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After a while, we get tired of using a makeup remover wipe to rid ourselves of the full-coverage foundation that has been sporting all day.
Let’s cut to the chase — they’re not that sustainable and, unlike a micellar water, they’re not necessarily the most hydrating for your skin to remove makeup (think: your favorite toners but with take-the-day-off properties).
That’s why we rounded up the nine best micellar waters with the help of board-certified dermatologists who answered the questions that have been circulating in our heads about these bathroom counter essentials. (Related: best skin care sets).
What’s more, turning to micellar water is just perfect for the minimalist — with its soap-free, no-rinse make, you can soak up dirt, oil and makeup with just one swipe.
Click to jump to the best micellar waters:
Before providing you with an influx of top brands, we need to back-step to the basics.
“Micellar water is essentially soft water (void of minerals like magnesium and calcium) that contains micelles (basically, balls of oil that draw in dirt and impurities),” Adarsh Vijay Mudgil, MD, a dual board-certified dermatologist who specializes in cosmetic, medical and surgical dermatology, told The Post. Micellar water can be used as a gentle cleanser and makeup remover, too, as they’re “typically gentler and less drying than traditional make-up removers,” he adds. They’re also quite moisturizing.
“Micellar water is a great option for people because they’re easy to use and have so few additives; it’s essentially water and oil,” Rachel Nazarian, MD, board-certified dermatologist at Schweiger Dermatology Group in NYC, tells The Post. “These tiny little balls of oil (called micelles) attract dirt and grime while gently lifting makeup and dirt from skin, which minimizes risk of irritation that traditional harsh soaps and cleansers can cause.”
Boiled down, micelles are essentially “surfactants” (or “oil in water” molecules).
When picking up any skincare product on the market — from niacinamide serums to eye creams — it’s important to check the ingredients and assess if it’s fitting for your skin type.
“Although most people can tolerate residual surfactants on skin (especially if they are the gentle kind), some surfactants are irritating, and some people may even have an allergy to them,” Nazarian explains. “They aren’t necessarily dangerous (so no risk to your overall health) but if you have an allergy to surfactants, you may find your skin becomes red, itchy or puffy with repeated use.”
“They can basically cleanse and moisturize at the same time, which is a dermatologic holy grail of sorts.”
For peace of mind, Nazarian’s recommendation is to always rinse the micellar water off —just to be safe. “Essentially all skin types can use micellar water without risk of drying out, even those with acne or oily skin can use micellar water to clean skin thoroughly without inflamed acne pimples,” she adds.
It seems easy, but rubbing micellar water into your skin too harshly can risk stripping the skin (the epidermis, in other words). So, Nazarian provides a quick process for you to follow to cleanse and remove makeup in no time.
“Using is easy: simply saturate a cotton ball with the micellar water, then swipe gently over your skin,” she begins. “Next, use another clean cotton pad to wipe over skin to absorb the micelles, now attached to dirt and oil. Again, it doesn’t require rinsing — but if you have the time and energy – rinse anyway!”
You probably caught on by now that micellar water is a quick and easy way to ensure there’s no makeup left on your face. Nevertheless, its benefits continue.
Micellar water offers several benefits, according to Nazarian. “The oil droplets in soft water are actually quite hydrating to dry skin and don’t disrupt the natural pH of skin like classic foaming cleansers,” she notes. “The fact it doesn’t require scrubbing makes it great for sensitive skin which tends to be easily irritated by harsher scrubs or rubbing typically needed to remove makeup.”
What’s more, it’s also great for people who travel a lot and don’t always have access to water; micellar water will clean most makeup, oil and dirt with just a swipe of a cotton ball. And, in terms of who’s a good candidate: “sensitive skin, dry skin, and people who travel a lot,” Nazarian notes.
Yes, micellar water comes in a soap form, which makes it even more ideal to use in the bathroom.
“I like this one because it comes in bar form and it’s a unique way to use micellar in the shower (when you can’t use cotton balls) or when you want to use it on your body,” Nazarian notes.
Simple’s Kind to Skin Micellar Cleansing Water is less than $10 and readily available to order online.
“It’s fantastic for sensitive skin or people with many allergies,” Nazarian notes. “It’s formulated without colors, dyes or perfumes as well.”
With nearly 39,000 rave reviews on Amazon, the Bioderma Sensibio H20 Micellar Cleansing Water is a hit among shoppers and dermatologists alike.
“This is a very gentle formulation that’s paraben-free and hypoallergenic,” Nazarian says.
New York Post editor, Camryn LaSala is also a big fan of Bioderma. “It completely changed my skincare routine and wallet! Goodbye to the days of buying a 30 pack of Neutrogena makeup wipes every month,” LaSala said.
Ah, if it isn’t for Garnier’s outrageously popular SkinActivE Micellar Water to seal the deal.
Nazarian loves this product because it’s made without fragrance or sulfates and even takes off waterproof makeup — including waterproof mascara.
With a name like CeraVe, you know it has to be good. Not only that, but the brand continues to be an Amazon best-seller.
“This is great for irritable skin since it is combined with hyaluronic acid and niacinamide, so it’s extra hydrating and soothing,” Nazarian highlights.
“This is a good product for all skin types, even those with oiler skin,” Mudgil notes. “The glycerin in this product helps to moisturize as well.”
Not only that, but it’s a great value and one of our personal favorites, too.
“This works well for removing heavy makeup, even waterproof preparations,” Mudgil highlights. For just $10 at Walmart, you’ll also appreciate how it’s an effective cleanser that’s apt for normal to oily skin, especially.
“This is an elegant product that works wonderfully as a make-up remover,” Mudgil notes. If you want something that’s a perfect balance of removing makeup and cleansing the skin (in a hydrating, near-lotion form), then you’ll adore Avène.
According to Mudgil, this is as fancy as they get.
“This micellar water is made with Icelandic water filtered through volcanic lava, which makes it soft as can be (free of minerals), he notes. “If you have the disposable resources, this might be worth the splurge.”
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