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6 Ways to Use Micellar Water in Your Skin Care Routine

Dana Elizabeth Johnson
Writer and expert2 years ago
View Dana Elizabeth Johnson's profile
woman cleansing her face

There are plenty of cleansing, toning and refreshing beauty waters to choose from. But there’s one that stands out among the rest: micellar water. Not just your average H2O, micellar water could well be the product you’re missing.

What is Micellar Water and How Does it Work?

Micellar water is a multi-functioning skincare staple that both cleanses and tones the skin. It’s not only super gentle on your skin’s protective barrier, but it attracts makeup and impurities to the skin’s surface for a thorough cleanse in far fewer steps, and with far greater ease. That’s right—there’s no need to even rinse!

So, how exactly does this skincare product work, you ask? It may not look like much more than water in a branded bottle, but there’s actually a smart science behind it. “Micellar water is made up of micelles, which trap impurities in the skin (sebum, pollution, oil and traces of makeup), so they can be wiped away easily,” says Lisamarie Garguilo, Director of Education for Luzern Laboratories.

How to Use Micellar Water

There are many uses of micellar water, but all you’ll normally need is a bottle of your favorite stuff (more on that to come!) and a cotton pad.

To Remove Your Make Up

Simply shake the bottle and pour some of your micellar water onto a cotton pad or ball. Softly smooth the cotton pad across your eyes, lips, and face pausing briefly over areas with the heaviest makeup. Take extra care not to scrub, rub, or pull at your skin.

To Wash Your Face or Tone it

Simply douse your pad of choice again, and gently drape around the skin. You can also apply your micellar water in between facial cleansing to refresh and tone your skin as needed throughout the day.

As mentioned, there’s no need to rinse with any of these methods. This makes it especially perfect for the gym, office, or as one of your must-have travel minis!

The 6 Benefits of Micellar Water

The magic of micellar water is in its versatility, and some of its main benefits are listed below:

  • It’s a gentle makeup remover
  • It can cleanse like a face wash (without the need to rinse)
  • It can be used as an all-over toner
  • It hydrates and refreshes skin on the go
  • It’s a non-drying alternative to hand sanitizer
  • It’s an effective makeup brush cleaner

1. Gently Remove Your Makeup

Removing your makeup doesn’t have to be a struggle, nor should it be. Micellar water, says Garguilo, “is an ideal makeup remover as it gently cleanses and removes makeup from the eyes and face in one step.” It’s lightweight and refreshing and the tiny micelles really help to target residue left on your skin. Dr. Alex Roher, MD of San Diego Botox recommends micellar water to all of his patients. He adds, “[Micellar water] doesn’t just smear your makeup around your face like many ‘removers’ or wipes. Also, it doesn't contain alcohol and never stings, so you can use it safely around your eyes.”

2. Cleanse Your Face With Micellar Water (No Rinsing Required!)

You can use micellar water as a light face wash. Its consistency is just that—lightweight, easy to apply, refreshing and doesn’t leave your skin feeling oily like some of those oil-based face washes and makeup removers. Best of all? It’s so nourishing and hydrating that you don’t even have to rinse!

3. Use It for Toning Your Skin

You can use micellar water as an all-over toner. “Micellar water actually draws out all the oil and dirt that can be found on the surface of your skin and rinses your pores,” says Evin. “Its lightweight formula may look like water, but its properties make it an excellent cleansing agent for your skin, without the oil-stripping ingredients often found in toners.” After cleansing with your face wash of choice, douse a cotton ball with micellar water. Gently drape all over your skin, then follow with the rest of your skin regimen.

4. Hydrate and Refresh Your Skin on the Go

“Since there is no rinsing required, this product is the perfect refresher on the go,” says Garguilo. It’s “simple to use after a workout or anytime you need a quick pick-me-up.” You can toss a small bottle in your gym bag for a post-gym quick cleanup. It’s also super refreshing and great to have on hand for when you go camping. Lastly, but certainly not least, take it on a flight with you for a mid-flight boost! Make sure to pack it in your carry-on—travel size, of course.

5. Swap Out Your Hand Sanitizer With This Non-Drying Alternative

Often alcohol-based, hand sanitizers can be drying or irritating to the skin. “If traditional hand sanitizers tend to dry out your skin, micellar water is a wonderful alternative for cleaning your hands in a pinch,” says Garguilo. “Simply pour a bit in your palms and rub your hands together—no rinsing required.”

6. Clean Your Makeup Brushes

Last but certainly not least, you can use micellar water as a brush cleaner. Makeup artist and beauty blogger Hillary Kline explains, “What’s nice about micellar water is that it is made to get rid of dirt and oil, which helps get rid of all that buildup on your makeup brushes.” Here’s a step-by-step guide to cleaning your makeup brushes. Just swap out a brush cleaner for your choice of micellar water in step two.

All this to say, “Micellar water is very much on-trend at the moment, not only because it is an exciting new product, but because it is multifunctional,” says Murat Evin, Creative Director at The London School of Makeup. “It can be used as a cleanser, a toner, makeup remover and even moisturizes the skin—making it a great investment for any beauty addict.”

Our Most Popular Micellar Waters

    Dana Elizabeth Johnson
    Writer and expert
    View Dana Elizabeth Johnson's profile
    Dana Elizabeth is the founder of and has spent nearly a decade as a contributing writer for numerous publications. Her work has appeared nationally and internationally in such publications as Hollywood Weekly Magazine, Essential Homme, Cosmopolitan, Marie Claire, M.R., Ray Li, Parenting OC and HOW Design Magazine. She was the Managing Editor of The Los Angeles Fashion Magazine from 2011-2013; there she helped to establish the publication as a reliable and reputable industry news source. She's been fortunate to have interviewed several well-known individuals including Mischa Barton, Lisa Vanderpump, Kristi Yamaguchi, Joe Zee, Stevie Boi and Rob Dyrdek among others. She holds a BFA from Woodbury University. When she's not writing, she can be found whipping up a meal for family and friends. She is an avid yogi, rock climber and outdoor enthusiast. To learn more, please visit