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The 27 Best Shampoos and Conditioners for Hard Water

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aida turner

Published by Aida Turner

Fact checked by Annie

I moved to a new state, and my hair changed color.

It looked dull and felt dry.

At first, I chalked it up to a change in the climate.

But then I began to notice white residue building up on the shower door and the faucet.

Someone explained to me that all of this was due to hard water.

As soon as I switched to the best shampoo and conditioner for hard water, my hair improved.

It was a cheap and easy fix as I was renting and couldn’t afford to install a water softener.

I thought I’d share my experience in hopes that it helps you, too.

If you’re wondering how you get rid of hard water buildup in your hair, here’s the solution.

Best Overall

Amazon best-selling product B00194Q7BC

Our rating

Malibu C: Natural Protective Hard Water Wellness Kit

  • Restore your hair
  • Paraben free, sulfate free
  • For dry hair

Amazon best-selling product B07QHHW5V6

Our rating

Color Wow Dream Filter Pre-Shampoo Mineral Remover

  • Perfect for permed and color-treated hair
  • Packed with vitamins, especially vitamin E
  • Infused with aloe vera
Best Value

Amazon best-selling product B08SSM21R4

Our rating

REDKEN All Soft Shampoo

  • Climate Pledge Friendly
  • Contains argan oil
  • For dry, brittle hair

What hard water does to hair?

Hard water contains minerals and metals that buildup on your strands and scalp.

This residue makes it challenging to rinse shampoo from your hair and soap from your body.

It also reduces the amount of lather.

Worse, hard water will fade color-treated hair more quickly. And it may alter your natural color.

But perhaps the worst outcome is drier, brittle locks, and even hair loss.

The 27 Best Shampoos and Conditioners for Hard Water

But for daily use, choose a gentle hydrating shampoo.

1. Malibu C: Natural Protective Hard Water Wellness Kit

Product Overview

Have you heard about Malibu C shampoo for hard water?

It comes in a kit with daily use conditioner plus deep-conditioning Remedy Packets.

It’s the best way to reclaim the health of your hair.

It eradicates the impurities and toxins that buildup and dull and dry out your hair.

  • Infused with sweet almond oil
  • Contains panthenol and glycerin
  • Has panthenol and aloe vera
  • Packed with beneficial vitamins

Even after only one treatment, you’ll see the luminosity and softness return.

Moreover, this is a sulfate-free shampoo.

Not every sulfate-free shampoo is suitable for hard water, but this one definitely is.

It’s made for all hair types and adults as well as kids.

Malibu C has been in business in the USA since 1985. Their products are vegan and made without parabens or gluten.


  • Leave-in formula
  • Works great for saltwater
  • Locks in the moisture

The Cons

  • The package might be broken

2. Color Wow Dream Filter Pre-Shampoo Mineral Remover

Product Overview

Whether or not you’re naturally blond, this shampoo and conditioner will protect your beautiful coloring from dulling residue.

  • Packed with beneficial vitamins
  • Based on botanical extracts
  • Infused with aloe vera
  • Leaves a nice, fruity smell

It brightens highlights, too.


  • Defends agains dandruff
  • Removes chlorine and bromine
  • Works great with both hard water and seawater

The Cons

  • The packaging might be broken

3. REDKEN All Soft Shampoo

Product Overview

If you don’t need a hair mask, get this shampoo and conditioner set instead.

Both products have a pleasant scent.

  • Perfect if you have hard water at home
  • Contains high level of vitamin E
  • Infused with argan oil
  • Great formula for dry and brittle hair

After you wash with them, they don’t just remove hard water buildup. They also repel the damaging minerals.

Feel free to shampoo every day if needed.


  • Removes the chlorine from hair
  • Works great with copper and other metals
  • Makes your hair soft and healthy

The Cons

  • Doesn’t smell so great

4. Malibu C Swimmers Wellness Shampoo & Conditioner Liter Duo

Product Overview

Swimmers know all about how chlorine, saltwater, and hard water can wreck hair.

  • Packed with beneficial nutrients
  • Contain keratin
  • Infused with aloe vera
  • High levels of vitamins

They need this shampoo and conditioner to remove chlorine, salt, and minerals.

