Micellar Water: How Good Is It Really for Your Skin? +2023

micellar water
Is it really good for the skin?

Micellar water: Woman cleans her face with a cotton pad

© nelen / Shutterstock

Micellar water is the absolute winner on the beauty shelves. A few years ago we didn’t even know it existed, but now we can’t do without it when removing make-up. But is this cleansing miracle actually good for our skin?

What is micellar water?

It is designed to cleanse our skin gently and thoroughly, pulling dirt particles and makeup off our face like a magnet. But how does it actually work?

From the chemistry kit it sounds like this: When you put elongated molecules that are non-polar (i.e. water-repellent) on one side and polar (water-friendly) on the other side into polar water, they form tiny balls called micelles. They are particularly fat-dissolving and clean deep into the skin layers without rubbing or pressure.

Small particles of make-up, mascara, lipstick and dirt are trapped and transported away by the micelles – solely through the bipolar charge of the molecules of the beads.

Gentle or aggressive? Is micellar water good for the skin?

We appreciate the pragmatism of the micellar water and at the same time read that some products are being criticized. They are said to contain questionable substances that are not good for the skin or the environment. Aggressive cleaning surfactants such as polyethylene glycol derivatives (PEGs), poloxamers or polysorbates, for example, which weaken the skin’s protective barrier and make it more permeable to environmental influences. In addition, sensitive skin types react with redness, dehydration and flaking. A study by Ökotest found that even some micellar water contains polyaminopropyl biguanide (PHMB for short) – a preservative that has been classified as suspected of causing cancer.

What should I look out for in micellar water?

Many micellar water work without fragrances, preservatives and alcohol – especially those designed for very sensitive skin. Micelle water, which contains no synthetic surfactants, cleanses even more gently. Sugar or coconut oil are such alternatives that are mostly used in certified natural cosmetics. The natural cosmetic micellar waters are gentler on the skin, but do not always remove waterproof make-up with one wipe.

The INCI list provides information about the ingredients: Anyone who is unsure whether their favorite micellar water is not harmful to the skin and the environment can use the Codecheck app to check the ingredients. Simply enter the product or check the barcode.

Facial cleansing on a gentle tour: the dosage of micellar water

We mostly use micellar water in the evening to cleanse our face and snap up cotton pad. But please do not use too much cleaning water, because some contain alcohol, others aggressive washing substances. When buying, be sure to check which skin type it suits, because small amounts of alcohol in a micellar or facial tonic for oily skin actually make sense, as it can remove fat from the skin. There is now an alternative cleaning wipeswho work with micellar technology – including active ingredient dosage.

If you want to be sure that no surfactants or other drying or harmful ingredients in the micellar water remain on the skin, can rinse again with water after cleaning.

By the way: micelles show their power not only in facial cleansing: there is now also a micelle shampoo! How micellar shampoo works, we explain to you…

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