Is Micellar Water Good For Your Skin?

If you haven’t yet heard about micellar water (pronounced my-sell-er), put that face wipe down and get ready to save the planet and give your skin some love.

Just as effective as face wipes, but much friendlier to your face and the planet, this French cleansing water is one of the biggest products to hit the beauty scene in recent years.

The beauty industry has gone crazy for micellar water and for good reason. It’s great for removing stubborn waterproof mascara and tackles foundation like a boss. But what exactly is micellar water, and most importantly, is it good for your skin?

Read on to discover all you need to know about this cleansing superstar and its ingredients, uses, and benefits.


  • Micellar water is a multipurpose skincare product used to cleanse the skin. It’s made from purified water and micelles—tiny molecule clusters that remove dirt and other impurities.
  • Micellar water is suitable for any skin type and promotes a hydrated complexion. It can also be used to soothe skin conditions like rosacea.
  • This product can be incorporated into your skincare routine as a cleanser, toner, and gentle makeup remover. Micellar water usually works best when paired with a regular cleanser and other high-quality skincare products.

What Exactly is Micellar Water?

Micellar water is a lightweight facial cleanser that combines purified water, hydrating ingredients, and a low concentration of mild surfactants and humectants.

Micellar water formulas are light and gentle and don’t need to be rinsed away. However, if your skin is prone to breakouts, you may need to use a deep-cleanser as the residue can block pores.

When used in skincare products, humectants like glycerin dissolve impurities that can clog the pores. Surfactants bind to oil to attract and remove makeup, dirt, and sebum oil from the skin.

As you swipe a cotton ball loaded with micellar water across your skin, make-up, dirt and impurities are attracted to the cleanser and lifted from the skin. Meanwhile, humectants that attract and bind water molecules to the skin, helping to keep it moisturized.

When used together in micellar water, humectants and surfactants create a double-edged (but gentle) sword!

Not only can micellar water help the skin stay moisturized, but it also helps prevent clogged pores.

How Is Micellar Water Different from Regular Cleansers or Toners?

Some cleansers and toners contain harsh ingredients that can strip skin of its natural oils, causing dryness and irritation. Toners may also contain alcohol, an irritant for some skin types. These ingredients can also disrupt the skin’s natural pH levels, leaving it vulnerable to harmful bacteria that can cause infections and contribute to acne.

Micellar water, on the other hand, is made with soothing, gentle ingredients. This helps the product to soften the skin while reducing irritation. Unlike most regular cleansers, micellar water doesn’t contain any active ingredients. This means micellar water may not be able to completely remove impurities from the complexion or treat skin conditions like acne.

Micellar water is more effective for removing stubborn makeup or for when you need a quick cleanse. To ensure that all of the harmful organisms are removed from the skin, it’s often recommended to use a normal face wash after micellar water.

What Are the Benefits of Micellar Water?

Micellar water can have many benefits for the skin. Let’s take a look.

It’s gentle on all skin types

Micellar water doesn’t contain harmful chemicals or irritating ingredients, making it suitable for even the most sensitive skin types.

It also contains soothing ingredients like glycerin that can help reduce existing irritation and inflammation. This makes micellar water a good option for people who suffer from rosacea and find regular cleansers too harsh.

Micellar water can help prevent breakouts

The micelles in micellar water bind with oil, dirt, and makeup to dissolve and remove these impurities from the skin surface.

This allows micellar water to clear the complexion and help prevent breakouts that are caused by clogged pores.

Micellar water can also be a good option for people with oily skin who struggle with excess sebum that contributes to these breakouts.

It promotes hydrated skin

Micellar water’s humectant molecules allow it to draw and lock moisture into the skin, too.

Humectants like glycerin can also be effective at repairing and helping maintain skin barrier function.

The skin barrier is the outermost layer of the complexion that protects it from external pollutants, bumps and scrapes, and pathogens.

Humectants can promote proper skin barrier function by helping the skin retain moisture. This creates a “seal” of sorts that prevents the skin barrier from becoming damaged and vulnerable to external factors.

Since micellar water promotes hydration, it may also be a good option for people with dry skin who find regular toners too harsh.

It’s convenient to use

Micellar water is perfect to use in the morning to remove oil and skincare residue from the night before.

It’s often best used as part of a double cleansing routine—this is when you wash your face twice, but with different cleansers.

If you don’t have time to commit to a double cleansing routine, a quick swipe with micellar water is better than using no cleanser at all. Micellar water can also be used in the place of a regular facial cleanser for short periods of time—like after you’ve been to the gym or while traveling.

Are There Any Drawbacks to Using Micellar Water?

Like with any skincare product, there are some drawbacks to be aware of when using micellar water, though these are mild.

It doesn’t always cleanse the skin completely

Although micellar water’s ingredients are intended to remove dirt and oil from the skin, micellar water is not as comprehensive as some other formulas will be.

Micellar water can’t remove all of the impurities from the skin or treat conditions like acne as well as other cleansers.

Its by-products can be bad for the environment

To apply micellar water to the skin, you’ll need to use a cotton ball, pad, or something similar.

These products often contribute to deforestation and excess water use, not to mention that it takes about 5 months for a single cotton pad to decompose.

💡 Tip

It’s entirely possible to use micellar water and be kind to the environment. Try to buy reusable cotton pads instead of single-use—they work the same.

Not only will they last longer, but reusables may also work out cheaper in the long run.

How Do I Use Micellar Water?

Micellar water is one of the easiest skincare products to incorporate into your daily cleansing routine.

As a cleanser

To use micellar water, pour it on a cotton pad and gently dab or wipe across your face.

You don’t need to rinse it off since micellar water’s ingredients are considered gentle enough to be left on the skin.

However, you can use a new cotton pad to wipe the skin after you’ve applied the micellar water. This helps to gather dissolved dirt and oil that may have come loose or even surfaced froma pores.

As a toner

You can apply micellar water as a toner after you’ve used your regular cleanser. Soak a cotton pad in micellar water or pour it directly into your hands, then pat onto your skin.

As a makeup remover

Micellar water can be effective for dissolving heavy or waterproof makeup and removing it from the surface of the skin. It can also replace makeup wipes.

To remove eye makeup, press a soaked cotton pad onto the eye for a few seconds before you gently wipe the makeup off. This helps to loosen stubborn products like eyeliner or mascara.

For foundation and other makeup products, apply micellar water in the same way you would when using it as a cleanser.

Follow with your normal face wash for a thorough cleanse.

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