Everything You Need to Know About Infused Waters, the Latest Trend Taking Over the Wellness World

Gwyneth Paltrow is a fan, but do they really work?

Natalia Vodianova by Mert and Marcus

Models and actresses always cite water as their one beauty must-have for clear skin and glowing complexions. But today, there isn’t just tap water and Evian–celebrities and wellness gurus alike are turning to infused waters, with ones including plant extracts, spices, and other ingredients, like hydrogen. Naturally, these infused waters come at a cost—but promise a litany of health, beauty and wellness benefits when sipped regularly. So are they worth the hype (and the price) to be in the like-minded beverage company of celebrities including Gwyneth Paltrow, Jennifer Lawrence and Kate Upton?

Chlorophyll Water

THE CLAIMS: Usually dark green in color, the plant-derivative, when bottled with water (for example, the Chlorophyll H2O by Pressed Juicery) purportedly contain antioxidants [that] have been shown to help stimulate oxygen supply to blood cells, which in turn improves circulation and even increases your overall red-blood cell count, vital for energy, seen in the hands of celebrities like Jennifer Lawrence. Sakara Life also offers a plant-infused Detox Water Concentrate, (a tincture ideal for when you’re traveling or merely away from home), which they specifically made to sip before bed, is also loaded with magnesium, the original chill pill that’s been proven scientifically to help you snooze.

THE REALITY: Scientific studies prove drinking chlorophyll has proven to have some benefits. For example, research published in the October 2014 journal Appetite found that using green-plant membranes as a dietary supplement could help induce weight loss and improve obesity-related risk factors, and reduced the urge for palatable food. However, the claims that cholorphyll can detoxify the body from such things as heavy metals is physically impossible—in order to actually detoxify the body from heavy-metal poisoning, you’d need a trip to the emergency room, not a bottle of Holy Water (from Juice Generation, which is arguably the most delicious though, made with coconut water, spirulina, pineapple and basil). However, since there are no reported negative effects to sipping the green stuff—not to mention the many proven effects of magnesium in reducing stress and aiding with sleep—give Sakara Life’s Detox Water to get the most out of your drink.

Aloe Vera Water

THE CLAIMS: Long used to treat kitchen burns and sun burns alike, aloe vera gel is a proven soothing ingredient to help hydrate the skin while also acting as anti-inflammatory. After all, there is a good reason you’ll see the plant in about anyone’s kitchen with a window. Sipping it, though, purportedly aids in digestion and floods the body with even more hydration thanks to its water-dense leaves, which can have a ton of positive effects. Aloe Water (which is essentially just aloe vera-juice-spiked water), in aiding in digestion, reportedly also helps with regularity.

THE REALITY: Anecdotally—or on paper, at least—the promises of aloe water seem great. It’s got a ton of antioxidants plus folic acid, all of which do a million things from ward off damaging free-radicals and soothing inflammation to regulating your digestive system. The good news is that aloe does help with constipation and has known laxative effects, according to the Mayo Clinic, so chugging a few aloe waters is a great idea if you’re feeling a little bit backed up. However, more research is needed to really prove its long-term benefits. Point being, though, if it makes you drink more water to keep your fridge stocked with the aloe-infused, bottled kind, that’s still important for your health.

Lemon Water

THE CLAIMS: Lemon water, which is rich in vitamin C (alongside other citrus fruits), has been shown to have powerful antibacterial properties, according to the folks at Pressed Juicery, and is recommended to be consumed first thing in the morning thanks to its litany of powers. For example, lemon-water fans believe it speeds up and aids digestion, detoxifies the liver, erases age spots, speeds up your metabolism, helps with depression and anxiety, and reduces inflammation. While Pressed Juicery’s is also made with capasacin-laced cayenne pepper, Dirty Lemon Detox water is infused with a bit of ginger, dandelion root—a natural diuretic, and activated charcoal, a detoxifying compound known for its purifying powers when both ingested and used on skin. (Seriously, charcoal face masks clear up even the most persistent acne.)

THE REALITY: Lemon water by itself—especially sipped warm first thing in the morning, which many celebrities including Gwyneth Paltrow swear by—will not have any effect on weight loss by itself, unless you’re drinking it instead of a more caloric, sugary coffee or other beverage. Scientific research on drinking lemon water is limited, with most of the fad linking back to only one 2008 Japanese study on lemon water’s effect on obesity, with just a few studies linking drinking it to any kind of benefit. Like aloe water, it can’t hurt too much, though the high acid content could contribute to eroding tooth enamel. (In that case, may we suggest sipping with a straw?)

Alkaline Water

THE CLAIMS: Alkaline water, which Kate Upton has sworn by, has a higher pH level than regular drinking water. Because of this, some advocates of alkaline water believe it can neutralize the acid in your body. Normal drinking water is generally a neutral pH of 7. It’s particularly beloved by athletes, who purport that it aids in metabolizing nutrients and expelling toxins more efficiently than regular tap water, leading to better health and performance.