The products prevent tangling and eliminate odor.


  • Deeply hydrates your scalp
  • SProtects against heat and UV damage
  • Improves manageability and seals the cuticle

The Cons

  • Not for oily scalps

5. ION Hard Water Shampoo & Conditioner Set

Product Overview

ION is another smart choice if you’re going up against hard water in your home.

Their shampoo and conditioner are mild enough for daily washing. Yet it’s powerful enough to fix and defend against discoloration.

  • Works great for kids
  • Packed with beneficial vitamins
  • Contains aloe vera
  • Infused with watercress and chamomile

The vegan formula improves manageability by moisturizing and healing damage.


  • Provides the needed nutrients
  • Removes minerals from hard water
  • Ideal for all hair types

The Cons

  • Dries your hair if not properly used

6. Klorane Clarifying Shampoo with Citrus Pulp

Product Overview

One of the best drugstore shampoos for hard water is made by Klorane.

This brand uses natural, plant-based ingredients to cleanse and refresh your scalp and hair.

The shampoo is enriched with citrus pulp that removes residue from normal or oily hair.

  • Doesn’t contain harsh sulfates
  • Infused with vitamin C
  • Mild formula for every day usage

It also has antioxidants to repair damage from air pollution, styling products, and hard water.

The formula is free of sulfates and parabens. You only need to use it once a week to benefit from it.


  • Neutralizes the chlorine
  • Works great with seawater
  • Perfect for dry hair

The Cons

  • Contains silicones

7. Klorane Vinegar Shine Rinse with Chamomile for Blonde Hair

Product Overview

Klorane’s Vinegar Rinse restores brilliance and brightness to blond hair and blond highlights.

  • Paraben-free conditioner
  • Completely vegan formula
  • Prevents tangled hair
  • Donec iaculis lorem.
  • Aenean consequat cursus.

It releases mineral deposits from the hair shaft and scalp. It also prevents static electricity and tangles.


  • Protects against hard water
  • Removes salt and other minerals
  • Deeply moisturizes your hair

The Cons

  • Has silicones

8. Grapefruit Detox Re-Nutrient Shine Repair Shampoo

Product Overview

LifeLab designed this sulfate-free shampoo to detox your hair and scalp. It’s gentle enough for color-treated hair.

Not only will it reverse hard water damage, but it also removes other impurities from pollution or styling products.

The end result is shiny, bouncy hair.

  • Packed with antioxidants
  • Works perfect with hard water
  • Great repairing properties

What’s more, the grapefruit scent is all-natural. It appeals to women and men alike.

And it’s formulated without artificial dyes, parabens, DEA, phthalates, or fragrances.


  • Makes dry and weak hair healthy again
  • Leaves a nice scent
  • Provides natural shine all day long

The Cons

  • Smell filled with overwhelming perfume

9. Living Libations – Organic Shine On Conditioner

Product Overview

Never skip conditioner when you’re dealing with hard water!

To get the most from the shampoo above, follow up with the companion conditioner.

  • Perfect for fine hair
  • Packed with plant proteins
  • Infused with wheat extracts
  • Doesn’t weight down

It ensures a glossy appearance.

Furthermore, it’s made to nourish both your scalp and strands. You don’t need to use it only on the ends, even if you have oily hair.


  • Nourishes hair follicles
  • Deelply cleanses and hydrates
  • Detoxifies your scalp and hair

The Cons

  • Doesn’t help with heat damage

10. Lemon Rinse After Conditioner Rinse

Product Overview

For extra-clean, shiny, and manageable hair, finish up with the Lemon Rinse.

It’s pH-balanced to restore moisture and eliminate frizz.

  • High levels of vitamin C
  • Deep cleansing effect
  • Organic plant oils
  • Works great with sensitive skin

More important, it’s perfect for managing oily hair and scalp. Just use it up to three times per week.

The formula is free of sulfates, parabens, phthalates, DEA, artificial fragrances, and dyes.


