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Micellar water exploded onto the skincare scene several years back, slowly seeping its way into our hearts (and pores!) for its ability to provide a deep clean without stripping skin of essential oils—no harsh rubbing or tugging required.

But what exactly is it, how does it work, and what does that mean for your hair? From purifying the scalp to restoring moisture, read on as to discover six benefits of micellar water for hair, along with some of our top product picks for incorporating micellar water into your routine.

benefits-of-micellar-water-for-hair
Credit: Getty Images

Micellar Water Benefits

It purifies the scalp

Perhaps most notably, micellar water is known for being made from purified water. "It helps to counteract minerals and heavy metals found in traditional tap water. In addition, micellar water is typically infused with mild surfactants for breaking down oils," explains Dereq Clark, an award-winning hairstylist and Wella Professionals Brand Ambassador.

It provides a deeper clean

"These surfactants are present as micelles with a charged, water-loving head on the outside and lipid-loving tails on the inside. When applied to skin, it exposes the tail to remove oil-based things like sebum, hair products, and beyond," says Jenny Liu, MD, FAAD, a board-certified dermatologist and assistant professor at the University of Minnesota. Translation: It clears up the gunk to make your hair grow faster, quicker.

It's gentle for sensitive skin

As Dr. Liu suggested, micellar water molecules have an exterior that is water-soluble with an oil-soluble center. "When they come in contact with the hair, the oil-soluble inside attaches to dirt and residue to remove it from the hair in a gentle matter. Because they are extremely gentle, they can be used across all hair types, even in those with chemically treated, dry, or brittle hair," explains Joshua Zeichner, MD, FAAD, a board-certified dermatologist in New York City. 

It's safe for regular use

Because it's so gentle, micellar water shampoo makes a great alternative to clarifying shampoos and other detoxifying treatments that can strip hair of natural oils if used too frequently. (We especially love it for removing build-up from dry shampoo and other powder-based sprays.)

It's hydrating and volumizing (at the same time!)

Because it's cleansing without being over-drying, Clark also recommends micellar water as a good option for those with oily scalps who are seeking more body. "Glycerin is also a key ingredient in micellar water, which lends it to be more hydrating to the hair and scalp," he adds.

It contributes to hair health

Lastly, Clark points out that "because micellar water cuts through heavy-duty products and build-up, it creates a healthier environment for follicles to prosper," which we know is one of the components for long, healthy hair.

Curious about the deep-cleansing yet gentle formula? Now that you know why stylists and dermatologists are raving about micellar water for your hair, shop the best micellar shampoos you can lay your hands on, below.

Micellar Water Hair Product Picks

micellar-water-shampoo-Neutrogena Healthy Scalp Gentle and Soft Shampoo with Micellar Water

1 Neutrogena Healthy Scalp Gentle and Soft Shampoo with Micellar Water

$9, walmart.com

Recommended for sensitive types, this pH-balanced shampoo from Neutrogena was developed to help maintain the skin's natural barrier for a healthier scalp and hair. Free of parabens, phthalates, and sulfates, it's also safe for dyed hair so you don't need to worry about washing your expensive color treatment out with all that excessive oil and dirt.

micellar-water-shampoo-Tresemme Pro Pure Micellar Moisture Shampoo

2 TRESemmé Pro Pure Micellar Moisture Shampoo

$8, ulta.com

If you have dry, dull strands, this shampoo from TRESemmé could be your ticket back to hydrated, luminous locks. The lightweight formula promises to restore shine without stripping hair of necessary moisture.

micellar-water-shampoo-LOccitane Aromachologie Gentle and Balance Micellar Shampoo

3 L'Occitane Aromachologie Gentle and Balance Micellar Shampoo

$24, loccitane.com

Plan your mental escape to Provence with this gentle formula from L'Occitane. It's enriched with five essential oils (including lavender, lemon, and orange) for added aromatherapy benefits—we especially love using it at night for its subtly sweet, soothing effect.

micellar-water-shampoo-Herbal Essences Bio Renew Blue Ginger and Micellar Water Shampoo

4 Herbal Essences Bio Renew Blue Ginger and Micellar Water Shampoo

$9, walmart.com

Herbal Essences is known for its addictive scents, and this silicone-free, color-safe, and pH-balanced formula might be one of its most invigorating yet. Work it from root to tip to cleanse hair and boost volume (cue the bouncy hair commercials), while enjoying lingering notes of ginger, floral bouquets, and clean musk.

micellar-water-shampoo-Kristin Ess Scalp Purifying Micellar Shampoo

5 Kristin Ess Scalp Purifying Micellar Shampoo

$12, target.com

This scalp purifier from Kristin Ess features a special "zip-up technology" for mending split ends, while smoothing the appearance of damaged cuticles and serving as a protective coat against environmental stressors. Just wet your hair, create partings with the pointed tip, and apply the shampoo directly to the scalp, working it into a rich lather and through the rest of the hair. It's color-safe and recommended for all hair types, including thick and curly. 

micellar-water-shampoo-Pantene Pro V Blends Micellar Shampoo Cleansing Water

6 Pantene Pro V Blends Micellar Shampoo Cleansing Water

$13, walmart.com

At the heart of this hard-working, gentle shampoo from Pantene Pro V is a custom blend of nutrients, pro-vitamin B5, and rich antioxidants for keeping locks extra lush. Use it on all hair types to get that clean yet moisturized feeling every time.

micellar-water-shampoo-Wella Professionals Nutricurls Micellar Shampoo

7 Wella Professionals Nutricurls Micellar Shampoo

$22, ulta.com

This shampoo from Wella Professionals was made with curly hair in mind, helping to manage waves while providing added benefits. "It gently removes debris and impurities from the hair, while adding definition and nourishment and helping to fight frizz," says Clark. "I can trust that a client's hair will stay healthy, hydrated, and free of heavy oils and environmental debris."

micellar-water-shampoo-Aveda Rinseless Refresh Micellar Hair and Scalp Refresher

8 Aveda Rinseless Refresh Micellar Hair and Scalp Refresher

$32, nordstrom.com

In need of a little pick-me-up? Try a spritz of this Hair and Scalp Refresher from Aveda, which promises to cleanse the scalp and tame frizz for up to 72 hours at a time, no water required. The travel-friendly pick also boasts the brand's signature "pure-fume" featuring notes of organic mandarin, lemon, jasmine, and other plant essences for a spa-worthy aroma.