Micellar water 101

What it does and how to use it

Stephanie Papanikolas Avatar

Stephanie Papanikolas
May 18, 2020 · 3 min read

We’re here to share what we know — but don’t take it as medical advice. Talk to your medical provider if you have questions.

Micellar water is versatile and gentle. It cleanses, removes makeup, and moisturizes. It does this with micelles (tiny oils suspended in soft water). It’s a non-rinse, soap-free cleansing water that pulls out dirt and oil while keeping skin hydrated. Micellar water is great for dry, sensitive skin. It’s also an ideal makeup remover for all skin types, including acne-prone skin.

How to use micellar water

There are 3 ways you can use micellar water in your skincare routine: 1) as a quick, hydrating cleanse for when you’re on the go, 2) as a hydrating toner to help clean sensitive, acne-prone skin, 3) as a non-greasy, no-scrub makeup remover that’s soft on skin but still effective.

1. Soak a large cotton pad with micellar water.

2. Apply to the skin by gently rubbing. No need to apply pressure.

That’s it! Just repeat as necessary to remove extra stubborn makeup, like mascara.

Looking for the best micellar water? Read this.

When to use micellar water

Micellar water is a good first step in your skincare routine. It’s light-weight and cleansing, so it preps the skin for heavier products. In general, it’s easier to use micellar water on dry skin, so I recommend you use micellar water first before cleansing. Micellar water can be used alone as a one-step cleanser/hydrator, or followed up with cleanser and moisturizer.

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Micellar water vs. toner

You don’t necessarily need to use a toner or micellar water in your skincare routine. But if you’re acne-prone, you might wonder if this extra step will benefit your skin.

Micellar water is not a technically a toner, but it generally has the same effect as a hydrating toner: it cleans and lightly moisturizes the skin. Both are light-weight, water-based products that can clean skin.

But toners are a little less straight-forward than micellar water. First of all, there’s no precise definition of what a toner must do in skincare. That means there are many different kinds of toners — not all of them good. Do what you can to check your product’s ingredients to make sure they’re not pore-clogging or irritating.

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Stephanie Papanikolas

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