Micellar Water is the Best Skincare Product You’re Not Using (Yet)
It’s big in Europe, particularly France, where many women forgo using regular tap water on their faces entirely in favor of cleansing with a cotton pad soaked in the stuff. If you haven’t tried micellar water, you’re missing out. Luckily, this skincare product — a non-greasy, non-drying cleanser/makeup remover hybrid — is getting easier to find for those of us who can’t make regular trips to a Paris drugstore.
So what exactly is it? A micelle is a droplet of surfactant suspended in a water-based solution, which allows for a best-of-both-worlds consistency. Micellar water feels like…well, water but cleanses like an oil. That means you can wipe away your lipstick and waterproof mascara without leaving your face covered in a greasy residue.
I use it to remove my makeup before I wash my face — my version of the double cleansing routine — or, since there’s no need to rinse it off, to take off my foundation before I work out. While pre-moistened makeup remover towelettes irritate my sensitive skin (they’re always too scratchy and too scented), a Shiseido cotton pad soaked in micellar water takes off everything without drying out my skin.
Ready to try it for yourself? Most of the brands that have a micellar water in their lineup are imports, but many are widely available in the U.S. Koh Gen Do Cleansing Spa Water ($13) is sold at Sephora, while La Roche-Posay Physiological Micellar Solution ($20.99) can be found at many better-stocked drustores. (Bioderma — the makeup artist staple that’s unfortunately not so easy to find in the US — is also a micellar water.)
Lately, brands have been launching more targeted versions designed to treat different skin conditions. Avène’s Micellar Lotion Cleanser and Make-up Remover ($20) is made with only nine ingredients to be gentle on sensitive skin; one of them is the brand’s signature Thermal Spring Water which has been shown to have anti-inflammatory benefits. Another French label, the super-luxe brand Orlane, has added a Brightening Micellar Water ($85) to its Soin de Blanc line. The water contains melanin-blocking arbutin to fight dark spots. Can your makeup remover do that?
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