How to Remove Iron Buildup From Hair Without Stripping Color

Clarify hair weekly to prevent and remove build-up.

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Iron buildup -- it's nasty. It coats your hair, lending it a metallic smell and that reddish cast that everyone associates with well water and hard water. Worse yet, it makes your hair feel all brittle, heavy and coarse. It feels even worse on color-treated hair. The damage from chemical services sends an open invitation for the iron to settle in and do what it wants with your hair. If you want to get rid of the build-up, but don't want to lose your color, tread carefully.


Stock up on distilled water and shampoo your hair with it. Your hair is never going to get better if you keep washing it in iron-laden water. Chances are, you have extremely hard water or well water. A water softening system may improve the quality of your water, but in the meantime, use bottled water.


Shampoo your hair once a week with clarifying shampoo. Lather it up real good and wait for a full five minutes before rinsing. Clarify your hair each week faithfully for best results.


Shampoo and condition with color-protecting shampoo and conditioner when you're not clarifying. Leave the conditioner on for five minutes and rinse with cool water to seal your color in.

Things You'll Need


1.Distilled water

3.Color-protecting shampoo


2.Clarifying shampoo

4.Color-protecting conditioner


Tips & Tricks


Need an extra boost? Place a plastic cap over your hair after you lather it up with the clarifying shampoo. Direct heat from a blow dryer over the cap for 10 minutes to dramatically increase the clarifying action of the shampoo. This way might fade your color a bit, so use it sparingly.


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"Milady's Standard Textbook of Cosmetology"; Milady, et al.; 2008

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