Trigger warning: it’s a dirty practice, one that fosters lazy habits and doesn’t work well— or even at all.
I love micellar water, but not for removing makeup.
Five+ cotton pads and countless swipes and rubbings and time and product wasted and I’ve never really been convinced that removing makeup with micellar water is easy, let alone best. Please, correct me if I’m wrong, but I don’t know anyone who gives me skin envy that swears by it, and I have a hard time recalling a skin expert endorsing it as best practice. Have you?
This everyday cleansing water, whose micellar molecules attract unwanted particles found in skin, make for a great addition to any beauty routine, but dare I say, not for removing makeup— at least, not for your first go at it. Leave it to the French to popularize a beauty trend and Americans in turn to appropriate it as an all-in-one makeup-remover, face-cleansing band-aid solution. Flip to the back of the bottle and read between the lines: “no rinse required” is just another misinformation soundbite we’re sold that promotes a bottom line and not a guide that makes for best skin habits. (And FTR, wipes are in a similar vain to me— landfill fodder and ineffective). I know I’m not alone in saying all that what we accomplish when we set out to remove our makeup is to shift around debris and bacteria from pore to pore, never fully clean yet leaving us inclined to— worst yet— lay it all to bed with moisturizer.
Don’t get me started (scratch that: I love to talk) on the struggle of discussing clients’ skin woes and beauty habits only to come to find that they micellar-and-go. Tell me how years of scrupulous training and research and the glory of makeup artistry can be reduced to telling grown-ups to wash their faces (love you mean it)(but please wash)(I mean, do what works best for you, but this isn’t working). I digress:
When there’s makeup, SPF, sebum, skincare, dead skin and pollution to remove, don’t make micellar work even harder. It’s just not up to the task.
The Alternative is the Better Answer
Instead, use a dedicated makeup remover like a cleansing oil or cleansing balm and rinse it away. Then, follow with a water-based cleanser to do another cleanse for what’s left behind on your skin. That’s right: it’s called a double cleanse.
Yeah, I said it. Double. The cleanse so good they named it twice.
I can feel that exasperated sigh and eye roll from here: ‘cleaning your face once is annoying enough, now he wants me to do it two times.’ Don’t just listen to me, take it from an expert aesthetician, Caroline Hirons, who says makeup and SPF are designed to stay stuck on the face, so take the time to cleanse them off. We put the time in to put it on, it only makes sense to take the time to take it off… properly.
This method isn’t new and the information is out there; maybe this open letter will encourage you to listen up, little piggy.
I’ll even raise you one: I think micellar water can actually be a miracle deep-cleaner, when used post-face wash. I’ve written about it before— how micellar water and the microfiber cotton-alternative Face Halo will go pore-deep where no cleanser has gone before, to remove leftover traces your second cleanse (and micellar alone) could never. The results are like revealing dolphin skin. It’s a third cleanse, sure, but worth every second. To me, cleansing is a labor of love and nary a chore.
And I always rinse micellar water off because I never do as I’m told :].
I’m on a mission to fight the beauty industry’s misinformational marketing, and shame- and fear-sell politics, where instead of products elevating our lives, we’ve been sold cosmetics out of risk-reduction and bad practices since the Dawn of Beauty Industry Time (if you’d like to read more of my thoughts on that, stay tuned). Your dream skin is waiting, and it all starts with cleansing. While I’m busying slinging a kit full of Face Halos, love that beautiful face of yours and wash it like mama told you— you already know you’re worth it.