If Hard Water Is Affecting Your Hair and Skin, These Shower Filters Are a Must

Our editors independently research, test, and recommend the best products; you can learn more about our review process here. We may receive commissions on purchases made from our chosen links.

Our Top Picks
Seven different spray settings, ranging from an intense massage to rain-like mist, make shower time a spa-like experience.
This filter releases vitamin C and minerals into the water for skin and hair benefits.
The money you're dishing out is totally warranted when splurging on this showerhead that removes impurities from water.
This pick boasts a 15-stage filtering process that purifies water and removes unwanted minerals.
This showerhead is simple enough for a fixing novice to install—plus you won't have to worry about bacteria growth.
This easy-to-use universal showerhead and filter fit onto any shower arm.
A 15 stage filtration process ensures that unwanted minerals are removed from the water before hitting your skin.

Forget serums and styling products—the foundation for both your haircare and skincare routines starts in the shower. And we’re not just talking about the products you’re using, but the actual water itself. You’ve probably heard the term ‘hard water,’ but what is it exactly?

Hard water is simply water that has high mineral content, usually minerals such as limestone or chalk. (How can you tell if you have it? You may notice that your hair and skin feel super dry and/or that you can’t get as much of a lather from your soap and shampoo.) Those minerals can quickly take a toll on your hair; not only is hard water drying to the hair, but it can also discolor it, says Rex Jimieson, color educator and colorist at Maxine Salon in Chicago.

“Blonde or light-colored hair is particularly susceptible because it’s more porous and will absorb more of the minerals quite visibly,” he adds. They can also wreak similar havoc on your skin, leaving it dry and flaky, no matter how moisturizing your body wash is. Enter the beauty of a showerhead filter. Generally pretty quick and easy to install, they can drastically reduce not only the number of minerals that come in contact with your hair and skin but chlorine, too. 

So if you want softer skin and smoother, shinier hair, install any of these top shower filters for hard water.

Best Overall: Sprite HE7-CM Hand Held Pure 7 Setting Shower Filter

Sprite HE7-CM Hand Held Pure 7 Setting Shower Filter

Type: Handheld | Features: 7 spray settings, 72-inch hose

Jimieson says this brand’s filter systems are his first choice thanks to the affordable price, streamlined design, and efficacy. This one also pulls in great reviews, with shoppers noting how well it eliminates the unwanted effects of hard water. It comes with a 72-inch hose and anti-scaling spray tips that prevent build-up on the actual showerhead. Bonus points for seven different spray settings ranging from an intense massage to rain-like mist.

Best with Benefits: AquaBliss High Output Revitalizing Shower Filter

AquaBliss High Output Revitalizing Shower Filter

Type: Attachment | Features: 15-stage filtration

Yes, this goes to town, purifying water and taking out everything from those hard minerals to chlorine to small sediment such as dust particles. But it then takes things one step further, by not only taking the bad stuff out but also adding in lots of good stuff. There’s far infrared technology that boosts negative ions and oxygen levels in the water, and it even releases vitamin C and certain beneficial minerals back into the H2O. It’s also easy to pop on, no tools required.

Best Splurge: T3 Source Showerhead

T3 Source Showerhead Filter

Type: Wall-mounted | Features: 7 spray settings

When a brand known for its standout hair tools comes up with a filter, you know it’s going to be good. The filtration system relies on calcium sulfide, zinc, and copper to effectively reduce not only free chlorine but also all kinds of other impurities (and even odors). Also nice: Seven different spray settings and a convenient indicator that reminds you when to change out the filter (every six months or 10,000 gallons). It’s a little pricey, yes, but we found it made a noticeable difference in our shower experience.

Best Budget: Limia's Care LC-SF3WF Shower Filter

Limia’s Care LC-SF3WF 15 Stage Shower Filter

Type: Attachment | Features: 15-stage filtration

Not only is this one affordable, it even comes with one extra filter included—for a total of 12 months of efficacy—making this the most wallet-friendly option of the bunch. But don’t worry, it’s still super effective, thanks to a 15-stage filtering process that includes several different layers and methods of purification and mineral removal.

Best for Beginners: Culligan Wall-Mounted Filtered Shower Head with Massage, Chrome WSH-C125

Culligan WSH-C125 Wall-Mounted Filtered Showerhead

Type: Wall-mounted | Features: WHR-140 filter cartridge

There’s no need to call a handyman or even channel your inner Tim the Tool Man Taylor when installing this filter. The process takes just a few minutes; simply attach the head and wrap it with the included tape, no tools or extra assistance required. Along with filtering out minerals, it also limits the passage and growth of bacteria, always a good thing.

