I'm naturally hesitant to review something I, at least at first, don't see as necessarily necessary. A $148 dollar showerhead angled as a foundational tool for enhancing your overall wellness was the exact kind of item I'd usually overlook... until I took the test attached to it. Jolie, a new line of beauty and wellness tools from co-founders Ryan Babenzien and Arjan Singh, launched its first product, The Filtered Showerhead, alongside a quiz that surveys your local water supply. It searches for contaminants that could cause hair discoloration and damage, dry skin, acne and even dandruff — and worsen pre-existing issues like eczema or rosacea.
As I awaited the results of my Jolie water report — which they build based on your zip code — I tempered my expectations. Surely they were destined to be bad, but I had no idea just how bad. In college, we joked that our water definitely tasted different — that showering in our shared college house felt like a DIY mineral bath, marked by what appeared to be salt stains down the shower's walls.
I'd read up on the lead levels in my adopted city's water lines. Pittsburgh, I learned, was still ridding lead from its drinking water. In fact, it'll be 2025 by the time lead pipes are removed from the city's infrastructure. "In Pittsburgh, around 400-500 children are diagnosed each year with lead poisoning," Michelle Naccarati-Chapkis, Women for a Healthy Environment's Executive Director, told the local paper. If lead's the leading issue, surely the chemicals Jolie strives to strip from my water are going unaddressed, I thought. And, sadly, they are.
The report for the zip code I live in — 15222, which spans all of downtown Pittsburgh and two of its auxiliary neighborhoods — returned unsatisfactory results for every single element Jolie promises to filter out: My water has 359 times the Environmental Working Group's recommend level of Total Trihalomethanes, 153.1 times the amount of Haloacetic Acids, 279.6 times the amount of Bromodichloromethane, 26.7 times the amount of Chromium, 101.9 times the amount of Dibromochloromethane and 62.9 times the amount of Chloroform. Was I shocked? Yes. Concerned? Definitely, because although lead is obviously more pressing and significantly more dangerous — see: Flint, Michigan, for example — these are still contaminants nonetheless.
I installed Jolie immediately after reading the report — and quickly, too. The showerhead screws onto any standard US shower arm. Installing it in the apartment I'm renting, however, which has an atypical bathroom because it is ADA compliant, did require a quick trip to Home Depot; I left with 1/2 inch elbow pipe and an S-shaped shower hose. For most homes, though, Jolie can be installed by simply unscrewing the existing head, wrapping leak-sealing tape around the stem and screwing Jolie on in its place. Well, you're probably wondering, what's it like?
Jolie arrives in a compact box with few frills. Its first filter is pre-loaded, but the brand recommends double-checking before you install it — not that they necessarily anticipate one being missing but rather so you're familiar with what's inside for when your replacement arrives in three months. The filters are $36 or $12 a month, if you think of it that way.
A Jolie green-colored wrench is in the box as well, for unscrewing your old showerhead and installing Jolie's iteration. Sealing tape is offered as well. That goes around the stem as to prevent leaks. You should retape the stem every time you replace the filter, I'd say, because even the few times I took the showerhead on and off to check out its parts pierced the sealant.
Like I said, installing the Jolie showerhead is easy. It's a mere matter of first figuring out how to get your current one off. If you have a custom one — meaning one that didn't come with your house or apartment — surely you've done this before.
I'll admit it, I was skeptical of the showerhead before I even stepped in the shower. It's one of those products you can't visually verify, meaning whether or not it's really working is up to several tests and a little bit of research. But, there were noticeable differences nonetheless. The pressure was nice, and the showerhead offered wider water coverage than my last. It can be angled ever so slightly but it doesn't offer the same range of mobility as other modern options.
The Jet Black version, which I tested, would compliment black, silver or gold components, but there are Brushed Steel, Pebble Gray, Cloud White, Modern Chrome and Vibrant Red versions as well.
Jolie's Filtered Showerhead, with its own proprietary blend of KDF-55 and Calcium Sulfite, removes heavy metals, finer contaminants and chlorine from your shower water. Although many people use Brita filters, or their own chosen equivalent, few filter the water they bathe in unless their shower (or home water lines) came with the technology to do so already. But, as evident by my own water report, which uses data "licensed from the Environmental Working Group (EWG) and its Tap Water Database, which uses publicly available data from tests conducted by each water utility," we all should be.
Unfiltered water can dull your hair, damage its roots, cause split ends and frizziness and even accelerate hair loss. It can do similar damage to your skin: itchiness, hives or bumps, abnormal redness, dryness, flaking and even onset eczema.
Did it work? Definitely, I'd say. But maybe that's because I convinced myself so. The water felt softer, and like it no longer clashed with the products I used. My hair felt fluffier and lighter, as if my tandem of shampoo and conditioner could better do its job with better water.
And although I by no means use boiling water, I didn't feel the usual dryness a steamy shower guarantees. Plus, I didn't feel I needed to overcompensate with skincare products after the fact. Usually, like many do post-shower, I'd have to seriously lather myself in hydrating products in order to restore my skin to its natural moisture level. I definitely still had to, don't let me fool you, but it took significantly less product to get to that place.
Ultimately, whether it works or not would require a scientist's help. But, if Jolie's water report and the data they have to back up their filter both prove true, this showerhead has to be better for both my hair and skin.