What is micellar cleansing water & how to use it

Have you discovered micellar cleansing waters yet? If one isn’t already part of your beauty routine, you’re missing out. Having been Europe’s best kept skincare secret for around a hundred years, micellar cleansing waters are finally becoming a cleansing staple throughout the world. So why is it such a game changer? The unique technology, born out of necessity, gently cleanses skin, requires no rinsing, and is highly effective. 

Read on for all you need to know about why this revolutionary cleansing product is taking the beauty world by storm, and exactly how to work it into your routine.

How do micellar cleansing waters work?

Micellar cleansing waters are made using micelles, which are tiny, oil-based particles suspended in water. The micelles in micellar cleansing waters have multiple functions, from helping to remove makeup, to facial cleansing, and even moisturising your skin. Micelles have both hydrophilic and hydrophobic qualities. This means the micelles can work like magnets to attract dirt and impurities, easily lifting them from the surface of your skin without any real elbow grease. This action leaves skin clean, hydrated and refreshed without over-drying or irritation. The formula is clear, like water, but when it touches your skin, you’ll realise there is a lot more complexity and softness to this product.

Though micellar cleansing waters have a very gentle formula, the function of micelles mean they are still extremely effective, and can remove a variety of makeup products including full coverage foundation, liquid liner, and waterproof mascara. They also easily remove sweat, dirt and excess oil, without stripping the skin. Often, skin care and makeup removal require two separate products. The best thing about micellar cleansing waters? They incorporate both tasks into one easy to use product, making them one of the holy grails of cleansing.


Where does micellar cleansing water come from?

For almost a hundred years, micellar cleansing water has been popular in France. Due to the harsh nature of the tap water in Paris, experts found it was often harmful to skin, and sought to develop a replacement. An emphasis was placed on finding a softer cleanser that would be far gentler on skin and not strip it the same way the city’s water did. And thus, the micellar cleansing water was born. Fast becoming a saviour to Parisians whose skin suffered due to the harsh water, it quickly became popular thanks to its ability to cleanse, remove dirt and oil without the need to rinse. Now micellar cleansing waters are a daily cleanser of choice the world ‘round. Get ready to find out what all the hype is about. 


What makes micellar cleansing water different from other cleansers?

Micellar cleansing water was developed as the holy grail of facial cleansers, but how different is it really from all the other cleansers on the market?

  • Unlike foam cleansers or cleansing lotions, as the name suggests, a micellar cleansing water looks just like water. Similarly, it doesn’t require any rinsing afterwards, which means it not only saves time, but also water.
  • Micellar cleansing waters also need an accessory when they’re used. Unlike traditional cleanser formulas, where you can apply with fingers and rub it directly into your skin, with a micellar cleansing water you’ll use a cotton pad (or an eco-friendly Micellar Reusable Eco Pad) to first absorb the cleanser, and then use to wipe off the dirt and makeup.
  • They’re gentle and effective. One wipe over your face and you’ll visibly notice the dirt, grime and makeup lift off. Just look at your Micellar Reusable Eco Pad or cotton pad!
  • Designed to avoid the negative impact of harsh water, micellar cleansing waters are formulated to be extra gentle and even moisturise skin. Other cleansers may strip your skin of natural oils while boasting a deep clean, but micellar cleansing water cleanses and nourishes at the same time. 
  • Micellar cleansing waters even make packing for a trip much easier. Since you’ll only need one multipurpose product to remove your makeup, and clean your face every night, you’ll save room in your toiletry bag. Better still, since it has the consistency of water, it’s easy to transport in a travel-friendly bottle.

Which micellar cleansing water is right for your skin type?

