Cleansing is an essential step in any good skincare routine, and there’s an abundance of cleansers to choose from in the market.
However, for some, the process of cleansing with face washes can feel like a bit of a chore as you need clean water and a clean towel or tissue for drying on top of the face wash. This is on top of the oil-based cleanser or micellar water that those who like to double cleanse would use before a water-based cleanser.
Due to this, it’s completely understandable for some to seek a more straightforward alternative or a simplified routine, particularly during travel or when time is scarce in your schedule.
Could micellar water potentially serve as a convenient substitute?
Ditching face washes and replacing daily cleansing routines with micellar water are far from a new concept.
Beverly Hills dermatologist Dr. Debra Luftman told Yahoo Beauty that French women prefer washing their face with micellar water because of the hard French tap water, which can be harsh on the skin.
Read on to learn more about micellar water and what experts think about using it as your only cleanser.
What is micellar water?
Micellar water, often lauded for its gentle cleansing abilities, originated in France.
Known for its incredibly mild formulation, it is used to remove makeup and impurities such as dirt and oil from your skin, according to Cleveland Clinic.
“The name comes from a micelle, which is a collection of molecules,” dermatologist Alok Vij explained to Cleveland Clinic. “And it’s called micellar water because there’s such a mild concentration of soap or detergent molecules in the water that it basically [is] like little microscopic bubbles floating in water, so it doesn’t even feel like a soapy solution — it [just] feels like water.”
According to licensed esthetician Dihan FC, founder of Skin by DihanFC, micellar water typically consists of purified water, hydrating components, and small amounts of gentle surfactants, as reported by Well + Good.
“The molecules of those mild surfactants naturally group together to form microscopic spheres called micelles. These micelles will act like magnets for dirt and oil,” the esthetician told the outlet.
Can micellar water replace your face wash?
With its ability to remove impurities and makeup while being gentle on the skin, can micellar water replace your traditional cleanser entirely?
Micellar water is a gentler alternative compared to other cleansers that tend to strip the skin of its natural oils, according to an article by Healthline.
According to Healthline, Dr. Erum Ilyas, a board-certified dermatologist, said that micellar water is less prone to drying out the skin compared to other cleansers.
“By drawing away impurities by attracting them to the molecules suspended in the water solution, micellar water is less likely to dry out and irritate the skin,” Dr. Ilyas said.
However, for board-certified plastic surgeon Dr. Michelle Lee, while micellar water is effective for removing light impurities, it doesn’t penetrate deeply enough to provide a thorough, deep cleanse of the skin.
“Micellar water can be a beneficial addition to your skin care routine,” Lee said, according to Healthline. “But since it doesn’t really get down into your pores to clarify completely, it probably isn’t sufficient as your sole face-washing method.”
This aligns with the views of skincare specialist Simran Sethi, an expert in melanin-rich skin and a board-certified dermatologist.
The dermatologist suggested that while micellar water has its advantages, it might not be sufficient as a complete replacement for a traditional cleanser, according to Well + Good.
Sethi told the outlet, “Though micellar water delivers hydration while cleansing, it should not be used as a standalone cleanser.”