Micellar cleansing waters might look like water and feel like water, but before you take a big gulp, hold up.
Once considered France’s best kept skin-care secret, micellar cleansing waters are now, well, making waves. Originating in Paris during the ‘90s, this holy water of sorts was welcomed by French women who wanted to curb the detrimental effects the city’s famously harsh water had on their skin. Fast-forward 20-plus years and one bottle of Bioderma Crealine H2O — the cleansing water that started it all — is now sold every three seconds around the globe.
So, how are cleansing waters different from your average foam or cream cleanser? Well, instead of using soap and alcohol like regular cleansers, micellar waters contain tiny micelles (a cluster of fatty acid esters) that help dissolve impurities on the skin like makeup, dirt, and oil — similar to how washing detergent breaks down grease.
As for the H2O found in the micellar formula itself, “It’s highly purified,” says Pascal Piedimonte, Bioderma’s training manager, of the brand’s signature cleanser. Add that it requires no rinsing, and this water is a real winner. That’s right — there’s no need to get your hands wet or pat your face dry. “Simply soak a cotton pad with the water, wipe over the face, and that’s it,” explains Piedimonte.
It's for these reasons that some of the world’s top makeup artists swear by them. “They are extremely gentle yet vigilantly effective at removing makeup, waterproof mascara, dirt, and impurities,” says Glenn Nutley, celebrity makeup artist for Miley Cyrus, Eva Longoria and Sarah Hyland. And, he offers up this pro secret: “Soaking a cotton tip with cleansing water also helps to straighten out wonky liquid-liner flicks.”
Suited to all skin types but specifically formulated for sensitive skin, cleansing waters are available pretty much everywhere. Read on to find out which one you should be adding to your skin-care routine now.
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