Is Reverse Osmosis Water Good for Hair?

Is Reverse Osmosis Water Good for Hair?

Dry and damaged hair is a nuisance. To combat this challenging condition, we are told about healthy diets, supplements, and exercises. However, did you know that switching to reverse osmosis (RO) water is also highly recommended by many doctors and experts?

Reverse osmosis water is good for hair because it doesn’t contain any of the chemicals, heavy metals, or contaminants that are notorious for damaging your hair. Chlorine, aluminum, and mercury, for example, found in unfiltered water, pull the moisture from the scalp, whereas other contaminants strip away natural oils, leaving hair dry and damaged.

Research Studies have long since discovered what chemicals and metals found in water are damaging to our hair. Reverse osmosis is a systematic procedure that is highly effective at removing these harmful impurities from water resulting in healthier hair. How? Well, let’s take a closer look!

Read my comprehensive article about reverse osmosis.

What Makes Reverse Osmosis Water Good for Hair?

To understand what makes RO water good for hair, we must first understand how this water purification system works.

Reverse osmosis is achieved using a special system that pushes water with high pressure through a semipermeable membrane.

The process helps remove sediments such as chlorine, dirt, salt, debris, and other contaminants and impurities from the water. It even helps remove microorganisms that can foster and build up in standing or flowing water.

The RO process is so vigorous and thorough that it cleans water at a molecular level. What you are left with after purification is pure H2O to wash your hair with.

However, how does this soft purified water really benefit our hair? Let’s find out!

1. Removes chemicals and minerals

Regular tap water in our homes is full of chemicals, metals, nitrates, and minerals.

Minerals such as calcium and magnesium, in particular, develop a thin layer of film on our hair, making it impossible for moisture to penetrate or seep through.

Naturally, this leaves the hair dry, brittle, and prone to breakage and split ends. On the contrary, RO water filters out these chemicals, allowing hair to receive and retain moisture.

2. Brings shine and gloss to your hair

The mineral build-up on the scalp from hard water leaves the hair dry, frizzy, and flat. On the contrary, adequate moisture from RO water leaves the hair shiny and voluminous.

Additionally, pure water has a low temperature which helps keep the cuticle layer of the hair compressed, ensuring that each hair strand is healthy, smooth, and shiny.

3. Zero frizz

Mineral salts found in our tap water strip hair of its natural oils. This results in frizzy hair that looks tacky and unkempt.

A RO purification system removes all mineral salts from the water. This helps hair become smoother and easier to manage. Zero frizz also means that your hair is less prone to tangling or breaking when combing.

4. Helps retain hair color

Studies have found that hair discoloration is caused largely due to the toxic effects of chlorine and the presence of metallic copper found in public water.

Metallic copper is released from underground pipelines, under acidic conditions, and is a phenomenon that is more common than one would think.

As this water undergoes reverse osmosis, it is cleared off of chlorine and any remnants of metallic copper.

As such, RO water doesn’t just prevent hair discoloration, but it also helps in retaining hair color.

5. Reverses hard water damage

The damage caused by hard water can be extensive. However, regular use of RO water has the potential to undo some of that damage.

When hair is washed with pure RO water for an extensive period, it can potentially help reverse the damage caused by hard water and make your hair soft, shiny, and silky again.

Read my article about the harmful effects of hard water.

6. Helps eliminate dandruff

The root cause of dandruff is having a dry scalp. RO water not only cleans the scalp well but also moisturizes it, eliminating dandruff over time.

What Impurities Does RO Remove That Is Bad for Hair?

RO is one of the most effective methods of purification as it goes through numerous stages of filtration. As such, it is one of the best filtration systems for scalp and hair health.

The biggest culprit of hair damage is loss of moisture, which ultimately leads to hair fall. RO helps eliminate that issue by moisturizing and nourishing the scalp and hair.

RO also removes heavy metals such as chlorine, aluminum, and mercury from the water. These metals are notorious for stealing moisture from our hair and skin and breaking down collagen.

RO’s filtration system can have 3, 4, or even 5 layers of the following filters:

Filter Purpose
Sediment Filter Removes dirt, dust, and rust particles from the water


Carbon Filter Eliminate volatile organic compounds, chlorine, and all the other contaminants that give water a bad taste or odor.
Semi-Permeable Membrane This is the main filter of a RO system. It removes 98% of total dissolved solids (TDS) from the water.


With a pore size of just 0.0001 micrometers, these filters only allow the purest water molecules to pass through eliminating all large contaminants, organic materials, chemicals, heavy metals, and even salt. All of these impurities are bad for your hair.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q) Is reverse osmosis water the same as distilled water?

No! Although both purification systems remove solid particles from the water, RO removes volatile chemicals such as chloramines much more effectively.

Read my article comparing reverse osmosis to distilled water.

Q) Is reverse osmosis water good for skin

Yes! Just like for hair, reverse osmosis water allows deep moisturization of the skin. RO makes the water molecule small, which easily penetrates the skin and hydrates it deeply. The lack of contaminants also reduces irritation and allergic reactions in those with sensitive skin.

Q) How long does a reverse osmosis unit last?

A reverse osmosis unit can last forever if it is serviced regularly, and worn-out parts are replaced immediately. Whereas the average life of the semipermeable membrane is up to 5 years.

Final Thoughts

At this moment, RO is the only technology in the world that removes emerging contaminants such as prescription drugs and perchlorate from the water. It is also the system that cleans the water of hard-hitting contaminants like arsenic, cyanide, and fluoride which can all be harmful to your hair.

Chief Guru

Richard Boch is a chemical engineer responsible for designing water filtration systems for industrial and residential customers. He has more than 20 years of experience with ion exchange, activated carbon, and reverse osmosis. Richard's expertise has made him a go-to source for municipalities and businesses looking to improve their water quality. When he's not working, Richard enjoys spending time with his wife and two young children. You can also follow him on LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook.

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