If you’ve ever felt that no matter how much you moisturise your skin, or how dutifully you care for your hair, neither feel quite as you’d like them to, hard water could be to blame. Not just responsible for scale-studded kettles and sluggish dishwashers, Vogue explores why hard water might be your biggest beauty nemesis yet.
Something extraordinary happens when you go on holiday. The hair is the most lustrous it’s ever been, and seems stronger and more resilient. Your skin is somehow softer, without needing to be duly massaged with lotion. Your complexion? Positively glowing. Of course, snoozing until noon with your biggest dilemma being the choice between a margarita or a mojito does play a role, but otherwise, there’s something in the water.
The UK is home to some exceptionally hard water, with cities like London, Newcastle and Oxford among the worst afflicted. Aside from leaving something resembling tectonic plates atop your cup of tea, limescale and hard water can play havoc with your skin and hair.
From exacerbated eczema to lifeless locks, hard water can be the culprit for a myriad of beauty woes. Vogue investigates how to spot the symptoms, and how to solve them…
What is hard water?
According to Byron Bedford, who is CEO of ProEconomy (the company that treat the Royal Family’s water), it’s the mineral quality that affects the hardness. “It may have flowed through limestone and chalk, which leaves deposits of calcium and magnesium. Soft water, on the other hand, is largely free of minerals – falling rain, for example.”
Cosmetic dermatologist Dr Sam Bunting listed some of the tell-tale signs of hard water as “Soap not lathering sufficiently, your clothes feeling rough to the touch, a build-up of scale on your taps and a sort of “film” on shower doors or bathtubs.”