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How to care for curly hair in soft water

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Did you know? 85% of American homes and 70% of India has hard water – water that contains high levels of calcium and magnesium. It’s no wonder you hear a lot of talk about hard water problems. Not all water is made equal though. Your curly hair routine still needs an adjustment if you have soft water. Here are some soft water mistakes you can avoid for curly hair.

How do you know if you have soft water?

If your shampoo lathers a lot even in the smallest amounts, you likely have soft water in your taps. Your clothes and utensils may clean well, but your feels different. Do you curls feel flat? Curls feel soft and has perpetual frizz? If you answered yes to any then read on to learn more if soft water is good for curly hair.

Disclaimer: Since I share so much about curly hair products, naturally, my article will contain affiliate links to products I use and love. If you take action (i.e. make a purchase) after using my code I earn coffee money! Which I promise to drink while creating more helpful content like this.

Mistake # 1. Taking soft water for granted

Remember: Soft water can add moisture to curly hair


Depending on your texture, soft water can actually feel moisturizing for curly hair. Since soft water has more conditioning properties, you can detangle your hair more easily with soft water. It’s important that you give this water a chance. Saturate your hair with soft water and try detangling hair just with water before adding excess amounts of shampoo or conditioner.

Mistake # 2. Using too much shampoo

Use small amounts of shampoo or alternate with DIY Acid rinses instead


Shampoos lather easily in soft water but are hard to rinse completely out. You may notice that taking a shower in soft water makes your body feel slippery. When I first start using softened water after moving to Doha, I used the same amount of shampoo I previously used with hard water in India. See below my hair, how frizzy and dull as a result of it.

Minimize the shampoo “quantity” for best results in soft water. Try using just one dollop for scalp and another little dollop for hair to avoid buildup from shampoo. Alternating shampoo with apple cider vinegar (ACV rinses) helped me remove buildup, and encouraged more lightweight curls!

Mistake # 3. Over Conditioning

Hair with too much moisture feels heavy. So think about all the hair products that add moisture? Conditioner is on the top of the list, followed by hair mask, and hair creamSkip the conditioner when you cowash or use hair mask. Even if you want to use, use less quantities of conditioner with more water. When in doubt, add more soft water, not product! This way hair doesn’t get over-conditioned, feeling dull and looking greasy.

Mistake # 4. Using heavy Styling Products

Thick creamy looking products can be very moisturizing to your hair. Keeping that as your guide, look for water-based lightweight products. For example, instead of using a creamy hair gel (Jessicurl Spiralicious), switch to a clear hair gel (Giovanni LA Hold). Instead of using hair gel, switch to hair mousse or hair spray or serum gel (Treluxe Reflex Serum, discount code: HONESTLIZ15) . Also available in India, discount code: HONESTLIZ to shop here.  

Mistake # 5. Not upping the Protein in your routine.

Here’s a thumb rule: whenever curly hair feels limp and stretched out, that’s your cue to introduce more products with coconut oil, or protein in your routine. Fine curly hair, wavy hair, and colored hair textures thrive with protein products already. But if you have soft water then upping the protein in subtle ways help get the bounce back in your stretched out curls! See my go-to’s below and more products with protein listed here. 

Curly Hair Products for Soft Water


There are many advantages to soft water over hard water for hair. It softens hair, its easier to detangle with soft water. But you still need to stay alert and avoid these common mistakes with soft water for curly hair. Hope this helps you transition better.

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1 thought on “How to care for curly hair in soft water”

  1. Thank you so much for this post! We recently installed a new water softner after our old one died. I’ve noticed my hair is frizzier and more dull, especially on top layer. I’ve been applying same amount of products I used with no water softner and old one which obviously wasn’t working as well as new one. Next wash, less cleanser and conditioner and more water! ❤️

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