All the styling products in the world cannot counteract the effects of bad tap water. So we went to the source—specifically, the T3 Source Showerhead—to fix that.
Written By KATE KLOBE
The archetype of the California Blonde, from The Beach Boys to Elle Woods, occupies an outsized role in American cultural mythology. I find this problematic. Not because it’s underpinned by offensive sexist and racist characterizations—although, sure—but because it grossly mischaracterizes its subject. Have you ever tried to be a blonde in California? It’s really freaking difficult.
I relocated to Los Angeles in late 2016 after a decade in New York City. The move was precipitated by my husband’s job and I came semi-grudgingly. But whenever I found myself fixating on something I’d be giving up (theater, the subway, decent smoked salmon), I’d remind myself of a silver lining: the LA weather would naturally give my dingy, dishwater blonde hair the sun-kissed highlights I shelled out for every four months in New York.
LOL. When I got here, I warmed quickly to the city, but my hair never looked worse. The reason why? From a beauty perspective, LA has some of the most garbage water imaginable. What exactly do I mean by this? According to the United States Geological Survey, the tap water in Southern California is “hard”, or characterized by a particularly high concentration of calcium, magnesium and heavy metals (by contrast, New York City faucets carry “soft” water with low minerality). Hard water isn’t dangerous or bad for your health, but it ain’t great for your hair. For one, these trace elements coat strands to make hair less bouncy and more crunchy. Secondly, hard water can lead to build up at the hair follicle and aggravate conditions like dandruff. But the best part? It big-time impacts the hue of color-treated hair, dulling it out or causing it to develop a bizarre orange or green cast (especially in blondes). Fun stuff.
In my case, my formerly beige-y, buttery blonde tone was oxidizing to a ripe old orange, like a tween who had been hitting the Sun-In too hard. For months, I relied on trips back east to have my genius colorist, Mauricio Bermudez at New York City’s Suite Caroline, undo the damage. But scheduling cross-country trips around your highlighting schedule isn’t sustainable, and things would slip. So by last December, when my father came to visit and asked if I was “going for a red look,” I decided to address things at the source. Specifically, the T3 Source Showerhead.
WHAT IS IT?
The T3 Source Showerhead is not dissimilar from a standard showerhead, in that it dispenses water while you bathe. But it’s also so much more. The Source has an advanced, integrated filtration system that purifies tap water of chlorine, hydrogen sulfide, iron oxide, dirt, sediment and more. In lay terms, it transforms hard water into soft water. Think of it as a high-class (and turbo-powered) Brita filter for your bathroom.
LIKE BATHING IN EVIAN
For me, the hardest part of switching to the Source was choosing a Task Rabbit plumber to set it up (and that really wasn’t hard at all). After a 15-minute installation, my shower was outfitted with its new hardware—bonus, the Source has seven different spray settings—and I was ready to give my hair a clean slate. I jumped in, shampoo-ed, conditioned, rinsed, and then—wow. So many water-based allusions come to mind. Holy water. Baptisms. Mouth-watering. Sea change. Had I just showered in Evian?
Nope, but I might as well have. While my hair was still wet, I could tell it felt different-in-a-good-way. There was more slip and fewer tangles, and required barely any styling product to comb it out. And when it dried? It was the softest, shiniest, and bounciest it had ever been on the West Coast. I jumped around like a giddy weirdo and wouldn’t stop touching it. My NYC hair was back!
But the best part would take a few weeks to appreciate. During my first year in Los Angeles, my strands would start to develop a brassy cast within two to three weeks of a salon visit. After I swapped in the T3 Source, the lifespan of my color jobs quadrupled, and I no longer have to go around explaining that I’m not intentionally pursuing a tangerine tint. And sure, less chemical processing means healthier hair. But the time and money I save from eschewing professional highlights is the real win. It’s enough to make me act like a true, carefree California blonde!
Two other things to note. One, hard water can have the same deleterious effects on skin that it has on hair. I switch up my skin care routine all the time, but I’m pretty sure that the T3 Source has had a positive effect on some perioral dermatitis I was experiencing last year. And two, you do need to swap out the filter portion of the Source every six months (a handy little window will turn black when it’s ready to be changed). But until the City of Los Angeles seriously reassesses their water treatment protocol, consider the T3 Source Showerhead the easiest way to get better hair.