Can You Use Micellar Water As Dry Shampoo?

Dry shampoo can be a lifesaver on no-wash days. You get to save precious time in the shower, without your roots looking oily and weighed down. It's a win-win. According to Radiance by WebMD, dry shampoo works its magic with ingredients like alcohol and starch that soak up grease. It usually comes in a spray bottle, ready to be applied and massaged into the scalp whenever you need to freshen up.

However, there are downsides to using commercial dry shampoo products. For one, the ingredients can be drying, leading to hair breakage (per Healthline). But even worse is that many brands of dry shampoo may contain carcinogens: a 2022 study by Valisure indicated that 70% of dry shampoo samples contained high levels of benzene, a cancer-causing chemical.

One possible alternative is micellar water, a skincare staple. Micellar water is often used to clean the face, sometimes as part of a double cleansing routine. As Michelle from Lab Muffin Beauty Science explains on YouTube, the surfactants in micellar water help to gently lift oil and debris, leaving skin feeling refreshed. But can it do the same for your scalp and hair?

How to use micellar water as a dry shampoo

A quick search of micellar water on social media platforms like TikTok and Instagram yields countless videos by users who swear by using the product on their heads. In one video, Instagram user bondenavant shows how she transforms her post-workout hair by wiping a cotton pad with micellar water around her hairline and where she parts her hair. TikToker elissakincade does something similar in another video, where she rubs micellar water all over her scalp to freshen it up. In both videos, the content creators eventually apply regular dry shampoo, but even without the help of other products, micellar water might clean up a dirty scalp.

Chie Sato, head of education at the Taylor Taylor London salon, told Refinery29 that the micelles in micellar water attract dirt and oil, which "makes micellar water great at removing products like makeup as well as sebum (oil) build-up from the surface of your skin." This applies to the scalp, too, where oil production is high to keep hair moisturized. When there's a buildup of oil, a swipe of micellar water can work to freshen up the head.

Other ways to use micellar water on hair

Micellar water can work in a pinch when you need to quickly clean up oily roots. However, micellar shampoo formulated for in-shower use may be a better choice for extra greasy scalps in need of a pick-me-up. According to Healthline, these shampoos are gentle and can be used every day. For dry or damaged hair, they can sometimes take the place of regular shampoo, though oily hair types will likely need a deeper cleanse a few times a week.

Regular micellar water can also be used in a two- or even three-step double cleansing routine, similar to how micellar water is often used in skincare. TikTok userĀ abeyyung showed off her hair in a video after dousing her scalp in micellar water, then following up with two rounds of shampoo. The final result is a clean, shiny head of hair.

It's up to you whether you try micellar water as a dry shampoo, an extra step in your shower routine, or in the form of a micellar shampoo. Whichever option you choose, remember that micellar water shouldn't replace regular water and shampoo altogether, as dermatologist and trichologist Dr. Divya Sharma told Elle India. Still, it's worth adding to your arsenal if you're ready to kick regular dry shampoo to the curb or are just looking for another way to fight stubborn oil.