THE REALITY: The question really needed to be posed here is whether we need to adjust our body’s own pH balance. Does our pH even need to be balanced? Nope, not yet at least: At best, there’s some anecdotal evidence to support some of these claims. But so far, we don’t have solid data supporting alkaline water’s use. Because your body inherently self-regulates itself, it’s already accounting for acidic and basic needs without you having to think about it. You wouldn’t want to rid your stomach of the acids it needs to digest, explains Dr. Perricone, a dermatologist and nutritionist in Connecticut.

Rose Water

THE CLAIMS: An anti-inflammatory and antibacterial liquid, when use topically, rose water can purportedly reduce redness and irritation. Ingested, it’s chock-full of vitamins, according to nutritionist Amanda Mittman, R.D., including A, B3, C, D, and E, all important for your health and skin. And it may just help you sleep better, too: rose essential oil was historically used to deepen hypnotic states and as a natural remedy for insomnia. Sakara Life offers its addictive Beauty Water, infused with rose and silica, while Juice Press has a Rose Water on tap (in bottle?) as well.

THE REALITY: Since rose oil does actually relax us, according to Michelle Pellizzon, a certified health and wellness coach at Thrive Market, “sipping rose water could definitely help you fall asleep more easily or feel better during a stressful workday.” Plus, “its antioxidants could help fight causes of chronic illness, early-onset symptoms of aging, and mental degeneration,” says Pellizzon. Scientific evidence backs her claims a bit, too: A 2011 meta-analysis of 91studies on roses, rose oil, and rosewater confirms the above—and more. The floral beverage also happens to be refreshingly delicious in arguably the most elegant way.

Cinnamon Water

THE CLAIMS: If you’ve ever put a dash of cinnamon in a cup of tea for the health benefits, this is pretty much the same thing, but pre-blended with filtered water for a smooth texture with a spicy flavor. According to Juice Press, their Water + Cinammon, made with Ceylon cinnamon (a rarer, truer form of the spice) is anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal, aids in digestion, and reduces insulin resistance, positively affecting the body’s ability to regulate sugar.

THE REALITY: Dr. Nicholas Perricone says this one’s legit—and not just because he’s a fan of the spice himself. Studies have shown ingesting cinnamon can aid in stabilizing blood sugar levels (hence the aforementioned insulin resistance), regulate cholesterol levels, and help with many conditions that can result from chronic, low-grade inflammation. There’s science to back him up of course as well, with 2014 research noting the spice could potential ward off illnesses later in life including everything from eczema and PCOS to even Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s. And though one bottle of Water + Cinnamon from the Juice Press isn’t going to change your life, when sipped regularly and over time, it could help reduce the low-grade inflammation that’s perhaps behind may illnesses.

Hydrogen Water

THE CLAIMS: Hydrogen water, pioneered in Japan and most recently brought stateside by Dr. Perricone along with companies like H-Factor, is an anti-inflammatory, tasteless beverage that has extra hydrogen dissolved in it—”think about what happens when you put sugar or salt in water,” Dr. Perricone explains. “When you drink hydrogen water you get really clear headed, that brain fog goes away and you get very focused and centered, but focused and centered not like caffeine stimulants or energy from sugars or carbohydrates.” He also taught us a very cool secret: Take the last bit of water in the can and pat it over your face, the way you would an essence.

THE REALITY: Hydrogen-rich water, in which protons and electrons are added to regular old H2O, giving it a surplus of hydrogen gas (H2O + molecular hydrogen does not a new element make), has serious potential. According to Dr. Perricone, “if you look at the epidemiology, if we have the nation on hydrogen water, the savings to the healthcare system could be enormous.” While a lofty claim, HFactor has a wealth of preliminary research to back the potential powers of a molecule as simple and as common as hydrogen. However, since the research is only preliminary—not to mention has long-term potentials that are yet to be discovered—hydrogen water may just be worth the hype. It feels really, really good when splashed onto your face, at the very least.

Water Is the New Cleanser—Yes, You Read That Correctly

The inspiration: “Adult Swim,” photographed by Ben Hassett, styled by Patrick Mackie; W magazine June 2013.

La Roche-Posay Physiological Micellar Solution, $20,

Garnier SkinActive Micellar Cleansing Water, $9,

By Terry Micellar Water Cleanser, $55,

Lancome Eau Fraiche Douceur Micellar Cleansing Water, $38,

Orlane Brightening Micellar Water, $85,

Avène Lotion Micellar, $32,

Diptyque Infused Facial Water, $55,

La Mer Cleansing Micellar Water (out in July), $90,

Darphin Azahar Cleansing Micellar Water, $40,

Sephora Triple Action Cleansing Water, $20,


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