12 Best Shampoos for Hard Water (+ 3 Good Conditioners to Use)

Finding a high-quality shampoo capable of properly cleaning your hair while also clarifying it in the process might not be as easy as you’d think.

The search gets even more difficult if you live in an area with hard water. If you’re reading this article, you probably already know how deceiving certain brands are about what their product can actually do with hard water. Having lived with hard water for years, we decided to research the market’s highest quality shampoo for hard water in order to save you the trouble of doing so.

woman shampooing hair in shower
With special shampoo made for hard water, you can still get nice lather without wasting half a bottle of shampoo!

If your home has hard water, you know how it can wreak havoc on your hair and need a solution. There are certain things to consider when shopping for this kind of shampoo which we’ll break down for you below but if you’re just looking for a quick recommendation on what to buy, we suggest you check out this Clarifying Shampoo by Kenra

If you are looking for a complete solution to problem hair due to hard water then check out this Wellness Collection by Malibu C, the kit includes: shampoo, conditioner, and packets of weekly “hard water remedy” packets that help remove residue and buildup to restore damaged hair

In any case, if you are still unsure, scroll down to see all our other reviews of several of our other top shampoo picks from budget options to professional salon products. We’ve also included a few good conditioners to consider pairing with your shampoo.  After you pick out a shampoo- you’ll also want to check out these body washes that work well in hard water

Best Hard Water Shampoos to Consider:

Clarifying Shampoo by Kenra:

Kenra Clarifying Shampoo, 10.1-Ounce
Kenra Clarifying Shampoo,

This shampoo by Kenra is definitely one to consider if your hair is a victim of the effects of hard water. This shampoo is not only ideal for dealing with hair treated with products, but it also helps regular hair feel natural again after being stiffed by the minerals present in hard water.

The fragrance is soft but ever-present: it lingers without being too strong, the grapefruit scent that it has gives the shampoo a very natural feel.  

Although it’s not marketed for treating skin conditions, some buyers have mentioned the product help diminish their irritated scalp and negative effects of problems such as seborrheic dermatitis.

Pros:

  • Ideal to use in hard water showers as it properly counters the negative effects of mineral saturation.
  • Shouldn’t cause allergies to the regular person.
  • Doesn’t have a strong odor but rather offers a soft, natural smell.
  • Great for removing the build-up of products in any type of hair.

Cons:

  • It might be too pricey for some people.
  • Weak hair types might not be suited for this shampoo

Malibu C Hard Water Wellness Collection

Malibu C Hard Water Wellness Collection If you live in a house with well water (or any area with very hard water), consider using this Malibu C Hard Water Wellness Collection.

It’s an ideal great if you’re looking to repair and maintain healthy hair when showering with mineral-rich water, especially if you’ve been suffering from its consequences for quite some time already. 

This health kit will not only cleanse and clarify your hair, but it will also make it feel soft again. The collection is made up of Shampoo (also sold separately – see below) conditioner and a weekly Hard Water Remedy Treatment to remove residue and buildup. 

 You don’t necessarily even need to use it for a long time, many users see noticeable results even after using the first remedy packet.

Several Amazon buyer reviews mention getting quick results.

Overall it’s effective, so while it’s expensive you might we still ranked it very high based on the quality and results. 

All the products in the collection are Made in the U.S.A without gluten, parabens or sulfates and are vegan.

Pros:

  • It’s very effective at treating hard water residue-ridden hair
  • Clarifies and brings back your hair’s natural color
  • Works effectively, sometimes even after just one use
  • Reverses the effects of months of exposure to negative toxins, minerals, and chlorine
  • Easy to use.
  • 100% vegan

Cons:

  • The scent is not the most appealing
  • It’s expensive

Malibu C Hard Water Wellness Shampoo

Malibu C Hard Water Wellness Shampoo Volume 33.8 fl. oz.
Malibu C Hard Water Wellness Shampoo

This huge bottle of shampoo made to last for a long time, Malibu C Shampoo is made by the same manufacturer that made the last product that we reviewed. Needless to say, it’s an effective part of the Wellness Collection (albeit pricey). It’s entirely made of natural components with cleansing and healing properties that do a great job at refreshing the way your hair feels.

