First things first—what exactly is the "micellar" in micellar water? "Micellar water contains small particles called micelles," Luftman explains. "They work like a miniature sponge, mopping up dirt and makeup while hydrating your skin. Micelles have an oil-loving 'tail' that traps dirt, oil and makeup, and a water-loving 'head' that allows the micelles to dissolve impurities so they can easily be wiped away." So, that all sounds way, way better than the regular water we use to wash our face—and it is. In fact, Luftman explains that the reason micellar water is so popular in France is because of the notoriously hard water in Paris, which can be extremely harsh on the skin. "Micellar waters are super gentle, so they won't strip or irritate the skin while cleansing," she says. "All skin types can benefit from micellar water, but I especially recommend it for those with dry, sensitive, or acne-prone skin. Simple Skincare's Micellar Cleansing Water ($9) boosts skin's hydration by 90%, is triple purified, and enriched with vitamins."
To use micellar water, you simply pour it into a cotton pad and rub it over your face, like a toner. Then, just carry one with your skincare routine as normal—no need to rinse afterwards. "Micellar water can replace any daily cleansing routine," Luftman says. "I recommend using it in the morning, followed by an SPF moisturizer, and again in the evening followed by a night cream." One note: we've tried a couple of micellar waters (and loved all of them), and though they never leave your skin feeling sticky, we recommending removing heavy makeup with a makeup-removing wipe beforehands.
Micellar sounds just like the gentle, hydrating cleanser we've been searching for our entire lives—and lucky for us, a trip of France is no longer required to stock up on them. Bioderma's much-loved CréalineH Micelle Solution (a model favorite), is available on Amazon, and brands like La Roche-Posay, Avéne, and even Garnier have all come out with their own versions you can buy right at your local drugstore. Keep scrolling to shop our favorite micellar waters!