What is Micellar Water? A Comprehensive Guide

In the world of skincare, where countless products promise to cleanse, refresh, and rejuvenate, micellar water has risen to iconic status. But what is micellar water? It’s time to unravel the mysteries of micellar water and understand why it has become a must-have in skincare routines worldwide. 

So, let’s embark on a journey to demystify the magic of micellar water and discover why it’s a cherished secret in the world of beauty.

What is Micellar Water, and how does it work?

Micellar water is a skin care product that is made up of tiny, spherical clusters of molecules called micelles. Micelles have a hydrophilic (water-loving) end and a lipophilic (oil-loving) end. This allows them to attract and trap dirt, oil, and makeup, even waterproof formulas.

When applied to the skin with a cotton pad, micellar water’s micelles surround and encapsulate dirt, makeup, and excess oil, effectively lifting them away without the need for harsh rubbing or rinsing. This makes micellar water a convenient and gentle option for daily cleansing.

Benefits of Micellar Water

Micellar water is non-comedogenic, meaning it does not clog pores. This makes it a good choice for people with acne-prone skin. It also offers several benefits for skincare and makeup removal, making it a versatile and popular choice in the beauty industry:

Gentle Cleansing

According to Dr. Joshua Zeichner, dermatologist and director of cosmetic and clinical research in dermatology at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City “Micellar water is a great option for all skin types, including sensitive skin. It is gentle and effective at removing makeup, dirt, and oil without stripping the skin of its natural oils.” Micellar water is an excellent option for people with sensitive skin since it doesn’t contain harsh ingredients that can cause irritation.


“I love micellar water because it is so versatile. It can be used as a cleanser, makeup remover, and toner.” – said Dr. Marisa Garshick, dermatologist and assistant professor of clinical dermatology at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City. Micellar water is an all-in-one product that can remove makeup, dirt, and oil in one step, making it a time-saving option for people on-the-go or those who prefer a minimalist skincare routine. 


Micellar water contains hydrating ingredients such as glycerin, which helps to keep your skin moisturized even after cleansing.

Convenient and easy to use

Since micellar water doesn’t contain any harsh ingredients, there’s no need to rinse it off, making it a convenient option for travel or when you don’t have access to running water.

How to Use Micellar Water

Shake the Bottle

Before each use, give the bottle of micellar water a gentle shake to ensure that the micelles are evenly distributed in the solution.

Wet a Cotton Pad

Take a cotton pad or cotton ball and saturate it with micellar water. You don’t need to soak it, just make sure it’s damp with the product.

Cleanse Your Face

Gently wipe the saturated cotton pad over your face, starting with one area and moving to another. Use upward and outward motions to remove makeup, dirt, and impurities.

Focus on Problem Areas

Pay extra attention to areas where you wear makeup, such as your eyes and lips. Hold the soaked pad over closed eyes for a few seconds to help dissolve mascara and eyeliner before wiping away.

Repeat if Necessary

If you wear heavy makeup or sunscreen, you may need to use more than one cotton pad to ensure thorough removal.

No Rinsing Required

Unlike traditional cleansers, micellar water doesn’t require rinsing with water. It leaves your skin feeling clean and refreshed without a residue.

Follow with Your Skincare Routine

After using micellar water, you can proceed with the rest of your skincare routine, such as applying toner, serum, moisturizer, or sunscreen.

Micellar water vs. toner

Micellar water and toner, although both found in skincare routines, serve distinct purposes. Micellar water is a gentle yet effective cleanser and makeup remover containing micelles suspended in water, which attract and lift away impurities without rinsing. Toner, on the other hand, is primarily used to balance the skin’s pH after cleansing, often hydrating and preparing it for subsequent skincare products. Micellar water excels in makeup removal and gentle cleansing, while toner focuses on skin balancing and hydration.

Here is a table comparing micellar water and toner:

CharacteristicMicellar waterToner
Primary purposeCleansingRemoving any remaining dirt, oil, and makeup
Can be used to remove makeup?YesYes
Can be used to cleanse the skin?YesNo
Can be used to balance the skin’s pH?NoYes
Can be used to prepare the skin for other skin care products?NoYes

Which one should you use?

It depends on your individual needs. If you are looking for a gentle and effective cleanser that can remove makeup, dirt, and oil, micellar water is a good option. If you are looking for a product to help balance your skin’s pH and prepare it for other skin care products, toner is a good option.

You can also use both micellar water and toner in your skincare routine. For example, you could use micellar water to remove makeup and cleanse your skin, and then toner to balance your skin’s pH and prepare it for other skin care products.

Here is an example of a skincare routine that includes both micellar water and toner:

  • Cleanse your skin with micellar water.
  • Rinse your face with water (optional).
  • Apply toner to your face and neck with a cotton pad.
  • Apply your other skin care products, such as serum, moisturizer, and sunscreen.

Everyone’s skin is different, so it is important to experiment to find what works best for you. If you are unsure about which products to use or how to use them, it is always a good idea to consult with a dermatologist.


  • Use a cotton pad or reusable cloth to avoid spreading bacteria.
  • Don’t rub or tug on your skin while using micellar water; instead, gently swipe in one direction.
  • Follow up with a moisturizer or serum to lock in hydration after cleansing.
  • Avoid using micellar water as your sole cleansing method; it’s best used as a first step in your skincare routine.


  1. Can I use micellar water as a toner? No, micellar water should not be used as a toner. It’s best used as a first step in your skincare routine to remove makeup and impurities before following up with a toner or essence.
  2. Can micellar water replace my cleanser? While micellar water is effective at removing makeup and dirt, it may not be enough to thoroughly cleanse your skin. It’s recommended to use micellar water as a first step in your skincare routine followed by a deeper cleansing method like a foaming cleanser.
  3. Is micellar water suitable for all skin types? Yes, micellar water is suitable for all skin types, including sensitive skin. However, it’s essential to choose a formula that works best for your skin concerns and needs.
  4. Can I use micellar water on my eyes? Yes, micellar water is safe to use around the eye area to remove eye makeup. Just be sure to avoid getting it into your eyes and rinse with water if it happens.
  5. Can I use micellar water if I have acne-prone skin? Yes, micellar water can be a suitable option for people with acne-prone skin since it’s gentle and doesn’t contain harsh ingredients that could cause irritation.

Final takeaway

Micellar water is an excellent addition to your skincare routine, providing gentle yet effective cleansing without stripping your skin of its natural oils. With its time-saving benefits, hydrating properties, and suitability for all skin types, it’s no wonder why it has become a popular choice among beauty enthusiasts. When used correctly, micellar water can leave your skin feeling clean, refreshed, and hydrated. So, give it a try and see the difference it can make in your skincare routine.