Then in 2013, the French staple was made available in the UK for the first time with the introduction of Bioderma’s Sensibio H2O Micellar Water into British pharmacy John Bell & Croydon, much to the relief of every beauty editor and skincare junkie in town.
Since then, the humble cleansing product has reached stratospheric heights as well as the shelves of every high street drug-store nationwide.
It’s strange to think that just a few years ago, micellar waters were such a niche insider secret, they were almost non-existent here in the UK. Only available deep within French pharmacies, it wasn’t unheard of for beauty junkies to take a pilgrimage to Paris just for top-ups of their favourite micellar water.
Not only that, but micellar water has become almost ubiquitous in every insider’s skincare routine, and has secured its spot as a shelfie staple. Every skincare brand from specialist cosmeceutical labels to drug store heroes have their own version, some brands even offering many different variations with added ingredients for different skin types.
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So the hype is real, but we wanna know: does micellar water really live up to the high standards it’s credited with – and what’s all the fuss about?
It’s a resounding yes from our beauty team. The reason being its ability to remove deep-set makeup and gently cleanse our complexions in seconds. Here’s your everything-to-know guide on what micellar water is and why is it so special…
What is micellar water?
Pronounced “my-sell-or”, micellar waters are effective makeup removers. Micellar water is made from purified water (to counter the minerals and heavy metals found in tap water), which is then infused with hydrating ingredients and mild surfactants (which break down oils). These group together to form tiny little balls called micelles which are suspended in the water.
What are the benefits of micellar water?
The little spheres can attract all the makeup, excess sebum and daily grime on the surface of your skin – like a magnet – and lifts them away, leaving skin clean and refreshed.
How is micellar water different to other cleansers?
If you find other cleanser strip your skin, you may notice that micellar waters feel much gentler. The micelles focus on attracting just the makeup and grime rather than stripping the oils from your skin and drying it out. It’s also infused with hydrating ingredients like glycerin that stay behind and can be absorbed to leave skin feeling more comfortable.
What’s the difference between a toner and micellar water?
Micellar waters and toners often look similar, they both tend to have a watery consistency and are usually swept on using a cotton pad. But while micellar water may look like your average H2O, if you feel it, you’ll notice the texture feels slightly thicker and slippier. The main purpose of a micellar water is to remove makeup, whereas a toner is designed to be used after cleansing to rebalance the skin’s pH. Toners prep skin before moisturiser and can have extra benefits such as hydrating, balancing or even exfoliating skin.
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Can I use micellar water as makeup remover?
The micelles glide across the surface of skin, gathering makeup and grime, but they’re too large to penetrate further into skin for a deep clean. Therefore, they make a fantastic first cleanse (for removing makeup), but you might want to follow up with a deep-cleaning cleanser that can get further down into pores for your second cleanse.
Does micellar water suit all skin types?
Because of the variety of micellar waters now available, they can suit all skin types. Brands such as Bioderma and Garnier have several options specifically suited for sensitive skin, dry skin or combination skin, it’s just about finding the right one that works for you.
How do I use micellar water?
It’s one of the easiest cleansers to use since you don’t need to stand over a sink to remove your makeup. All you need is a cotton pad (try Garnier’s sustainable Micellar Reusable Makeup Remover Eco Pads, £4.49) which you can use to sweep it across your skin. And because micellar water is go gentle, you can even use it on your eyes and lips, too. We’d recommend holding the pad to your eye for a few seconds to loosen stubborn mascara before sweeping away. It’s best used as the first step in a double cleansing routine.
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Should I moisturise after micellar water?
Micellar waters tend to be gentler and less stripping than other cleansers, which is why they’re able to leave skin feeling more hydrated. But, it’s still worth following up with your moisturiser. Water-based cleansers work particularly well with micellar water, just make sure you choose one that works best for your skin.
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