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5 Best Shower Filters We Tested For Healthier Hair & Skin

Brittany Natale
Author: Medical reviewer:
March 11, 2024
Brittany Natale
Contributor
By Brittany Natale
Contributor
Brittany Natale has a degree in advertising and marketing communications from the Fashion Institute of Technology. Her work has appeared in SELF, Popsugar, i-D, Teen Vogue, Domino, Martha Stewart, and Eat This.
Scott Nass, M.D., MPA, FAAFP, AAHIVS
Medical review by
Scott Nass, M.D., MPA, FAAFP, AAHIVS
Board-certified Family Physician
Scott Nass, M.D., MPA, FAAFP, AAHIVS is a family physician and HIV specialist in California. He takes a holistic approach to healthcare, incorporating principles of functional medicine and using food as medicine when working with patients.
photos of installed jolie, aquayouth, and canopy shower filters in three bathrooms
Image by mbg creative
March 11, 2024
We carefully vet all products and services featured on mindbodygreen using our commerce guidelines. Our selections are never influenced by the commissions earned from our links.

If every shower leaves your hair dry and brittle—or your skin sensitive and inflamed—then it might be time to take a deeper look at your water.

Most public water systems rely on chlorine to disinfect their water supplies, which removes parasites, bacteria, and viruses. Additionally some areas within the United States have hard water or water with a higher mineral content. This is due to groundwater flowing over limestone, which adjust the mineral content of your water.

Both these chemicals and minerals can wreak havoc on your hair in skin. Chlorine is a known skin barrier disrupter, which leaves epidermis susceptible to dryness and irritation (which explains why you often leave public pools with pruning fingers and toes).

Hard water has a similar effect; it coats your skin and hair follicles and creates a barrier from your shower products. As a result, hard water can decrease hair strength and cause breakage, and it has has been associated with atopic eczema in children.

Whether you're dealing with hard water, chlorine, or other minerals, the best shower filters can help. They remove up to 99% of chlorine—as well as heavy metals, minerals, and other contaminants—to ensure your shower leaves your skin refreshed instead of stressed.

The best shower filters of 2024:

Our team has seen firsthand the benefits of shower filters, but we know finding the best one can be intimidating. That's why we did the research, spoke with experts, and tested shower filters for more than 6 months to find the very best options on the market. Below, read more about who should install a shower filter, how to pick the best one, and our very favorite options of 2024.

What is a shower filter?

Riggs Eckelberry, founder and CEO of OriginClear, a clean water innovation hub, explains that a shower filter is a filtration system designed for use right in your shower. “It typically consists of a screw-on attachment that helps remove irritants like chlorine and even Round Up—that’s right, the weed killer,” he says.

Kyle Postmus, senior manager of residential water at National Sanitation Foundation (NSF)), echoes this sentiment and elaborates that a shower filter helps remove unwanted contaminants from shower water. “Many people choose to use a shower filter to help reduce irritation and damage to their skin and hair,” explains Postmus.

What are the benefits of a shower filter?

If you’re ready to upgrade your shower routine with a filter of your own, you’ll first want to decide whether you want a filtered showerhead (which will replace your full shower head) or a shower filter (which will be attached to your existing shower head). 

Curious about our testing process? View our testing rubric here.

Shower filters remove unwanted contaminants from water

Kyle Postmus, Senior Manager of Residential Water at NSF (National Sanitation Foundation), says shower filters help remove unwanted contaminants from water. “Many people choose to use a shower filter to help reduce irritation and damage to their skin and hair,” he elaborates.

Furthermore, water expert Riggs Eckelberry, who founded and clean water innovation hub OriginClear, says a good water filter can even remove Round Up a.k.a. the weed killer. Its main ingredient glyphosate is one of the most prominent contaminants in U.S. drinking water, which the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has deemed "probably carcinogenic to humans" (though the Environmental Protection Agency disagrees1).

Shower filters can improve the health of your hair and skin

Eckelberry says filtering your shower water can soften skin, improve hair, and reduce skin inflammation. “On top of that, the less we’re exposed to these toxins, the better our overall health can be,” he adds. 

Shower filters offer immediate and long term benefits

After testing the best shower filters, our team experienced decreased shedding, softer skin, less redness, and healthier looking hair even after just one use. One team member even dubs her shower filter as the best thing she did for her hair and skin in 2023—and she’s tried hundreds of products.

