When the beauty world gave us micellar water, the whole world rejoiced. Well, anyone who’s ever wanted to remove their makeup thoroughly anyway. Most of us hailed micellar water as the holy grail of lazy girl beauty. Don’t have time to wash your face properly? No worries, just wipe off your makeup and cleanse your skin in one with micellar water, pop on your skincare beauties and go to bed. Simple! It’s a miracle two-in-one solution, no water required!
But there is one crucial step that we are forgetting, and it could be the reason for your skin breaking out, or your creams not being absorbed into the skin as well as they should be.
Rinsing. Micellar. Water. Off.
That’s right, you can’t just wipe it on and then go right to your skincare routine, you need to rinse micellar water off your skin before you continue your routine (or go to bed).
“But Liz!” I hear you cry. “Micellar water is meant to be the way I can AVOID washing my face!” Look yes, that’s the way it’s been marketed but as with a lot of marketing, it’s leading you astray.
Let me explain. Micellar water as its name indicates is a water-based cleaning fluid that uses little things called micelles, a fancy name for teeny tiny little balls of cleansing oil molecules. These oil molecules act like magnets attracting and lifting all the dirt and makeup and oil that’s on your face. So basically, they attract and draw out your skin’s impurities without drying it out.
But here’s why we don’t want to leave it on the skin: remember literally one paragraph ago when I told you micelles act like little magnets for oils and gunk on your skin? If you don’t wipe it off, where does that gunk go? Well most of it on the cotton pad you’re using with it. MOST. Not all. You’re basically left with little bits and bobs of leftover makeup/oil/yuck clinging to whatever micelles are left.
The second reason, and this is the big one, is that micelles gather oils on your skin, but they’re not picky about which types of oils. So while you’re trying to remove the excess oil and makeup from the day, the micelles, if left on the skin, will continue to attract the oils that naturally occur on your face. You know, the ones we need to keep our skin barrier healthy, nourished and protected. Furthermore, as soon as you apply any cream or serum over the top of it, the micelles are going to attract that too. So while you’re in bed, happy in the knowledge you’re about to get your beauty sleep having applied all your night time potions, that pesky micellar water is stopping them from absorbing properly.
So yes, by all means, use micellar water as a step one to your cleaning routine, cleansing properly after. Or heck, just use it as a makeup remover and DON’T bother cleansing your face if you’re feeling a little lazy one night. But DO make sure you splash your face with some water to rinse those micelles off so your skin can stay hydrated and your creams can do their work.
Elizabeth Best is a journalist, beauty expert, foodie and travel lover with a mild obsession for all things shimmery. She also hosts the smash-hit sex and relationships comedy podcast Ghosts of Boyfriends Past In her spare time, she likes long walks down the makeup aisle and performing in Brisbane theatre. You can follow her adventures on Instagram@thebeautypalate.