The Best Micellar Waters & How They Work

The Best Micellar Waters & How They Work

In short, micellar waters are so popular because they’re a quick way to remove your makeup. The gentle ingredients often mean they’re great for sensitive skin types, too. Here, we reveal our top picks, as well as how to use them…

They Cleanse Without Irritation 

There’s a reason micellar waters are a staple backstage at Fashion Week – they cleanse skin thoroughly in just one wipe, without any irritation, making them ideal for stressed, over-worked complexions. Microscopic oil spheres cleanse without causing damage to the skin’s surface, picking up stubborn sebum and dissolving dirt quickly. Micellar waters formulas are also clear of sebum and wax-based substances – both of which can cause breakouts. 

You Can Take Them On The Road

Micellar waters are incredibly practical and multi-tasking – not to mention great for on-the-go. As you don’t have to rinse them off, they’re brilliant for travelling and festivals, eliminating the need for multiple makeup remover, cleanser and toning products. 

A Double Cleanse Isn’t Always Necessary

According to dermatologists sometimes it’s okay to simply ‘wipe-and-go’. This is because the secret is in the surfactants (cleansing molecules). They can be harsh – in soap, for example – but in micellar waters, the surfactants are clustered together in unique arrangements called micelles (cleansing oil droplets suspended in water). Unlike wipes, they allow dirt to be sucked off the skin properly without residue or irritation, and they don’t require a follow-up cleanse – that is, if you’re using them thoroughly.

Keen to try micellar waters yourself? Here are seven of the best…


Avene Micellar Lotion, £13

With a milky texture, Avene’s micellar cleanses, tones and removes make-up in one go. Thermal spring water and glycerides soothe skin, while moisturising ingredients left behind on the skin’s surface help to lock in hydration.

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Bioderma Sensibio H20 Micellar Water, £10.80

This cult cleanser used to be a well-kept secret among industry professionals. Having smuggled it over from Paris for years, it’s now stocked in the UK – plus, it’s really affordable. Globally, one of these bottles is sold every six seconds thanks to the water and oil-rich formula, which maintains skin’s pH balance and melts off all make-up. If you’ve never tried it before, you’re missing out. 

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Caudalie Micellar Cleansing Water, £19

Specially formulated for sensitive skin, this ultra-mild micellar cleans up streaks, smudges and grime with just a few sweeps. It leaves skin feeling clean, but never dry or tight. It also keeps skin hydrated with grape juice and glycerine.

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Garnier Micellar Cleansing Water, £3.99 (was £5.99)

There’s been many iterations of Garnier’s best-seller, but this is still our go-to. It’s extremely gentle, so it may take a few sweeps to clear all make-up completely, but the softness left behind is unbeatable. Ophthalmologically tested, it’s safe to use on eyes as well. 

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L’Oreal Paris Micellar Water Cleanser For Sensitive Skin, £3.99 (was £5.99)

Made with purified water and cleansing micelles, this pared back formula takes off all make-up and provides a thorough, hydrating cleanse. Fuss-free, it’s extremely gentle for all skin types and keeps dryness at bay. It also works brilliantly to remove stains and long-lasting lipsticks.

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Nuxe Eau Micellar Cleansing Water, £9.50

Containing skin-softening rose petals, this cleanser was designed for sensitive complexions after a deep, purifying cleanse, but still want skin to be left feeling comfortable. The brand recommends using it to clean your makeup brushes and tools, too.

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Neutrogena Hydro Boost Triple Micellar Water, £5.33 (was £7.99)

Formulated with hyaluronic acid, this micellar does a whole lot more than remove stubborn make-up. It deeply hydrates the skin, while brightening the complexion at the same time. The micelle particles act like magnets, attracting and trapping dirt for an effective, speedy cleanse that helps other products (think toners, serums and moisturisers) absorb properly.

Available at

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