When easy, quick-fix and convenient beauty products sound too good to be true, it's usually because they are...
Micellar water, otherwise known as miracle water to some, has long been a holy grail product that many makeup artists and beauty addicts alike swear by. A quick and easy way to remove makeup that (thankfully) made us ditch face wipes for good. It's fair to say that Bioderma Micellar Water was the beauty product that started it all leading to every brand from Garnier to Chanel got on board, launching their own iterations. We use them, we love them, we don’t think we can cleanse without them, but it turns out they may actually be doing our skin more harm than good.
But before we get to the why it's so bad, we first need to understand what micellar water really is. Micellar water is a cleanser - sort of. It's made of micelles (tiny cleansing oil molecules that are suspended in water) that draw out impurities and dirt without drying the skin. Simply pour some onto a cotton pad, wipe it all over your face and you'll be as good as new...or so we thought.
The Cons of Micellar Cleansing
"Micellar waters: they're so quick, so handy. Agreed! Excellent marketing, so you are lead to believe there is nothing in there but good stuff," says Dublin-based skincare specialist Ciara Darcy.
In reality, most micellar waters are terrible for your skin.
For a product that’s synonymously known as a 'miracle water', you’d be forgiven for assuming that there shouldn’t be any negative connotation to it. But as a matter of fact, the key ingredients in micellar water are made of surfactants and water. "A test was done on one brand's micellar water and the PH equivalent was bleach," explains Darcy. "Using micellar water daily can cause redness, dehydration and overtime increase the skin's sensitivity and irritation. It also leaves a residue on the skin which will block pores. I see so many clients that use it because it's quick but the cons outweigh the pros in my opinion!"
What's more, micellar water cannot remove all of the impurities from the skin – and that's when you're fresh-faced. Try to remove a full face of makeup with micellar water and it only gets worse. The fact of the matter is that your skin needs a deeper cleanse. “Makeup and SPF are designed to stick to the skin and stay put all day long. For this reason, cleansing twice at night is a must,” says Darcy. “At night, I recommend pre-cleansing with an oil or balm to remove any heavy makeup. Then follow up with a second cleanser depending on your skin type."
So does all this mean you need to bin your micellar water immediately? Surprisingly, no.
Micellar waters can be great when used as a pre-cleansing step, especially for breaking down stubborn heavy eye-make-up. However, you should always, always follow up with a second cleanser - be it an oil, balm or lotion. This way, not only with it remove the nasty residue micellar water can leave behind but it will also actually remove your makeup and rid the skin of any impurities it picked up during the day.
The bottom line? Using micellar water to remove your makeup is better than using nothing at all but if you’re going to cleanse, cleanse properly…
Main image by @aimeesong on Instagram