It’s very safe to use with most types of hair – it doesn’t matter the color or if you dye it or not. Good at cleansing your hair from hard water residue, it’s also a very good moisturizer which improves the way your hair feels after being exposed to soft water.

Pros:

  • Huge bottle that will last for a long time
  • Specifically formulated for hard water
  • Reinvigorates your hair
  • It’s a great moisturizer and cleanser

Cons:

  • The bottle is a little unwieldy, large to handle and hard to get the last bit of product out. 

Ion Hard Water Shampoo

Ion Hard Water Shampoo, 33.8oz This hard and well water shampoo by Ion is an ideal option if you’re looking to turn back the effects of hair discoloration in a short amount of time. This shampoo is effective at reinvigorating and clarifying your hair of negative toxins. Unlike other products, this shampoo doesn’t make your hair feel entangled after using it – a common problem with hard water. 

You can also find the brand’s matching Hard Water Conditioner that goes very well with this product, which is also manufactured by Ion. This hard water shampoo can be used plenty of times per week during a period of months without negatively damaging your hair or its health… If you’re suffering from severe hard water or well water problems, take a look at this shampoo!

Pros:

  • Cleanses thoroughly without entangling your hair
  • It can be used multiple times per week
  • It’s well complemented by the brand’s conditioner
  • It makes your hair feel healthy and soft

Cons:

  • It can dry out your hair after a few months of constant weekly usage

OUIDAD Water Works Clarifying Shampoo

Ouidad Water Works Clarifying Shampoo, 8.5 Fl Oz
Ouidad Water Works Clarifying Shampoo

This clarifying shampoo by Ouidad removes the negative residue minerals from your hair while managing to maintain its natural properties intact. If your hair is naturally moisturized, this product should not affect it in any way.  

The shampoo also does a good job of remove chlorine so it’s an ideal product for users that swim in pools. It’s actually one of the most ideal hair products that you can get if you’re a swimmer with colored hair: it’ll manage to keep your hair as healthy as possible without interfering with its color or damaging it. 

Users with curly hair can also benefit greatly from the properties of this natural shampoo and, as a huge bonus, it has a great scent.

Pros:

  • Ideal to be used by swimmers thanks to its chlorine removing properties
  • Works well with people with oily and curly hair
  • Maintains your hair’s natural moisture
  • Doesn’t damage hair color
  • It has a very pleasant smell

Cons:

  • The scent could be improved
  • Price, this is spendy stuff, some buyers categorize it as a “Luxury” beauty product

Bumble and Bumble Sunday Shampoo

Bumble and Bumble Sunday Shampoo, 8 Ounces
Bumble and Bumble Sunday Shampoo

Do you have oily hair and hard water flowing through your house’s pipes?

Bumble and Bumble Sunday Shampoo can handle both scenarios rather comfortably. In fact, this shampoo is made to thrive in a hard water environment, as its components can detox your hair thoroughly and keep it clean of scummy water residue.

It isn’t an everyday shampoo – look at it as a “once a week” product that you apply to your hair to make sure that it stays free of harming toxins. It’s an amazing -albeit expensive- option that will surely keep your hair as oil-free as possible.

This product also works well as a clarifying shampoo but it’s primarily designed as a weekly detox so you would want to select another shampoo as for daily use.

As a bonus, it doesn’t mess with your hair’s color if you have it dyed as long as you use it only once a week.

Pros:

  • Great for removing hard water residue
  • A good option to fight greasy hair
  • Powerful cleansing 
  • Clarifies your hair

Cons:

  • The product is very expensive
  • Weekly detox, would need a daily shampoo in addition.

Joico K-Pak Clarifying Shampoo

Joico K-Pak Clarifying Shampoo, 33.8 Ounce
Joico K-Pak Clarifying Shampoo

Although this Shampoo by K-Pak may seem expensive at first glance, this bottle is actually made to last for at least one year (if used once weekly for clarifying). It’s a shampoo specifically designed to clarify your hair, and shouldn’t be used in large amounts whatsoever. The bottle is also very large – the product is meant to be used once or twice a month, and it won’t run out any time soon.

