June 20, 2017

Are You Stuck in the Middle With Micellar Water?

Micellar water is considered by some makeup lovers a true gem of a way to remove your makeup. I mean, if you come home late with a ton of makeup on and you really want to get bed quickly a quick swipe of a cotton pad soaked in micellar water is the way to go. What’s not to love about that quickie makeup removal process right?

But some makeup junkies swear by micellar water as the sole way to remove makeup. It’s gentle, it removes makeup easily, and it doesn’t strip skin. Again, what’s not to love?

Well, others might argue that they never feel quite clean after using this method to remove their makeup.

So, micellar water, is it a yay or a nay?

There are definitely two teams when it comes to micellar water. Some people absolutely love and consider it an essential way to remove their makeup. Particularly those with sensitive or drier skin that hate using harsher cleansers that strip, break them out, or cause further dryness. I fear I’m caught somewhere in between the two teams!

I’d never sleep in my makeup. Not once in all my makeup loving years have I been so tired that I went to bed with my makeup on. Perhaps once in my life I MIGHT have fallen asleep with mascara on but an entire look still on my face? Nope. Never did it. I always remove it all before heading to bed.

But there are plenty of nights where I’m just too damn tired and micellar water is a God sent. A lot of formulas like Bioderm does a quick job of getting off makeup in a hurry when you want to get to bed! Yes, even waterproof mascara! Not to mention as someone with dry skin they are don’t strip my skin or leave it feeling dry the way a lot of cleansers do.


I never feel like my skin is fully clean or even deeply cleaned when I used them. That’s the one thing that stops me from using them daily!

I’m stuck in the middle with micellar water….!

Are you?

Do you use them daily to remove makeup?

Or only ever once and a while because you don’t feel completely clean when using them?

Do share!

About the Muse

Isabella MuseIsabella is just an average everyday geeky girl who doesn’t blend her eyeshadow correctly, wears too much blush, and hopes she never finds her holy grail products because she likes the thrill of the chase so much. Her mission is to bring you super honest reviews on makeup, skincare, fragrance and all things beauty. She’s in no way an expert on the topic and she sure as hell isn’t a super model. But she’s passionate about makeup and is seeking like-minded individuals that like pina coladas, getting caught in the rain, and ones that enjoy spending hundreds of dollars at Sephora without feeling buyer’s remorse. If you’re that person feel free to reach out and leave a comment or follow me on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Bloglovin‘.

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  • Sofie Udklit

    I feel exactly the same as you! I’ll use micellar water for a quick cleanse but definitely prefer to follow with an actual cleanser and water! πŸ˜‰

  • Cheryl

    I like to use them into situations: (1) morning cleanse, just to remove my nighttime skin care product residue from my face; and (2) as a second cleanse to remove any residual cleansing balm or cleansing oil that I use to remove my make up at night. I don’t like to use micellar water to remove make up on its own. It takes too many cotton pads and almost as much time as using cleanser and running water. Plus, as a person who showers at night and is generally in bed by 10:00 , I am rarely too tired to remove my make up. The 5:30 AM alarm clock is a bit of a deterrent to wild and crazy late nights of clubbing, as are my 48 years of life.

  • Jules

    Here I am, stuck in the middle with you. I admit to being super bad about falling asleep w makeup on. So I bought some to try to help break the habit. I don’t know if I wear too much mascara or what, but I find it takes like 4 cotton pads to remove it all. So I might as well just wash my face. Which I do now mostly. But I do like to use it after I wash my face. It does a great job of cleaning up any leftovers. Nice, but not really necessary. Also I don’t know how to pronounce it.

    • Isabella Muse

      haha Jules! The middle is nicer with you here πŸ˜€ It’s true some formulas are better than others so, you’re sitting with like 5 cotton pads to get it all off! Might as well wash your face, it’s less work lol! I hear so many pronunciations I question whether I have it right now!

  • Sheree

    I use the wipes to remove my makeup, but then wash my face afterwards. Unless I’m sick, have a migraine, etc. and then it has to suffice (not often). But am I the only one who feels the wipes aren’t wet enough, so I buy a bottle and add some into the container of wipes. Works great.

    • ChynnaBlue

      Not the only one! I also feel like wipes are never quite wet enough and need a boost and micellar water works really well. (Before micellar water came to the US, I used witch hazel.)

      I consider both my urgent care products and usually only use them if I am exhausted or sick and can’t bring myself to get to the sink and do it all. I tried using both micellar water or wipes as primary makeup removers and cleansers, but I agree, they don’t ever make me feel like I’m completely clean.

      I also don’t wear a lot of makeup and most days it’s about getting all my sunscreen off, not makeup.