Shower filters add no time to your routine

The best part of using a shower filter or filtered showerhead is that, once installed, it adds no time to your routine. You’ll simply go about life as usual and see the results over time.

How to choose a shower filter

Postmus shares that there are many different types of shower filters out there, including inline shower filters and shower head filters. “For choosing which one to purchase, it really comes down to preference of aesthetics, ease of installation, and how often users are willing to replace it,” Postmus says.

Regardless of your choice of filter, Postmus recommends choosing an NSF-certified filter to NSF/ANSI 177. “Certification for shower filters assures consumers that the filter effectively removes chlorine from the water,” he adds.

Eckelberry says that if you’re looking for a filter that will reduce the most amount of contaminants, try to go for one that also uses activated carbon in the filtration process. “I recommend a shower filter with advanced filter technology, often with activated carbon,” Eckleberry says. “These are designed to remove a wide range of contaminants—some remove as many as 200 different kinds—and cover all your bases."

Our testing process

  • Expert advice: We spoke with experts to understand what types of filters to look for and which certifications to prioritize.
  • Research: We conducted extensive research on various shower filter brands and models available on the market.
  • Testing: Our in-depth testing process allowed us to determine which shower filters deserved a spot on this list. We evaluated their quality, installation process, ease of use, water pressure, and (of course) our results from using the filters.
  • Filter replacement: We stuck with shower filters that won’t need to be replaced for at least three months, which experts identified as the average amount of time a filter should be replaced. Of course, we prioritized models with easy replacement and subscription options.
  • Unique features: There are so many shower filters and filter showerheads available to buy, which is why we made sure to call out unique features for each. Think built-in filter change date indicators, aromatherapy options, and various water pressure settings.
  • NSF-177 standards: Very few shower filters are officially NSF-certified, but more are third-party tested to meet NSF-177 standards. Experts identified this as a critical criteria, so we made it a must-have for the shower filters and filtered showerheads on our list.
  • User reviews: We analyzed user reviews and feedback from online platforms and forums to understand real-world experiences with different shower filters.

Why trust mindbodygreen

We spoke with water experts, dermatologists, and product designers to determine the most important features in a shower filters. Our team then spent more than nine months testing shower filters. Each product in our guide was used for at least six weeks and evaluated on efficacy, ease of use, installation, and impact on water pressure.

Meet the experts:

Joshua Zeichner, M.D.

Joshua Zeichner is a board-certified dermatologist, an associate professor, and the director of cosmetic and clinical research in dermatology at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City. He is one of the country's key opinion leaders in treating acne and rosacea and is an expert in cosmeceuticals and skin care.

Riggs Eckelberry

Riggs Eckelberry is the founder and CEO of OriginClear, a clean water innovation hub.

Kyle Postmus

Kyle Postmus is the senior manager of residential water at NSF (National Sanitation Foundation).

Canopy Filtered Showerhead

Best shower filter for hair
Type
Filtered showerhead
Flow rate
2.5 gallons per minute (GPM)
Filter replacement
Every 3 months
Dimensions
7” x 7” x 7”
See all specs

Installation: 5 | Efficacy: 5 | Water pressure: 5 | Filter replacement: 4 | Aesthetic: 5

Tested to NSF standards, the Canopy uses a combination of a granular activated carbon filter, KDF-55, and calcium sulfite to remove heavy metals, chlorine (!!!), and other contaminents from your H2O—all without compromising water pressure.

This filtered showerhead snagged the top spot on our list due to its high ratings during our at-home testing; it was easy to install, didn't impact water pressure, and doesn't kill the bathroom's aesthetic. Plus, Ferrante noticed a difference in her skin and hair after the very first use.

We'd rank the Jolie pretty closely with the Canopy, but the Canopy is slightly less expensive and sets itself apart with three stream settings and an optional aromatherapy option. It's also available in four finishes.

FYI: We love this show filter for softer hair—read our full Canopy review here.

