A new buzzword in the hair and beauty industry is “micellar,” and products with this adjective may tout “dirt-magnet” or other such cleansing properties.

A new buzzword in the hair and beauty industry is “micellar,” and products with this adjective may tout “dirt-magnet” or other such cleansing properties.

To understand this technology, one must first know a chemistry tidbit: A micelle is a mass of molecules that has the ability to dissolve and move non-polar substances through an aqueous medium. Or, as Women’s Health magazine explained in December, in a way readers could comprehend, a micelle is a molecule that has opposite ends — one that is attracted to water and one that is attracted to oil. In essence, these micelles both grab what they need out of hair and off the face, and are able to rinse away easily.

While shampoos with micelles act to clarify — or deeply cleanse — hair of excess product buildup and oil, these shampoos are not as harsh on hair as are typical clarifying shampoos. Micelle shampoos are gentle enough to be used daily, asserts Women’s Health. Plus, it is still OK to schedule a deep, periodic clarifying shampoo, even if micelle hair care is routinely used. Hair that is especially oily or gets excessively dirty due to exposure to the outdoors is less helped by micelle shampoos and, instead, benefits greatly from occasional clarifying products.

Micelle-infused products are touted by some as solutions to eliminating chlorine, salt, sunscreen and sand from hair after a day of fun in the sun. Often products list the ingredient as “micellar water.”

Skin care products with micelles work to mildly draw impurities from the skin without drying it out. What micellar water will not do on its own is remove heavy eye or face makeup.

Since micelle-infused products are relatively new to the general marketplace, Women’s Health advises experimentation with a few different products. Individuals can judge which ones work on their hair and skin types. There are plenty to choose from; beauty salons have them, as do pharmacies and popular mass merchandisers.

Expect to pay as much for particular brands of hair and skin care products with micelles as without.