LOS ANGELES — My hair is lustrous, full-bodied, glossy. My skin is smoother and my eyes clearer. I'm thinking of registering myself with the American Kennel Club.
For the past two weeks, I've been showering in the blessed rain of the Jonathan Beauty Water shower filter, an absolutely smashing product whose only drawback, as far as I can tell, is its association with the scissors-wielding lunatic Jonathan Antin.
Desperate shut-ins may remember Antin's Bravo channel reality series Blow Out, on which the hair stylist threw epic hissy fits, hyperventilated with self-love and cried like a child.
In the course of writing a magazine article about Antin three years ago, I sat for a $500 haircut. Let me just say, as whack as the man might seem, he is Michelangelo with a pair of scissors.
Thanks to the TV series, I know — we all know — the backstory of the Jonathan Beauty Water shower filter. One day, Antin discovered the water was cut off to his house. Leaving home without washing his hair would be unthinkable, so in desperation Antin washed his hair with bottled spring water. The filtered, pH-neutral, chlorine-free water ginned up a fine head of shampoo suds and rinsed perfectly clean.
"My hair never looked so bangin', " Antin memorably said.
The idea of a beautifying shower filter seemed a natural for Antin, who has a line of hair and beauty products that sells at Sephora retail outlets.
As you may have heard, like Florida, California is in a drought. The agency that supplies Southern California's drinking water recently said it may have to reduce water deliveries to the Los Angeles area by 15 to 25 percent. Though this is disturbing news that threatens the region's economy and very ecology, more critically it spells trouble for your coiffure. The reason: As drought conditions persist, water agencies have to rely on secondary water sources with lower-quality water. In the case of groundwater supplies, the situation is precisely like that of a car's fuel tank: As the water table drops, the water is increasingly contaminated with impurities that settle toward the bottom.
You may confront, in addition to brown lawns and empty swimming pools, the specter of increasingly frizzy hair, dull skin and split ends. Oh, the humanity.
According to the packaging, the Jonathan Beauty Water filter removes more than 90 percent of the chlorine, heavy metals, volatile organic compounds — stuff like benzene and solvents, known as VOCs — and more than 70 percent of lead and copper. These numbers put the Jonathan filter among the most effective shower filters on the market. It has a maximum flow rate of 2.5 gallons per minute, but you can dial it down to less than a gallon a minute.
I picked up my filter — $95 for the shower filter and $55 for the replacement filter cartridge, plus tax — and took it home. The device requires no tools to install, though I recommend picking up a little Teflon tape to make the threaded fitting watertight. Installation took about two minutes. The filter is a nicely made piece of heavy and durable molded plastic. The filter cartridge attaches to the shower head with large, stout threads that lock down securely against a heavy gasket.
Now, the moment of truth. When I step into the shower, the first thing I notice is the water smells better — and it's not as if the city water is so bad to begin with. The chemical tang of chlorine is largely eliminated, and I can open my eyes in the stream.
The other nice thing about filtered water is that it makes soap work better. A tablespoon of shampoo blooms into a sudsy white mushroom on top of my head. After a minute or two of scrubbing, I rinse off, squeaky clean.
If you visit consumer-review Web sites such as Amazon, you'll find people raving about the difference the Jonathan filter makes with the texture of their hair and skin. I did notice my skin was softer and my hair felt, um, silkier, which is saying something for a guy who has been known to brush his teeth with Dial soap.
Is the Jonathan filter worth it?
I think so. What is perhaps even more worth it is the Aquasana AQ-4100, which is the same filter without the Jonathan name (both available on amazon.com). The Aquasana typically sells for about $70. But somehow, that one doesn't seem as bangin'.