Micellar water is not new. Not a toner or a just a simple “water-based” makeup remover, micellar water is a makeup remover and skin cleanser made of “micelles,” which are tiny oil molecules suspended in water. It works like magic to get rid of makeup without a drop of (additional) water. Long a beauty favorite in Europe, most notably France where it originates from, micellar water is a gentle cleanser that is a perfect fit for almost all skin care routines and here’s why.
Micellar water is visually deceptive. It looks like plain water until you shake the bottle which then shows the presence of suds. It also does not look like it could be formulated with any oil because there is no oily feel nor is there a tell-tale oily layer at the top of the bottle. It feels like plain water on your skin, but can gently remove even waterproof mascara effortlessly by gently dissolving dirt and makeup–the key here is to take your time and not rush the water solution to work as micellar water takes a little longer to remove heavier makeup than most makeup removers. Many micellar water brands have no scent or gentle floral scents like rose. It’s easy to see why micellar water has a cult following. It cleanses your face in one step. It does not burn or sting. It’s gentle even on sensitive skin and it’s super effective (many micellar waters are marked for sensitive skin but work well on every skin type).
The first few brands of micellar waters came out of France with Bioderma leading that pack but the drawback of it’s accessibility was its hefty price tag. Fast forward and now there is diverse range of micellar waters to choose from that work for all budgets. Here are some of highest quality ones we like:
Caudalie Make-Up Remover Cleansing Water: Hypoallergenic and gentle but still very effective, this micellar water smells so beautiful thanks to the orange and lemon blossom, watermelon, and mint leaves.
Belif Cleansing Herb Water: We like this best overall for really, really sensitive and finicky skin as well as mature skin. It’s moisture-rich so it does not strip skin and is formulated with a blend of Saint John’s wort, burdock, and dill—which are natural antioxidant-rich ingredients.
Boots Botanics All Bright Micellar Cleansing Solution: Great for all skin types and especially sensitive skin, you don’t even have to rinse this cleanser. It’s also alcohol and soap free.
Koh Gen Do Cleansing Spa Water: It is infused with mineral-rich hot spring water and six essential herbs to protect and nurture skin. White birch sap, harvested only three weeks each spring, adds minerals and xylitol as it effectively removes makeup, oils, and residue.
Simple Micellar Facial Cleanser Water: A perfect match for sensitive skin, this micellar water has no artificial perfumes or dyes and no harsh chemicals. It is made with Vitamins B3 and C and triple purified water.
Avene Micellar Lotion Cleansing and Make-up Remover: A French brand and leader of the micellar water craze pack, if you are a fan of thermal spring water, this is going to be a perfect match. This is also a no-rinse, hypoallergenic and non comedogneic formula which is great for sensitive skin.
La Roche-Posay Physiological Micellar Solution: One of the best micellar waters you can buy, hands down, this one is a favorite because of it’s pH balance, and 3-in-1 usage as a cleanser, toner and make-up remover. It’s also formulated with thermal spring water. It’s a great choice for picky, sensitive skin.