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Why is Well Water Turning Hair Orange?

Updated on March 29, 2023

Iron in well water is the main culprit behind your blonde or platinum hair going orange. Well water is rich in iron, calcium, and magnesium. The latter two also make well water hard. Hard well water with high iron concentration can turn hair orange, cause hair loss and make you itchy.

Untreated well water isn’t safe to shower in. It also damages your appliances, plumbing fixtures, laundry, and dishes.

Besides turning your hair orange or rusty, well water can also make your hair dry, brittle, and crunchy. Hard well water can damage both natural and chemically colored blonde hair. Excessive iron in well water can also impact hair coloring treatments like relaxers, perms, and highlights. 

Don’t worry. You can easily fix and prevent further damage by installing water treatment systems with your well water.

damage by installing water treatment systems with your well water

How to Fix Orange Hair Color due to Well Water?

So, your DIY hair-bleaching went bad or professional treatment is quickly fading away. Here are a few tricks to help you fix the damage.

Use a Toner

Use a toning shampoo and conditioner to maintain the hair color. A blue tonner cancels the orange color. The orange color is also known as ginger. Green tones red color and purple cancels yellow, also known as gold.

If your hair is going orange, it means that it got yellow without you noticing. Professional toners like Wella are usually purple-based, but ION offers a blue toner for orange hair.

Please note that toning will not return the blonde to dark orange hair. It may result in a light brown color instead. Toners are excellent for limiting further damage.

Hair Care Products

There are various hair care products such as Malibu Treatment, clarifying shampoo, and Vitamin-C powders to reverse well water damage. However, not all products work for everyone. It is better to consult a professional before applying hair treatment products.

professional before applying hair treatment products.

Re-Bleach your Hair

So, you end up with orange hair after bleaching, probably due to washing bleach too early. A re-bleaching will help you get the desired results, but you should wait at least 2 weeks before re-application. It helps retain your hair’s natural moisture.

Use Cool Water for Shampoo

Hot water can open hair cuticles (hair’s protective shield) more quickly than hot water. This allows iron to permeate hair and settle down. Cooler water doesn’t open cuticles, and most iron is washed away.  

Avoid Swimming Pools

People who didn’t swim after getting blonde hair revealed that color stayed longer than when they frequented swimming pools. The water in most swimming pools is hard because 85% of the USA has hard water. Moreover, swimming pools are periodically chlorinated to kill bacteria, viruses, and algae. The chlorine makes your dry, dull, and damage-prone. One way to limit the damage in a swimming pool is to use hair sunscreen or cover up your hair.

How to Prevent Hair Damage due to Well Water?

Use Bottled Water

This is a temporary but 100% effective technique. You can bathe with well water but use bottled water to wash your hair. It may be costly for some, but it is better than damaging your hair color.

Whole House Iron Filter

Iron is found in almost on wells in the US. An iron filter will remove iron, and a few other contaminates (vary from model to model) from well water and make it safe for your hair. SpringWell’s iron filter is good for private wells with up to 7 PPM iron. The filter is designed for well water and doesn’t reduce the flow rate.

Whole House Iron Filter

Whole House Water Softener

A whole-house water softener removes calcium and magnesium from well water. These two elements make water hard, and hard water doesn’t remove shampoo from your hair, making it dry and dull.

Depending on your needs and convenience, you can buy a salt-based or salt-free softener.

Shower Filter

Many cabins and lake homes have well water. Investing in a costly iron filter or well water isn’t wise for such places. You can install a shower filter for such places. Shower filters remove iron and VOCs and make water soft.

Shower Filter

Home Remedies to Control Hard Water Damage 

  • Vinegar: Apple cider vinegar rinse removes mineral buildup due to hard water. It is a clarifying agent that strengthens your hair and improves shine by lowering hair and scalp pH.
  • Lemon: A diluted lemon rinse does the same as apple cider vinegar. It may also help avoid skin rashes and itches.

Do I need to test my Well Water if my hair turns Orange?

Yes. It is better to test your well water if you notice your hair changing color. Your hair can also go orange due to high pH, VOCs, and other chemicals found in well water. It will help you install the right filtration system for well water.


  • Roy Jones

    Roy lives in Anderson, Texas, and has been a part of various certified well drilling firms. He has extensive 20 years of working experience in water wells maintenance, repair, and drinking quality. Roy has been guiding neighbors on well issues and writes to educate private well owners about various well water issues.

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