I'm super excited to be writing this post! You may be looking at this and thinking eh! Bit technical isn't it! But trust me, this is probably the most worthwhile purchase i have made so far since living in London and i really wanted to share this with you.
What is it you ask? Well it's a shower filter designed to filter out all those nasty chemicals and chlorine that exists in our hard water as well as the minerals that cause limescale. Now if anyone has ever lived in a soft water area and then moved to a hard water area like me, you really really notice the difference. If you have always lived in a soft water area then you are one of the lucky ones. I have been thoroughly researching this lately and i'm shocked that i didn't know what was in our water in London ( or any other hard water areas) and i'm even more gutted that i didn't know this sooner. Over the last 3 years since living here, my hair has slowly declined in health and particularly over the last year, my hair has particularly become very very dry, it's also become heavier/weighted down, frizzier, dull and tangly. I also have noticed that my trusty Aveda Smoothing shampoo and conditioner didn't seem to be doing its job anymore. I'd wake up and my hair would feel awful and would go wavy even though it has been permanently straightened which then meant i had to use my GHDs every morning causing even more damage. Sound familiar?? I noticed that if i stayed at my other flat on odd occasions, where the water was from a different plant that my hair would stay straighter? Very confusing. And on holiday my hair would always been in such condition, i knew it had to be the water. If i hadn't have moved from Sussex where the water was soft and had grown up in London, then my hair would have been like this from day one and i would have been none the wiser! My hair literally used to feel like silk once straightened and i could get a brush through it easily and it would hardly ever tangle. I was looking through some old pics the other day and i noticed how good the condition of my hair was back then and compared it to now and to be honest i just felt depressed because i just couldn't understand why it had changed so much. I know my hair very well and i have worked for a natural hair care company for 2 years so knew my stuff when it came to hair. I always have used the same products as i did 4 years ago when my hair was in great condition and always taken good care of it. So what was it, the pollution in the air maybe? But even that wouldn't have changed it the way it is now in such a short space of time. I always knew the water in our household was particularly bad, i have lived here in this flat for a year and we have a very high content of lime in our water as well as other chemicals. There are constant rings of crusty limescale on the tops of our shampoo bottles and the grout in the tiles turns red. Its disgusting. I thought to myself this must be the reason, if the stuff in the water is leaving all those nasty deposits on our bottles and sanitary ware then what the hell is it doing to our skin and hair, not to mention the chlorine that they put in the water on top. So i went on a mission to find a solution. There had to be a way. And i found this! A shower filter from a natural skincare company called The Sensitive Skincare Co. I got it on Amazon and read the reviews to see if this really worked and the reviews were very positive. There were many reviews from people who are eczema suffers who had tried everything under the sun to treat it and nothing worked until they bought the shower filter after which they noticed a dramatic improvement in their skin condition. I thought to myself this all makes sense. It's an endless circle for people who live in these areas, you think you have a skin/scalp problem, you wash using the products that are supposed to help but then you are rinsing it off with with the very thing that is causing the problem in the first place. Vicious circle heh!
Now let me tell you about hard water first and what's in it and then i'll tell you about the filter itself and how it works. Please note that hard water is safe to drink and actually better for your body than soft water, i don't want you to read the below info and be scared into not drinking it as its fine to drink, although this is very ironic in its own way, good for body, baaaad for skin and hair ... ?! Strange huh!
So, to put in simply hard water comes about when it is in the ground and it passes through the crevices of different minerals and rocks, such as limestone. If the rocks are soft then the water will pick up small deposits along the way before making its way to the waterplant. These minerals are what makes the water hard. Then on top of that, the water is then cleaned at the plant with chlorine, and we all know what that can do to our hair.
Our hair, scalp and skin have an electrical charge which is negative whereas minerals and oxidisers are positive. When a positively charged mineral comes into contact with our hair,scalp and skin, it attaches it on like a magnet and will prevent your shampoos and conditioners from working properly. Not nice! So basically when you are conditioning your hair, you are locking in those minerals and chlorine to your hair and it will stay there until it is washed out. But the more you wash and condition to get it out, the more build up you will get of hard water on your hair. Catch 22 or what!
The minerals and elements found in hard water are:
CALCIUM - This is the mineral that determines the hardness of the water. You can find out how much of this is in your water by checking your local water authority. For any Londoners, you can find this on the Thames Water website - link below. Calcium will leave the hair dry, brittle and weighted down, it can cause hair to break at the follicle as it can choke the hair at the root. Calcium also coats the scalp and causes flakiness which can seem like it's dandruff.
COPPER + IRON - Iron can leave hair dry, brittle and weighted just like Calcium but it can also cause dark hair to tint darker and blonde hair to turn orange or brassy. Ever noticed that horrible orange/rusty colour forming around your taps. This is it. It can also block colour, perms and other chemical treatments from properly processing. This explains why since i've been in my current flat every time i have dyed my hair darker with a permanent colour, it strips right out after a month. This NEVER happened in my previous soft water area.
MAGNESIUM - Does all the above plus causes hair to lack shine
SILICA - Has the same effects as calcium
LEAD - Causes dryness, prevents colours and other chemical relaxers/perms to process properly.
CHLORINE - Damages the cuticle and proteins of the hair, causing it to become dry, brittle and lack shine.
More importantly which i didn't know, chlorine is an oxidiser which means it causes the air and sun to oxidise the hair and worsens the conditions listed above.
