Can You Wash Your Hair With Micellar Water?

If you live and die by the French beauty bible, then you already know that micellar water is at the top of its commandments. And it makes sense. The skin-care staple, which cleanses your face without harsh tap water, has been beloved by Parisians for years. In fact, one bottle of Bioderma Crealine H2O is sold every three seconds. (A quick primer for those unfamiliar: Micellar water cleanses your face with micelles, tiny fatty acid clusters that suck up dirt and oil when you sweep them across your face — no need to rinse.).

If micellar water is such a skin-care savior, then you know the hair industry would end up trying its hand at the craze eventually. And this year, we've already seen two products that boast the miracle ingredient — and claim to work for all textures, too.

Devacurl Buildup Buster and Redken's Clean Maniac System are both different from typical micellar water in a major way: You have to rinse them out with water. Other than that, they include the same cleansing and balancing technology as the O.G. We put them to the test on three hair types to see if they lived up to their claims.

Photo courtesy of Megan Decker.
Megan Decker, Beauty Intern
Hair Type: Fine and straight

"I use micellar cleansing water every night to remove my makeup — it gets rid of every bit of caked-on mascara, but doesn't leave my skin dull and dehydrated like other harsh cleansers. So as a devout micellar fan, I was amped to try a micellar water hair treatment.

"The shampoo made my fine hair feel super clean. I'm usually a rinse-and-repeat girl, but with this shampoo, I felt like one, quick scalp-scrub was enough to get rid of any gunk. The conditioner didn't feel very hydrating when I smoothed it on, but as my hair air-dried, it actually felt really soft and smooth. This stuff is proof that micellar water definitely has versatility."
Redken Clean Maniac Micellar Clean-Touch Shampoo and Conditioner, $19.99 each, available at Ulta.
Photo courtesy of Ariana Romero.
Ariana Romero, Entertainment Writer
Hair Type: 3c curls

"I was so excited to try the Buildup Buster, I literally squealed when I found the sample waiting for me on my desk. Then I was a little bit bummed to find out you’re supposed to use the product and rinse it out in the shower, meaning you have to wet your hair to use it. I was excited about the micellar aspect specifically because I thought I could battle buildup while avoiding wetting my hair between wash days.

"As a way around this problem, I’ve been using the Buildup Buster on my buildup, but not washing it out. Instead, I cover the problem areas and essentially pull any buildup out of my curls with a towel. If your hair avoids water like the plague, it’s a good alternative to the directions. I’ve been happy with the product and notices it really lives up to its name."
Khalea Underwood, Beauty Writer
Hair Type: 4c coils

"When I attended the launch event for these micellar cleansers, a few of the other Black beauty editors and writers were admittedly concerned about how the systems would work on our strands. Natural hair needs a lot of moisture. That said, I still tried both. The Redken shampoo guaranteed a squeaky-clean finish... something that I don't necessarily need every time I co-wash. I think I'll save it for the end of the month, when my hair is weighed down from all of the curling creams and leave-ins that I use.

"The Devacurl Buildup Buster, on the other hand, is a serum meant to be used before your favorite shampoos and conditioners... meaning you have to get your hair wet. I don't co-wash or shampoo as often as I need to, so having to make a point to do so was a slight bummer. The serum has a targeted applicator meant to go on your scalp, and then you work it towards your ends. I focused it on the front of my hair, which gets visibly dirty pretty easily.

"Turns out, I was fearful of that squeaky-clean feel for nothing. Buildup Buster made my hair feel really great, but I felt silly replenishing my hair with a heavy mask right after I cleansed. Next time, I'm copying Ariana and using BB between washes."
Devacurl Buildup Buster Micellar Water Cleansing Serum, $28, available at Devacurl.
Like this post? There's more. Get tons of beauty tips, tutorials, and news on the Refinery29 Beauty Facebook page. Like us on Facebook — we'll see you there!
Show More Comments...