Soft Water Is Making My Hair Greasy (How To Fix)

Is soft water making your hair greasy and oily? Don’t worry, this article will tell you exactly how to fix the issue. Read on!

Soft Water Making Hair Greasy

What is soft water?

Soft water is generally thought to be more beneficial in home plumbing systems because it doesn’t contain the calcium and magnesium of hard water. 

These minerals can build up over time and leave white residue behind, even damaging your pipes and drains.

Hard water also damages and irritates your skin, particularly if you suffer from dry skin conditions like eczema. 

So when it comes to having soft water, it’s important to note that it’s overall better than hard water, even though it may leave your hair greasy. 

Luckily, we have some easy fixes for greasy hair that results from soft water. 

Why does Soft Water Make Hair Greasy?

Let’s take a look at the reasons that soft water makes hair greasy:

Soft Water Is Harder to Rinse

Soft water makes it harder to rinse the soap thoroughly out of your hair, which leaves it weighed down when you finish washing your hair. 

This is because soap lathers so easily in soft water, meaning you automatically need to rinse it much longer to fully clean out the soap residue.

It’s Salty

Although this factor may seem unrelated, it’s worth noting that soft water has more sodium rather than calcium. 

As a result, when you wash your hair, you may notice that it feels slimy while wet and then once it dries it feels greasy.

This is the result of sodium depositing on your hair with water. 

How To Fix Greasy Hair Caused By Soft Water

How To Fix Greasy Hair Caused By Soft Water

If your hair is greasy after washing it with soft water, fear not, as there are practical ways to de-grease.

From the right shampoos to the right frequency of conditioner and leave-in products, you can get your hair feeling light and clean again. 

1. Use the Right Products

There are a lot of products you can buy that are designed for just this purpose, as a lot of people deal with greasy hair from soft water.

Consider using the following products on your hair:

  • Shampoo specially designed for soft water
  • Degreasing shampoos for hair that is already prone to oiliness
  • Clarifying shampoos (although you have to be careful about how often you use these, as they can damage your hair)
  • Vinegar hair care products 
  • Volumizing shampoos 
  • Baking soda with shampoo (adds some calcium to slightly increase water hardness as you rinse your hair)

2. Avoid Using Conditioner

Too much conditioner or the wrong kind can make the greasy hair issue worse if you have soft water. Think about it – a conditioner is a thick substance made of silicones and oils. 

Although it’s important in moisturizing your hair and enriching the protective cuticle, it can just add more grease to hair affected by soft water. 

This is why you might consider avoiding conditioner treatments or doing them less often (every few days or once a week). 

3. Leave-In Products

Finally, you might consider using a leave-in product such as dry shampoo to de-grease your hair. 

Dry shampoo adds a thin, starchy film to your scalp, which in turn helps to absorb any grease or residue in your hair.

This leaves hair looking less oily and keeps it voluminous instead of weighed down.

How to Use Baking Soda to De-Grease Hair from Soft Water

Adding some baking soda to your shampoo is a good way to make sure that the soap gets thoroughly rinsed out before you exit the shower. 

It’s also similar to a clarifying shampoo in that it strips out the oils and dirt, leaving you with fresher, less greasy hair. 

What You Will Need

  • 1 tablespoon of baking soda
  • A small bowl
  • A spoon
  • Shampoo 
  • Your hands


Take the following steps to thoroughly clean the grease from your hair with baking soda and shampoo:

  1. Start by mixing the shampoo with the baking soda before you wash your hair
  2. Put the measured baking soda into the bowl with your normal amount of shampoo and stir with the spoon
  3. Run the showerhead or faucet and thoroughly wet your hair
  4. Gently massage the shampoo-baking soda mixture into your scalp, focusing on the top portion of your head 
  5. Thoroughly rinse the products out of your hair from root to end

How to Use Volumizing Products to De-Grease Hair 

How to Use Volumizing Products to De-Grease Hair

One great volumizing product for greasy hair is a quality charcoal shampoo. Charcoal shampoo can help to minimize oil and dirt around your scalp and in your hair by absorbing them before getting rinsed away. 

What You Will Need

  • Charcoal shampoo such as OGX Purifying + Charcoal Detox Shampoo (sulfate-free)
  • Your hands


To de-grease your hair from soft water with charcoal shampoo, take these steps:

  1. Run the showerhead or faucet and thoroughly wet your hair with warm water
  2. Apply a quarter-sized amount of the shampoo to your crown
  3. Massage gently, making sure to get into the roots where oil builds up
  4. Apply the shampoo thoroughly to your hair, without going all the way to the ends
  5. Wait 2-3 minutes before rinsing the shampoo out of your hair
  6. Rinse the charcoal shampoo out of your hair completely so that no residue is left behind

How to Use Vinegar to De-Grease Hair

Vinegar, similar to baking soda, is a great degreasing agent, even for your hair and scalp. 

