Hold the soap and water, fellow beauty fans, because micellar water is giving traditional cleansers a run for their money. What, exactly, is micellar water? Some might call it a multi-tasking skincare miracle. Besides serving as a cleanser, it’s makeup remover, toner and moisturizer – all in one.
A brief history
Micellar water has been around for decades – since the 1900s, actually. In France, women consider it a beauty staple. It’s used in place of traditional face washing methods, which – thanks to the country’s hard water – can dry out skin.
Today, makeup artists count on it when sinks aren’t available backstage in theaters or studios. Models love it, too, as it keeps their skin from drying out with the constant application and removal of makeup.
How does micellar water work?
Micellar water is made from two simple ingredients: soft water and micelles.
Zoom in on a micelle and you’ll see that these tony spheres consist of oil molecules called surfactants (a.k.a. surface active agents) which stir up activity on a surface (in this case, our skin) to attract dirt molecules immediately on contact.
True to the saying ‘opposites attract,’ surfactants have a water-loving (hydrophilic) head and a water-hating (hydrophobic) tail. So when micelles (a group of surfactants) are paired with soft water, it triggers the perfect storm of cleaning power. The water causes the surfactants inside the micelle to form into something of a football huddle, with the hydrophilic heads pointing outwards at the water surrounding it, as the hydrophobic tails hide inside the huddle.
When those micelles get close to anything that isn’t water – like dirt, sebum build-up and makeup in our pores – those hydrophobic tails attract and pull out all the impurities, leaving behind perfectly clean, hydrated skin.
The benefits of micellar water
- It’s an all-in-one option because it removes makeup, cleanses, tones and moisturizes – all without the need to rinse or wash your face afterward.
- It’s a great option for dry skin as it leaves your face hydrated, unlike harsh, drying soaps or toners, many of which contain alcohol.
- It’s less expensive as you only need one product for your beauty routine.
- It speeds up your cleansing routine as it combines your beauty routine into just one step.
How to use micellar water
Micellar water is most commonly used as a makeup remover, but you can use it as frequently as you’d use soap and water or any other cleanser in your beauty routine. It’s safe for all skin types, and even gentle enough for removing eye makeup.
Step one – Wet a cotton pad with micellar water.
Step two – Apply the cotton pad to your face with light pressure, then gently swipe the soaked cotton pad across your skin to cleanse and tone – there’s no need to rub or scrub if you’re removing makeup.
Step three – When removing eye makeup, hold the cotton pad on your closed eyes for a moment, then carefully wipe off in a downward motion to avoid contact with your eyes.
Step four – For heavier makeup, change out cotton pads and repeat the process until all makeup is gone.
Step five – Allow your face to dry, and voila! No need to rinse or moisturize because micellar water is an all-in-one solution.
When is micellar water not for me?
Micellar water is great for all skin types. But when trying out a new skin product, always be sure to do a spot-check test first, just to be sure. Apply a bit of the solution on a small patch of skin. If no reaction occurs, try another spot check on your face. If no reaction occurs, you’re in the clear!
Beware, heavy makeup users. Micellar water doesn’t easily cut through heavy foundation or waterproof mascaras. Use another type of cleanser for those heavier makeup days.
Because micellar water actually moisturizes, it can actually be too much for naturally oily skin. Try alternating between micellar water and a stronger cleanser if you have oilier skin.
There aren’t many products in life that do it all – and do it all well. However, micellar water is one of few products offering a single solution to your facial cleansing, toning and moisturizing needs. Now that you know what micellar water is and how it works, it’s time to give it a try for yourself!