What is a micellar water and do you need one?

Micellar waters have been popular for make-up artists for years. They’re great for quick removal of make-up between different looks, and they don’t leave an oily residue so make-up can be applied quickly again. They’re great backstage on fashion shows and for quick make-up removal after jobs too. They were very much a French pharmacy product for a long while, but with their rise in popularity many brands are releasing them now.

micellar water

What exactly is a micellar water?

It is a water based cleanser – like a toner in texture but with very different properties. The name micellar water comes from the ‘micelles’ which are used within it. Typically these micelles are tiny clusters of oil molecules which do the cleansing part – they have a water loving tail which allows them to sit in the water formulation quite happily and an oil loving head which is what does the cleansing by attracting the dirt/makeup/oil on your face and taking it away as you sweep with your cotton pad. Other surfactants (things that do the cleansing amongst other things) might be used other than oil, but essentially do the same thing of cleansing the skin of dirt, make-up and excess oil. A very small amount of surfactant will be used which means a micellar water does not need to be washed off. Apparently one of the reasons they were so popular in France is because of the lack of rinsing, it meant the user could avoid the typically hard water. This also makes them great for travelling and other times when water isn’t available.

Many of these products will also therefore contain lots of skin moisturising ingredients and can be marketed as multi-functional; cleansing, toning and moisturising for example. Micellar waters can be very gentle on the skin.

How to use them

Saturate a cotton pad with your chosen micellar water and gently wipe over face. I find different formulas will cleanse differently eg one might remove a waterproof make-up and another only lightweight make-up.

Are they for everyone?

They are suitable for all skin types. (if you’re unsure of your skin type this post might help)

I think they are great, there is a definitely a time and place for micellar waters. The speed and convenience is great, however I am personally of the belief that in order to do a deep cleanse we need to do more – I love a double cleanse. (deeper cleansing post here).

The micellar waters are great as the first step in cleansing, they remove dirt on the surface level. However then I like something to go a little deeper into the pores – I think this would be especially so for an oily skin.

I personally wouldn’t rely on them as my sole cleanser every day. However a very sensitive skin that doesn’t like being washed with water might think different.

Everyone’s skin is different, so listen to yours.

Some of my favourites

Garnier Organic Cornflower Miceller Cleansing Water £6.99 400ml

I have this in my kit and it works well. Great value for money. This contains cornflower water, barley water and glycerin. It was actually this product that inspired this post after removing my 6 year old’s ‘make-up’ and trying to explain the importance of cleansing!! All skins. Vegan, certified organic.

Balance Me Flash Cleanse Micellar Water £16 180ml

This was great, I really enjoyed this in my kit. It removed make-up and left skin feeling fresh. This contains hyaluronic acid and neroli to help hydrate skin and chamomile to soothe and calm skin. All skins. Vegan.

Absolution L’Eau Soir Matin £29 150ml

Lovely and fresh removed make-up well. This is calming and gentle with ingredients such as neroli, cornflower and geranium. All skins. Vegan, certified organic.

Evolve Deep Clean Micellar Water £20 190ml

This was was really lovely for skin in terms of conditioning and looking after it but I found it didn’t remove as much make-up as others, so perhaps not great for heavy make-up wearers. It uses moringa peptides for the cleansing which is apparently great for removing nanoparticles of pollution. It also contains hyaluronic acid and pomegranate extract to strengthen skin. All skins. Vegan, certified organic.

Do you use a micellar water in your routine?

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2 Comments

  1. May
    25th March 2021 / 5:59 pm

    Hi Lou! I’m pretty sure micellar water should be rinsed…
    take care!
    Maya

    • Louise
      Author
      29th March 2021 / 10:15 am

      Hi Maya,
      Thanks for your comment! Micellar waters don’t generally need rinsing – the idea is to use them with a cotton pad or similar to remove make-up and gently cleanse the face. I personally prefer a deeper cleanse which does involve rinsing but with a wash off cleanser as the second part x

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