  • showkjk

    I use it daily, then follow up with cleanser. I might have to go over my face twice with the micellar water, but it is my must have every day!

  • Brittany

    I’m on the Love It team! My reasoning is because makeup removers and wipes always sting my eyes no matter what! And me having contacts makes it even worse but micellar water never stings my eyes or irritate my skin so for me it’s a God send. I can understand not feeling truly cleansed after using them though. I usually wash my face afterwards unless I’m dead tired.

  • kjh

    Kind of depends on the m/u. If eyes on, then usually the first step. Oil cleanse next, then second. S.t. Use one or the other, but not both. Haven’t been using eyes recently, and seldom use micellar for just TM/bb. Have been guilty of just micellar on nights when I did both day and night jobs, and just wanted to fall out. 8A to 11 p is a long day for someone pushing the big seven-o. Took me 2 years to find a remover without agents provocateurs, aka the usual suspects. Like garnier blue top, thus far.

  • dia

    nay. as with make up remover wipes, i feel like there is a slick film on my face that i have to wash off with an actual cleanser.

  • Dawn Molero

    I don’t like them. I don’t feel like I really get everywhere on my face with just one cotton ball, so I use a bunch and that takes time. When I’m in a hurry I prefer cleansing cloths….like the Neutrogena ones.

    • cajuncocoa

      I’m with you. Neutrogena cloths do a much better job, and leave my face feeling CLEAN. I tried micellar water cleansers and went straight back to my Neutrogena cloths. There’s no substitute.

  • Claire

    I always use micellar water to remove my makeup, but always wash my face after using micellar water too. My preferred method is definitely to use a cleansing oil to remove makeup. I just feel like it does a better job of removing everything and in one sweep.

  • Jennifer

    I use micellar water or my Skinfood wipes to remove most of my makeup. Then I cleanse my skin. I have oilier skin so I believe in the double cleanse. Also, I never really feel like the wipes and/or the micellar water completely remove everything. I like them as a first step to remove most of the makeup.

  • Ester

    I absolutely love micellar water! Usually (when I’m good) I use an oil cleanser like Boscia’s, then follow up with a foam cleanser (Ole Henrickson) and that gets everything off, but if I just use the foam cleanser I use micellar water to get any makeup that wasn’t removed with the foam. Sometimes in the mornings when I’m lazy I use micellar water all over as a cleanser and it feels refreshing and I feel clean. πŸ™‚

  • Amber G.

    I love it, especially for late club nights, where I usually have waterproof mascara, full-coverage foundation and lash glue residue to get off first. I feel like it’s a great first step and it does get all my makeup off, but I most always follow up with immediately cleansing. The only time I may just use the micellar water/wipes is one of those aforementioned late club nights when I roll in at 4.. I do tend to agree with you guys though; I never feel fully clean.

    BTW, what a great idea to add more micellar water to the wipe ones! I’ve noticed that they don’t work as well- I think I’m going to try that trick!

    • Isabella Muse

      Likewise! If I’m home like 3AM out comes to the micellar water! It’s just a quick easy way to get it off fast so I can go to bed πŸ˜€

    • Powell

      I have the Simple wipes which I will never buy again and have used the Simple water for more saturation.

  • wendy

    I don’t feel the micellar water gets my waterproof mascara off, so I use a wipe for that, then I pour micellar water on the wipe and finish the rest of my face.

  • LouAnne

    Love it! In the evenings, I use the Blue Bottle Gariner to remove my waterproof, concrete like eye makeup and then I cleanse with another cleanser the remove everything else. In the morning, I use Bioderma as my only cleanser before SPF and makeup.

  • Paula

    I love my micellar water, but use it more as a second cleanse or cleanse on skin without makeup. I shower each night and remove my makeup in the shower. After I’m dry, I go over my face again with the micellar water before continuing with my night care routine. It removes the last of any makeup, especially eyeliner and mascara, that may be left behind. In the mornings, I use micellar water to refresh my face before the rest of my morning routine, almost like a toner.

  • Christina

    I use micellar water and then follow up with regular cleanser. I like micellar water, but don’t feel that I get “all clean” by using just it.

  • Dora

    Love it. I actually don’t wash my face every day — too drying — so on certain nights, I use an oil-based cleanser (DHC cleansing oil, e.g.) just on my eye makeup then the rest of my face with micellar (the one pictured — Garnier with the pink cap). I feel like this is fine — skin feels clean but not right or dry. On a few other nights a week, I do a real cleanse — a double cleanse with a balm/cleanser, and also often a scrub/exfoliant. So I guess I’m stuck in the middle but in a different way — use micellar for washing my face but not every night.

