Micellar Water: Everything You Need to Know

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Ummm how the HECK have I not known about micellar water?! Honestly, how have I survived

I'm going to be real with you: I'm lazy  – extremely lazy. I love tricks and tips that are going to save me time but make me look fabulous (and when I say "save me time", I mean "allow me more time to read"). Tips, tricks, hacks and how-to's are why I started this blog and I'm outraged that I've lived this long without the simple goodness that is micellar water. Micellar water was made for the lazy gal.

Hopefully you haven't been living in the dark as I have. Because if there was such a thing as drinking from the fountain of youth, this might be it. This molecule-filled water is, well, magicule. (See what I did there?)

But if you have been living in a micellar-less world like I have, prepare to spice up your life – Spice Girls style. (Alternatively, if you've been using it but have no idea what the heck it actually is, read on.)

Let me break it down for you. 

What is micellar water? 

Micellar water is a purified water (shocker) that contains micelles (starting to see where the name comes from, huh?) which are tiny balls of cleansing oil molecules. It looks like water, but it has a different texture. You can see it foam ever so slightly when you use it (that's the molecules at work, y'all). 

According to the internet, it was created in Paris to help Parisians deal with their ‘hard’ water (hard meaning high in mineral content). It’s soap-free, alcohol-free and essentially free of any of the bad stuffs. 

How does it work?

Micelles are attracted to dirt and oil. When you wipe a cotton pad soaked with micellar water over your skin, the micelles gently draw out makeup, pollution and dirt while adhering to the cotton.

There is no need to rinse off micellar water, so the moisturising ingredients are left behind and absorbed into your skin. It’s one of the lightest and gentlest ways to clean your skin. 

Why would you use it?

To clean, cleanse and refresh your skin! Most people use it as a makeup remover. If you’re a wipe user, you should consider swiping out (ha!) your wipes for a bottle of micellar water and some makeup removal pads. It's gentler but it still gets the job done. You could even replace your cleanser with micellar water if you find micellar water works better for your skin.

In terms of skin types, micellar water is recommended for people with dry, sensitive or intolerant skin as it’s hydrating and doesn’t use harsh chemicals, as well as for hormonal and acne-prone skin as it removes debris without drying out your skin. 

I personally recommend it for lazy gals with skin. If you get home late but can’t be bothered to go through an entire routine, just squirt some micellar water onto a pad and Bob's your Uncle. (Because I beg you, please don’t go to bed with makeup on! Ever. OK? Good.) 

When should you use it? 

You can use it:

  • instead of your cleanser,

  • as well as your cleanser (particularly if you feel like your cleanser isn't removing all your make-up),

  • instead of make-up or face wipes,

  • or just when your skin needs a refresher.

It’s the ideal travel companion as you don’t need running water, or even water for that matter, to use it as it doesn't need to be rinsed off. Just wait for it to dry, then moisturise as normal. (It will DEFINITELY be coming on the plane with me when I fly to Italy in September.)  

What DOESN’T it do?

It will not remove waterproof mascara. As waterproof mascara is water based, it's resistant to micellar water. (I learned this the hard way.) 

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But remember, as with any new product, a patch test is recommended. Argh, boring I know. But a patch mean ensures that if your skin does react, it only reacts in a small square as opposed to an entire face rash. (I also learned this the hard way.)

Disclaimer: I haven’t tried all of these micellar waters, but I’m providing options for different needs and skins types. 
 

1. Bioderma Sensibio H2O Micelle Solution, from $29.99

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What you would call the OG of Micellar Waters. It’s the original, the #1, the first of it's kind. It is also the one of the ones I’ve been trying. I really like it. It’s gentle, my skin hasn’t reacted at all and leaves my skin feeling clean but not stripped. However, I should mention, that when I’m wearing foundation it does take three cotton pads to get it all off.

I’ve been trying the sensibio micellar water as I have sensitive skin. (Seriously, it’s SO sensitive. It can never take a joke.) But Bioderma also has two other types; hydrabio and sebium.

Sensibio: for sensitive skin (the one above / I’ve been trying).
Hydrabio: for dehydrated skin.
Sebium: for oily, blemished skin.

P.S. There has been a permanent price drop on Bioderma Micellar Water in Austraya. Good news for all.

 

2. Garnier Skin Active Micellar Cleansing Water, from $3.50 for 125 ml

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I’ve also been trying the Garnier Micellar Cleansing Water for sensitive skin (pink cap) and it’s been great. I got the ‘on the go’ size, because I’m busy like that. Also because I was worried my skin would react, but it didn’t (yay!). I recommend it as a more cost effective option (aka it’s cheaper). 

The Garnier micellar range includes five types (it's like they knew they were going to be on 5-to-try):

  • Micellar Cleansing Water for Normal to Sensitive Skin (lighter pink cap)

  • Micellar Cleansing Water Sensitive Skin (pink cap)

  • Micellar Cleansing Water for oily to combination skin (green cap)

  • Micellar Cleansing Water in Oil for Waterproof Make-up

  • Pure Active Micellar Cleansing Water for Skin Prone to Imperfections

 

3. La Roche-Posay Micellar Cleansing range, from $25.95  

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La Roche-Posay have a a micellar cleansing range that includes a formula for sensitive skin, oily skin and reactive skin. I haven’t tried this range but I’ve read good things.

 

4. Nivea MicellAIR Water range, from $11.99

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Nivea’s MicellAIR range includes a sensitive and normal skin formula. I haven't tried it, but it's got good reviews and you can pick it up at any supermarket or chemist. 

 

5. Sukin Micellar Cleansing Water, from $10.99

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The Sukin Micellar Cleansing Water is a natural, Australian option. It’s infused with cucumber and chamomile for extra soothing. Again, I haven't tried it but I've read good things. 

 

If you’d like to see what other brands stock micellar water, click here