Not only does it break down grease; but it also breaks down residues that could be left on your hair from your shampoo if you have soft water. 

This is due to the fact that vinegar is so acidic (2-3 pH for apple cider vinegar). 

What You Will Need

  • A few tablespoons of apple cider vinegar (more if you have thicker or longer hair)
  • Your regular shampoo
  • Your hands  
  • A wide-toothed wet comb


Step-by-step, you can follow these instructions in your hair washing routine to break down grease and get rid of soap residue left behind when using soft water:

  1. Run the showerhead or faucet and thoroughly wet your hair, from root to end
  2. Apply a quarter-sized dollop of your shampoo to your crown
  3. Massage the shampoo into your hair, focusing on the roots and top half of your head
  4. Thoroughly rinse the shampoo out of your hair (as well as you can with soft water)
  5. Grab your apple cider vinegar and apply it all to your crown
  6. Being careful not to get any vinegar in your eyes or mouth, use your comb to evenly distribute it through your hair
  7. Let the treatment sit for a few minutes 
  8. Rinse the vinegar thoroughly out of your hair so that no residue is left behind

How to Use Dry Shampoo on Greasy Hair

Last but not least, if you don’t want to mess with any more wet hair products than you have to, you can try dry shampoo. 

Dry shampoo is designed to soak up oil in greasy hair/scalps. 

It’s a spray you apply to and around your roots that does a great job of making up for the greasiness of hair washed in soft water. 

What You Will Need

  • Dry shampoo (such as Klorane Sulfate-Free Dry Shampoo spray)
  • A hairbrush 
  • Your fingers
  • A wide-toothed comb


You’ll need to use the dry shampoo once your hair is already greasy so that the product has something to absorb.

Once your hair is dry and you notice greasiness, take these steps:

  1. Brush your hair until it is de-tangled to your satisfaction
  2. Carefully spray the dry shampoo onto your hair’s roots, holding the container about 10-12 inches away from your head
  3. Let the product sit for about 5 minutes as it starts working to absorb oils on your scalp
  4. Use your fingers or a wide-toothed comb to tousle your hair and spread the dry shampoo more evenly throughout it 

Tips for Fixing Soft Water Greasy Hair

Tips for Fixing Soft Water Greasy Hair

If all else fails, you may need a few fail-safe tips to help you keep grease out of your hair when washing with soft water.

Use Shampoo Less Often

While it may seem counterintuitive, shampooing less frequently can reduce the greasiness of your hair.

Shampoos typically strip hair of natural oils, causing your scalp to produce excess oil in response. 

Furthermore, shampooing more often when you have soft water can result in more buildup of soap residue that doesn’t wash away with a rinse.

Use Less Product in General

As a rule of thumb, don’t use huge portions of shampoo or conditioner if you have soft water.

This will only increase the greasiness of your hair, even after you rinse the products out. 

Combine Vinegar with Citrus

If vinegar on its own is not acidic enough to de-grease hair that’s been washed in soft water, add some lemon juice to it.

This will add a bit more acid to help break down the grease on especially oily hair. 

Final Thoughts

Is soft water making your hair greasy? People who have soft water in their homes (water that is free of or lacking in magnesium and calcium) may notice that rinsing out hair products isn’t enough to leave hair clean and fresh. 

This is because soft water makes it harder to rinse out shampoos and conditioners. 

To combat this greasy hair issue, use products like baking soda, vinegar, citric acid, dry shampoo, and clarifying products. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Is soft water less damaging to hair?

Yes, soft water is generally healthier for your hair (and skin). It won’t cause as much damage as hard water will, and it actually penetrates the hair to deliver nutrients that your hair needs.

Can soft water cause baldness?

No, soft water is not responsible for hair loss, hair thinning, or baldness. While soft water can leave your hair feeling greasy and thus make it appear flatter than it usually does, it doesn’t actually cause your hair to fall out. Baldness is due to other issues, such as conditions, genetics, and hormonal changes.

What shampoo brands should I use with soft water?

Try using products such as Redken shampoo, OGX Charcoal shampoo, Aveeno Apple Cider Vinegar Shampoo, Ion Clarifying shampoo, or similar degreasing shampoo products. 



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