  • Leaves your hair silky smooth and soft
  • Penetrates deeply into your skin and hair
  • Provides a nice scent

The Cons

  • Strong perfume

11. Aveeno Scalp Soothing Apple Cider Vinegar Blend Shampoo

Product Overview

Aveeno is a name brand that many trust. Their apple cider vinegar shampoo doesn’t disappoint.

It’s a clarifying formula that provides a satisfying cleanse for your hair and scalp.

It gets rid of hard water residue and restores shine and bounce.

  • Safe for color-treated hair
  • Can be used daily
  • Works great with sensitive skin

But don’t worry – it doesn’t smell like vinegar at all. It has a delicious fragrance.

You might be interested to know that it contains oats, just like every other thing they make. The oats come from a small town along the Mississippi River.


  • Repairs and prevents future damage
  • Reduces frizziness and dryness
  • Does a great deal moisturizing

The Cons

  • Not for oily curls

12. Aveeno Scalp Soothing Apple Cider Vinegar Blend Conditioner

Product Overview

Here’s the conditioner for the shampoo above.

I know that people with oily hair, many guys, and those of us in a hurry are tempted to skip the conditioner.

But you wouldn’t be reading this article if you didn’t want to solve the problem of hard water hurting your hair.

  • Infused with aloe vera
  • Organic plant extracts only
  • Contains lavender and chamomile
  • Infused with rosehip seed oil

Don’t skip out on an essential weapon in the battle.

Use a conditioner to moisturize and soothe your scalp and tresses.


  • Deeply moisturizing effect
  • Hydrates your scalp and hair
  • Leads to a silky smooth hair

The Cons

  • Contains some chemicals

13. Neutrogena Anti-Residue Shampoo

Product Overview

Neutrogena’s anti-residue shampoo is very potent.

It’s not sulfate-free.

Don’t plan to use it more than once a week. Otherwise, it may dry out your hair worse.

  • Hypoallergenic formula
  • Infused with aloe vera
  • Contains cucumber and chamomile
  • Contains cucumber and chamomile

Plus, definitely follow up with a deep conditioner.

It doesn’t just remove hard water residue, it also clears away any other buildup like that of dry shampoo.

Fortunately, it’s safe for color-treated hair when used as directed.


  • Moisturizes and reduces itchiness
  • Strengthens your hair with protein
  • Seals the moisture inside your hair

The Cons

  • Has silicones

14. Sun Bum Revitalizing Detox Shampoo

Product Overview

Sun Bum blends apple cider vinegar and blue agave in their Detox Shampoo.

They recommend it as a weekly treatment for all hair types.

It removes chlorine, saltwater, hard water, and other kinds of residue.

  • Works great for all types of hair
  • Uses no harsh chemicals
  • Packed with beneficial nutrients

Then, it conditions with banana and coconut oil to soften the hair.

It’s a plant-based product that’s free of sulfates, parabens, and animal derivatives.


  • Deeply moisturizes your hair
  • Provides powerful nutrients
  • Repairs split ends and prevents breakage

The Cons

  • Can be too oily

15. Sun Bum Revitalizing Conditioner

Product Overview

Apply this conditioner after you shampoo to get UV protection for your hair.

  • Made with no animal byproducts
  • Infused with proteins
  • High level of essential oils

It helps prevent fading in the sunshine. It defends your color, whether or not it’s natural.


  • Makes your hair more manageable
  • Eliminates impurities and dirt
  • Detoxifies your scalp and hair

The Cons

  • Contains high level of silicone

16. Kenra Clarifying Shampoo

Product Overview

When you wash with this product, it’s a chelating shampoo. It’s perfect for people who have hard water or well water in their homes.

It’s a clarifying shampoo with amino acid chelators. These ingredients get rid of hard water deposits and chlorine.

  • Packed with beneficial nutrients
  • Protects against sun and chemicals
  • Leave-in formula

If you have highlighted or gray hair, it will brighten your color.

The formula is color-safe, but it does contain parabens.


  • Cleanses and makes your hair smooth
  • Prevents tangles in tight wavy hair
  • Rejuvenates damaged hair

The Cons

  • Has some chemicals

17. Kenra Volumizing Conditioner

Product Overview

I selected the Volumizing version, but Kenra makes more than one kind of conditioner.

