Jonathan Beauty Water shower filter pampers hair, skin -- and saves water too

Jonathan Beauty Water shower filter pampers hair, skin -- and saves water too
Dan Neil tests out the Jonathan Product Beauty Water Shower Purification System. (Tina Larsen Neil)
My hair is lustrous, full bodied, glossy. My skin is smoother and my eyes clearer. I'm thinking of registering myself with the AKC.

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.
Jonathan Salons: A review of the Jonathan Beauty Water shower filter in the March 28 Home section said Jonathan Antin has two salons in the L.A. area. At the time of publication, one of those salons was already closed. The second salon has since closed and is in the process of relocating, a spokeswoman said. —

Desperate shut-ins may remember Antin's Bravo channel reality series "Blow Out," on which Antin -- who has two salons in the L.A. area -- threw epic hissy fits, hyperventilated with self-love and cried like a child. Antin belongs to a category of reality-show characters I think of as "meta-egotists" -- Bret Michaels, Donald Trump, the departed Anna Nicole Smith -- whose talent, as it were, is to be the worst versions of themselves for the benefit of cameras.

In the course of writing a magazine story about Antin three years ago, I sat for a $500 haircut. Let me just say, as whack as the man might seem, he is freaking Michelangelo with a pair of scissors.

Thanks to the TV series, I know -- we all know -- the back story 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 as unthinkable as Bret Michaels appearing in public without his codpiece, 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 said, memorably. The idea of a beautifying shower filter seemed a natural for Antin, who has his own line of hair and beauty products that sells at Sephora retail outlets.

As you may have heard, California is in the midst of a drought. The Metropolitan Water District, the agency that supplies Southern California with its drinking water, recently said it may have to reduce water deliveries to the Los Angeles area by 15% to 25%. Now while 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.

Angelenos 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% of the chlorine, heavy metals, volatile organic compounds -- stuff like benzene and solvents, known as VOCs -- and more than 70% 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 water Nazis can dial it down to less than a gallon a minute.

I picked up my filter at the Glendale Galleria Sephora -- $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. I get naked, heaving my gloriousness from the surly bonds of clothing, and step in the shower. The first thing I notice is the water smells better -- and it's not as if Altadena 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 websites such as Amazon, you'll see people raving about the difference the Jonathan filter makes with the texture of their hair and skin. This could be because they live in some Godforsaken trailer park with water drawn off a stagnant bass pond -- I don't know. I wasn't exactly reborn in the baptism of the Jonathan filter, but 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 co-branded Jonathan name. The Aquasana typically sells for about $70. But somehow, that one doesn't seem as bangin'.

Neil's reviews of home design and technology are archived at