Micellar Water: Miracle Cleanser Or Overhyped?

Micellar water has made its way into the bathrooms of everyone from the average makeup user to models, celebrities, and even the makeup artists themselves. The French favorite is now a global must-have item.

Claiming to easily remove makeup, cleanse, and tone in just a few swipes, micellar water has become a staple for many. But is it really that useful or just overhyped? Here is everything you need to know about micellar water before you buy some.

What Is Micellar Water?

Micellar water is essentially a cleanser. It is made up of purified water and hydrating ingredients like glycerine as well as mild surfactants.

“The molecules of those mild surfactants naturally group together to form microscopic spheres called micelles, which act like magnets for dirt and oil,”

says cosmetic chemist Joseph Cincotta.

Who Should Use Micellar Water?

Touted as a miracle cleanser, micellar water is great for all skin types. It is convenient and easy to use making it the perfect remove makeup for those who are too busy or simply too tired.

“They’re especially great for acne-prone types. They remove trapped debris from the skin but don’t dry it out. I also tell my patients to use a micellar cleanser between reapplications of sunscreen during the summer to avoid clogged pores.”

says dermatologist Francesca Fusco.

How Does It Work?

According to Dr. Russak, “micellar water is an extraordinary alternative for cleansing the skin” in terms of makeup removal. The formula contains tiny balls of oil naturally attracted to the debris on the skin known as micelles.

The micelles attract impurities on the skin’s surface. This allows the mild surfactants to then break up the makeup, debris and oils that the micelles attract without stripping the skin.

Difference Between Micellar Water & Toner?

Even though Micellar Water is marketed as a simple swipe your makeup off remover and go to bed, this might not be the best idea. Many skincare specialists recommend using it as the first step in a double cleanse system if you do not want to use an oil cleanser.

“I find that the residual micelles block other products from absorbing into the skin effectively, so I usually recommend my patients rinse afterwards with water,”

revealed Rachel Nazarian, MD, a board-certified dermatologist with New York’s Schweiger Dermatology.

However, toner is usually used as a preparation and hydration step after cleansing. Toners usually treat the skin and contain actives and will not be washed off.

How To Use It?

The most effective way to use micellar water is to soak a cotton pad and hold it to your face or eyes for a few minutes allowing it to seep into the makeup and begin breaking it down. Then gently wipe it across your complexion without tugging at the skin.

Follow with a foaming cleanser of your choice and the rest of your skincare routine. Another great use of micellar water is to quickly get rid of sweat and oil after a gym session. Simply wipe it across your face, rinse it off and apply your favorite moisturizer.

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