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What is lamellar water in hair products?

“Liquid hair” is everywhere right now: on red carpets, all over Instagram and at the drug store. Maybe that’s why products like Garnier Sleek & Shine Glass Hair Water ($8) and L’Oreal Paris Elvive Dream Lengths Magic Water ($9) have become increasingly popular. last year, often referred to as “miracle water” by people who have tried the treatments. The reason they are so effective is due to something called lamellar water. But while everyone is downright obsessed with the products (and the resulting look), no one really knows what lamellar water on earth really is – except for cosmetic chemists.

Hailed as the newest hair ingredient, we wanted to know exactly what makes the treatment so special. We asked cosmetic chemist Esther Olu to answer our burning questions about the technology and whether lamellar water lives up to the hype flooding our Instagram and TikTok feeds. Keep reading to find out.

What is lamellar water?

Lamellar Water is a revitalizing and repairing rinse-out hair treatment patented by L’Oréal Paris, which means that it is the only beauty conglomerate with lamellar technology. And the technology was first introduced in 2019 by Kérastase (which is owned by L’Oréal) in the form of a salon-only treatment called K Water, which – much like the new L’Oréal Paris Wonder Water – promised to “repair hair fibers and give hair a glassy surface,” making it an instant salon favorite.

Fast forward to today: the technology was developed to be a safe and effective home treatment, making it more affordable and accessible. The few lamellar water treatments currently available include the aforementioned L’Oreal Paris Wonder Water and Garnier Sleek & Shine products, as well as Redken’s Extreme Bleach Recovery Lamellar Water Treatment ($27), all of which have great technology. similar but are targeted for slightly different hair concerns. “I really think the difference is in how they’re marketed,” Olu says. “Redken’s formula could have added additional actives to treat bleached hair, but I’m sure both would treat hair in a very similar way.”

How does lamellar water work?

“Lamellar water is a technology that targets damaged areas of hair by depositing concentrated active ingredients — such as amino acids and proteins — that are beneficial for repairing strands,” says Olu. As you’d expect, lamellar water is super light, just like water from a faucet.

This is what makes the treatment so special. “Hair actives are distributed in very thin layers, called lamellae, which allow them to deposit on the hair and penetrate the hair cuticle,” says Olu. “Instead of coating the entire hair strand, lamellar water is designed to target areas where it is needed and where damage occurs.”

“It’s all about positive and negative charges,” says Kerys Mullen, L’Oreal’s UK and Island Senior Scientific Advisor. “Lamellae are how Wonder Water liquid is structured; it is structured with different layers. This works because it can pack conditioners into a smaller space, so a thin layer of conditioners is delivered to the skin. hair shaft.Damaged areas are a different load to the conditioner, and so [the conditioner is] attracted to damaged areas and tackles them intensively.”

How is lamellar water different from conditioner?

You might be wondering if there is a big difference between a lamellar water treatment and conditioners. The short answer is yes, the two are definitely different when it comes to formulations. “The main difference between lamellar water and hair conditioners is that lamellar water targets the damaged parts of the hair, not the entire hair strand where the hair would be considered healthy and undamaged, usually at the root,” says Olu. By coating only the damaged portion of hair strands with lamellar water and delivering active ingredients directly to those areas, it avoids weighing hair down by only targeting areas that need extra TLC.

Conditioners, on the other hand, have a much thicker consistency than lamellar water. Because of this higher viscosity, plus the addition of ingredients like silicones, traditional conditioners can sometimes coat the hair, making it feel heavy or weighed down, Olu says. Both lamellar water and traditional conditioning treatments are technically still considered conditioners, but lamellar water is much lighter, making it a particularly good option if you find traditional conditioners making your hair feel heavy, weighed down, or greasy. .

Does lamellar water work on all hair types?

L’Oréal Paris states that Lamellar Miracle Water works for all hair types: fine, thick, curly and frizzy. “We tested Elvive Dream Lengths Wonder Water on all hair types, including afro hair, and our results confirmed that it works on all hair types,” Mullen says. “It’s ideal for people who have dry, brittle or damaged hair, which may be due to color processing, fading, over styling or heat damage,” says Olu.

How to use lamellar water

Like any traditional conditioner or mask, a lamellar water treatment should be applied to the mid-lengths and ends of your hair after shampooing. After waiting a few seconds, just rinse and you’re done. Since lamellar water is obviously water-based, it doesn’t have the creamy consistency you’re probably used to with regular hair conditioner; however, it foams very slightly.

There. The fairly basic-looking lamellar water formula is actually incredibly hardworking and just might be your ticket to conditioned and repaired hair without weighing it down. Also, when it comes to hair treatments, lamellar water treatments are quite affordable. Another thing to note is the scent. The scent is strong, a very nice fruity smell, but if you are sensitive to the scent of your products, this is a good thing to keep in mind.