Gayla says: I’ve searched high and low and would like to know if there is anything “home remedy type” (not the expensive salon treatments) that can be done for blonde hair and rust. We live in the country and my hair takes a beating. And I am getting SOOOOOO Tired of being told that I have beautiful red hair. IT’S BLONDE!!!!!! Whaaaaaaa

Gayla, at least you are being told your hair is beautiful! Life could be worse! Ha ha! That isn’t very helpful, I know. :)

Rust stains in your hair are most likely due to iron in your water, which is a common problem with well water. Boy, am I thankful that we don’t have iron in our well water. This is not an easy problem to fix-think about how hard it is to get rust stains out of fabric. Your first thoughts, and those of your hairdresser might be to bleach the stains out, but this is a bad idea for a few reasons. Bleach is incredibly hard on the hair, and bleach doesn’t really work on rust stains. What you would be doing is opening up the cuticle of the hair so much that the rust would wash out to some extent. This is a bad idea. You will end up with very fried strawberry and white blonde hair. Yuck.
There are a few things that I would try if I were you. If you see any improvement with any of them, keep repeating them daily until you are happy with the results:

1. Rinse your hair with a mixture of vinegar with some cream of tartar added to it, leaving it in for about 10 minutes before you rinse it out.

2. Try the same thing with lemon juice.

3. This is the one I know you will see some improvement with, but is a more temporary fix: Get some shampoo that is made for platinum blond and gray hair. These shampoos have a blue/purple temporary color to them which will help neutralize any red tones in your hair. Many companies make them, try Matrix’s So Silver (from salons only), or Clairol’s Shimmering Lights (you should be able to find this in the drugstore, or a Sallys Beauty Supply). To this, add a tablespoon of baking soda, mix together in your palm, and shampoo in your hair. Again, leave it in for about 10 minutes. Repeat as often as you want to.

I think your very best bet is to work towards getting that hair cut off of your head, and then prevent it from happening any further. As is almost always the case, prevention is easier than repairing damage already done. If you aren’t willing to try a shorter haircut, be sure to get your hair trimmed up regularly. On a daily basis, use shampoos that are designed to take minerals out of your hair. They will say something like “clarifying” or “removes build up.” There are a few on the market that are made for use with well water, but I have never tried any of them, so I cannot give you my real opinion on those. What I do on about a monthly basis is add a tablespoon or so of baking soda to my regular shampoos, leave in a few minutes and rinse it out. But, if I had problems like you are having I would do it at least weekly.

One more thing, rust is caused by the reaction of iron and water. Do not let your hair stay wet for long periods of time, either blow it dry, or if you must let it dry naturally, be sure and toss it around and scrunch it with your hands so it dries just as quickly as possible. If you don’t need to wash your hair daily, don’t. Be sure to use a good conditioner in your hair regularly as well, because blow drying will really make your hair dry out badly. I sure hope something in here will help you out, Gayla. Let me know if you try all of those, and nothing works, and I will dig a little deeper and try to help you out, ok? Good luck!