“Soft water does not contain dissolved substances that produce scum and scale. It can also be defined as water that does produce lather with soap solutions.” Wikipedia
Hard water creates limescale that blocks up pipes, damages your appliances, hair and skin
Pipes and appliances
Limescale blocks up pipes and coats heating elements on appliances such as boilers, dishwashers and washing machines. All boiler manufactures ensure their central heating systems have a form of water softening in them but this does not apply to the hot water running to your baths and showers.
Energy Saving Trust (the UK's main free impartial advice body) calculated in 2014 that in a very hard water area (over 300mg/l as CaCO3), using a water softening device could reduce maintenance and water heating costs by up to £50 per year, or £580 over the lifetime of a boiler.
This is calculated for a 4-person household with a gas-fired combi condensing boiler and includes both energy savings and maintenance costs for descaling the boiler 3 times, estimated at £169 per procedure. The household pays 4.21p/kWh for gas. Figures valid for 2014.
This £50 a year is just from the boiler. Your dishwasher and washing machine will be more efficient and last longer as will the pipework in your house.
You will also see a saving in cleaning products as you need far less in a soft water area.
Some people experience extra dry skin from hard water and other people find that using dry water on their face triggers acne breakouts. The impurities or minerals in the water interacts both with the oils in your skin and the moisturisers you apply to your face. In the case of the oils in your skin the minerals in the water that are left on your face after rinsing your face with hard water change the consistency of the oil from a liquid to a wax which in turn can clog your pores. When oil sits in your pores you can start to have breakouts. Even if you use moisturisers that will not clog your pores (noncomedogenic) when that moisturiser comes into contact with the impurities that are left on your skin from hard water those oil-like substances do indeed start clogging your pores. So if you are acne prone each time you rinse your face with hard water you are actually doing a lot more harm than good to your skin
Limescale leaves a scaly film on your hair that prevents moisture from entering. The result is dry, dull, tangly, and strange coloured hair. Hard water can also cause build up on the scalp, causing a dandruff-like condition to form.
Some people recommend a vinegar or lemon and lime rinse but the best thing that you can do is wash your hair with soft water.
A water softener from Vibrant Water will look after your hair and skin while making your appliances and pipework last longer, work better and cost less to run. You will also see a reduction in cleaning time and products.