A lady pouring micellar water onto a cotton pad.

What is micellar water?

According to recent research, 18% of us never leave the house without putting on makeup1. But what happens when we get home? Many of us have had the odd night where we forget to take off our makeup before getting tucked up2. This skincare no-no is one of the foundations of our skincare routines, but it can be a chore after a long day at work or a night out with friends. In steps micellar water. While a reasonably new product in the beauty market, this makeup removing powerhouse has become a staple on the supermarket shelves and in our beauty arsenals3. But is it just a great makeup remover or are there other benefits to using micellar water? We’ve got everything you need to know below.

What is micellar water?

Micellar water is made up of purified water, moisturisers, and surfactants. It’s the surfactants that provide the cleansing power, as these molecules attract dirt, makeup, oil, and grime4.

There are a lot of different micellar waters on the market, with some products targeting different skin types too. It’s a good idea to experiment to find the best product for your skin type, as certain micellar waters may contain ingredients that become irritating to your skin.

How to use micellar water

Micellar water can be an effective way to remove makeup, dirt and oil. However, it may not always be the best choice to thoroughly cleanse your skin. This is because some micellar waters can leave residue on the surface, which could block your pores5. You might want to follow your micellar water routine with a face wash to deeply cleanse your skin. However, some people do use micellar water as their primary cleanser. Others prefer to use it as a toner after cleansing with a face wash. It really depends on your skin type, the product you choose and your preferences6.

Benefits of micellar water

So, we know that micellar water can be effective at removing makeup, dirt, and oil. There could be other benefits, too, depending on the type of ingredients your chosen product contains.

These micellar water benefits may include:

  • Hydration7
  • Reduced sensitivity8
  • Suitability for sensitive skin9
  • Skin Soothing10
  • Combatting Breakouts11
  • Suitability for most skin types12
When choosing your micellar water, remember to check the ingredients. High alcohol content, a lot of scents, and harsh ngredients might not agree with your skin13.

When to avoid micellar water

Many micellar water products are suitable for all skin types, even those that have sensitive skin14. Nevertheless, it’s a good idea to stop using your chosen product immediately if you notice any side effects. Some micellar waters can cause eye irritation too, especially if they’re not formulated for use around that area. Check the label’s warnings and direcions of use to be sure and avoid your eyes if you’re not sure15.

Micellar water is designed for external use only, always read the product label when trying new products for the first time.

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Last Updated: 21st December 2020

Expertly reviewed by:

Related Topics

Make Up RemoversSkincare
Manisha Taggar

Manisha Taggar,
Senior Regulatory Affairs Associate

Joined Holland & Barrett: May 2019

BSc Hons in Pharmaceutical & Cosmetic Science

Manisha started her career at a Cosmetics distributor as a Regulatory Technologist followed by a Regulatory Affairs Officer, ensuring the regulatory compliance of cosmetic products from colour cosmetics to skincare.

After 3 and half years in this role, Manisha joined Holland & Barrett as a Senior Regulatory Affairs Associate in 2019.

Manisha specialises in Cosmetic products, both own-label and branded lines, ensuring that these products and all relating marketing material comply to the EU Cosmetics Regulation.