Pros
  • Tested to NSF-177 standards
  • Immediate results noticed in hair & skin
  • Three stream settings & aromatherapy
Cons
  • Filter needs to be replaced every 90 days

What it filters out

  • Chlorine (dehydrates skin)
  • Magnesium (increases the hardness of water)
  • Calcium carbonate (increases the hardness of water)
  • Iron (clogs pores)
  • Hydrogen sulfide (leaves an unpleasant odor)
  • Mercury (causes skin issues)
  • Chromium (irritates skin)
  • Chloramine (causes skin inflammation)
  • Harmful microbes
  • Bacteria
  • Fungi

What our tester says

Our commerce editor Carleigh Ferrante installed the Canopy Filtered Showerhead in less than five minutes with no tools (or help). Just like that, her bathroom's aesthetic was instantly elevated—and she noted softer hair and less skin irritation after just one use.

Over the course of three months with the Canopy, Ferrante reported:

  • Less shedding
  • Reduced redness in skin
  • Overall healthier looking skin and hair

What's more, the cleaner water helps her shampoo lather up better. Not only is Ferrante spending less money on products, she's also wearing less makeup because her natural skin appears brighter and healthier.

Per Ferrante, replacing the filter cartridge is incredibly easy. There's a quick-release valve that allows you to swap out a new cartridge without taking anything apart.

Installation: 5 | Efficacy: 4 | Water pressure: 5 | Filter replacement: 4 | Aesthetic: 5

Prior to Jolie's launch in 2021, the market was severely lacking an aesthetic showerhead filter. The brand not only paved the way for its current competitors, but it also emphasized the hair and skin benefits of using a shower filter.

Similar to the Canopy, the filter is tested to NSF certifications and uses a proprietary blend of KDF-55 and calcium sulfite to remove chlorine and heavy metals—but noticeably skips the addition of a carbon filter (which puts is just below its competitor).

Beauty editor Jamie Schneider tested the shower filter and found it was easy to install with a minimalist design that made it look similar to any other shower filter. Schneider gave it high ratings with her hair stylist commenting on her extra silky strands post-installation.

FYI: We have a full Jolie shower filter review to help you make your decision.

Pros:
  • No on impact shower pressure
  • Installation is quick & simple
  • Tested via multiple third-party labs & exceeds NSF-177 certifications
Cons:
  • Doesn't have a carbon filter
  • Filter must be replaced ever 90 days

What it filters out

  • Chlorine (dehydrates skin)
  • Heavy metals
  • Other contaminants

What our testers say

Both of our testers installed the Jolie Filtered Showerhead on their own in less than five minutes. They loved that the Jolie came with a QR code that linked to a step-by-step installation video, plus plumper’s tape and an adorably tiny wrench.

More impressively, this shower head actually enhanced our tester's shower's water pressure. "With a wider shower head, the spray falls more evenly and softly," notes our beauty editor Jamie Schneider. "My old shower head had harder pressure, whereas Jolie makes it feel more like a rainfall."

Commerce editor Carleigh Ferrante found her water felt cleaner and lighter with the Jolie installed. "Had I known a shower filter could make such a huge difference, I would have bought it much sooner," she says. Ferrante even made her boyfriend buy one for his apartment.

Berkey Shower Filter

Best for long-lasting filter
Type
Shower filter
Flow rate
1.75 GPM
Filter replacement
Up to 1 year (or 20,000 gallons)
Dimensions
5.1" x 3.5" x 5.1"
See all specs

Installation: 5 | Efficacy: 5 | Water pressure: 4 | Filter replacement: 5 | Aesthetic: 3

Most of our staffers swear by Berkey's countertop water filter system—and the brand uses similar tech in its shower filter. It patented blend of zinc, calcium, and copper removes sulfides, hydrogen, rust, and up to 95% of chlorine.

Similar to Canopy and Jolie, this shower filter is tested to ANSI and NSF Standard 177. It also comes with a back flush attachment to prevent clogging, so you won't see a negative impact on your water pressure. Plus, it's one of the longest-lasting filters on the market, as it only needs to be replaced once per year.

Pros:
  • Tested to meet ANSI/ NSF Standards 177
  • Filter lasts for 1 year
  • Has back flush attachment to prevent clogging
  • Reduces up to 95% of chlorine
Cons:
  • Does not remove heavy metals
  • Basic model does not include a shower head

What it filters out

  • Chlorine (causes dry skin and hair)
  • Hydrogen (leaves an unpleasant odor)
  • Sulfide (nasty water taste and odor)
  • Scale & iron oxide (rust water)
  • Dirt

What our tester says

Editorial operations manager Emily Kelleher considered installation a breeze. She says the filter does a great job preserving her water pressure and, although it's not the most aesthetically pleasing, she loves knowing that her water is cleaner and healthier.

