Micellar cleansing waters have burst into popularity, and the product has certainly solidified a place in the skincare routines of women around the world. At first glance, they might seem gimmicky: How is water alone going to properly cleanse, and if it did, wouldn’t we just rinse our faces with water?
Well, for starters, micellar (pronounced my-cell-ar) cleansing waters look and feel like water, but they’re enhanced with oils. These 2-in-1 formulas remove makeup and cleanse the skin and are ideal for girls looking for a quick and easy product that is alcohol free and doesn’t strip their natural oils.
Micellar waters are composed of micelles and soft water. What exactly is a micelle? All cleansers contain molecules called surfactants. Imagine these molecules as little tadpoles with a head that’s hydrophilic (water-loving) and a tail that’s hydrophobic (water-hating). When surfactants mix with water, the tails band together and create a miniature globe known as a micelle.
How do these tiny globes of oil and water cleanse the skin? Hydrophilic molecules are also attracted to cotton, so when poured on a cotton ball or pad they drive into its center, flipping their tails outward. For as much as these molecule tails hate water, they love oils. When swiped across the skin, they act as a magnet and pull up dead skin cells, oils, makeup and other environmental aggressors that cling to the skin’s lipid layer. Normal soaps work a similar way, but using micelles to pull out pore-clogging substances allows the skin to keep its natural oils intact.
In other words, sweeping a micellar-soaked cotton round over the face will provide a quick cleanse that will help maintain your skin’s barrier function and pH while removing the gunk and grime that accumulated throughout the day.
Who should add a micellar water to their routine? These solutions are ideal for those with dryer, more sensitive skins who tend to wear, at most, light-to-medium coverage makeup. Because micellar water is so gentle, it isn’t equipped to remove thick sunblock or heavy, full-coverage foundation. Also, because they contain just a small amount of oil, these types of formulas aren’t great for stubborn, waterproof eye makeup.
Think a micellar cleansing water is right for you? Go out and try one! There are tons of options available that will help keep your skin perfectly balanced.