Micellar Water is Just a Load of Hype



I don't understand the fuss around micellar waters. They're useful to have around for times when a proper skincare routine isn't convenient, but they don't perform well as cleansers and in my experience aren't even especially effective at removing make-up. They also aren't actually as innovative and exciting as brand marketing makes them seem; micellar waters are nothing more than very basic make-up removers, and the micelles everyone's so excited about were already present in all the surfactant products we were using before.

Micellar waters are (as you'd imagine) mostly just water, but along with some humectants, preservatives and maybe some botanical extracts or fragrances, they contain some little molecules called micelles. Micelles aren't a new, magical ingredient - they've been around for years are very common in all sorts of products, and this article does a much better job than I can of summarising their molecular structure and function.

All you really need to know is that micelles are in loads of your products (from your washing up liquid to your face wash to the flea shampoo you use on your pets!) and "micellar water" is just a name companies have started using to make the simple, basic cleansing fluids they release sound a bit more interesting. The hype is nothing more than marketing; lots of toners and make-up removers that have been around for years could legitimately re-brand themselves as micellar waters without changing their formula!

Generally, I don't particularly like "micellar waters". They're gentle and they get rid of light make-up quite well, but they don't do anything that actually benefits skin and I find them to be totally rubbish at getting eye make-up off. A few people in the comments on my bedside essentials post said micellar water easily removes mascara if you hold the cotton pad over your eye for thirty seconds before wiping off, but I don't see any point in bothering to take the time to wait for a micellar water to work. The whole purpose of these products is that they're meant to be a quick and easy way to clean your face - why be patient with them when there are so many other cheap, gentle alternatives available that get everything off with one quick swipe? (Nivea's dual phase eye make-up remover, for instance, is £3.89 and works brilliantly).

There is a time and a place for these products though, and I keep a bottle on hand for travelling, for quickly taking off my make-up when I've cocked up my application and want to start over (I do this more than I'm comfortable admitting) and, as mentioned previously, for nights when I'm feeling too lazy to bother with a full skincare routine. But those are the only times they're worth using - they're mild and unlikely to cause irritation but they certainly aren't good for your skin and they can't replace a proper cleanse. 

Essentially, micellar waters aren't much better than cleansing wipes and are just a "better than nothing" product. If you're using them and getting good results, obviously carry on but don't assume the word "micellar" means a product is worth buying, and don't discount all the other gentle cleansers and eye make-up removers on the market. Also, do bear in mind that whatever the back of the bottle might say, you should be rinsing your face after using them - however mild they are, leaving them sitting on your skin isn't going to do it any favours. I would never spend more than a fiver on a micellar water, and I can't fathom how some higher end brands have the audacity to charge upwards of £20 for such a basic product - Garnier, Nivea and Botanics all make decent ones that perform as well as any micellar water ever could, without an insulting price tag.
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48 comments:

  1. This was such an interesting read, thank you for your insight! xxxxx

    www.romantiquely.com

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  2. I absolutely love the Garnier one, it takes off my makeup so fast, especially eye make up! But we all have different opinions, right? (:

    JemsJournal.com

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    1. Totally! I know lots of people are happy with the micellar products they use, and it's more the marketing than the products themselves that bothers me. My main poin is that micellar waters aren't really different from any other make-up removers, and a lot of other make-up removers use micelles without mentioning it - there are gonna be some good ones and some bad ones out there, but the concept of a mild make-up remover isn't a new or innovative one! (The Garnier is the best of the ones I've tried though, and I usually turn to that on to get rid of face make-up when I need something quick and easy - cannot get it to work on eye make-up though!) X

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  3. I use the Bioderma one as makeup-remover (or "first cleanse") during summer time and I get along with it pretty great, plus the big bottle lasts me a long time. But I rarely wear waterproof mascara, so taking my makeup off isn't such a hard thing to do. Rich now I keep a bottle near my vanity, to fix makeup mistakes or just give my face a break if the foundation feels like it is suffocating my skin, before I get around to do a proper cleanse.
    I just don't get why people use it as their only cleanser. And I agree with the question why it is marketed as new. The same thing with "Strobing", it has been there forever, it was just re-named.

