I admit. I am a sceptic.
Micellar waters are the hottest thing from France (yes, and?), quick and easy to use (so are wipes, and I don’t recommend those unless in extremis), and non-foaming (surely no one still use foamers?). And then there is the supposed clincher: they remove eye make-up as well as cleansing your face. In fact, the term ‘micellar’ comes from micelles, collections of molecules that arrange themselves in water-based liquids and, on cotton wool, work like a magnet on dirt without the need for friction – after that, the biochemistry becomes impenetrable.
Read More: This Water Saved My Skin… Literally!
Suffice to say micellars are a global ‘thing’, and many women from around the world swear using them has transformed their skin. I can see how young women get hooked. Micellar waters feel more grown-up than wipes but are just as speedy to use: apply to a cotton-wool pad and swipe across your face. Plus latest micellar waters have evolved into multi-tasking facial mists.
According to Dr Michelle Lim, micellar water is made up of micelles (tiny balls of cleansing oil molecules) suspended in soft water. “The idea is that micelles are attracted to dirt and oil, so they are able to draw out impurities without drying out the skin,” she says. Therefore, micellar water can be used as a facial wash, makeup remover and moisturizer all in one.
“It looks like water, it has the viscosity of water but when you put it on your finger and feel, it has a different texture than water,” says Nicole, a home0maker in her 40s who have been using nothing but micellar water for the past year and says it has transformed her skin.
Read More: Here’s the Real Reason Why Your Selfie Sucks
They’re marketed as the perfect beauty travel product because it comes in handy when vacationing, camping or visiting places where no running water is easily accessible. However, micellar water has been around since the days when people weren’t dealing with traditional plumbing and the water in France was really harsh on the skin. So how has this age-old beauty secret evolved over the years, and are there any difference in the various brands? We put three popular micellar waters to the test and lived to tell the tale.
Read More: Face the Day with Glow
Eau Micellaire Douceur, Lancome
This does what it says, cleansing face, lips eyes without stinging. My skin felt softer and unlike my usual cleansers, there was no dry patches in sight. I soaked up two cotton pads and wiped it over my entire face, I was excited to see my makeup come off so easily, even my stubborn eyeliner. While I had the urge to double cleanse my skin immediately after, I held back to see how the skin would feel a few hours later. Lo and behold, my skin still felt clean and fresh, no greasy residue, and best of all, quite balanced.
Read More: How to achieve Kylie Jenner’s Post-Baby Body
Since micellar water originated in France, I had high hopes for this French brand. Delicately scented but it did not clean as well as I expected. I soaked cotton pads in the stuff and it took me several pads to rid my eye makeup sufficiently to feel clean. The plus point is the price but for the amount needed to clean the skin, it probably evens out with the pricier brands. Skin felt a little red after the whole cleansing process but this could have been from the repeated wiping from multiple cotton pads.
A more niche brand sold by medical clinic SW1. It’s a fresh take on micellar water and is compounded to multi-task as both a cleansing water and a toner. Initially sceptical, I found that it cleansed superbly well. The plus point is that it came in a mist which made the whole process simple. I could mist my whole face and tissues off. Then I misted my whole face and patted in the water to get extra hydration and protection. It was gentle enough not to cause any clogging, in fact, it hydrated me well enough for my skin to look nice and dewy and for makeup to sit perfectly. A clear winner!
Read More: Why French Women Will Not Wash Their Face with Tap Water