When the water out of your tap is saturated with minerals, finding the best shampoo for hard water can be difficult. Those deposits of mostly magnesium and calcium can lead to dry, dull hair and discoloration for those with lighter tones.
While the limescale buildup and soap that doesn't foam up much aren't fun, hard water isn't dangerous. However, those minerals can pile up in your hair, often leaving it flat and brittle. "The most effective way to combat hard water buildup is to use a clarifying shampoo as often as recommended by your stylist," says Tammy Cox, a color ambassador for Z.one Concept North America, but she wants to emphasize that what's recommended "is always on a person-to-person basis and depends how much mineral buildup is in the strand."
Key ingredients to look for in a clarifying shampoo (aka a "chelating" shampoo)? Various forms of EDTA are tried-and-true chelating agents, while apple cider vinegar is a great natural alternative that can be gentler on color.
No matter what you choose, since clarifying shampoos strip hair by design, they can also be drying, so don't forget to follow up with a heavy-duty conditioner or a nourishing hair mask. Cox suggests applying the treatments, gently combing through, and waiting five minutes before rinsing.
While some choose steps like installing a filtering shower head or a water softener to deal with their hard water, you certainly don't need to for great hair. Read on for our seven picks for the best shampoos that will keep your strands shiny and full of volume even in the face of hard water — whether you have dry, oily, or color-treated hair.