Best on Amazon: Adovel High Output Shower Head and Hard Water Filter

Adovel High Output Shower Head and Hard Water Filter

Type: Attachment | Features: 90 spray nozels, 15-stage filtration

There’s no shortage of great shower filters on Amazon, but this is one of the best, constantly pulling in rave reviews. Shoppers rave about how much it’s changed the quality of the water and positively impacted their hair and skin—not to mention left their glass shower stalls with fewer hard water stains. They also repeatedly point out the high water pressure it delivers thanks to its 6-inch diameter and 90 nozzles. A 15-stage filtration system ensures your water is free of chlorine, fluoride, minerals, odors, and more.

Best Long-Lasting: AquaEarth 15 Stage Shower Water Filter

AquaEarth 15 Stage Shower Filter

Type: Attachment | Features: 15-stage filtration

No matter which filters you go with, Jimieson points out that it’s important to change it out according to the manufacturers’ instructions. (Just like the filter you use for your drinking water, it will stop working after a while.) The standard for most options is generally every six months of 10,000 gallons, but this one comes with two filters, so you get up to a year’s worth of filtration with one purchase. It boasts a unique technology that uses crushed coconut shells to filter out chlorine, heavy metals, and other sediments. Also nice: It’s compatible with overhead, handheld, rain, and combo showerheads.

Final Verdict

A shower filter is an unexpected—though very effective—way to address hair and skin issues.  You can’t go wrong with the Sprite HE7-CM Hand Held Pure 7 Setting Shower Filter (view at Amazon), which marries the perfect blend of efficacy, chic design, and affordable price. If you want a super inexpensive option, try the Limia’s Care LC-SF3WF Shower Filter (view at Amazon); it offers similar filtration levels as many of its pricier counterparts. And if you’re looking for one that goes above and beyond the standard filter job description, consider the AquaBliss High Output Revitalizing Shower Filter (view at Amazon). Along with removing the bad stuff, it also imparts good stuff into the water, namely vitamin C and specific beneficial minerals.

What to Look for in a Shower Filter

Levels of Filtration

The higher the number the better, as the more stages of filtration the water undergoes, the purer it becomes. 12 to 15 is standard.

Lifespan

Check to see how many gallons of water the filter can, well, filter before it needs to be replaced. If you notice the water flow impeding then it’s probably time for a replacement.

Compatibility

Many filters are universal, but you’ll want to make sure the one you’re choosing will work with the specific type of showerhead you have. 

FAQ
  • Are shower filters easy to install?

    While it may initially seem complicated, a customer service representative from AquaBliss says that, in general, shower filters are easy to install. It just requires removing the existing showerhead, attaching the filter, and then reattaching the showerhead.

  • How long does it take to install a shower filter for hard water?

    While this may vary from product to product, the customer service representative says that it typically takes about 15 minutes to remove the existing showerhead, install the filter, and reattach the showerhead. It shouldn’t be a long, complicated process!

  • How often do you need to replace a shower filter for hard water?

    The customer service rep says that this will vary depending on the brand and the water conditions in your specific area. “Generally speaking, they’ll need to be replaced after filtering 2,000 to 10,000 gallons of water,” they say.

  • How do you know if a shower filter for hard water is working?

    Because shower filters reduce the amount of harsh chemicals and minerals in your water, the customer service rep says that you can expect to see a pretty dramatic improvement in the condition of your skin, hair, and nails. “Your hair and skin should feel softer, there is less of a chlorine smell, and your bath/hair products will lather more,” they say.

Why Trust Byrdie?

Byrdie contributor Melanie Rud has over a decade of experience in the beauty industry, writing for some of the biggest magazines and websites out there. She does, in fact, have a shower filter in her shower and has noticed a massive difference in how her hair and skin look since installing it.

According to our Diversity Pledge, 15% of products in our newly-published market roundups will feature Black-owned and/or Black-founded brands. At the time of publishing, we were not able to find any shower filters for hard water from a Black-owned and/or Black-founded business. If you know of one we should consider, please email us at contact@byrdie.com and we will evaluate the product ASAP.

Meet the Expert

Rex Jimieson is a colorist at Maxine Salon in Chicago. He often recommends shower filters to both his clients and colleagues and, as a colorist, repeatedly sees the effects they can have on hair firsthand.

Related Stories