hair right after I took my first shower. At the time, we dint have filters installed, and I felt that my hair was super sticky and lifeless and my skin was very dry. As the months went by, I noticed that my hair was getting thinner and that I always had split ends. Even when I would constantly cut my hair, my hair was always uneven and broken; one side was always longer than the other and it didn’t look healthy. To make things worse, I had an allergic reaction on my hands because of the high concentration of minerals in the water and after a trip to the doctor, I found out that I had eczema because of it.
In my hands, I noticed that they swelled up and had small fluid-filled blisters that were very itchy.
When it came to my hair, I noticed excessive breakage, that it was uneven and lifeless. The conditioners and moisturisers that I used weren’t penetrating my hair shaft so my hair was never moisturised as well.
No one knows the cause for sure for my eczema, but my doctor assumed that it was the hard water because I only had this allergic reaction on my hands. We installed shower filters after we noticed how hard the water was, but since I don’t wash my hands in the shower all the time, the only part of my body that was exposed to hard water were my hands.
The reason that my hair was breaking was the hard water. The minerals present in the water would clog my hair and wouldn’t allow any moisture to get in, so my hair would be super dry and start breaking.
To get my skin better, I only wash my hands now with filtered water. If I’m home, I use a water filter (here) to wash my hands; if I’m not, I either wash them with bottled water or I make sure to wash them again as soon as I get home. Before I sleep, I wash my hands with a very gentle soap-free cleanser and I use glycerine oil to hydrate my hands. By doing this, my hands have improved.
Now, to wash my hair, I only use filtered water and I deep condition a lot (with moisture-based and protein-based conditioners) to try to recover from the damage caused by the hard water. What I did as soon as I installed the filters, was wash my hair with a sulphate-shampoo to remove all of the build-up and minerals and then I did a protein treatment; I altered between protein and moisture deep conditioners with more frequency and I only wore protective hairstyles (like buns and braids) to protect my ends and let my hair grow in peace. Since my hair was already broken, there was nothing I could do except wait for it to grow and cut the damage out gradually and avoid any more. Since I started doing this, I noticed that my hair is getting better and there is only a little bit of damage left to cut and my hair will be back to normal.
This story is just a way to tell you guys that not everything in this journey will go according to plan and that sometimes, you may hit some bumps along the way but that doesn’t define your journey. The trick is to identify the source of damage, eliminate it and keep going. As much as in the moment you may be sad and disappointed, don’t give up because you’ll get through it!
Have you had any setbacks on your hair journey? If you did, let us know about it in the comments.