Bad hair day? Your Postcode Could Be The Root Cause!
November 21, 20234 min read
Does Your Hard Water Affect Your Hair?
There’s nothing worse than a bad hair day, when no amount of styling can tame your locks.
If you struggle with hard-to-manage hair, you could have your postcode to blame. Environmental factors in your local area can wreak havoc on your hair. But in which UK towns and cities are you most likely to have a bad (and a good) hair day?
To find out, we’ve studied 120 UK towns and cities, looking at how they perform across seven categories: water hardness, bad salon reviews, humidity, online searches for common hair concerns, air pollution, wind speed and UV levels.
Living in London or the South East of England is likely to take the biggest toll on your tresses, thanks to very hard water, high UV levels and above average air pollution. Of the 20 worst places to live in the UK for your hair, 14 are in London or the Greater London area.
Newham takes the top spot, with residents the most likely to have a bad hair day…or a year full of them. The London Borough has the highest air pollution score in the whole study, above-average levels of UV radiation and sub-standard salons based on public reviews.
Bournemouth, Hounslow, Portsmouth and Canterbury make up the rest of the worst five locations in the UK for hair health.
At the other end of the table, Scotland dominates the list for the best places for a good hair day, with six towns and cities in the top 10. Inverness comes in first place, thanks to its soft water, low UV and humidity levels, clean air and quality hair salons.
Perth, Dundee and Stirling come in 2nd, 3rd and 4th place respectively, also scoring well for their hair-loving climate, water softness and five-star salon reviews.
Darlington is the best place to live in England for selfie-ready hair, coming in 5th place overall. Three other towns and cities in Yorkshire also score well across the board: Harrogate, Sheffield and Halifax, but have slightly higher levels of UV and air pollution than Darlington:
Of the environmental factors studied, water hardness is the worst offender when it comes to hair health. “Hard water” means it has high levels of certain minerals (mainly calcium and magnesium) and just like in your shower, kettle and iron, it leaves a scaly build up on hair strands.
In the UK, around 60 percent of water supplies are hard. In combination, air pollution, UV exposure and hard water can cause long-term damage to your hair by blocking the absorption of moisture. This can leave your hair dry and brittle, as well as affecting its colour, tone and texture.
To combat the effects of hard water and other environmental pressures, avoid sulphate formulated shampoos that have high pH levels and can strip hair colour. Instead, look out for hydrating products rich in hydrolysed proteins (from rice, oat, wheat, quinoa and silk) which will strengthen the hair shaft and improve moisture retention.
Oils high in essential fatty acids (like coconut oil, argan oil and baobab oil) replenish and strengthen hair, while Pro Vitamin B5 acts as a humectant to draw moisture from the air whilst adding volume and shine.
Finally, chelating ingredients (such as tetrasodium EDTA or the more gentle plant-based sodium phytate) will bind themselves to the metal ions found in hard water. This removes the effects they have on the hair. A shower head filter is also another option to help with hard water.
Frizz-inducing, humid weather is also a major hair gripe. In times of high humidity, using haircare products rich in plant-based silicone alternatives reduces static and prevents frizz as they smooth the cuticles and condition the hair whilst adding incredible slip and shine.
Plant-based keratins (from soy, wheat or corn) protect against humidity and environmental damage by strengthening and smoothing the hair shaft.
The population-scaled total average monthly search volume across seven keywords related to hair concerns (frizzy hair, dry hair, greasy hair, colour damaged hair, dandruff, hair loss and split ends) in each location
This data was standardised to give a score from 0 to 10 using min-max normalisation:
NB: in all categories lower numbers in the initial data correspond to a better score. Therefore, when normalised a score of 0 is always the best result.
The locations were then ranked on the average score across all categories, with the lowest average score being the location with the highest chance of having a good hair day. Conversely, the location with the highest average score has the highest chance of having a bad hair day.