Micellar water makes removing make-up a breeze. Here are our favourites

Posted by for Skincare

Micellar water is growing in popularity, according to a recent skincare report by Mintel, but what exactly is it? Here, we explain everything you need to know about the buzzy skincare product.

When you hear the words ‘micellar water’, you mind might automatically cast to Bioderma’s iconic Sensibio H20 Micellar Water. This clever innovation saw many beauty aficionados and editors trek to French pharmacies just to get their hands on one. When it was finally brought to the UK in 2013, the micellar water market blew up and took up more space on high street shelves.

Since then, our love for micellar water has only continued to grow. A recent report by Mintel found that the number of British women using micellar water has increased from 25% to 29% in the last year and that interest in facial cleansing is growing. But what exactly is a micellar water and how does it work?

Micellar (pronounced my-sell-er) water is a type of cleanser that was invented by Jean-Noël Thorel, the French founder of Bioderma in 1991.

“Micellar waters have been on the cleansing circuit for some time now,” says Dr Anjali Mahto, consultant dermatologist at Skin55. “They use tiny micelles (small balls of cleansing oil molecules) suspended in water to draw out skin impurities.”

Along with these micelles, you’ll find purified water that is gentle on skin and a range of hydrating ingredients, such as glycerin or hyaluronic acid.

While they’re effective at removing make-up, they don’t provide a thorough cleanse on their own, though.

“They can be useful for all skin types but my feeling remains that they are most useful as a cleansing option when there is no water available,” says Dr Mahto. “To use these as a primary cleanser after removing make-up and sunscreen at the end of the day requires a lot of time and product.

“They can, however, be useful as a second cleanse to remove any excess grime after the main cleanse has been carried out with another product.”

Additionally, micellar waters are handy at breaking down stubborn eye make-up before you initiate a proper cleanse. Dispense some onto a reusable cotton pad and hold it over your eye to melt away mascara, eyeliner and eyeshadow. This will save you from harshly rubbing the delicate eye area when you go on to cleansing.

Eager to give it a try? Here, we run through our favourite micellar waters on the market.

Best micellar waters, picked by the Stylist beauty team

  • Glossier Milky Oil


    A combination of micellar water and weightless oil, shake the bottle to kick start the dual-phase formula. Once it has mixed together, squeeze it onto a reusable cotton pad and sweep it around the face.

    Glossier Milky Oil, £10

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