“Hard water does not make you lose your hair.” – Dr K Kwong ⦁ K Kwong 話:硬水係唔會導致脫髮嘅

Dr K Kwong from Hong Kong

No one wants to be bald, and many Hong Kongers are worried that hard water in the UK will result in serious hair loss. So, we asked Dr K Kwong, celebrity scientist in Hong Kong, if hard water really causes baldness. 

A former Chinese University lecturer with a PhD in chemistry from HKU, for many years Dr Kwong has been famous as a chemistry teacher at a private tutoring centre, helping many students with their public exams (including Kong Girl).

Does hard water make you lose hair?!?! ⦁ 硬水會唔會導致脫髮㗎

No. This is a myth. Hard water does not make you lose your hair.

OK, great. Now, what really is hard water? ⦁ 乜嘢係硬水

Think of the UK as a giant piece of calcium carbonate. Water from the ground is packed with calcium ions and magnesium ions. This is what makes water “hard”, and these ions come as calcium carbonate, magnesium sulphate, magnesium carbonate, for example. 

Should a Hong Konger avoid any ingredients when we buy shampoo or body wash? ⦁ 香港人買洗頭水同沐浴露使唔使避免某啲成份

Just avoid bar soaps, which has sodium stearate. It can react with calcium ions in hard water to form calcium stearate and form a grey layer called scum. When scum is left on your skin and hair it makes you feel uncomfortable. Using shower gels is better because they don’t form scum. 

Is hard water good or bad for us? ⦁ 硬水對我哋好定壞

It all depends. Some people, like myself, like drinking hard water as it tastes better. If you are lacking calcium, drinking hard water is good for you – but everything should be done in moderation. 

Hard water can also be bad for vegetarians. For example, vegetables and fruits contain a lot of oxalic acid. The calcium in hard water may react with oxalic acid to form crystals called calcium oxalate. If calcium oxalate clump together in your kidneys, you have kidney stones. 

I see a lot of descaling products in supermarket, treating limescale. What is it? ⦁ 我見到超市有好多去除水垢嘅產品,乜嘢係水垢

Limescale is calcium carbonate – you get it when you boil hard water. It is inorganic, just like stone. Descaling is to break limescale down.

Limescale is different from scum. Scum is calcium stearate, which is organic. It builds up as a grey layer on your bath tub or sink.

Thanks, K Kwong! Now, will you move to the UK? ⦁ K Kwong 我哋喺英國會唔會撞到你

I’m old and only have another 10-20 years left, so I will stay in Hong Kong. It takes time to adjust to a new life when you live abroad, I know that because I lived in the US for a while. I remember every Sunday being my happiest day, as I could go to China Town and buy Chinese newspaper. Other days of the week I have to conform to an American lifestyle.  

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Ying Goi Dim also talked to two people about hard water and their hair. They happen to have the thickest hair we have ever seen, proving hard water does not result in baldness for them. If you think you lost a lot of hair due to hard water, please share with us your experience!

Lisa's hair is “literally everyone's envy”

Lisa is a Hong Konger, having lived in the UK for 12-13 years. She has had no hair loss issues from hard water, and her hair is “literally everyone’s envy”.

“I think my hair had more volume in the UK because it is less humid than Hong Kong. Since moving to the UK my hair is softer in texture, lighter in colour but extremely healthy.”

Living in the UK with hard water, Shannon's hair "has got thicker."

Shannon is British and lived in Asia for a few years. If anything, “my hair has got thicker.”

“I have super hard water. My parents have hard water, and I’ve lived in London nearly 20 years and there is limescale everywhere. I am definitely not losing hair. ” She added, you can get a filter that goes on the mains tap if you are worried about the effects of hard water.

For how hard UK’s water is, check out this map from Kinetico.

Kinetico - WaterMap.png

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