Saturday, 29 August 2015

Beauty Myths No.15 - Micellar Waters are a 'proper' cleanser

Source - Marie Claire - Design by Katja Cho

I am frequently tagged on twitter or Instagram whenever there is an article singing the praises about micellar waters, cleansing, mineral oil, wipes (God - always the wipes!) online or in a magazine. 

It's a daily occurence and I read as many of them as I can. Sometimes for a laugh, sometimes I agree with them. As always, whatever works for you, do. 

Yesterday though, Marie Claire posted this article 'Ditch the Cleanser: 6 reasons to make the switch to micellar water' and I had to stop and read it, aghast.

Micellar waters were originally designed to be used for those occasional times when you have no access to water, like backstage, hence the huge awareness of Bioderma. 

Firstly: I will never, for the life of me, understand people who think that using these products are 'quicker' than washing your face. If using micellar water is 'quicker' than washing your face, you're using them incorrectly. A quick swipe across the forehead is not going to do it. When I have to use them backstage at shows it takes me at least four sets of two separate cotton pads to clean the face of makeup. Used both sides. That's not quick. 
Add to that the constant rubbing of cotton wool and ingredients that aren't exactly 'softening' and you're setting yourself up for a sore face.

The reason this Marie Claire article riled me was this sentence: 'Plus, it's free of soap, fragrance, alcohol, and other abrasive chemicals that can wreak havoc on your complexion daily.'

Erm..no. Just no. These waters are all chemical, some contain alcohol and most contain fragrance. 

Before those of you that have to use micellar waters jump to their defence, I've already said, do what you have to. Work situations, new babies, flying, the gym - micellar waters can come in handy.

But try and make them a temporary substitute, not a permanent fixture. 


81 comments:

  1. I can't understand people who use micellar waters as their only cleanse. I use them as the first step of a double or triple cleanse to get things started but I'd only ever use it alone in emergencies

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  2. Completely agree with you Mrs H! I film a video last year to prove how ineffective micellar waters are at proper cleansing. First step makeup remover, fine but cleansing No!

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  3. Acids really rile my face so I use a micellar water after my first and second oily cleansers! Then I use serozinc and my eye cream, serum and moisturiser. I have listened to your advice and found what works for me and I am so grateful! But yes I totally agree micellar waters are just a kind of short cut (though I agree not that quick!) for certain situations!

    You're awesome Lady Hirons! x

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  4. I always try to avoid reading such articles. Your face and wise words always come to mind! X

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  5. I've never used micellar water but like the idea. I'd never replace my regular cleanser for it though! :]

    // ▲ itsCarmen.com ▲

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  6. Great post Caroline. I use a micellar water to take my makeup off before cleansing using a 'proper' cleanser. Should I just be using a proper cleanser twice?
    The cleanser I've been using (and loving) is alpha-h liquid laser, I've just purchased some Emma hardie cleansing balm to try as well

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    Replies
    1. I think it would be a waste of your regular cleanser to use it as a makeup remover! And chances are... it wouldn't work that well!
      From personal experience, Clinique's Take The Day Off balm works the. best. I've tried milks, micellar waters, oils... and the only thing that effectively removed my makeup quickly was that one. Nothing else manages to get everything off in one go without me having to rub my face like a kitchen counter.

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    2. I wear make up every single day, without fail, and I always double cleanse using proper cleansers twice. I have several so I can switch them up and I never have a problem removing all of my make up. I love Una Brennan's Vit C cleansing oil £10.99 for a bottle that lasts ages, Body shops camomille cleansing butter £12, Vit E hot cloth cleanser from Super drug £5 and I've recently bought a couple of new ones to try, No7 cleansing balm £9.50 and Tesco own brand creamy cleanser £2!! None of these are expensive and can be mixed up depending on your mood or skins needs and all will remove make up easily if put onto dry skin and massaged in well before removing with a clean flannel.

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    3. I use the body shop camomile butter and can't live without it. Id love emma hardie but its not in my price range. Micellar water for me is just a make up remover

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    4. Is the Clinique Take The Day off bal suitable for oily,combination skins do you think?

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  7. Hi Caroline,

    What are your thoughts on alternative products containing micellar water like La Roche Posay Rosaliac Micellar make up removal gel?

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  8. I use a micellar water as a make up remover before doing a proper balm cleanse...is that okay?

