Micellar water is a French beauty staple that has long been popular at French pharmacies but is only now breaking into the mainstream beauty circuit in the United States. Long prized for its ability to remove makeup, cleanse, and tone skin without needing to be rinsed off, the secret to this “soft water” comes from the micelles– microscopic oil molecules that are attracted to dirt, makeup, and debris– that are suspended in solution.
By dissolving dirt, makeup, and oil on contact, micellar water can be used as a one-size-fits-all makeup remover that is gentle enough for sensitive skin and doesn’t require water. Simply wet a cotton ball and use it to remove makeup, dirt, and other impurities without water. If you have extra dry skin, follow with a spritz of face mist or moisturizer of your choice– otherwise, you’re good to go!
One of the key attributes of micellar water that many devotees point out is the fact that it doesn’t dry out the skin, and its super easy to use. Micellar water improves skin tone and moisture retention without the harsh chemicals and irritating ingredients typically found in traditional makeup remover. Since no water is required, micellar water can also be used electively to refresh the eyes, keep skin hydrated during flights, and freshen up after a workout.
Some people love micellar water so much they even use it instead of cleanser; others credit micellar water with completely clearing up their acne. Success stories abound to such a degree that one Elle editor was prompted to ask: Can Micellar Water Replace Your Whole Skincare Routine?. The answer, for most people, seems to be “yes”.
And lucky for us, there are a number of natural brands already on the market that are appropriate for all skin types. We love Simple’s Kind to Skin Cleansing Micellar Water, Yes To Cotton Comforting Micellar Cleansing Water, inVitamin’s Natural Cleansing Micellar Water, Boots Botanics All Bright Micellar 3-in-1, and InstaNatural’s Micellar Water for Sensitive Skin (all of these brands pass our test for purity, potency, and efficacy).
According to celebrity aestheticians, using cotton is key: simply wet a cotton pad or ball with solution and gently rub across the entire face or targeted area for easy cleansing. Micelles are hydrophilic and lipophilic— meaning they love both water and oil. By absorbing dirt and makeup without ever breaking the skin’s delicate lipid barrier, micellar water is the perfect cleansing agent for any skin type, as it works to restore balance. Try any of these brands and see for yourself!
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