    Linda, Libra, Loca: Beauty, Baby and Backpacking

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    1. Oh man, strobing! I swear this is what I've always done just because I don't know how to do the contouring part of highlighting and contouring!
      But yeah - I think micellar waters are *sometimes* really useful, especially at the kinds of times you've mentioned, but definitely not a daily/only product! X

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  4. I'd heard about micellar water for ages & ages. There were so many rave reviews. I recently bought it & was a little bit underwhelmed. I definitely wouldn't use it as a sole cleanser but I did like that it took off my eye make up. :]

    // ▲ itsCarmen.com ▲

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    1. I feel like I'm either using really heavy duty eye make-up or just being way too impatient with micellar waters! They just *never* seem to get it off for me unless I scrub! But yeah, I reckon they're a really unimpressive product - definitely worth having one around for when you need something easy/quick/gently but otherwise they just don't live up to their claims! X

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  5. This was such an interesting read! I love reading posts that give an honest, unbiased opinion :) xx
    Chasing Belle 23

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  6. I use micellar water but only ever to remove my make-up, followed by a proper double cleanse - I can't imagine just using micellar water and feeling clean!! I find it a handy way to remove most of my make-up (and I am amongst the group who uses it to remove eye make-up, because I'm too lazy to use another product haha!) but I certainly wouldn't rely on it and expect my skin not to freak out!! Another great post :) I really like the one from the Boots Botanics All Bright Range, it's only about £3 or £4 and works really well for what I want it to do :)

    Jess xo
    http://just-jesss.blogspot.co.uk

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    1. Yup, definitely fine as a make-up remover, but I generally use an oil/balm as a pre-cleanse so I very infrequently need to use any extra make-up removers as they seem to get everything off!

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  7. It's true. It's basically the liquid from an facial wipe squeezed out. You STILL need to wash your face. The amount of people that think it is basically a 1 step process SMH

    Angie x | Chocolate & Lipstick || UK Beauty and Lifestyle Blog

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    1. Definitely! I totally blame marketing for that one though, with all the magazines and product labels telling people you just use them and don't rinse, you have to be a bit savvy and do your own reading up to figure out how they really work!

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  8. Personally I use them after a hot cloth or oil cleanser to make sure everything is gone. I don't like how they're marketed as 'do it all' products though as they're not very helpful on their own xx

    Jasmine Talks Beauty | Zoeva Giveaway

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    1. Yeah, definitely - they have their uses, but I do wish brands would stop telling people they're ALL you need! X

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  9. I also don't get the hype around these, I do double cleanse and use a cheaper drugstore cleanser first ... which I know some people use these for (I found them to not remove eye make up also, but I do wear a fair amount) but find the notion of a no rinse product horrible. I don't use face wipes ever and for all the same reasons the way these are marketed just promotes bad skincare.

    fourcatsplusus.co.uk - Amy

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    1. Yup - people always seem to really be keen on finding a way to clean their face without actually washing it, which I don't think will ever result in great skin! I reckon everyone need to just stop looking for a quick, do-it-all wonder product - like, I double cleanse and use a serum and a moisturiser at night and it doesn't ever take more than 5-10 minutes! X

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  10. Oh this is definitely interesting! I do use a micellar water but I've started using it to get the bulk of make up and then using other products. I think it's just a product we can turn to when we can't be bothered to be honest xx

    Sam // Samantha Betteridge

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    1. Yup, definitely - no shame in being a little lazy sometimes! X

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  11. I TOTALLY agree with you. I tried the Garnier Micellar Water and I was proper let down. Like, the way people rave about it, I was expecting some pure miracle when I used it - and it just like didn't shift my mascara at all. And it bloody BURNS. I did a post actually on my distinct rage towards it haha. I guess some products work better for others, but girl - so glad someone else shares my feelings here!!

    xx

    lovelaughslipstick

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    1. I shall go have a look at your post! But yeah, the whole "miracle product" is just brilliant marketing, which is SUPER annoying to discover about a product! X

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  12. I'm quite enjoying using them at the moment but I do agree, they certainly don't work as well (or as quickly) as my usual hot cloth cleansers. However, Autumn tends to make me quite lazy so I've found myself opting for them more and more in the colder months (which makes no sense - I know, haha!) x

    Christina Marie - xtinagsays.blogspot.co.uk

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    1. I kind of get that - autumn and winter are times I want to be all snuggly somewhere, so the idea of standing in the cold bathroom tends to turn me off a bit too sometimes! X

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  13. I love this post. I bought into the bioderma hype when they launched here and I was pretty disappointed. The botanics one is what I use now currently and I like it but i used sephoras eye makeup remover as I feel it botanics doesn't lift eye makeup as easily. I've seen a few girls post that they use Micellar waters as not just a remover but a cleanser which I find quite odd, I certainly don't feel my skin benefits much from them at all. Really insightful post, so glad I stumbled across your blog!

    ohhelloamy.blogspot.con

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    1. Thanks, glad you enjoyed! Yeah, the Botanics one is pretty good as they go - I definitely prefer a dual phase eye makeup remover and a proper cleanse though! X

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  14. I live by my garnier cleansing water, it is so much better than a makeup wipe, but I suppose we are all different!
    Hannah | Heyitshannaah

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    1. Yup, each to their own! I know some people do really like them, but they're definitely not something new, innovative or particularly beneficial to skin! X