With continued use, Kelleher noticed a difference in her skin, reporting that it feels less itchy and dry. "I also tend to get mild eczema on my arms after getting out of the shower in the winter, and it never showed up last winter after I got the filter," she adds.

As for her hair, it's silkier and smoother—and she is now able to air dry it with significantly less frizz.

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See more options

AquaYouth 2.0 Carbon Shower Filter

Best for chlorine & well water
Type
Shower filter
Flow rate
Not specified
Filter replacement
Every 2 to 3 months
Dimensions
Not specified
See all specs

Installation: 3 | Efficacy: 5 | Water pressure: 5 | Filter replacement: 4 | Aesthetic: 3

We'll be the first to say a lot of shower filter brands need to step it up when it comes to certifications (we get into that more below), but Aquasana is ahead of the game. Its carbon shower filter is NSF and ANSI 177 & 372-certified to remove free available chlorine and lead.

In fact, the AquaYouth removes up to 99% of free available chlorine. Remember: Public systems often use chlorine or chloramines to disinfect water. While highly effect, these additions can wreak havoc on skin by destroying your skin barrier and leaving it prone to dryness and inflammation.

Plus, the Korea Environment & Water Works Institute has also confirmed the filters ability to removes heavy metals—which makes this a great option for those with well water who need to remove heavy metals.

This top-notch filtration is due to AquaYouth's unique multi-stage filter, which combines coconut shell activated carbon layer, ceramic balls, and a dual PP 5-micron filter in a compact cylinder. Each filter takes about 15 minutes to install—and slightly reduces the height of your shower head—but has no impact on your water pressure.

Pros
  • NSF/ANSI 177 & 132 certified (for free chlorine & lead removal)
  • No impact on water pressure
  • Noticeable impact on hair
  • Tackles heavy metals
Cons:
  • Filter replacement every 3 to 4 months
  • Difficult installation process requires extra tools
  • Dropped height of shower head

What it filters out

  • Chlorine (99% reduction)
  • Lead (63% reduction)
  • Iron (100% reduction)
  • Mercury (100% reduction)
  • Copper (33% reduction)
  • Bacteria (health risk)
  • Rust (dry, itchy skin)
  • Sand

What our tester says

Wood saw a "massive difference" in her hair after installing the filter; her hair didn't get greasy as quickly, which lets her go longer between washes. However she feels the process to set up the filter could've gone way smoother.

Although the instructions were straightforward, it required an extra large wrench; Wood's current one didn't fit around the filter so she had to borrow from a neighbor. She also noticed the filter dropped the height of her shower head significantly—so anyone above 5'11" wouldn't be able to fit.

When she did the test stream, the water spurted out black and sprayed all over her shower, so she'd warn any future installers to take precaution with the filter's test rinse. However the water turned clear within 20 seconds.

Despite what some negative reviews have said, the filter did not impact her water pressure. Wood owns an expensive Moen dual-shower head with rainfall setting, and it stayed just as steady post installation.

FYI

85% of the country also has hard water—high amounts of calcium and magnesium—which board-certified dermatologist Joshua Zeichner, M.D. says can lead to “skin barrier disruption, loss of hydration, and inflammation."

Insider tip

If your main concern is chlorine, upgrade to AquaYouth's Vitamin C Shower Filter to remove up to 50% more chlorine.
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See more options

Aquasana Shower Filter With Handheld Wand

Best handheld shower filter
Type
Filtered showerhead
Flow rate
2.5 GPM
Dimensions
6.25" x 6.25" x 8.75"
Filtration system
Coconut shell carbon and copper-zinc media independently tested to NSF/ANSI Standard 177 to reduce more than 90% of chlorine

Installation: 5 | Efficacy: 4 | Water pressure: 4 | Filter replacement: 4 | Aesthetic: 4

It's extremely rare to find a handheld shower filter, and you'll typically have to settle for an in-line option. While these can have their perks—keep your existing showerhead!—they also can be harder to install, with potential leakage.

