Self Care & Wellness Ideas

6 Ways to Use Micellar Water in Your Skin Care Routine

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

  1. Bioderma Hydrabio H2O (8.33 fl. oz.)
    Buy now with Dermstore

    Bioderma Hydrabio H2O (8.33 fl. oz.)

    Your skincare shelf will undoubtedly thank you for this multipurpose cleanser, which removes impurities while keeping your skin moisturized. Ideal for those that tend to get dry or dull skin, it’s packed with fatty acid esters that naturally help to tone, cleanse and protect the skin’s outermost layer. If you’re looking for a feeling of instantly hydrated freshness any time of day, you’ll certainly find a friend in this.

    Buy now with free delivery
  2. ELEMIS Smart Cleanse Micellar Water (6.7 oz.)
    Buy now with Dermstore

    ELEMIS Smart Cleanse Micellar Water (6.7 oz.)

    No matter your skin type, this cleanser’s superpower is its ability to be ever-so-soft on the skin (with soothing chamomile extracts that stop irritation or skin disruption), whilst thoroughly removing even the toughest traces of makeup and impurities. Well suited to those that are looking for not just a cleanser, but a toner too—it’ll do the trick wherever you are, from freshening up midday, to removing a full face of glam at night.

    Buy now with free delivery
  3. Luzern Laboratories L'essentials Micellar Cleansing Water (4 fl. oz.)
    Buy now with Dermstore

    Luzern Laboratories L'essentials Micellar Cleansing Water (4 fl. oz.)

    Again, no matter your skin type, indulge in a little luxury with Luzern Laboratories much-loved micellar cleansing water. The first step in your morning routine, this micellar works to remove negative environmental elements from your skin, before they have a chance to do damage. Packed with the extracts of pumpkin enzyme, willow bark and sambucus nigra flower, as well as zinc, copper and magnesium—you can expect brighter, healthy-looking skin and an ultra-refreshed complexion.

    Buy now with free delivery
  4. Bioderma Sebium H2O (8.33 fl. oz.)
    Buy now with Dermstore

    Bioderma Sebium H2O (8.33 fl. oz.)

    At the risk of sounding Bioderma biased (it is a French cult classic, after all), we couldn’t not include this one, too. This cleansing water works equally hard to remove makeup and impurities without drying out your complexion, and is the first ever formula to specifically address combination or oily skin types. Regulating sebum production for a non-shiny, matte finish, it’s perfect for those who have concerns around acne, large pores or oiliness.

    Buy now with free delivery
  5. Embryolisse Lotion Micellaire No Rinse Make-Up Remover (8.5 fl. oz.)
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    Embryolisse Lotion Micellaire No Rinse Make-Up Remover (8.5 fl. oz.)

    Ideal for those sensitive skin types or lovers of au naturel, this herbal cleansing toner gently lifts away dirt, excess oil and makeup with its non-irritating mineral particles. Feel the natural benefits of botanical extracts with cornflower promoting a smooth and supple texture, while chamomile extract soothes inflammation, and hazel extract balances pH levels for a clean, refreshed complexion.

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  6. Bioderma Sensibio H2O (8.33 fl. oz.)
    Buy now with Dermstore

    Bioderma Sensibio H2O (8.33 fl. oz.)

    For the sensitive-skinned among us, Sensibio works to break down and sweep away makeup in the softest of ways. Gentle enough for everyday use, and effective enough for every makeup type—it’s a clean, fragrance-free, hypoallergenic cleanser with soothing cucumber extract. Give it a go and see whether it could become the holy grail of hypersensitive skin care for you.

    Buy now with free delivery

Freelance Writer

Dana Elizabeth Johnson

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