If you’re having issues with buildup in your hair, the K-Pak shampoo can be used to effectively fight it. Mineral residues, buildup and chlorine excesses can be easily eliminated from your hair if you apply this product periodically when you shower or bathe.

Pros:

  • Keeps your hair healthy and oil-free
  • Eliminates buildup of reside  
  • Cleanses unwanted minerals
  • Ideal for hard water environment
  • The large bottle that should last for at least one year

Cons:

  • The manufacturer has discontinued production of the pump in the liter bottle and it can be very difficult to find. 

Neutrogena Anti-Residue Shampoo

Neutrogena Anti-Residue Shampoo, Gentle Non-Irritating Clarifying Shampoo to Remove Hair Build-Up & Residue, 6 fl. oz

This relatively small bottle of Neutrogena Anti-Residue Shampoo is an ideal option for those buyers who don’t want to spend a lot of money on shampoo. The shampoo is also ideal for those people whose scalps are very sensitive and prone to rashes, as its not-irritating properties can do wonders for the skin on your head.

The shampoo is ideal to be used if you want to remove residue in your hair once a week, or so. If you live in a house with well water, you can have this bottle alongside your everyday shampoo. You can look at this product as a budget hair cleanser that you can count on every once in a while. If you use it on a daily basis, you will critically damage your hair.

Soap scum can be easily flushed away by applying this shampoo as well.

Pros:

  • It does an amazing job at removing residue buildup in your head
  • Cleanses well after just one application
  • Ideal to be used before coloring your hair
  • Very low price

Cons:

  • Be warned: this product can tangle your hair after using it.

Nioxin Clarifying Cleanser

Nioxin Clarifyling Cleanser, 33.8 oz.
Nioxin Clarifying Cleanser for Removal of Chlorine and Mineral Deposits

Granted, this clarifying cleanser by Nioxin may seem too expensive at first glance but if you take into account the large size of the bottle and that it is meant as a “weekly”, it’s in line with other products on the list and results will most likely make up for that hefty price tag.

It is designed for chlorine and mineral deposits and clarifies your hair extremely well, cleansing all sorts of mineral residue and hard water leftovers from your hair. 

This is an award-winning Shampoo, receiving the Award: Behind the Chair Stylist Choice Winner -Favorite Thinning Haircare for 16 consecutive years! It is used by many professional hair stylist and salons.

Using this product should help your hair feel stronger and healthier thanks to its effective natural properties, only needed to be left in for a minute after lathering into your scalp.

The company recommended following up with this Nioxin Scalp Therapy Conditioner

 

The only thing that you should be aware of is that if you tend to color your hair, this product can damage it and you might need to reapply the dye. We recommend using it only before dyeing it.

Although the product cleanses very well, it can leave your hair feeling a beet too greasy for some people’s liking.

Pros:

  • Incredible hair cleanser
  • The shampoo does a good job as a clarifying shampoo
  • It Makes your hair feel stronger
  • It’s very good for your scalp and your hair’s health

Cons:

  • It can leave your hair feeling greasy
  • It’s a bit expensive

LifeLab Grapefruit Detox Shine Repair Shampoo

Grapefruit Detox Re-Nutrient Shine Repair Shampoo | Reverse the Dulling Effect of Hair Product Buildup and Hard Water, 13.1 Fl Oz
Shine Repair Shampoo

If your hair has been damaged by hard water this grapefruit extract shampoo will do very good at returning it to its former glory.

This shampoo is ideal if you were content with the way your hair was before it became damaged by the environment; it does very well at cleansing all the toxins and minerals off hair fibers and turning them back to how they’re supposed to look like. It’s a quality shampoo, which also belongs to the “affordable” category of hair products compared to many of the other shampoos on the list.

It has a fresh citrus scent and makes your hair feel very natural after each use. The one negative aspect of it is that a few months of constant use might dry out your hair so be sure not to overuse this one. 

Follow the instructions and you should be fine.

