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- Micellar water is beloved because it lifts dirt and grime out of the skin like a magnet without disrupting the skin’s natural moisture barrier.
- It’s great for dual-cleansing, dry or sensitive skin, and traveling or on-the-go cleansing.
- Below are 9 of the most popular cult-favorite micellar waters, and why people love them.
Before it decked the halls of your local Target and Amazon, micellar water was a regular in the beat-up makeup bags backstage at runway shows and a mainstay in French pharmacies. Now, in 2019, it’s considered a standard part of an airtight skin-care routine.
Micellar water is soft water with tiny micelles in it. Micelles are little balls of oil that are attracted to dirt and oil, and naturally lift them out of the skin like a magnet. Instead of using an astringent or rubbing abrasive exfoliants on your skin to clean your face, micelles draw the grime out on contact and bind to it, letting you cleanse your skin effectively without weakening its protective natural barrier.
To use micellar water, you just need the product and a towel, cotton balls, or cotton pads to swipe the product across your face and wipe away the grime the micelles attach to. You apply the micellar water liberally to a cotton pad and gently swipe it over your skin to remove the day’s dirt and makeup. Ideally, you repeat the process until your pad comes away clean. Then, you pat your face dry with a towel.
If you’re using it as your standalone cleanser, you typically don’t need to follow up with a rinse of water. If you’re using it as the first step in a dual-cleansing routine, it’s alright if you leave some residue from this first micellar step for your cleanser to wash away. I typically do if I’m using cotton pads to save myself and the Earth from more waste.
Most people use it as a first cleanser, a travel cleanser, and/or a gentle makeup remover. In dual-cleansing, it clears the way for your face wash to work more effectively by reaching more directly into your pores. It also means you don’t have to wonder if you’re massaging the face wash and a sudsy soup of the day’s makeup into your pores accidentally. Not needing water makes it great for airplane rides and post-exercise classes. And the soft water is a gentle way to grab makeup like waterproof mascara off your lashes without breaking them with the friction of a towel. I’m also a fan of using it to gently clean makeup brushes.
If you’re looking to find the right one for yourself, you can find a handful of the most popular options below, and why people love them.
Below are 9 of the most popular micellar waters you can buy:
Bioderma Sensibio H2O Micellar Water
Bioderma is a classic standard bearer for micellar water. It’s on the shortlist of must-have products from French pharmacies, and the company claims a bottle is sold somewhere in the world every two seconds. It’s a favorite of models, makeup artists, and the general public. It’s also one of the best-sellers in all of skin-care products on Amazon and has more than 1,700 five-star reviews.
Garnier SkinActive Micellar Cleansing Water
Garnier’s cost-effective micellar water is a fan-favorite for its low price, efficacy on "waterproof" makeup, and suitability for multiple skin types. It has more than 14,000 reviews on Target with a 4.5-star overall rating and more than 2,000 five-star reviews on Amazon.
Simple Kind to Skin Cleansing Water
Noted as one of Business Insider editor Sally Kaplan’s favorite cleansers, the Simple micellar water is "kind to skin" — meaning it’s gentle, non-irritating, and doesn’t try to reinvent the wheel. Simple micellar water also claims to boost skin’s hydration by 90%. If you have sensitive skin, this may be the best place to start.
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