Select the one that best meets your needs.

  • Packed with beneficial nutrients
  • Contains high level of moisture
  • Protects against harsh chemicals

This one adds body and shine to fine hair, plus it reduces frizz.


  • Works great with fine wavy hair
  • Moisturizes and hydrates your waves
  • Reduces frizziness and dryness

The Cons

  • Has sodium laureth sulfate

18. Joico K-PAK Daily Reconstructing Shampoo

Product Overview

Joico’s clarifying shampoo and conditioner is made for swimmers.

But that doesn’t mean that it’s not for you.

  • Infused with shea butter
  • Contains abyssinian seed oil
  • Has aloe vera and vitamin C
  • Perfect for all types of hair

It doesn’t just remove chlorine. It also gets rid of mineral residue and leftover mousse, gel, hairspray, and so on.

Blondes take note: if your hair has gone green, these products will restore the color.


  • Makes your hair hydrated
  • Works well with split ends
  • Incredible leave-in treatment

The Cons

  • Has some chemicals

19. UltraSwim Dynamic Duo Repair Shampoo and Conditioner

Product Overview

I added yet another swimmer shampoo because it’s good for hard water.

On the downside, it’s not sulfate-free, and it has parabens.

  • Perfect for very damaged hair
  • Contains keratin
  • Infused with silk amino acids
  • Packed with beneficial vitamins

But on the bright side, one wash will make a noticeable improvement in your hair.


  • Repairs damaged hair
  • Absorbs the UV
  • Nam ac vulputate nibh.
  • Gently cleanses and removes chemicals

The Cons

  • Has silicone

20. Acure Curiously Clarifying Shampoo With Lemongrass & Argan

Product Overview

For those of you who prefer natural products with fewer chemicals, take a look at Acure’s clarifying shampoo.

It contains lemongrass to sweep away residue.

  • Infused with hazel seed oil
  • Contains rosemary and chamomile
  • Has silk amino acids
  • Healthy and strong hair guaranteed

It’s also sulfate-free and doesn’t have parabens, either.


  • Repairs damaged hair
  • Protects against sun and fading
  • Makes your locks shiny and soft

The Cons

  • Has allergens

21. Acure Lemongrass & Argan Stem Cell Conditioner

Product Overview

The accompanying conditioner detangles and adds luminosity with natural ingredients.

It contains keratin to strengthen brittle hair, too.

  • Works as a leave-in conditioner
  • Protects against sun and fading
  • Seals the cuticle

Although it’s cruelty-free, it may not be vegan. But it doesn’t contain parabens, phthalates, or sulfates.


  • Keeps the moisture in
  • Prevents chlorine and salt from damaging
  • Works on both wet and dry hair

The Cons

  • Contains silicone

22. Biolage Cleanreset Normalizing Shampoo To Remove Buildup

Product Overview

Biolage caters to color-treated and natural hair no matter what texture you have.

This formula takes care of straight or curly locks alike.

  • 75% organic and vegan formul a
  • Doesn’t contain harsh chemicals
  • Infused with roganic jojoba oil
  • Contains high levels of quinoa proteins

Interestingly, it also contains lemongrass to refresh your scalp.

Follow up with a conditioner like the Hydrosource Detangling Solution.


  • Keeps harsh chemicals away
  • Removes build-ups
  • Works perfect with blond or gray hair

The Cons

  • Doesn’t protect against seawater

23. Paul Mitchell Shampoo Three

Product Overview

Those of you that are familiar with Paul Mitchell products may already know the Shampoo Three.

It cleanses deeply to get rid of hard water, iron, minerals, and chlorine.

  • Packed with beneficial nutrients
  • Contains only organic ingredients
  • High level of vitamins
  • Leaves anice, almond apricot scent

Just a little bit goes a long way.

You can also use it every day unless you have color-treated hair.


  • Protects against chemicals
  • Deeply moisturizes the scalp and hair
  • Provides all needed nutrients

The Cons

  • Contains silicone

24. Moroccanoil Clarifying Shampoo

Product Overview

It’s hard to resist the exotic fragrance of the Morrocanoil shampoo. It’s a blend of spicy amber and floral notes.