Pros:

  • It restores hair to its natural condition
  • Very good at cleansing toxins
  • It’s very affordable and not-at-all expensive
  • It works very well, but you have to follow instructions clearly

Cons:

  • If you use it constantly for more than a few months, your hair might start feeling dry

Activated Charcoal Shampoo by Botanic Health

Botanic Hearth Activated Charcoal Shampoo, Sulfate Free - Daily Clarifying and Cleansing Hair Shampoo for Men and Women

Daily Clarifying and Cleansing Hair ShampooThis clarifying shampoo by Botanic Hearth is paraben free and sulfate free. It can help you thoroughly cleanse your hair and remove any “oily feel” that it might have. Its effectiveness is likely due to the presence of activated charcoal, a substance that does a great job with the removal of toxins.

Its components should also be very effective when dealing with any sort of hard water. After using it, owners should feel their hair softer and even shinier thanks to the removal of oil and the additional conditioners included within the bottle.

The bottle isn’t the only thing that’s black, though: the product itself has the same color and it could cause stains on your shower walls and floor if you don’t rinse it properly.

Pros:

  • Activated charcoal allows a proper removal of toxins and excess oil from your hair.
  • This powerful shampoo is likely to properly deal with the mineral components of hard water.
  • Should leave your hair feeling soft and shiny.
  • Offers a moisturizing feel that lasts for quite some time, as well as a pleasant smell.

Cons:

  • Might stain bathroom walls and its surroundings if not cleaned properly.
  • It could cause allergies to some owners considering the vast amount of chemicals it contains.

Clarifying Shampoo “Three” by Paul Mitchell:

Paul Mitchell Shampoo Three,10.14 Fl Oz, Pack of 1
Paul Mitchell Shampoo Three

This clarifying shampoo by Paul Mitchell works very well with oily hair, and its cleaning capabilities are nothing short of remarkable. 

Ideal for oily hair, especially when dealing with hard water minerals. This Paul Michell shampoo has a mild scent, the lemon scent doesn’t feel artificial.  The price might be a deterring factor for some buyers, as the size doesn’t do much justice to it although it does come from a well-known and respected hair care brand so many say the price is justified by the quality of the shampoo.

Pros:

  • Great for deep cleansing showers:
  • Good shampoo for oily hair
  • Mild scent
  • Seems to work very well when showering with hard water.

Cons:

  • Expensive for its size.

Buying Hard Water Shampoo | What To Consider:

Hard water effectiveness: Buying a shampoo capable of cleaning your hair while being exposed to hard water should be the main attribute to be on the look for. Keep in mind that hard water’s chemical composition affects lower-quality shampoos.

If you are dealing with hard water in your area, you might want to consider adding a simple hard water filter to your showerhead, it’s an easy way to soften water and could reduce the need for special shampoo…or eliminate the problem completely – depending on the level of minerals in that water in your local area. 

mother and daughter shopping for shampoo
Picking out the best shampoo.

Fragrance: Although not as important as the actual effectiveness of the shampoo, having a product with a pleasant fragrance will allow you to feel comfortable using it. Look at it as an important plus to consider when buying – you won’t want to pour a product on your head every day if you’ll feel a weird smell all day!

Oil-removing strength: This is the main element that will help you clarify your hair. Since clarification is often needed after applying special products to your hair, a shampoo capable of removing the excess oil left behind by these products will certainly help you improve your hair’s condition and its overall health.

Final Verdict:

Out of all the options out there and the ones we evaluated, we’ve determined that the Shampoo by Kenra seems to have a great balance between its price, its effectiveness with hard water and its cleansing effect. If you need a shampoo to properly cleanse the oiliness out of your hair, this might be exactly what you’re looking for. Have you ever considered using a shampoo bar? They seem to be coming back into style, especially for traveling- to avoid the mess and hassle of liquid shampoos. We’ve also narrowed down a few that are good for hard water here if you want to take a closer look.

Just remember that each product offers its own individual set of benefits, so even if generally we believe that Kenra’s shampoo does an overall decent job, you might still want to evaluate other possibilities first.