6 Best Shampoos For Hard Water 2024 | Remove Buildup For Softer Hair

6 Best Shampoos For Hard Water 2024 | Remove Buildup For Softer Hair

By using the best shampoos for hard water you can remove buildup on hair and scalp and get softer, silkier hair.

Hard water contains a higher concentration of minerals, for instance, magnesium, calcium, chlorine and more.

I know you might think that mineral doesn't sound too bad. But in fact, these minerals build up on the hair scalp and harden on your shaft.

The result? You get drier and fragile hair, and oftentimes it also causes a change in the colour of your hair as well. Also these layers on your hair make any normal shampoo or conditioner tough to penetrate and moisturise your hair. 

But luckily, there are a lot of chelating and clarifying shampoos that help tackle mineral buildup from hard water. Find them below!

Title of the Products Suitable for Hair Types Top Ingredients
Malibu C Hard Water Wellness Shampoo Dry Hair Cocamidopropyl Betaine
Pacifica Strong and Long Moisturizing Shampoo All Hair Types Hydrolyzed Rice Protein, Aloe Vera
Sachajuan Scalp Shampoo Normal Hair  Salicylic Acid, Rosemary
Aquis Rebalance Hair Wash All Hair Type Keratin and Cysteine Amino Acids
Girl and Hair Apple Cider Vinegar Hair Rinse Chemically treated hair Apple Cider Vinegar, Tea Tree Oil
Ion Hard Water Shampoo Colored Hair Sulfonate, Coco Betaine, Glycerin, Linseed oil

Take a look at the quick comparison for the different shampoos for hard water below:

Shampoos For Hard Water Malibu C Shampoo Pacifica Strong & Long Shampoo Sachajuan Scalp Shampoo Aquis RebalanceShampoo Girl + Hair ACV Rinse
Price Expensive Affordable Affordable Very Expensive Affordable
Mineral Removing Properties 4/5 3.5/5 5/5 4.5/5 4.5/5
Gentle On Scalp 4/5 4.5/5 3/5 4/5 4.5/5
Sulfate-Free  Yes Yes No Yes Yes
Suitable For Colored Hair Yes Yes No Yes Yes

Top Shampoos For Hard Water 2024

Malibu C's Hard Water Wellness Shampoo

Best Hair Shampoos for Hard Water

I was attracted to the Malibu C's Hard Water Wellness Shampoo as it is a 100% cruelty-free and vegan shampoo. I have tested a lot of shampoo formulas to combat the effects of hard water, and I personally feel that there's nothing better than this particular formula. 

On using it, I found that this shampoo gently helps in detoxing my hair and removing discoloration and the accumulation of minerals on my scalp and hair strands. 

It also left my dry and rough hair smoother and silkier. I found combing and detangling hair much easier too,  so I can say it also makes it a lot more manageable. 

I also liked how the Malibu C's shampoo offers you a paraben and sulphate free gentle formula. So peeps with color-treated hair can use it without a second thought! 

malibu hard water shampoo

And it contains rice protein extracts which are supposed to help in strengthening the strands, along with making them glossier. But while I concede it’s a good shampoo for hard water, I didn’t see any of the hair strengthening effects. 

I have dry hair, so I use this shampoo on my scalp once a week. But you can use it 3-4 times if you have oily tresses. 

It’s mild enough for daily use but it’s very expensive. So I’d suggest keeping it for your fortnight hair cleansing rather than use it everyday. 


  • It is 100% cruelty-free and vegan so it’s eco-friendly
  • It is paraben and sulphate free so it’s gentle on hair
  • It has antioxidants in it that helps heal hair damage


  • It gets a bit tough to get the formula out of the bottle due to the packaging
  • It is a bit expensive so you can’t use it daily 

My Ratings-

  • Chelating and clarifying power- 5/5
  • Gentle formula- 4.5/5
  • Mineral targeting claims- 5/5

Who It's For - Extreme Product Buildup

Pacifica Strong and Long Moisturizing Shampoo

best shampoo for hard water

Although Pacifica Strong and Long Moisturizing Shampoo is for every hair type, I personally feel it is bliss for people with damaged, dry, and colour-treated hair like mine. 

I mean, if you have dry hair, the last thing you would want to do is make it even drier. 

So, that's when I reached out to this formula by Pacifica for a gentle lather and smooth cleanup of your mineral buildup. I found this shampoo also helps in getting rid of the excess oil and debris on your scalp.

