Top Tips: How Does Micellar Water Work? (And How Do I Use It?)

Six bottles of Bioderma Micellar Water are sold every second across the globe. The trend for micellar waters may have started as a makeup artist and industry secret, but the magic bottles of liquid were soon adopted by bloggers and beauty enthusiasts – creating a demand that saw Bioderma launched once and for all within the UK. I’m a big fan of micellar waters, not only because they’re easy and effective, but because they don’t strip the skin or leave it feeling irritated. Although many friends and readers know that micellar water provides a gentle option for their skin, few really understand how they work or how they should be used. To clear the issue up once and for all, here’s all you need to know about micellar waters.

Micellar waters contain molecules called surfactants, which are also present in lots of other cleaning and cleansing products. The surfactant molecules have a ‘head’ that’s attracted to water, as well as a ‘tail’ that’s attracted to oil and grease – they can therefore bring together water and oil, which are normally repelled away from each other. Micellar water contains lots of clusters of these surfactant molecules (called micelles) floating around in purified water.

When these micelles are applied to a cotton pad and wiped over the surface of your face, the oil-loving tails stick out and grab onto the dirt, grease and grime residing on the surface of the skin. This provides the cleansing and makeup removing qualities that micellar waters are so commonly known for, without irritating or stripping the skin. Not all surfactants are created equal and the ones within micellar waters are extremely mild; they’re even mild enough to be left on the skin without causing irritation, which is why you don’t even need to wash your face afterward.

Micellar waters are extremely easy to use – you simply need to apply them to a cotton pad and wipe over the surface of skin until the pad comes away clear. Although they’re really effective at lifting nasties from the surface, you do need to be sure to repeat the process until you’ve removed all the build-up from the day. Personally, I prefer to use them after I’ve used a cleansing balm (which is much quicker and more effective and cleansing deeply,) to remove any remaining residue on the surface of my face. They’re great for quick and easy fixes, removing light makeup or simply refreshing skin, but using them as the only makeup removal product within your reporitoire comes with problems of its own. Anything that’s quick and easy is probably too good to be true!

It’s no surprise that micellar waters have boomed in popularity in the last year. They’ve definitely taken the crown from BB Creams in terms of the most popular and sought after products in the beauty arena. They’re affordable, easy to use, uncomplicated, gentle and are so much better than a dreaded face wipe; they can provide an extra element to a routine, or just help you step away from the products that are doing you no good at all. These ‘magic’ potions won’t be going anywhere fast, but do use them with a hint of caution… Nothing will ever be the answer to beautiful skin: that’s just down to you.

Are you a fan of micellar waters? Have you used Bioderma’s cult product? 



  1. kaybar007
    May 14, 2014 / 9:53 am

    I use Biodermera before Liz Earle's Cleanse & Polish – should I do it the other way around?

    • Hayley Carr
      May 14, 2014 / 11:58 am

      Yep – use C&P first and use the Micellar to remove excess x

    • Celia
      July 3, 2014 / 9:45 pm

      Just curious but why the other way around? Surely if you cleanse properly there should be no excess?

  2. Vivian Yuen
    May 14, 2014 / 10:10 am

    Great post, you've explained with such clarity, thank you! LIVE.IN.LOVE ~

  3. Ciara Pollock
    May 14, 2014 / 10:20 am

    I like using micellar waters but I've never tried Bioderma – I really like Garnier's one though! x

  4. Mez Made Up
    May 14, 2014 / 10:58 am

    Really informative post. I know some people who use this as the only method of make up removal with the mentality that it's better than wipes which is all they used before :)

  5. Chloe Norton
    May 14, 2014 / 11:39 am

    Thanks for the information about Micellar water. Its really interesting to know how they work and understand a bit more about them x

  6. Kozmetik Aşığı
    May 14, 2014 / 12:12 pm

    I use Bioderma Sensibio everyday for 5 years, it's my fav!

  7. Sophie Ollis
    May 14, 2014 / 12:47 pm

    I like to use the micellar solution to remove the majority of my makeup and then go in with the cleansing balm and remove it with hot water before cleansing again. That way NOTHING is left on my skin and my oils, serums, and treatments can really do their job over

    • Jeez Louise
      May 17, 2014 / 4:10 pm

      This is exactly what I do, as I thought these waters were a pre cleanse… least that's what Caroline Hirons says. I can't imagine doing it the there way, I don't think it would work as well.

  8. Little Miss Katy
    May 14, 2014 / 1:11 pm

    I've been thinking about taking the plunge and buying a Micellar water cleanser but was a bit unsure as I do love my Clarisonic cleansing! Great idea to use it afterwards to clear up the excess though 🙂 thanks! xxKaty |

  9. Katherine Joan
    May 14, 2014 / 2:20 pm

    Thanks for this post!

  10. Aerie Berrie
    May 14, 2014 / 2:59 pm

    Micellar water has never worked for me! My eyes are simply to sensitive 🙁 xBerrieBlogs| {beauty blog}

  11. Stephanie
    May 14, 2014 / 4:25 pm

    Fabulous post! Nothing better than a great post filled with facts! Thanks for taking the time to share!Stephanie xxxx

  12. Adele E
    May 16, 2014 / 4:27 pm

    Great post hun x I love Bioderma but the Garnier version is much cheaper and you can pick it up in boots! Just as good i think Adele

  13. 1806louise
    May 16, 2014 / 10:41 pm

    Thanks for this, I love Bioderma but it's too pricey so I use Garnier. It's interesting to read how they actually work on your skin. X

  14. Never Say Die Beauty
    May 21, 2014 / 12:46 am

    I've read about micellar waters in blogposts from outside the U.S. but haven't really seen them here yet. Thank you for explaining how they work. Sort of sounds like a toner with a little more oomph. Not sure if I'm convinced of the need for it, if it's used after cleansing if the cleanser does it's job to begin with.?!

  15. Minty
    July 31, 2014 / 9:37 pm

    I use the Garnier one too- I find it as good as Bioderma. I use mine after my cleanse to remove any last traces of cleanser. I also use it after a hot cloth as my morning cleanse- mornings not being my strong point….,

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