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Hair Turning Orange From Iron Water

Image from Goldwell Elumen Creativ Beauty - All Rights Reserved - Goldwell

Hair Turning Orange From Iron Water

It may happen more than some people realize.  Iron is one of the well water chemicals which impacts hair and can turn platinum or blond hair orange or a horrible shade of rust.  This has been well documented.

Although some people may want to deliberately turn their hair to gorgeous bright orange, rust, green or pink, (as shown to the side from Goldwell) most do not desire unwanted orange and rust.

Besides turning hair orange or rust color, it can cause the following additional issues:

1.  Hair feels dry, brittle and crunchy.

2.  Hair is dull, lacks softness and shine.  Looks and/or feels gummy.

3.  Iron may cause both natural and chemically colored blonde hair to turn rusty and/or orange but it can also cause dark hair to darken and not necessarily in a good way.

4.  Too much iron in the water can also block proper processing of chemical hair treatments such as relaxers, straighteners, perms and highlights.

Image from Goldwell Elumen Creativ Beauty - All Rights Reserved - Goldwell

How To Handle Too Much Iron In The Water

When your hair turns orange, rust colored or has other challenges from too much iron in your well water what can you do?

There are several known options which may or may not work depending on your own hair, whether it is chemically treated or not and the type, texture and current condition of your hair.

Options For Banishing The Iron

The first option involves replacing the well water with some other water source.  You can try the following:

1.  Install a water filter

A good filter will remove iron and related well water chemicals from the water source you use for washing your hair.

2.  Stop using your current well water completely.

Substitute with inexpensive jugs of distilled water and/or bottled water.  If you worry about the expense of using too much water you can get a large bucket or plastic bowl and catch the water right after you pour it on your hair.  Which allows you to reuse a small amount of distilled or bottled water for each shampoo.

3.  Shampoo and rinse with cooler water temperatures.

Image from Goldwell Elumen Creativ Beauty - All Rights Reserved - Goldwell

Studies have shown that iron and other chemicals are more likely to settle down into the cuticle when it is first opened with hot or warm water.

Cooler water temperatures are less likely to open the cuticle which will minimize how much iron is allowed to settle into the hair.  For many people using cool water for cleansing is not really an option.

Utilize Specific Hair Formulas Designed To Remove Iron From Hair

1. Malibu Wellness, Inc. founded by Tom Porter and his wife Deb in Malibu, California in 1985, was the first company to develop products with fresh-dried Vitamin C and Vitamin E for external use.  The company has been formulating and marketing these unique technologies under the brand names Malibu 2000 and EC Mode.

One of their treatments designed to remove iron from the hair is known as Malibu Making Water Well Kit.

They have combined the Malibu Making Water Well Kit treatments with a special shampoo and conditioner as well.  All three products have a great reputation for removing orange well water stains as well as preventing them from returning.

They also make a Hair Water Weekly Dimeralizer for specifically removing iron.

2.  Use pigmented shampoo products to neutralize yellow or rust colored stains.

Image of Hair With Green Highlights

Pigmentation can be added to shampoo, conditioners and leave-in styling products in a variety of colors to remove and/or soften the unwanted yellow or rust color.

Pigmented shampoos are also available in gold or purple or blue colors which also will neutralize the yellow and the rust.

3.  Emergen-C - Vitamin C Powder

Some people with orange and rust stains in their blonde hair have had success using Emergen-C powder on their hair.

The advantage to the Emergen-C or similar Vitamin C Orange powder is that its cheap.  You can try it by first buying a few packets at the local Health Food or similar store and try it.  If it works, you have a simple and easy at-home treatment.

How To Use Orange Powder

A.  Mix one packet (0.3 oz) of Emergen-C Orange drink with one packet of clear gelatin approximately the same size.

You could also buy generic ascorbic acid power and mixing 4 teaspoons with 1 packet of clear gelatin.  Combine the Emergen-C and gelatin powders with 1 1/2 to 2 ounces of lukewarm water.

B.  Get hair very wet with lukewarm water distilled or bottled water.

Shampoo your hair with a clarifying shampoo that has been diluted 1/2 teaspoon to 1 teaspoon of shampoo (depending on how long and thick your hair is) to 1 gallon of lukewarm water.  Shake the mixture to create a sudsy mixture.

Note: If hair is extremely damaged or dry you may wish to avoid using clarifying shampoo or using it only every 3-4 time.


Shoulder Length Bob With Highlights And Lowlights

C.  Drizzle shampoo suds down through the wet strands.

Pat diluted shampoo into hair.  Rinse well with distilled or bottled water.

D.  Work the Emergen-C or similar mixture into your rinsed hair from roots to the ends.

Use a bowl to catch the liquid and continue to pour it back over the hair to make sure you get the maximum amount.

E.  Leave the mixture on for approximately 5-10 minutes.

You can judge the length of time your hair should have the mixture on by the amount of rust or orange discoloration.

F. Thoroughly rinse the mixture out of your hair with distilled or non-well water.

Follow this Emergen-C or similar vitamin powder method once a week to remove any iron related mineral build-up or any orange or rust discoloration caused by the use of the well water.

Other Options

Some hair consumers with discolored hair from too much iron in their well water have found that do hot oil treatments with certain types of oils or using volumizing shampoo products can help to prevent the iron from sticking to the hair or seeping down into the cuticles.

Does using hot oil treatments work?  For some but not everyone.  It is certainly one option to investigate further if you wish.


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