What Are Micelles, Anyway? Our Guide To The Latest Grooming Science

If you get the chance to peek inside the skincare bag of celebrities, makeup artists and models, what item do you expect to see in common? While cosmetics are already a given, there’s one product that anyone with flawless, healthy skin always have – a bottle of micellar cleansing water.

Since getting popular in France, this skincare product which appears and feels just like regular water is becoming the “it” item nowadays due to its ability to cleanse and remove makeup with just a couple of light swipes of cotton. Dermatologists are also considering it as the gentlest skincare product you can use for your skin.  Here’s what you need to know about micellar water basics.

What are Micelles?

To better understand the concept of micellar water, one must first know a little bit of its chemistry. Micellar water is made up micelles, a mass of lipid molecules that can move and dissolve non-polar substances in aqueous solutions. The Women’s Health magazine better explained it simply as a molecule with two opposite ends – one end is attracted to water, and the other one is drawn towards oil.

The Science Behind Micellar Water

micellar water

Micelles are actually clustered surfactants found mostly in several bath products. In chemistry, surfactants are unique structures with a hydrophilic head that loves water (and repels oil), and a lipophilic tail that is attracted to oily substances (and repels water). Since micelles have both opposing ends, they help both oil and water co-exist. As a result, these molecules can grab minute substances from its surrounding, thus, effectively cleaning and rinsing without overly stripping the skin.  

When you apply micellar water onto a cotton ball, hydrophilic heads are drawn to the cotton, so they all bury in, with the head inside and the hydrophobic or lipophilic tails all stick out along the surface. Since oil and water don’t mix together, it means that the water-hating end of the micelle is strongly attracted to oil. So every time you wipe the cotton over your skin, they absorb anything oily.

While you might think that soap effectively does the same, micellar water works differently as a much milder version. It can linger on your skin without disturbing your skin’s chemical balance and also protects it from drying out.

What Does Micellar Water Do?

woman holding a cotton for her face

In general, micellar water gently cleans and breaks down impurities present on your skin. The formula of micellar water is clear, just like ordinary water, but once it touches your skin, you’ll find out there’s a lot of more great things in this product.

  • Works Like a Magnet in Lifting Impurities Off from Your Skin

Products that use micellar water in its formula are also referred to by consumers as “dirt-magnet” since it works in mildly drawing off impurities from the skin without drying it out. Just like a magnet, micelles effectively trap and lift away oil, makeup, and dirt making your skin perfectly clean, refreshed, and hydrated.

  • Suitable for All Skin Types


woman facial skin care

One of the great things about micellar water is that it suits all types of skin. It works well as a gentle cleanser even to those with sensitive skin. Moreover, oily skin types can also benefit from mattifying micellar water products.

  • Helps in Maintaining a Well-balanced Skin

Micellar water also works in maintaining your skin’s balance. Other types of cleansers, especially the alcohol-based products, can dry out your skin and strip off its natural moisture barrier. Micellar water does the opposite by keeping your skin feel supple and hydrated all why cleansing it.  

  • Gets Your Skin Extra Clean

The creation of micellar water came into being when people noticed the notoriously harsh water supply in the city of Paris. The hard water was discovered to contain high mineral content of magnesium and calcium which can dry out skin, upset the skin’s delicate balance and block pores. People needed a product that cleans effectively all while not harming the skin. So a formula that uses the micellar technology was created to help remove sebum and impurities while leaving the skin looking clean and fresh.

How is Micellar Water Different from a Normal Cleanser?

Depending on which type of facial cleanser, they can vary in several factors. Generally, regular cleansers contain chemicals that can force their way into the pores and provide much more deep cleansing compared to micellar water which only works on the skin’s surface. It only works in trapping impurities that are located superficially on the skin, that is why it’s also commonly used as a makeup remover. Micellar water gently cleans the skin but makes sure it’s well refreshed and hydrated at the same time.

Tips to Make the Most from Using Micellar Water

Properly maximizing the use of micellar water is the key to benefit well from its effects. Here are 5 tips you can add in your regular beauty routine.

  • Include It into Your Morning Habit

For those who aren’t the morning type of person, micellar water will be quite handy to you. Others spend a complicated morning beauty routine that takes several minutes. With micellar water, you can keep your skin clean and moisturized with just a swipe of it using a cotton pad.  

  • Use it as a Makeup Remover

Micellar water is best used in clearing your skin from makeup. It removes makeup including the oils and dirt that have all mixed up with it. It’s wise to store a bottle of micellar in your bathroom or near your bed so you can easily remove your makeup before you drift into sleep.

  • Utilize it in Your Deep Cleansing Routine

Use micellar water as your first step in your intensive skincare routine. After using this no-rinse formula, you may follow it with a rinse-off cleanser which penetrates and clean your skin deeply.

  • Use for Makeup Fixes and Easy Touch-Ups

Making mistakes in applying makeup do happen most of the time, but you wouldn’t wash off everything you’ve done just because of a minor error. This is where micellar water becomes very handy. Not only does it effectively remove your makeup, but it can fine-tune makeup application as well.

  • Bring It with You Anywhere

Micellar water can be used anytime and anywhere. Keep a bottle in your bag so you can freshen up and hydrate your skin anytime you want, more especially at times when you’re engaged in strenuous physical activity or when exposed to a harsh environment.

With how fast-paced the lifestyle of most people today, the need for a mild and effective skincare solution is evident. Fortunately, many beauty brands are now adopting micellar technology on their products.  Although, micellar water is only a calm way to cleanse the skin it works just right to help your delicate skin look naturally healthy and glowing.

What’s Next 

Find reviews of the best micellar shampoos here!