Can a showerhead really impact your hair health?
How much money do we spend on making our hair better? Those deep treatments at the salon, the miracle hair oils that Kim Kardashian uses, tourmaline brushes, ionic hair dryers, grocery shopping for DIY hair masks — we've all splurged on something. But, we may have been missing something all along: filtered showerheads.
Who knew? I didn't even know they existed — but exist they do. There are ones with massage settings for every sore muscle, ones that are eco-friendly (from the use of lasers) and even ones that light up and change colors.
But, what we really want to know is...
How they work
Well, let's start with the basics. First, it's important to understand how conditioner works (because that makes our hair smooth and shiny!).
Our hair is negatively charged — conditioner, positively charged. And opposites attract, right? Right. The conditioner works as a protectant for each hair strand and is bonded there because of the opposite charges. Shampoo, on the other hand, is negatively charged (like our hair), so it's also going to attract oils, which rinse away with the shampoo. (Sorry, Hair, the oils like Shampoo better.)
OK, now that we understand that, the primary goal of showerhead filters is to remove excessive amounts of chlorine from your water. Chlorine is great for keeping our water disease-free, but not so great at giving us luscious Hollywood locks. That's because chlorine is one of the elements with the highest electronegativity. Yep, it strips our hair of any conditioning oils (much more harshly than shampoo) — and our skin too.
Types of showerhead filters
But, apparently, there are various types of showerhead filters. Each has different pros and cons, so it really comes down to what's actually in your water — and that can change from city to city. (If you're curious, use the National Drinking Water Database from the Environmental Working Group and type in your zip code.) Here are some key components of different filtrations systems:
- Kinetic degradation fluxion. Converts chlorine into a harmless calcium chloride.
- Vitamin C. Filters 99 percent of chlorine and chloramine, but only those two.
- Carbon. Doesn't work very well in hot water. So, unless you only take cold showers...
- Crystalline quartz. Added to filters to help enhance that lather-y feel.
- Chlorgon. Works well in hot water, but patented by and only found in Sprite showerheads.
So, I wouldn't go for a shower filter with straight carbon. But, when looking for the best showerhead that fits your needs, you'll find that several brands combine some of those key components for optimal filtration.
Well, I'm no mathematician, but when everything seems to be adding up, it probably won't hurt to give it a try — especially for those of you with high contents of chlorine in your water. And there are lots of reviews online to let you know exactly how well they work, firsthand.
But, hold it right there. There are other factors to consider when you're showering, too...
More ways to shower without damaging hair
If you're still kind of skeptical about the whole "I'm a magical showerhead that will grant all your hair wishes," then there are still things you can do to make your showering experience extra-nice for your hair.
Temperature. Ideally, you'll want to wash your hair in lukewarm water — not too hot, not too cold. Hot water can dry out your hair and scalp, while cold water can be less effective in ridding dirty oils. However, your hair has cuticles that need a flash of cold water to seal them down for more shine later.
Pressue. Ahhh, a good, strong showerhead is purely one of the joys of life. And, typically, they can really help water penetrate through your hair and cleanse your scalp. And there's nothing a good massage can't fix (even if it is from your showerhead). However, be wary of extremely strong heads. They may have the tendency to mess with your hair cuticles, which means frizzy hair for you.
Hard and soft water. Well, to each her own. Hard water contains more calcium and magnesium, while soft water has more sodium. But, one is not necessarily better than the other. For people with finer hair, soft water may leave their hair feeling weighted and slightly slippery (as if the conditioner didn't rinse out). But, for those with thicker, coarser hair, soft water can work wonders. If that's what you've been missing, you can buy water softener systems at your local hardware store.