Skip the hassle with Aquasauna's handheld design; it's tested to NSF-177 standards to remove more than 90% of chlorine. Similar to Canopy, it has a copper-zinc (KDF) filtration, along with a carbon filter created from coconut shell.

We love that its filter materials are eco-friendly—but the results were the true kicker. Our SEO editor Natalie Goldberg claims it "brought the softness" back to her hair.

Pros:
  • Filter lasts up to 6 months
  • Detachable wand
Cons:
  • Wrench isn't included in purchase

What it filters out

  • Chlorine (dehydrates skin)

What our tester says

SEO editor Natalie Goldberg says this shower filter has been a game-changer for her skin and hair. She didn't notice an impact immediately, but after about three uses the results were clear. "This truly brought the softness back to my hair," she says. "To the touch and visibly, my hair has never felt softer."

In terms of changes to the skin, our tester says hers feels softer and cleaner overall. She loves that the handheld wand allows her to really drench her hair and body and experience the benefits of the filtered water.

"I didn’t think my water was filled with many impurities, but I am so glad to have this simple addition to my shower—it has made such a positive impact on my hair and skin in such little time," Goldberg adds.

Comparing the best shower filters

ProductPriceTypeFlow RateCertified or TestedFilter replacement
Canopy Filtered Showerhead$125Filtered showerhead2.5 GPMTested to NSF standards$40 every three months
Jolie Filtered Showerhead$165Filtered showerheadNot specifiedTested to NSF standards$33 every three months
Berkey Shower Filter$60Shower filter1.75 GPMTested to NSF standards$40 every year
Aquasana Shower Filter With Handheld Wand$75Filtered showerhead2.5 GPMTested to NSF standards$60 every six months
AquaYouth 2.0 Carbon Shower Head Filter$60Shower filterNot specifiedNSF and ANSI 177-certified$24 every two to three months

Why are some not NSF certified?

NSF certification confirms that a filter’s contaminant reduction claims are verified, it doesn’t add anything harmful to the water, the system is structurally sound, and the product’s labeling is accurate.

When a brand opts to “test to NSF standards,” rather than being officially certified, it doesn’t necessarily mean that product couldn’t be certified.

Instead, it likely means the brand is either on the newer side and still in the process of gaining certification, or did not want to pay for the official certification (which can cost up to $50,000).

We kept our list to products that have at least had third-party testing to ensure they meet the NSF-177 standards, but we also highlighted quite a few brands with certifications, too.

The products we skipped

An earlier version of our guide did not require products to either be NSF-certified or tested to NSF standards. As a result, we've removed the Sprite SL2-CM Slim-Line 2 Universal Shower Filter from our piece.

While the Aquabliss Revitalizing Shower Filter has been tested to NSF standards, we have not been able to secure a sample for testing.

FAQ

Are shower filters worth it?

Yes, experts agree that shower filters can help reduce the amount of harmful chemicals in your water. This can have a positive impact on your skin, hair, and overall health. 

Kyle Postmus, Senior Manager of Residential Water at NSF (National Sanitation Foundation), says shower filters help remove unwanted contaminants from water. “Many people choose to use a shower filter to help reduce irritation and damage to their skin and hair,” he adds.

How often should you change your shower filter?

This depends on the shower filter. While some shower filters last up to six months, others may last for a full year.

What type of shower filter is most effective?

Per experts, shower filters that are ANSI/NSF Standard 177-certified are most effective at removing harsh chemicals from water. “Certification for shower filters assures consumers that the filter effectively removes chlorine from the water,” Postmus says.

Eckelberry recommends going with a filter that uses activated carbon in the filtration process. “These are designed to remove a wide range of contaminants—some remove as many as 200 different kinds—and cover all your bases,” he says.

Should I buy a water filter for my shower?

About 85% of the country has hard water, and a recent study found that nearly half of U.S. water contains PFAS (or “forever chemicals”). If you’re experiencing dry or irritated skin, dull or brittle hair, or excessive shedding, you could benefit from a shower filter. 

The takeaway

After months of testing, our winner for healthier hair is the Canopy's Filtered Showerhead, a chic minimalist option that won't clash with your space, while AquaYouth 2.0 Carbon Shower Head Filter is our favorite NSF Standard 177-certified design (and let's you keep your shower head!).

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