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This Hard Water Shampoo Saved My Brittle, Tangled Hair—and Now I Recommend It to Everyone

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“Feel this? See how your hair feels coarse like a Barbie’s?” my hairstylist Cortney Bliss of Craft + Theory Hair Company asked as she rinsed my shampoo out one day last year. Yeah, I had noticed—but I thought it just meant that I was overdue for a trim.

Instead, she told me that the brittle ends and stubborn tangles I’d been complaining about for weeks were thanks to the high mineral content in my apartment’s water supply, aka hard water. Bliss explained that when someone showers with hard water, the minerals bind to the hair and coat each strand, making the hair feel rough (and difficult to brush). Oh, and no number of Olaplex treatments could help, she added, because they couldn’t even penetrate my strands will all that buildup going on. Great.

The solution? A hard water shampoo. Specifically, Malibu C Hard Water Wellness Shampoo. Bliss recommends this formula to all of her clients who have hard water at home because “It’s the most effective one I’ve found,” she says. “It’s gentle on the hair, and it saves so many people’s hair without having to cut it.” Not sure what kind of water you have? Some telltale signs of hard water are soap scum in your shower, mineral residue on dishes and glassware, and white buildup on your faucets.

After she lathered me up with the hard water shampoo twice (a testament to just how bad my buildup sitch was) and rinsed, I was amazed by how much softer my hair felt. Like, I actually felt like I might be able to run my fingers through it again without hitting a snag.

In addition to removing existing buildup, Malibu C Hard Water Wellness Shampoo is infused with provitamin B5, flax protein and rice protein to increase the hair’s moisture retention and create a protective barrier against future damage.

After using it two times a week for a month and then once a week after that per Bliss’s recommendation, the quality of my mane continued to improve. Three months later, I hardly felt the need to use it anymore. My hair became way easier to brush, and I found myself admiring it in the mirror often (a previously uncommon occurrence). I still use it occasionally to keep buildup at bay, and my hair has honestly never looked better. 

So long, Barbie hair.

$16 at Amazon