French women are known and envied for their beauty je ne sais quoi. Just take a look at their effortless, lived-in hair, flawless complexions, and know-how with red lipstick. In fact, their pared-down skincare routines have often left us wondering if their radiant skin is a product of something in the water and it turns out it is—literally.
Born out of a necessity as a solution to France’s harsh tap water, micellar water has been in French women’s beauty arsenals since the ‘90s. The multi-tasking product cleanses, hydrates, while removing dirt and makeup by use of micellar technology. (Micellars are small clusters of fatty acid esters that attach to oil and dirt while simultaneously dissolving impurities—kind of like how dishwashing detergent breaks down kitchen grease.)
Since arriving in the U.S., micellar waters quickly garnered a cult following as a streamlining product with miraculous results. Now, with more and more options popping up in beauty aisles, the power of micellar water is beginning to catch on. We’ve broken down why micellar water deserves a spot in your bathroom cabinet, along with a few of our favorite formulas.
1. It’s Not Your Average Cleanser
Chances are the cleansers you’ve been using require rinsing. Micellar waters don’t require washing. That’s right: Easily wipe away the product with a cotton pad and you’re good to apply makeup and take on the day, or get a good night’s sleep.
Dr. Jart+ Dermaclear Micro Water ($32; birchbox.com)
2. It Will Cut Your Routine In Half
If you’re always on the go, using micellar water can streamline your skincare routine down to one step without depriving your complexion of the care and attention it needs to maintain its healthy glow.
Garnier SkinActive Micellar Cleansing Water ($7; walmart.com)
3. It’s Great For Sensitive Skin
Since micellar water was initially created in response to France’s harsh tap water, it’s the perfect product for sensitive skin since its gentle ingredients won’t wreak havoc on your complexion. Formulas are free of soap, fragrance, and alcohol, amongst other harmful ingredients that often instigate irritation or inflammation.
Avène Micellar Lotion ($20; dermstore.com)
4. It’s An Amazing Face Wipe Substitute
It might be tempting after a late night to remove makeup in one swoop with a face wipe, but they’re often saturated with chemicals. Micellar water is just as easy and convenient to remove makeup, and a lot safer on the skin. If you can’t bear to let go of your facial wipes, Simple has adapted its micellar formula into a wipe format.
Simple Micellar Makeup Remover Wipes ($7; target.com)
5. Use It To Correct Makeup Blunders
Mastering the cat eye is no easy feat. If your liquid liner flick is jagged, use miceller water on a Q-tip to instantly clean up the edges for a sleek line.
Gucci Prep Purifying Cleansing Water ($50; saksfifthavenue.com)
6. They’re Travel-Friendly
Instead of travelling with a makeup remover and face wash, you can lighten your toiletry kit by packing a micellar water that will cleanse and remove makeup in one go throughout your entire trip. Bonus: many micellar waters also have hydrating properties.
Bioderma Sensibo H20 ($20; beautylish.com)