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What exactly is micellar water, and do you really need one?


Micellar waters have been lining the shelves of French pharmacies for years, but have only relatively recently become a regular on the average skincare shelf. Despite their popularity, confusion still remains over what exactly a micellar water is, and what they should be used for.



As the name suggests, micellar waters are primarily water, but boosted with micelles: small cleansing oil molecules that attract make-up and grime, making them ideal for gently removing make-up and drawing out impurities attached to the skin surface. As they’re as light as, well, water, these cleansing formulas don’t necessarily need to be washed off.

However, a micellar water probably shouldn’t replace your cleanser in entirety, as they don’t tend to deliver the thorough cleanse needed to keep skin properly clean and healthy. As consultant dermatologist Dr. Anjali Mahto explains, “micellar waters can be useful for all skin types, but my feeling remains that they are best used as a cleansing option when there is no water available. To use a micellar water as a primary cleanser after removing make-up and sunscreen at the end of the day requires a lot of time and product.”

So micellar waters are a wise choice for flights and festivals, but how about at home? Dr. Mahto believes these cleansing liquids “can be useful as a second cleanse to remove any excess grime after the main cleanse has been carried out with another product.”



Micellar waters are commonly confused with toners, but the two are actually completely different. A toner generally works to restore the skin’s pH after cleansing, leaving things calm and balanced, while a micellar water is simply a cleansing agent.



As Dr. Mahto mentioned, micellar waters are ideal for quickly cleansing the skin when you don’t have access to a sink. Simply apply generously onto a cotton pad and swipe over the skin. Alternatively, use yours after cleansing with a gel or milk to ensure all impurities, product residue and traces of pollution are swept away.


From Harper’s Bazaar UK

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