Seven common questions about Micellar Water, answered

Kids, there was a time when micellar water was not something you can buy at your nearest Watsons. You had to go to a French pharmacy to get a bottle, and years later you could grab it in Hong Kong if you knew where to look. Now you can't go outside and throw a pebble without hitting a micellar (or cleansing) water bottle in Manila. Just joking. My point is, this phenomenal, game-changing cleanser is so accessible now that even FMCG brands like Nivea, Maybelline, and Garnier have their own.

Micellar cleansers are, for me, the best way to remove makeup quickly and with the least amount of discomfort. I never looked back once I finally got my hands on the Bioderma Crealine three years ago! It removes makeup so effectively without being harsh; I try other makeup remover formulas, but I always go back to micellar water. Bifesta still remains as my favorite brand. It's consistently good and fairly affordable at P420. 

#1: So what is micellar water, exactly?

Micelles, or tiny oil molecules, are suspended in a liquid solution. These molecules pick up dirt, oil, and makeup without leaving an oily feel due to the water-like (but not quite water) base. They don't sting the eyes and are *usually* tasteless which makes them pleasant to use. Makeup artists love this stuff because they can correct or remove makeup entirely without requiring the model to wash her face. 

Makeup wipes are basically towelettes soaked with micellar water. Same banana, just a different method of delivery.

#2: What can micellar water do for my skin?

Aside from makeup, micellar water is good for toning and moisturizing the face. It depends per brand, but the only one I've tried that I felt had actual skincare benefits was the Bioderma Sebium/Sensibio for sensitive skin. Nuxe's Cleansing Water With Rose Petals, I found, was hydrating but not enough to replace a real moisturizer. Other brands are just really cleansers but don't do anything else other than prepping the skin for the products that follow.

In my experience, you can remove makeup with MW, rinse your face with water, then go straight to sleep. They're that effective in cleansing without drying the skin! I would still recommend a full skincare regimen, of course, but it's nice to have options when you're too tired to bother.

#3: Does it matter whether I choose a specific micellar water for my skin type?

I was at Bangkok recently and was greeted by a whole shelf of different MWs when I visited Boot's. They promise anti-aging, moisture for dry skin, oil prevention for oily skin, and so on. I haven't tried all, but the different variants I've come across in the past aren't really so different from each other.

In my opinion, it doesn't matter what your skin type is. You're going to have to wash it off anyway. If you don't intend to, maybe it'd make a difference, but that'd be ill-advised especially here in the PH. Our climate and brewing vat of city pollution requires more than washing your face exclusively with MW. You'd still need soap.

#4: Can micellar water remove waterproof makeup?

Sorry, guys - it can't. It can remove water-resistant, long-wearing, thick makeup formulations given enough time and cotton, but since it's still mostly water it can't break down hardened products. If you're wearing light makeup, one pass is enough. The thicker your makeup is, the more times you'll have to go back to remove everything. You need something oily or greasy to take off waterproof stuff.

#5: Should I use a cotton ball or pad with micellar water?

Cotton pad, please. You need a big surface area to be able to pick up the makeup off your face cleanly. What I do is kinda put two pads together with just one side touching, "glue" them together with MW, then sweep that contraption all over my face. I also often squirt MW on makeup wipes if I want to hurry up the process - try this whenever you have A LOT of makeup on.

#6: Why is there still left-over makeup on my face even after I've thoroughly wiped it with cotton-soaked micellar water?

The secret is applying pressure on the whole area BEFORE wiping or rubbing off the makeup. Put your whole palm over the skin and wipe upwards to unseat all that product! This is important especially in the sensitive eye area.

#3: Which micellar water brands should I try?

Honestly, they really aren't that much different from each other. I love Bioderma (available in Watsons and SM Beauty), but it's so pricey at like P1,300 for 100ml! Bifesta (Watsons) is the best for me so far at P420. Nivea's Cleansing Water is still not available here currently, but their wipes at P140 a pack ain't too bad at all. Maybelline's Micellar Water is pretty good (will review soon) and is only P199. If you have sensitive skin, you might want to go for Cetaphil's Cleansing Cloths at P239. I find them thicker and more luxurious compared to Nivea's wipes.

Hope  you found this quick 101 useful! I'd like to know if you have any information or tips to share about micellar water too. ^_^