Trust me when I say I’ve tried allllllll the hair treatments. Having bleached my hair for more than 12 years now, I’m always on the hunt for products to help restore some life and hydration into my otherwise parched mane. While there are some hair masks and deep conditioners out there that help, it wasn’t until this year that I discovered a new breakthrough treatment called lamellar water that made a big (huge!) difference in my hair’s health, look and feel. Lamellar water is the latest Korean beauty treatment to arrive in Canada but unlike most K-beauty trends like glass skin and ampoules, this one’s for your hair, not your skin.
I first learned about lamellar water at the end of 2019 and the buzz about this magic technology (yes, it’s seriously transformative) has only gotten louder in recent months. After one use, I was fully hooked. But what exactly *is* lamellar water and how does it make my hair feel so good and look so damn shiny? I chatted with international Redken artist Catherine Allard about the miracle hair treatment, including how exactly to use lamellar water.
What is lamellar water?
Just like its name suggests, lamellar water is an ultra-lightweight water-based treatment. Because it’s so lightweight, the treatment is able to penetrate the hair cuticle and target damaged areas on each strand more easily than traditionally heavy hair creams and masks. Working in thin layers, the formula deposits small active ingredients like hydrators, amino acids (for strength and shine) and conditioning agents to the damaged areas on each strand and “fills” in those spots, leaving your mane looking and feeling like new. Another plus for lamellar formulas is that due to its watery consistency, they won’t overcoat your hair and leave it feeling weighed down. “[Post-treatment] you’ll find your hair has instant softness and it will be extremely shiny since the cuticle of each strand will be smoothed while the treatment creates an extra layer on the cuticle to boost shine,” says Allard. She describes lamellar water like a liquid Band-Aid for your hair.
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What hair types can use lamellar water?
Because it delivers hydrating and nourishing ingredients to specific areas on each strand, lamellar water is especially helpful for dry, damaged hair, whether that damage comes from colour treatments or hair that’s naturally thirsty (think: coarse, curly hair). Not only will all hair types benefit from the boost in shine and softness but detangling your mane post-shower will be a breeze. While all hair colours and textures can use lamellar water, Redken’s formula was specifically created for bleached hair, as hair that’s been chemically lightened is most often très parched and screaming for moisture and will therefore see more dramatic results from the treatment. “When you colour your hair you [damage] about 10 to 15% of its internal structure and when hair is bleached, it’s around 20%,” explains Allard. Then damaging practices post-lightening, like using hot tools and leaving your hair unprotected in the sun, incurs even more damage on your mane which makes using a lamellar treatment at home such a game-changer. Allard goes on to say that regular use can help bring back some of that strength and shine your hair had pre-bleach. Haven’t lightened your hair? Don’t fret. You can still use Redken’s formula, or any lamellar water treatment as they are safe for all hair types and colours and conditions.
Does lamellar water *actually* mend damage on hair or just leave a temporary coating on strands?
While you will see an instant result after one use of lamellar water, it will help to repair hair over time thanks to the penetrating formula that delivers active ingredients and conditioning lipids straight to the areas that need it most inside each strand, not just on the surface. Allard goes on to explain that in addition to ingredients found in other lamellar formulas, the water that has Redken developed also contains centella asiatica, a nourishing plant extract often found in skincare that works to strengthen hair over time. “Centella asiatica is rich in amino acids and has antioxidant and healing properties,” she says. “It stimulates new cell growth and helps build collagen, which all play a role in the health of hair.”
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How do I add lamellar water to my hair care routine?
Lamellar water is super easy to fit into any lather, rinse, repeat routine. While in the shower, shampoo and rinse your hair as you normally would and once clean, wring out any excess water from your strands to prep it for your treatment. On every bottle of lamellar water there should be small lines that indicate how to measure one application. One dose equals 10 ml, which is the average dose for medium length hair. Short hair might only require half a dose while longer, thicker hair may require a double dose. Squeeze the treatment directly onto your mane from mid-lengths to ends and then gently work it through with your fingers to evenly distribute the product. Some formulas may lather a bit or warm up slightly, FYI. Once it’s evenly applied throughout your hair, rinse it out. You can leave it at that and skip the conditioner but if your hair is especially damaged like mine, you can follow up your lamellar treatment with a conditioner or hydrating hair mask.
Can I use lamellar water every time I wash my hair?
Yes! Lamellar water is so lightweight it won’t build up on your strands over time, making it A-OK for frequent applications. The recommended use is two to three times per week, but in my case, I only wash my hair every five to seven days so I do a treatment once a week and have still reaped all the good hair day benefits from using it.
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Shop lamellar water hair treatments (and watch this space for more launches!):
L’Oréal Paris Hair Expertise 8-Second Wonder Water, $13, londondrugs.com
Redken Extreme Bleach Recovery Lamellar Water, $30 (available in September), redken.ca
Kerastase K Water In-Salon Treatment, price varies depending on salon, kerastase.ca