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  9. Micellar waters make a fabulous brush cleaner though- I put it in a spray bottle & use it to spot clean my brushes.

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    Replies
    1. That's a good idea!!! I'm gonna try it.

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    2. My god, never wld've thought of tht! Thts an excellent idea!

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    3. I do that too! If you buy one with alcohol in it (that I wouldn't want to use on my skin) it acts as a disinfectant as well as removing the make up from your brushes

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    4. I just buy what ever is on offer & add some tea tree. I don't use it on my face either, just on my brushes. So easy to spot clean them

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  10. I use mine purely as a makeup remover followed by a second foaming cleanser. A famous Korean makeup artist recently did a segment on a network television beauty show called Get It Beauty where she used a cleansing water, then an oil-based cleanser, and finished washing off the oil-based cleanser with another round of micellar water - no water. What say you Caroline?

    http://nonsonoquitter.blogspot.com

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  11. I always think that they are quicker, but actually I realise what I mean is that they can be more convenient. When you can't be arsed to get to the sink! Ha. Which is me, at the moment, a lot of the time. Caroline you would KILL me if you saw what I used to "cleanse" with last night whilst breastfeeding the baby. I'm literally chortling thinking about telling you!

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    Replies
    1. Haha! Baby oil?

      Alina
      www.eclecticalu.blogspot.com

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    2. Isn't about time for the two of you to do a video?

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  12. You're spot on about using several cotton pads just to take makeup off and both sides. Is Marie Claire having a laugh?!

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  13. I use micellar waters as an eye makeup remover, as I've found that even 'non-oily' removers leave a film in my eyes. As I wear contacts, that's not good! Occasionally I will take another pad and do my whole face, but I don't wear much face makeup anyway.

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    Replies
    1. Me too. Bioderma is the most effective eye make-up remover I have ever found. I use it for that and then a quick swipe all round to remove the first layer of face make-up before balm or milk cleanser.

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  14. I'll use micellar water if I'm wearing really heavy make up (especially eye make up) to get things started and lift the top layer off as it were before going in for a full cleanse. Would only use it on its own if I was in the same situation where I'd need to use wipes.

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    Replies
    1. ^This. Soaking cotton pads in micellar water and letting them sit on my closed eyes for a couple of minutes to start dissolving the makeup is a lot kinder to my skin than all the rubbing that a balm/oil cleanser needs when I've got heavy duty eye makeup on!
      ~El

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    2. Agree - especially if wearing a lipstick likely to stain my flannel. Other than that, I have a bottle on my dressing table to correct mistakes.

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    4. I'm realy not fussed about staining flannels they are so cheap and have loads of them

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  15. Hi Caroline,

    What are your thoughts on alternative products containing micellar water like La Roche Posay Rosaliac Micellar make up removal gel?

    ReplyDelete
  16. I've just gotten into Mircellar water. I like to use it to remove my eye makeup and any traces that my cleanser didn't cover. I couldn't imagine using them by itself.

    - Patricia
    thesundayusual.blogspot.com

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  17. I have to say that finding your blog has been one of the best discoveries of my life. Lol I know that sounds dramatic but as someone who's always been completely and utterly obsessed with skincare it's been difficult to accurately navigate the large array of options available. And thanks to your blog that is no longer the case. You make everything simple to understand. Though I have to say as an American it took me about a month to figure out what you meant by "flannels" since over here that's a type of clothing. Lol
    I do have a question though; I had been dying to try Luna by Sunday Riley for months and I almost didn't purchase it after reading the reviews on beautypedia. They gave it a pretty terrible review. Thankfully though I read your log post about and I decided to try it and decide for myself. I have to say I absolutely love it. Definitely a new Holy Grail product. So I guess my question is; why do you think beautypedia gave it such a terrible review? Were they just being overly picky? I find that though usually pretty accurate they can sometimes be just a tad bit judgmental lol. Anyways hope you can answer my question and that this isn't too long! Lol
    Btw: never stop what you do. It's greatly appreciated *bows to your greatness* lol

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    Replies
    1. Luna is amazing! It does miracles overnight, Beautypedia are just jealous. (joking!... kinda)

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    2. lol you might be right! Cause yes, Luna is amazing.