I have to say after reading what i have read, everything seems to make sense. My hair has been falling out a lot more than it used to, because the amount of calcium in our water here is blocking it at the roots and its then falling away. It's been a hell of a lot more frizzier despite using very good products which in the past have worked fantastic for me. It's heavier, its less smooth because the cuticle can't lay so flat and it's so dry that it feels almost like straw, especially at the ends. It doesn't hold colour anymore and it doesn't stay as straight as it used to. Plus i have a lot of split ends but that's probably down to the reason that i'm struggling to get my brush through the hair these days and i'm having to GHD it more because my products aren't working and my straightening treatment isn't working as well. And it doesn't matter what products i have been using, they don't seem to work anymore. The hair has been constantly coated in all these minerals and chlorine thus preventing them from working properly.
Now into the actual filter itself!
Found this on Amazon and ordered it there and then. It came the very next day and with it i got a free organic lipbalm. Now that's a service i like :) I was surprised at how small the filter was at first. It basically screws onto the end of the hose and fits onto the shower head, so then the water passes up the hose, through the filter and out of the shower head. It is quite weighty so you will need a strong shower grip. What i like is it is portable so you can take this with you if you were to stay away from home for a while.
What's in the filter and how does it work?
It has five layers to it which the water has to pass through. These are:
ACTIVE CARBON - This purifies and removes odours from the water. Many people report the smell of chlorine in their bathrooms and this will remove that smell.
PATENT MINERAL - Patented in Germany. These tiny balls of compressed minerals produce micro moleculed water. This makes the water softer & enhances skins moisture retention, allowing better absorbtion of skincare products.
KDF - Copper and zinc alloy, which removes chlorine, heavy metal, inorganic material and prevents bacteria from forming.
CALCIUM SULPHITE - De-Chlorinates water completely , plus removes the lime and softens water.The Calcium Sulphate in this product is made in Japan and has extremely high purity.
HI-TECH ANTI BACTERIAL NANO FIBRE - This instantly eliminates bacteria from the water and stops bacteria or any algae forming.
It can process up to 62,000 litres of water and is valid for 6 to 12 months depending on the hardness of your water and the amount of chlorine in it. As the filter is clear you can see straight away when it's time to change it for a new one.
I paid £35.25 from Amazon which i think is a great price considering it will last me up to 6 months.
What i thought of the filter?
Well i have only used it twice so far and in all honesty i really have noticed a difference already. And i'm not just saying this. I thought after the first use i would remain impartial as i didn't want to get my hopes up too much. I did feel that the water itself felt softer or lighter and i also noticed that my skin did not have it usual tight feeling when i have gotten out of the water. I always have to use body moisturiser. I washed my hair with a clarifying shampoo to get as much of the minerals and chlorine out as possible and noticed the shampoo lathered a bit more than usual and when i washed the conditioner out, my hair felt less tangly. Good so far. Then my boyfriend who is a bit more sceptical, had a shower and he even noticed a difference in how the water felt, saying it felt softer on the skin. I let my hair dry naturally and straightened my roots with my GHDs. The real test would be the next day. Usually by the next day my hair feels as if it needs washing again and any straightening i have done has to be done all over again even though it has been permanently straightened already. My roots are curly so at the moment i'm just doing my roots. I woke up today and although my hair was slightly wavy, i only had to brush it and it went back to being straight! Whooop!!! I had to do minimal GHDing on it and even the GHDs seemed to glide a lot better through the hair. I noticed that my hair felt as if it used to in the old days, it felt cleaner and smoother and there was less flakiness on my scalp. I even went out and when i got home, i quickly put a brush through it to test it. No tangles. This would never have happened before and the last time my hair behaved like this was before i moved to London. Even now when i touch it, it is considerably less drier and frizzy! And this is after just one wash with the filter. I'm so excited as my hair can now only improve the more i use it. I have even put my old Aveda shampoo back in the bathroom to see if it will work as i honestly believed my hair had just got used to it and that it wasn't working for me anymore. I will be washing my hair tomorrow with it and can't wait to see what the results will be. As well as my hair, my skin felt softer too, I got out the shower and dried off and i didn't even feel as if i needed to put on body moisturiser. I was so happy :) I put it on anyway coz i love it haha but i have to say that even with the body moisturiser my skin does feel a lot lot softer. Usually i'll put it on and it sinks in and my skin will feel dry again.
I've given my bathroom a deep clean and i will be monitoring the filter to see how well it is working. If i see no/less limescale marks in a week's time then i know for sure this thing is doing it's job. It's primarily a chlorine filter so even just to know that that isn't going onto my hair is still a huge bonus.
Below are some links you may find useful:
http://www.thameswater.co.uk/cps/rde/xchg/corp/hs.xsl/899.htm - This is the Thames Water site, here you can check how hard the water is in your area if you are a Londoner. I have checked other water boards such as Southern and South Eastern and they both tell you on there too.
http://www.hairlosshelp.com/forums/messageview.cfm?catid=5&threadid=81885 - For in depth info on hard water itself
http://www.amazon.co.uk/dechlorinating-sensitised-Sensitive-Skincare-Co/dp/B0025TYZTG/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1342910391&sr=8-1 - Where i bought the filter!
http://www.sensitiveskincareco.com/ - The company itself and its products!
I'm looking forward to more use of the shower filter and if i am still happy with it in a months time, i shall be buying the bath filter as well. The lip balm they gave me as a complimentary gift is divine so i shall definitely be buying some of their organic skincare products as well!
So that's it for now. I shall be reporting back in a few weeks to let you know of any further results but i can honestly say that i have noticed a difference already and i hope and pray that this continues. I know this is a very very long post but i had to share this with you. I really feel that the cause of a lot of people's skin problems could be down to the water but most of us just don't realise this and what it could be doing and that it could be the very thing making the situation worse.
Please read the reviews on their website and judge for yourself and i'll post an update in a few weeks. If it's still working, i would whole heartedly suggest this as a purchase, i promise it will make a difference :)
Luv Holly xx