My hair’s never looked better.
Photo: George Marks/Retrofile/Getty Images
A big gossip story in the early 1990s was that Kim Basinger would only wash her hair with Evian, and I remember rolling my 15-year-old eyes at such a Hollywood extravagance, but all these years later, the joke’s on me: I’m currently washing my own hair with what is basically bottled water, and it turns out that Kim was right.
For the better part of a year, my hair had been consistently dull and drab and sticky and gross. I did everything I could to solve the problem — I switched shampoos, used less of it, used none of it, but my hair was still totally wretched. Ten months after giving up and accepting my fate, I helped my goddaughter put together her fourth-grade science project (all about the school’s water supply), and it hit me: It probably wasn’t the shampoo that was ruining my hair — it had to be the water.
City water supplies all have additives in order to kill bacteria and other microorganisms, making the water safe to drink — but those same additives (namely liquefied chlorine), can also cause your shampoo to never lather up fully or rinse all the way out. To test my hypothesis, I spent a week washing my hair with actual bottled water, and my hair looked better than it had in over a year.
But dragging a five-gallon jug of water up a flight of stairs is hardly practical, so I took to the internet and ordered up the Aquasana AQ-4100, a water-filtration system for the shower that I installed in 15 minutes — and never looked back. It uses a two-step filtration system (made from a combo of copper, zinc, and coconut-shell carbon) to stamp out chlorine and other additives, resulting in water that is somehow softer and less drying to your hair, skin, and nails. Thanks to the Aquasana, my hair now looks just as spectacular every day as it did during the week I spent washing it with bottled water.
You wouldn’t think that a $60 piece of plastic could perform such a feat, but I can feel — and even taste — the difference. You know how you can still somewhat taste the water you’re showering with (like using an outdoor shower and noticing the saltwater)? The unfiltered tap water I’d been washing my hair with always had a strange, bitter taste, with vague metallic undertones and a harsh chlorine finish — while the water my Aquasana churns out has a sweet, mild flavor. I replace the filter every six months or every 10,000 gallons of water — and they’re about six bucks cheaper if you sign up to get them auto-delivered twice a year. Thanks to fourth-grade science, this little shower filter is about as close as I come to washing my hair like a movie star.
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