When micellar water first migrated from French pharmacies to the global beauty market, we were all scrambling to get our hands on the mythical solution that promised the most gentle yet effective wash-free cleanse to date. Within a year, every brand had their spin-off of the OG (hello, Bioderma). Bottles of the stuff toppled from drugstore shelves and into the glossy pages of magazines, and for time-poor women, it became an all-in-one cleanser, makeup remover, toner, assistant, boyfriend, and babysitter*.

For those of you who jumped on the micellar bandwagon without having the faintest idea of why you were partaking (no judgment—following fads with gay abandon is thrilling), here’s how micellar water actually works:

Micellar is water that has been chemically manipulated to reconstitute as tiny spherical clusters known as micelles. Like most of us, micelles have two faces—one that contains a water-loving side, and another that contains an oil-loving/water-hating side. These dual-action molecules work like tiny magnets by clinging to dirt and makeup and repelling it from the skin’s surface, without stripping you of your beloved natural oils.

Naturally, it was only a matter of time before micelle technology was applied to haircare, and we think we’ve found our favourite shampoo of the bunch. The Aura Botanica Micellar Shampoo by Kérastase promises a gentle hair and scalp cleanse without stripping moisture. It contains fair trade coconut and argan oil, and is free from parabens, silicones, and sulfates.

Though I’d generally be wary of the prowess of a shampoo that touts a “very gentle cleanse,” this formula really does leaves your hair weightless, frizz-free, squeaky clean, and shiny, without feeling ravaged by harsh detergents. Just one thing to take note of: if you’re currently hooked on products packed with said harsh detergents and silicones, it may take a week or so for your hair to detox and really start reaping the benefits. But once you make it past that point… Boy oh boy.

*We would not recommend micellar water for babysitting your children, buying you flowers or assisting with your work. But never say never.


Words, Rose Howard.