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Micellar Water: All You Need To Know!

How does micellar water work? What’s the science behind micellar water? Is micellar water suitable for all skin types? Learn more about micellar water here!


If you're looking for an easy, gentle way to remove makeup and dirt from your face that won't damage your skin, then micellar water could be for you!

Made popular in recent years thanks to its effortless cleansing abilities, micellar water uses tiny balls of cleansing oil (micelles) suspended in soft water to remove your makeup at the end of each day.

Micellar water delivers a softer and more sensitive cleansing routine, and can act as a face wash, makeup remover and moisturiser all in one! Sounds impressive, huh?

But, how does micellar water work? What’s the science behind micellar water? Is micellar water suitable for all skin types? Learn more below!

What Does Micellar Mean? What is Micellar Water? How Does Micellar Water Work?

Micellar water consists of two main ingredients; water and surfactants. But, what are surfactants? Well, surfactants are compounds which lower the surface tension between two liquids: water and oil, for example.

Surfactants are made up of two parts. The 'head' of the surfactant is hydrophilic which means it attracts water, and the 'tail' is hydrophobic meaning it attracts oil. Adding surfactants to a mix of oil and water means it will stop the two from repelling each other, and they'll mix. Clever!

Shower gels, washing up liquids, and washing detergents all contain surfactants too. For example, when washing oily pans with water you need to use washing up liquid so you can lift the oil off the pans into the water to wash it away… Magic!

The way micellar water works is similar to washing up liquid, but obviously far gentler on your skin! Cotton pads are made of cellulose which means the head of any surfactant will stick like a magnet.

When you place micellar water onto the pad and then your face, it comes into contact with the oils and dirt on your skin, and in your makeup. The tail of the surfactant will pick them up and allow the soft water to wash it away.

This means using micellar water is as effective as using soap and water, but there's no need to wash it off. Micellar water is also much less abrasive, and won't leave any harsh chemicals that will lead to the dehydration (and eventually ageing) of the skin!

Wait? Does that mean micellar water can help you look younger? Well, potentially…yes! By cleansing your face daily with an effective product like micellar water, you can help keep your skin healthy and the rate of ageing reduced.

PS: sleeping in make up should be an absolute no go, as this will clog the pores and prevent the skin from being able to breathe as you sleep. It will also dirty your pillowcase… Yuck! So, make sure you’re using your micellar water for cleansing before you hit the hay!

What Products Complement Micellar Water?

Micellar water works by washing the oils, dirt, and makeup from your face, and while it remains gentle on your skin, it's important to replace some of those oils and rehydrate your skin afterward.

Even though micellar water isn't harsh on your face, it can sometimes feel tight straight after use as your skin has yet to replace the sebum that's been cleansed away (sebum is the essential, natural oil our body produces to keep our skin hydrated), which is why it's important to moisturise directly after cleansing.

Encouraging cell turnover and higher collagen production will help prevent your skin from prematurely ageing. By looking out for and using skincare boosted with stem cells, you can diminish fine lines, wrinkles, and dryness.

As we age, the quickest areas to get wrinkles and lose their plumpness is around the eyes and your neck, which is why these areas need to be targeted as you moisturise.

Around your eye area, the skin remains incredibly delicate due to a lack of collagen and high sensitivity, so using a targeted eye serum means you can ensure this area is tighter, firmer and more youthful than ever, as the right product should encourage more collagen production and work to increase cell repair and turnover.

The area around our neck (also referred to as our décolletage area) is also surprisingly the part of our body that displays signs of ageing much quicker than others. This is because the muscle is further away from the skin's surface, making it saggier than the rest of your face and has thinner skin.

For the neck area, we recommend investing in a specially formulated neck cream that specifically targets and boosts the collagen levels in your skin to ensure it stays tight and plump for as long as possible!

In addition, there are fewer sebaceous glands on our neck (so it receives less of that essential sebum), so it's incredibly important to keep it moisturised.

And Micellar Wipes? Micellar Water Face Wash?

Skincare wipes, as a whole are not great for the environment… And this, unfortunately, includes micellar wipes.

Most wipe brands use a composition for their wipes that cannot break down or decompose. This means that every time you use a wipe, it will eventually end up in landfill if placed in the bin or the ocean.

Some people even flush their wipes down the toilet, which leads to sewer blockage and damage. Sewer companies are forced to break those blockages down when they occur, which then potentially releases further toxins and plastic into the sea. (FYI: If it’s not clear by now, no one should be flushing anything but toilet paper and body waste down a toilet!)

Invest in reusable cotton pads that you can pop in the washing machine, and buy Micellar Water that’s packaged in a recyclable bottle… And, you know, actually rinse and recycle it when you’re done!

The Cel Verdict on Micellar Water?

If you're after a gentle cleanser that can actually help keep your skin healthy, then micellar water is a great option for you! Some surfactants in cleansers can be irritating as they can pull proteins from your skin, breaking down its protective layer and most face washes will also leave behind harsh chemicals on your skin and dry it out.

In addition, and unlike some toners and cleansers, micellar water doesn't contain alcohol which is another perk for your skin! All of this results in a kinder, healthier way to clean your face, and a better chance of maintaining that youthful glow!

Although, for some people with really sensitive skin, even micellar water can be too harsh. If your skin feels tight, dry or itchy after taking your makeup off using micellar water, simply wash off the remains with fresh water or a wet towel. If you’re new to micellar water (and this goes for all new products), always patch test a little on a small area of skin (like your wrist) and wait for 24 hours so you can assess for any irritation or sensitivity.

And remember, micellar water in a recyclable bottle and reusable cotton pads are a far more ethical way of reaping the micellar water benefits. Avoid those micellar wipes (well, preferably all make-up removing wipes) for good!



Becca Trigg


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