Why I Secretly Hate This French Beauty Secret

If you've read a beauty story before, and you have, because here you are, then you've heard about micellar water. You've read that it's the secret to looking like a beautiful French girl. That you have to pick it up the next time you're in Paris. That it's perfect for sensitive skin. That it'll make you glow and banish breakouts and maybe make a cappuccino for you if you ask nicely. And if you live and die by the micelle, rock on. You are more patient and European than I. Because, frankly, I can't stand the stuff. I've tried to understand the hype, I really have. The main draw, I've gathered, is to avoid hard water with high mineral content. But, um, don't you still take showers every day?
Others say it's easy and great for lazy girls, but I'm calling bullshit on that, too. The directions are this: Moisten a cotton pad with micellar water, then rub it over your face to remove makeup. You can skip rinsing! Think of all the time you'll save!

Okay, but first you have to dig under your sink and hope you have a cotton round from the last time you removed your nail polish. (And who ever actually does? Not me.) Actually, make sure you have 10 cotton rounds, because that's how many it'll probably take to get off all your foundation, bronzer, brow pencil, eyeliner, mascara, and lipstick. Then, you have to find a garbage can to throw all that waste away. And speaking of waste, there went 10 minutes of your life.
But, coming from a girl who's willing to inject her face with neurotoxins and sit through hour-long butt facials, you could convince me to try it if the results were really worth it. But even when I'm done, my skin still feels oily — not at all squeaky-clean or fresh. It takes three minutes longer than any other cleanser I've used before and still leaves me feeling grimy. (And I've tried them all, trust me.) Saying you hate micellar water in the beauty world is like saying you hate dogs in the rest of the world — people look at you with sad eyes and think you're missing out and don't even know it. But I'm not alone here. Julia T. Hunter, MD, dermatologist and founder of Wholistic Dermatology, doesn't believe in its magic powers, either. "It cannot remove all of the impurities from the skin. At the end of the day (especially for women who wear makeup), the skin needs a deeper cleanse. The skin needs to be thoroughly cleansed for any moisturising and treatments to actually work," she says. Many fans cite micellar water as being ideal for irritation-prone skin, but despite the fact that it was "initially promoted to work well for patients who have sensitive skin due to a lack of alcohol and fragrance, many do in fact contain alcohol and most are scented," adds plastic surgeon Melissa Doft, MD. "I think it is hard to justify that micelle water is superior for skin health," she says, but adds that it is ideal for on-the-go travel. Cosmetic chemist Ni'Kita Wilson takes a more middle-of-the-road approach. "They're nice, but not a necessity in anyone's regimen. I tend to use them more as refreshers for in the morning. It provides enough cleansing to remove the residue from the night before and prep for the morning treatment," says Wilson. So, it might not be as chic, but I'll be sticking to my tried-and-true, American cleansing routine. Who wants to travel all the way to Paris just to bring back water anyway?

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