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  15. Hi Misia! Firstly, your blog name rocks! And this post is great. It's so refreshing to find someone who isn't only interested in the external look, but the actual bits and pieces that we apply to our skin.
    I have nominated you for the Liebster Blog award. If you'd like to be a part of it click this link http://www.itslollypops.com/liebster-blog-award/
    I would love to know what your answers are, so if you've chosen to participate please send me the link!
    Lauren xxx

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    1. Thanks lovely! :D
      I shall get my Liebster post up soon, I really enjoy these tags :) xx

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  16. This post was really informational and it was definitely interesting to read an entirely different take on micellar water. I would not be surprised if companies are just repacking something old with a fancy new name to try to make money at all and a placebo effect would make us all think that it is working a lot more effectively than it actually is. To be honest I went on a massive hunt for the Bioderma Micellar water after hearing so many incredible things about it on youtube and didn't really find that it did anything THAT amazing for me. Still, as you say, everything has it's time and place.

    Rae of Love from Berlin
    Bloglovin' // instagram

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    1. Yup, the thing I find a bit insulting about it is that I actually think most of us would have been quite happy to try them if they had just said, "Here's a new gentle, mild make-up remover"! Glad you liked the post :) x

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  17. I'm honestly was not impressed with the micellar water I have from L'oreal and people were raving about it. I also find it very disappointing when it comes to removing eye make-up! I think the regular make-up removers are much better.


     Miriam ♥ A whole lot of serendipity

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    1. Yup, totally with you - I love me a dual-phase! X

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  18. I completely understand your opinion — it's been flaunted across youtube and the blogging world alike, and it really isn't that big of a deal. However, for me.. the Garnier micellar water removes any excess makeup beautifully. I still use a makeup remover, but when I use the micellar water after, it literally shows just how much makeup is left behind - even if you have a good cleaning routine. Personally, I swear by it because I have sensitive skin and it doesn't do any damage, but I still think it's important to invest in a good skin care routine, including moisturising your skin afterwards! <3 Great post though with lots of insight. This side of the whole micellar water topic is rarely seen!

    http://www.thedalmatinka.com/

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    1. Yeah, I can definitely see how it'd be of use to get the extra off after a proper make-up remover... this is why it's annoying that it's marketed as a "do it all" product though"! Glad you enjoyed the post :) X

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  19. Micellar water..oh, what a great invention! I love the Simple one, and I've also used a Dior one, both works amazingly! Using it before my cleanser, I'm sure that my face is completely clean :) Thanks for sharing!

    Check out my blog if you want: www.theglamandglitter.com

    Tamara xxx

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    1. Different strokes for different folks I guess :p Glad they're working well for you! X

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  20. I really like the Garnier one but I use it to remove the bulk of my makeup then wash my face afterwards. I don't think Micellar waters are any kind of miracle product or anything but they work well for that. I know some people just cleanse twice but I prefer to use a make up remover first, it just seems less messy! Em x
    http://themusingsofem.blogspot.co.uk/

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    1. Yeah, I get that - I do sometimes get a bit grossed out when I go straight in with an oil and just have a face full of dissolved make-up for a second before I wash it off! X

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  21. I really like the Garnier one but I use it to remove the bulk of my makeup then wash my face afterwards. I don't think Micellar waters are any kind of miracle product or anything but they work well for that. I know some people just cleanse twice but I prefer to use a make up remover first, it just seems less messy! Em x
    http://themusingsofem.blogspot.co.uk/

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  22. I completely agree!! I've tried different brands of these and I don't get the hype! I'll stick to the "old fashioned" makeup removing wipes. :)

    www.ellebeebeauty.com

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    1. Yup, I find it's just an unnecessary product personally - traditional eye-makeup removers just get everything off straight away for me, and generally I use an oil or balm cleanser when I clean my face anyway and then I don't need a separate make-up remover! X

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  23. I really like micellar waters, they don't make my skin break out like a lot of cleansers do. They're rubbish for eye make up though, but out of pure laziness I still use it to take it off unless I really need a proper remover x

    Tamz \\ http://www.throughneweyesx.com

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    1. Yeah, I think this is the thing - they're fine if you don't want to use anything more hardcore, and obviously good for people whose skin tolerates just those and nothing else... I just think everyone's got a bit sucked into marketing and for most people it's a pretty mediocre offering! X

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  24. I am using Micellar water from Garnier for more than a year and it's the best thing for my skin I ever used. It's better then tonic and then different remove make up things.

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    1. I guess it works for some better than others! :)

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  25. Hey! I do love using simple cleansing water to remove some surface makeup before washing, and after to catch any leftover. I agree about the marketing hype being over the top. I have been so curious about these "new micellar water towelettes" make up wipes! Is there actually any difference compared to a traditional make up removing wipe? I am weary of there being an actual special difference, because I have read that surfactants already are made of micelles as it is. What do you think ? Thank you !!!

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