  • Lori Flippin

    I really like it. Bioderma is the only one I’ve found that doesn’t burn my eyes or strip my skin. I never use only that though, because if there is one stitch of makeup left I will wake up the next morning with a deep cystic demon somewhere on my face. Right now my routine is Banila Co.’s Purity cleansing balm and then Philosophy Purity. I use the micellar if I’m barely wearing makeup and the balm for heavier makeup.

  • kimkats

    I love me some micellar water, but I use it mostly in the AM if I’m too lazy to wash my face. πŸ™‚ Which happens a lot. I’ll also use it on weekends during the day just as a little refresher. I have used it to remove makeup (but I always have used a separate eye makeup remover – always will, so the complaints about it not taking off eye makeup don’t really bother me)

    My 91 year old mom uses Simple micellar water as her one and only cleanser! πŸ˜€ I introduced her to it a couple years ago, and she just loves it!! πŸ™‚ I make sure stays well stocked on it. πŸ˜€

  • Heidi

    I feel the same way as you. Most of the time I clean with an oil-based cleanser, which when I splash all of it off, I feel pretty good. Whenever I use micellar water my face feels too coated and I never want it feeling coated from a cleanser. I mainly use it now to remove stubborn eyeliner or to do an initial cleanse and then follow it with a splash of water and witch hazel.

  • Codename Duchess

    I notice no difference in how clean my face feels between when I use just Micellar Water and when I do a heavy duty deep clean with a spinning brush and Cera-ve cleanser. I honestly don’t know what to make of this. I have oily skin, so I don’t think my face is just less dirty than most people. Maybe it’s not I don’t use much foundation?

  • Sara

    I love Micellar water to remove my makeup (unless it’s waterproof mascara, then I have to use a makeup remover wipe), but I usually follow up with a face cleanser.

  • Powell

    I have my original bottle of Simple. I don’t feel my skin is clean enough just using it alone. I also don’t like using cotton pads, cotton balls etc to take off eye makeup. I guess I’m in the middle too. Thks

  • Julia

    I follow the French beauty regimen of cleansing with oil at night, applying my overnight products, then using only micellar water in the morning. My fave brand is Nuxe (though I’m unsure if you can get it in the states?)
    While I love micellar, I never use it as make up remover. It just doesn’t get make up off well enough! I worry that some of the people that struggle with it are applying too much pressure and irritating their skin that way. Another tip I’d like to share is i find a cotton ball isn’t always necessary! You can put some on your hands and just gently pat it on. (This only works if you’re using it as a morning refresher of course)
    Love this post and all the discussion! Thanks MOAM!

    • Isabella Muse

      We do indeed have Nuxe in the US great stuff πŸ˜€ thanks for sharing Julia! And your hand technique is excellent, I apply most of my essences with bare hands as well πŸ˜€ Glad you’re enjoying the post xoxoxo!

  • Silvia

    I refuse to give them a try I’ll stick to my CeraVe, Cetaphil, Eucerin facial cleansers. CeraVe is my favorite for now. My daughter did tried and she is not repurchasing it so hmm? Don’t know.

  • Chris

    I use the Garnier Micellar water to remove the face makeup and the eye makeup; but as others have said, makeup doesn’t completely come off. I end up using the Lancôme Bi-Facil eye makeup remover to get the remainder off. I find using the Lancôme Tonique Radiance toner removes the remaining facial makeup that the Micellar water misses.
    It’s an okay product but I think the Lancôme Creme Radiance cleanser is a better product for total removal of all makeup before using toner on my face.q

  • Ashlynn

    As a skincare enthusiast looking to improve and maintain my skin barrier and such, and as a formulator of sorts, I feel micellar waters are quite diversely made and rather vary in ability to leave on the skin and even cleanse. I personally make my own micellar water, but if those bought from the store, I find some often leave an emollient residue which I’m not okay leaving on the skin with low concentration surfactants. Especially as an acne prone individual since so many of them have pore clogging ingredients (bioderma sensibo is the wonderful exception!). Aside from this, you would have to use several cotton rounds to fully lift all makeup residue. Micellars aren’t meant or designed to cleanse deeply into the pores either. I prefer to use solely for makeup removal and a morning cleanse (only if I have not used acids the night before) and follow with my oil cleanser or a water based cleanser like Laroche Posay gentle hydrating cleanser. Micellar waters are wonderful for their ability to lift makeup from the surface, but please don’t rely on these as regular cleanses. This isn’t what they are meant for really but here in America they are starting to replace decent cleansers in finding! In a hurry to remove makeup, I would still recommend following with a true cleanser.

  • Ryou

    The thing is, I double-cleanse regardless of what make-up remover I use — Micellar water is just a good make-up remover for me, but I certainly don’t treat it like a cleanser.