But I love how despite this thorough cleansing it didn’t leave my hair dry at all!

Its major ingredients contain vitamin E, coconut oil, and a blend of fruit oils as well. So that’s one of the reasons why it’s so moisturizing. 

All these components also helped in making hair shiny. So bonus points for that! 

best shampoo for hard water hair fall

Oh, and I find it's coconutty fragrance heavenly, and I am sure it will remind you of the summer beach days too. But this is an artificially-added perfume. 

So if you have a very sensitive scalp it might not suit you. So be careful to test it out on a small patch before using it on the regular.

You can use this formula thrice a week or as you feel like, it’s mild enough that it won’t dry your hair. And it’s affordable enough that you don’t have to worry about using little products. 


  • It doesn't strip your hair of moisture or color as it’s sulfate-free
  • Contains nourishing oils that add moisture and shine to hair
  • It is a vegan and cruelty-free cruelty-free shampoo so it’s great for animal lovers!


  • It might turn out to be too gentle if you have an extreme buildup
  • The shampoo's formula is too thin so you might end up using more product 

My Ratings-

  • Chelating and clarifying power- 3.5/5
  • Gentle formula- 4/5
  • Mineral targeting claims- 4.5/5

Who It's For - Dry, Damaged Hair


Sachajuan Scalp Shampoo

best shampoo for hard water and oily hair

Sachajuan Scalp Shampoo is what I prefer to call a performance-driven formula. While hard water can dry your hair and make it look dull, it can also possibly stress out your scalp and cause irritation and itchiness, leading to dandruff. 

So, I got this shampoo as my scalp was feeling irritated and itchy. And Sachajuan promised to help. 

Did it? Yes and no. I liked how the formula will relieve your itchiness and scalp irritation, along with mild cases of dandruff. 

But It is a clarifying shampoo that offers a deep clean, especially thanks to it’s salicylic acid-based formula which is basically a chemical exfoliator. So if you have color-treated hair…RIP.

It made my hair very clean. It soothed my scalp. But it also dried out my hair. I made the mistake of using it thrice a week and I ended up with straw-like hair.

best shampoo for hard water and oily hair

The Sachajuan shampoo is also on the pricier side. I mean it costs less than Malibu C but you can still get more affordable products out there (especially sulfate-free ones!)

I guess this shampoo is suitable for those who want to get rid of mineral buildup and dandruff and who have oily hair.  

But if you have dry, color-treated hair, I’d suggest you stay away. 


  • It is a cruelty-free formula so yay for animal lovers
  • It contains salicylic acid that clarifies and soothes the scalp
  • Sulfate-based formula is good for removing excess oil and build-up


  • It contains sulphates so not for color-treated hair
  • It is a bit pricey compared to other sulfate-free formulas

My Ratings-

  • Chelating and clarifying power- 5/5
  • Gentle formula- 3/5
  • Mineral targeting claims- 3/5

Who It's For - Oily, Dandruff-Prone Scalp

Aquis Rebalance Hair Wash

best shampoo for hard water and dry hair

Although in this edit, all I am focusing is on shampoo for hard water, here's a thing: wet hair in any type of water is extremely prone to breakage. So, keeping that in mind, Aquis came up with Rebalance Hair Wash to defend your hair from any sort of water damage. 

I was intrigued by this and decided to try this shampoo despite the high price tag. 

One thing that I loved is that the shampoo formula uses plant-based cleansers for deeper cleansing. No sulfates here!

And it gently removes all the dirt and buildup on your scalp effectively, along with balancing your pH levels. 

So my kind-of sensitive scalp was thankful for this!

Adding to that, its botanical extracts makes your scalp feel clean and strand healthy. 

The only feature or aspect that I didn't like about this shampoo is that it has a rather thin formula, so at times I had to apply it twice or thrice to actually clean my hair all along. 

But otherwise, and overall, this hair rebalancing shampoo is really going to work wonders. Given the price tag, I suggest you use it as a weekly cleanser rather than an everyday shampoo.


  • It is a lightweight formula so it suits oily hair
  • It is sulfate-free so good for color-treated hair
  • It has hydrating aloe formula moisturizes dry hair
  • It ensures a deep clean without stripping moisture from hair


  • Doesn't lather well so you might end up using more product
  • It is very expensive, so cannot be used as a everyday product

My Ratings-

  • Chelating and clarifying power- 4/5
  • Gentle formula- 4/5
  • Mineral targeting claims- 4/5

Who It's For - Color-Treated Hair

Girl and Hair Apple Cider Vinegar Hair Rinse

best shampoo for hard water and grey hair

I reviewed this product as I was looking for a hair shampoo formula that is made up of all-natural ingredients, is cruelty free and works for your hair buildup.