Not many skincare products suit all skin types. However, micellar cleansing waters are one of the few that can work regardless of whether you have normal, sensitive, combination or oily skin. Wondering what type of micellar cleaning water is best for you? Look no further:

  • For all skin types: Micellar Cleansing Water is the OG. This formula works to effectively cleanse, remove makeup, and leave skin feeling refreshed. It’s designed for all skin types.
  • For oily and combination skin types: For oilier and combination skin types, we recommend using a micellar cleansing water designed to help remove excess oils and balance your complexion.
  • For dry and sensitive skin types: While micellar cleansing waters are already gentle on skin, you may require some additional TLC if your skin is particularly sensitive or dry. For a gentle cleanse with an extra touch of hydration, we recommend the Micellar Milky Cleansing Water. The milky formula is designed to nourish dry and dehydrated skin.
  • For makeup lovers: If you’re a beauty junkie and rock a full face every day without fail, or an avid waterproof mascara and eyeliner wearer, opt for the Micellar Cleansing Water in Oil. Enriched with Argan Oil, this formula is strong enough for any waterproof or long-lasting makeup but still remains gentle on skin. 
  • For dull & sensitive skin: If you’re looking to brighten up your complexion, we recommend the Micellar Rose Water Clean & Glow. Suitable for sensitive skin types, this formula is enriched with brightening Rose Water to add glow to the skin. Simply remove makeup, cleanse skin and glow!

How to use micellar cleansing water

Micellar cleansing water will work with any makeup removing pad, both cotton and reusable. For those looking to take a step towards a more sustainable skin care routine, we recommend swapping the usual single use cotton pads, for a reusable alternative. Our go to are the Micellar Reusable Eco Pads. When paired with micellar cleaning water this pad is highly effective and gentle when removing makeup or cleaning your face, even on sensitive skin. The best part? They’re super soft and you can use them over and over again, as they’re washable up to 1,000x!

A micellar cleansing water should be the first step in your skin care routine, no matter if it’s your AM refresh routine, or if you’re cleansing away makeup and the day in the PM. To use:

  • Simply wet a cotton pad or Micellar Reusable Eco Pad with the micellar cleansing water. Swipe gently across your face until you see no residual dirt or makeup on your skin. Avoid rubbing – the micelles will pick up makeup, and impurities with even a light touch.
  • To remove eye makeup, first be sure to fully saturate the pad. Then simply press and hold the pad against your closed eye before gently wiping away. Ensure you don’t aggressively rub at your eyes – pulling and tugging on the delicate skin around your eyes can begin to appear over time, resulting in fine lines and wrinkles prematurely. You’ll thank us later!

Aside from working as your daily facial cleanser and an effective makeup remover, micellar cleansing water is versatile enough to make its way into other aspects of your beauty routine. Here are more occasions to reach for your micellar cleansing water:

  • Did you mess up on your contouring? Slip with your mascara? Rather than cut your losses, and start your makeup from scratch, micellar cleansing water can help take care of your makeup mishaps. You only need to dip a cotton bud into the makeup removing solution and use it to gently go over the mistake. It’ll erase the makeup mistake like it never even happened!
  • Even on days when you aren’t wearing makeup, micellar cleansing water can be used to refresh your complexion. Keep it on hand while on-the-go, whether you are hiking or working up a sweat at the gym to freshen your appearance and to lift away any dirt or pollution from your skin’s surface. Our favourite portable option is our Micellar Cleansing Wipes, the ultimate refreshing beauty essential.
  • Before waxing, swipe micellar cleansing water over the area to refresh skin and remove excess dirt and oil.
  • After you’ve applied gradual self tanner, use a Reusable Eco Pad with Micellar Cleansing Water to clean hands of any excess residue.
  • Want to give your makeup brushes a deep clean? Pour a little micellar cleansing water in a bowl, then swirl your makeup brushes around to remove excess makeup residue. Pat on a clean cloth to remove any excess and lay them with the bristles pointing down to air dry. Brushes should be cleaned every two weeks (or more often) to remove any build up of product and bacteria that may be impacting your skin.

Now you know exactly what it is and how to use it, it’s time to discover the Garnier Micellar Cleansing Water range for yourself and find the right fit for you. Try our Skin Coach analysis to get advice on a full skincare routine for your skin needs.