Dec 14, 2021 · 4 min read
This article was originally published on May 18, 2020 and updated on December 15, 2021.
Micellar water is a non-rinse, soap-free cleansing water. It 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.
Micellar water is a cleanser, makeup remover, and moisturizer all in one. It does this with micelles, which are tiny oil molecules suspended in soft water with hydrophilic (water-attracting) and hydrophobic (water-repelling) properties. You might say micellar water works like a magnet. It cleans by lifting away makeup and buildup from the skin’s surface without stripping its natural moisture.
Micellar water is typically dermatologist-approved for acne-prone skin. Make sure you don’t accidentally choose a micellar water with ingredients that can cause breakouts or irritation.
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 toner, but it has the same effect as a hydrating toner—it cleans and lightly moisturizes the skin.
Both are lightweight, water-based products that can clean skin, but toners are a little less straightforward than micellar water. 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.
Micellar water is a good option for washing the face or as the first step of a double cleanse.
Dampen a cotton pad with micellar water.
Apply to the skin by gently rubbing.
Repeat as necessary to remove extra stubborn makeup, like waterproof mascara.
Here are a few ways to use micellar water in your skincare routine:
A quick, hydrating cleanse for when you’re on the go
A hydrating toner to help clean sensitive, acne-prone skin
A non-greasy, no-scrub makeup remover that’s soft on skin but still effective
If you’re a Curology member, you’ll be happy to know that our micellar makeup remover is designed to work alongside your Custom Formula, cleanser, and moisturizer as part of your daily skincare routine. Apply it to a cotton pad and gently wipe over eyes, skin, and lips to remove even the most stubborn waterproof makeup. Then, cleanse, treat, and moisturize your skin like you normally would.
Micellar water is a good first step in your skincare routine. It’s lightweight and cleansing, so it preps the skin for heavier products. We recommend you use micellar water before cleansing. Micellar water can be used alone as a one-step cleanser/hydrator or followed up with a cleanser and moisturizer.
Want to add a micellar water to your routine? Start by looking into one of these go-to products:
Bioderma Sensibo H2O—for normal, sensitive, dry, or acne-prone skin
Cleansing Spa Water by Koh Gen Do—contains lactic acid, which can be good for oily and acne-prone skin that can tolerate some subtle exfoliation
The micellar makeup remover by Curology—defiantly gentle, skin-first makeup remover to support your essential anti-acne routine
Check out our guide to cleansers for more product recommendations.
There’s a lot of busywork when it comes to busting your breakouts, but there doesn’t have to be. Getting access to prescription skincare has never been easier, thanks to Curology. When you sign up and get your first month free, you’ll be paired with one of our in-house medical providers, who will prescribe you a customized cream with a mix of ingredients for your skin.
You can also try the complete Curology set with our cleanser and your choice of moisturizer, plus the micellar makeup remover, all when you start your free trial. You’ll just pay $4.95 (plus tax) to cover the cost of shipping and handling. Sign up for Curology and get your first month free.
Nicole Hangsterfer, PA-C