And I was glad to have discovered the Girl and Hair Apple Cider Vinegar Hair Rinse ACV formula. 

I personally loved this product as it removed all sorts of buildup and dirt from my scalp. 

Also, if you want to go DIY for its basic Apple Cider Vinegar formula, you can by making your homemade shampoo for hard water.

Homemade shampoo for hard water

But let me tell you this, Girl and Hair ACV formula is one of the most affordable and most practical modes to get rid of your buildups. 

All you would require to do is apply this formula by replacing your old regular shampoo and using it twice or thrice a week. 

And I am assuring you personally that the results you are going to get will be immensely amazing. 

But be warned, this is a hair rinse not a shampoo in the traditional sense. So if you’re looking for lots of lather and a deep clean you’ll be disappointed. 


  • Suitable for numerous hair types as it’s completely natural
  • It nourishes and cleanses the hair without removing moisture
  • Its botanical extracts help in restoring the damage 


  • A rather small bottle or amount 
  • It might not suit everyone (people might get allergies from it) 

My Ratings-

  • Chelating and clarifying power- 4/5
  • Gentle formula- 3.5/5
  • Mineral targeting claims- 4/5

Who It's For - Curly/African American Hair

Ion Hard Water Shampoo

ion hard water shampoo

I think this is one of the few hard water shampoos that works well with color-treated hair. It doesn't contain SLS or SLES that can strip hair dye or leave hair and scalp too dry. There is sulfonates and coco betaine in the shampoo but these are comparatively mild cleansers and won't be as harsh as a sulfate.

This shampoo also contains linseed oil and glycerin so it won't leave your hair as dry as other hard water shampoos are like to do.

The first time I used this I was pleasantly surprised to see that there was no hair dye run off. Otherwise my shower turns colorful due to the runoff from my hair color when using a clarifying shampoo.

My hair didn't feel very dry or frizzy as I usually brace myself for it to feel like. It felt soft, voluminous and very nourished.

I would also recommend it for people who have curly or even type 4 hair. It can bring life back to your curls. You just need to use it judiciously.

hard water shampoo for curly hair

The bonus? The fragrance. Yes, this means it has a lot of added perfume components. But gosh, did it smell good!


  • Completely removes any mineral buildup in one wash only
  • Doesn't contain SLS or SLES so it's not too harsh on hair
  • The glycerin and linseed oil in the shampoo helps keep hair moisturized


  • Too strong at clarifying, might leave hair dry 
  • Contains sodium chloride which can weaken keratin treatments or perms

My Ratings-

  • Chelating and clarifying power- 5/5
  • Gentle formula- 3.5/5
  • Mineral targeting claims- 4.5/5

Who It's For - Hair with severe mineral buildup

How I Tested and Rated these Shampoos for Hard Water?

As the issue is not something uncommon, there are a lot of products in the market claiming to help, but are they all worth trying? Well, to narrow the list down to only the best shampoos, I tested them through the following parameters and then came up with this list. After which I rated them on a scale of 1-5.

Chelating or clarifying power- Chelating products are specifically made for clearing the mineral buildup off your hair, and clarifying products clear the excessive oil and other residues as well. So, as per your necessities, you can opt accordingly. 

Gentle Formula- It is always advisable to choose a gentle formula shampoo. So, while cleaning your hair, it doesn't strip them off of its natural oils. 

Mineral Targeting Claims- While choosing a shampoo, one of the most important things is to choose a product that claims to clear the mineral buildup, especially calcium, copper, and iron. Also, vitamin C is considered as one vital ingredient to clear up the buildup. 

Wrapping Up On The Best Shampoos For Hard Water

There are times when you will think that your hair looks lifeless and dull because of the styling tools, colour, and stuff that you use on them. 

But is it really the case? Well, it could be but one of the major reasons that you might have hard water running through your taps. 

Also, you can pay professional attention to getting rid of the mineral buildup and then add all the moisture needed in your shafts and scalp. 

But I think we all look for the easiest ways first and, what can be easier than adding shampoos to our hair care routine? 

That's why these were the best hair shampoos that I found for protecting your hair from hard water. 

So, give these shampoos a shot and see the best results for yourself!


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