Why you need micellar water in your skincare routine

This cleansing water gently removes makeup—here’s how to use it.

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Curology Team
Dec 14, 2021 · 4 min read

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Woman removing makeup with micellar water makeup remover
We’re here to share what we know — but don’t take it as medical advice. Talk to your medical provider if you have questions.
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Micellar water is a non-rinse, soap-free cleansing water. It pulls out dirt and oil while keeping skin hydrated. Micellar water is great for dry, sensitive skin. It’s also an ideal makeup remover for all skin types, including acne-prone skin.

How micellar water works

Micellar water is a cleanser, makeup remover, and moisturizer all in one. It does this with micelles, which are tiny oil molecules suspended in soft water with hydrophilic (water-attracting) and hydrophobic (water-repelling) properties. You might say micellar water works like a magnet. It cleans by lifting away makeup and buildup from the skin’s surface without stripping its natural moisture. 

Ingredient Guide - Micellar Water Infographic

Micellar water is typically dermatologist-approved for acne-prone skin. Make sure you don’t accidentally choose a micellar water with ingredients that can cause breakouts or irritation.

Micellar water vs. toner

You don’t necessarily need to use a toner or micellar water in your skincare routine. But if you’re acne-prone, you might wonder if this extra step will benefit your skin.

Micellar water is not a toner, but it has the same effect as a hydrating toner—it cleans and lightly moisturizes the skin. 

Both are lightweight, water-based products that can clean skin, but toners are a little less straightforward than micellar water. There’s no precise definition of what a toner must do in skincare. That means there are many different kinds of toners—not all of them good. Do what you can to check your product’s ingredients to make sure they’re not pore-clogging or irritating.

How to use micellar water

Micellar water is a good option for washing the face or as the first step of a double cleanse

  1. Dampen a cotton pad with micellar water.

  2. Apply to the skin by gently rubbing. 

  3. Repeat as necessary to remove extra stubborn makeup, like waterproof mascara.

how to use Curology micellar water for makeup removal

Here are a few ways to use micellar water in your skincare routine: 

  1. A quick, hydrating cleanse for when you’re on the go

  2. A hydrating toner to help clean sensitive, acne-prone skin

  3. A non-greasy, no-scrub makeup remover that’s soft on skin but still effective 

If you’re a Curology member, you’ll be happy to know that our micellar makeup remover is designed to work alongside your Custom Formula, cleanser, and moisturizer as part of your daily skincare routine. Apply it to a cotton pad and gently wipe over eyes, skin, and lips to remove even the most stubborn waterproof makeup. Then, cleanse, treat, and moisturize your skin like you normally would. 

Custom superbottle for breakouts | Free Trial button

When to use micellar water

Micellar water is a good first step in your skincare routine. It’s lightweight and cleansing, so it preps the skin for heavier products. We recommend you use micellar water before cleansing. Micellar water can be used alone as a one-step cleanser/hydrator or followed up with a cleanser and moisturizer.

Image of man using micellar water to remove makeup from face

Micellar water recommendations

Want to add a micellar water to your routine? Start by looking into one of these go-to products: 

Item of Curology Micellar Water Makeup Remover

Check out our guide to cleansers for more product recommendations. 

Skincare, demystified

There’s a lot of busywork when it comes to busting your breakouts, but there doesn’t have to be. Getting access to prescription skincare has never been easier, thanks to Curology. When you sign up and get your first month free, you’ll be paired with one of our in-house medical providers, who will prescribe you a customized cream with a mix of ingredients for your skin. 

Image of Curology Cleanser Custom Formula Moisturizer and Micellar Makeup Remover

You can also try the complete Curology set with our cleanser and your choice of moisturizer, plus the micellar makeup remover, all when you start your free trial. You’ll just pay $4.95 (plus tax) to cover the cost of shipping and handling. Sign up for Curology and get your first month free.

This article was originally published on May 18, 2020 and updated on December 15, 2021.

• • •
Our medical review process:We’re here to tell you what we know. That’s why our information is evidence-based and fact-checked by medical experts. Still, everyone’s skin is unique—the best way to get advice is to talk to your healthcare provider.
Our policy on product links:Empowering you with knowledge is our top priority. Our reviews of other brands’ products in this post are not paid endorsements—but they do meet our medically fact-checked standards for ingredients (at the time of publication).
Curology Team Avatar

Curology Team

Nicole Hangsterfer Avatar

Nicole Hangsterfer, PA-C

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