The Lowdown on Micellar Water

New on the American skin care scene: micellar water, long a favorite of French women who have found it an effective remedy for skin dryness and irritation caused by the region’s notoriously hard tap water. Micellar water is an extremely gentle and effective way to remove makeup and cleanse your face, even without rinsing. Here’s the skinny on this unique skin care product.

What is it?
It’s not a toner, sudsy cleanser or creamy facial wash, yet it removes makeup easily and leaves skin feeling refreshed without rinsing. It feels light like water, but effectively removes sunscreen, oil and grime like an oil-based cleanser.

Micellar water cleans skin using something called “micelles,” which are tiny spheres of oil suspended in soft water. Based on the principle that “like attracts like,” these micelles draw in oil and grime and dissolve them, leaving clean, soft skin. Without any soapy ingredients and no rinsing with tap water, your skin’s delicate pH balance remains intact, too.

How should I use it?
Micellar water is good for any skin type, says Jane Johnston from MyChelle Dermaceuticals, which recently launched its own micellar water product. It’s particularly good if you have hard water in your neighborhood or when water isn’t easily accessible—aka when you’re travelling, camping or after a workout.

The process couldn’t be more simple: “Saturate a cotton pad and gently wipe over your face and eyes to remove all makeup and surface impurities. There is no need to rinse unless you want to,” Jane tells us. Follow up with a hydrating mist for best results, then a treatment serum and moisturizer.

Micellar waters to try
Infused with hydrating strawberry extract and antioxidant-rich kiwi and lotus flower extracts, Mychelle’s Quick Clean Micellar Water cleanses, moisturizes and helps repair damage from sun exposure and environmental toxins.

Next step: Follow with a spritz of Mychelle Fruit Enzyme Hydrating Mist, says Jane. With guava, goji berry and mangosteen extracts that promote cellular repair and support collagen production, it’s a great boost of moisture for dry, sun-damaged or mature skin.

If your skin is extra-sensitive, try Avene Micellar Lotion, Cleanser and Makeup Remover. Made with healing spring waters found in the French Cévennes Mountains, it soothes red or irritated skin. Next step: Seal in moisture and soften skin with trace minerals by spritzing with Avene Thermal Spring Water; let it absorb for a few minutes, then pat in any remaining amount.

If you’re a fan of natural, mineral-based makeup, freshen your face in the morning with jane iredale BeautyPrep Facial Cleanser. Used before applying makeup, it removes surface oil on your skin, helping makeup go on smoother and last longer. Algae and cucumber extracts calm and protect your skin. Next step: Try jane iredale BeautyPrep Face Toner, which has a fresh lemongrass scent and nourishing apple, pear, carrot and coconut waters that refine pores and set the stage for flawless makeup application.