The clarifying formula removes residue and employs chamomile and lavender to calm the scalp.

  • Works great with color-treated hair
  • Infused with argan oil
  • Deep cleansing and conditioning
  • Mild citrus fragrance

Then, the formula is packed with keratin, argan, and avocado oil to smooth and soften each strand.

Luckily, it’s free of phosphates, parabens, and sulfates.


  • Keeps harsh chemicals at bay
  • Works perfect for ocean water
  • Washes away the chlorine and salt

The Cons

  • Can be to concentrated

25. Moroccanoil Hydrating Conditioner

Product Overview

It’s hard to believe you need conditioner after you use the ultra-moisturizing clarifying shampoo above.

But this product revives limp hair to add volume and luminosity.

  • Infused with jojoba oil
  • Contains panthenol
  • Packed with beneficial vitamins
  • No tear formula

It has linden bud extract that expands the hair cuticle and reduces tangles.

If you don’t need more body, try one of this brand’s other nourishing conditioners.


  • Works great for kids
  • Washes out all chemicals
  • Smells like melons

The Cons

  • Too mild for adults

26. Ouidad Ultra-Nourishing Cleansing Oil Shampoo

Product Overview

Hard water is especially damaging to oily, kinky, and curly hair.

It steals the moisture and damages the very structure of each strand.

In contrast, Ouidad’s oil shampoo removes residue and revitalizes the curls.

  • Packed with beneficial nutrients
  • No harsh chemicals used
  • Perfect for chlorine green hair

It’s full of nourishing fatty acids that rebuild the hair.

Of course, it’s sulfate-free.


  • Washes out all the impurities
  • Takes care of your scalp
  • Leaves your hair soft

The Cons

  • Can be to harsh for sensitive skin

27. Pantene Rose Water Shampoo and Sulfate-Free Conditioner Kit

Product Overview

Here’s an idea: use a clarifying shampoo once a week to remove residue.

Every other time you wash, however, use a sulfate-free shampoo like this one.

Pantene’s Rose Water is mild enough for chemically-treated and color-treated hair. It doesn’t have sulfates, parabens, artificial dyes, or silicone.

  • Packed with beneficial nutrients
  • Redudes frizz and static
  • Leave-in formulation
  • High level of essential oils

Instead, it’s packed with Provitamin B5 to strengthen the hair naturally.

And the scent is a blend of rose, mint, and lily of the valley.


  • Makes your hair extra soft
  • Adds shiness and volume
  • Protects against harsh chemicals

The Cons

  • Has no effect on salt

How shampoos for hard water help your hair?

Happily, shampoos for hard water remove the residue.

They neutralize the effects of the dissolved minerals and metals.

They tend to be acidic to compensate for the alkaline nature of hard water.

(That’s why you may see advice telling you to rinse with lemon juice or apple cider vinegar.)

Clarifying shampoos restore your hair’s natural color and make it soft and manageable again (1).

Only use a clarifier once a week at the most. Be sure to use a rich conditioner afterward.


You can’t help it if you have hard water. Sometimes even a water softener doesn’t completely fix the problem.

But you do have control over which shampoo and conditioner you use.

Use clarifying products to remove hard water buildup and restore moisture and sheen.

Take the time to enjoy a hair mask once in a while to repair dry, damaged hair, too.

Lucky for you, you have a lot of choices. No matter which hair type you have, there’s an answer for hard water.

Best Choice

Amazon best-selling product B00194Q7BC

Our rating

Malibu C: Natural Protective Hard Water Wellness Kit

Formulated with aloe vera and silicone
Contains panthenol and sweet almond oil
Packed with nutrients from shea butter

aida turner


Founder & Hair Beauty Specialist

I’m Aida and this is my blog where I write mostly about beauty and make up related stuff, but I like to spice it up a bit with lifestyle and photography posts. Or with whatever that comes to my mind. Hope you will enjoy the reading enough that we will ‘see’ each other more often!


1. by Petra Guglielmetti, published November 2, 2015, accessed February 7, 2023