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    3. Although beautypedia is really informative, I feel like they use pretty outdated evidence to back their claims. ie the whole debacle about fragrance & certain oils. It's frustrating because their ingredient list is often comprehensive & useful. Moreover, I disagree with beautypedia's endorsement of mineral oil (like CH).

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    4. I find it pretty hard to fully trust any website reviewing beauty items when they literally sell their own brand of beauty items. Can't tell you how many times I've looked up an item and they go "oh no this serum is rubbish, too many sensitising ingredients. Here, buy this Paula's Choice serum instead!"

      Even if their critique was solid, that cringe-worthy plug makes me leery.

      Delete
  18. I only used it when I go to bed to drunk to drag myself back to the sink. I thought that was why we invented them, for those nights when we go too heavy on the vino.

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  19. Good post! Thought it was just me that had to scrub and scrub when using micellar water and then still not feel very clean. It's totes handy though for emergencies - I really like the one I have (Decleor soothing) though.

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  20. Totes agree with you Caroline.

    Just before reading your blog post, this GTG article had also dropped into my inbox. I'll just leave the link here (runs and hides)

    http://www.getthegloss.com/article/how-the-derms-do-it-4-expert-dermatologists-on-their-daily-skincare-routines?utm_source=Get+the+Gloss+weekly&utm_campaign=e72ddabe43-Sunday+30th+August+2015&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_e28c38ed98-e72ddabe43-87557401

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    Replies
    1. Agreed. I find it very irritating when company-sponsored/hired doctors/models/other people just recommend their employer's products (unlike CH, who's honest!)

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    2. It's as believable as models who say they eat Chocolate and Macdonalds everyday and only use soap and water....

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  21. Bah. I never read mags like Marie Claire anyway . Pfft.

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  22. Read an article yesterday in US Glamour about journo that switched from using wipes to micellar. As her every day cleansing routine. I cried to myself on the inside. I'm truly horrified. And that's from someone that uses micellar water on a daily basis at work. I used Bioderma on my face once. I flared up with burning, red skin. I'll never use it again. In fact, I believe that's the one and only time I've ever used a micellar on my own face. I don't think a quick swizzle of a cream cleanser and a rinse is much more time consuming than trying to get a face full of makeup off with wipes or micellar... #justsaying

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  23. Suffering from chronic eczema, my dermatologist told me to cleanse with Bioderma micellar water only. I'm allergic to most products and especially to the hard water where I live. I can rarely wear make up due to the eczema so don't need to do a thorough cleanse, when I do I use the Aurelia cream cleanser and gently wipe off with a damp cloth. I miss washing my face though. I've often thought about asking you what else I can do to cleanse properly, any suggestions @caroline.hirons?

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  24. I'm more worried about the cotton wool pads, they freak me out, found what looked like a wood chip in one, is it just me or are there any pads out there that are gentle on the skin?

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    1. I use the square ones from the Waitrose baby section. They are really soft.

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    2. Waitrose also has an organic range. The round ones are brilliant.

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    3. Second this rec. I'm using some Irish breeze ones at the moment which are thin and naff and more expensive for fewer pads than the waitrose ones and I cannot wait to go back. They are a lovely size and weight as well as being soft.

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    4. Shiseido have beautiful cotton wool pads, but they aren't available in the UK :( (just Canada + US, don't know about Asia) You can go to a counter and ask though, last time the lady gave me all the pads she had left lol.

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    5. ^Yes, Shiseido's cotton pads are amazing. Those in Asia can also look at Cle de Peau (luxe!) or Kose.

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    6. Thanks I'll try and get hold of some :)

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  25. Thank you so much for just another useful article, Caroline! I personally hate cotton pads, using million of them to get your make-up off - a flannel is so much quickier and more gentle!

    http://againstandforward.blogspot.com

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  26. Just a big request: please-please name some more second/a.m. cleansers for us! I watched your video many times, but most of those products are really hard to get!

    http://againstandforward.blogspot.com

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  27. I love micellar waters as a quick win for removing make up but i use them alongside other products. Use a toner after one and you'd be surprised how much make up is still left inside your pores.

    Chelsea
    Chelseapotter.co.uk

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  28. I agree, I don't use micellar waters and then skip cleanser! I use them to remove my makeup and that's just it, then I move on to cleanser but I usually use cleansing oils so I guess it's alright! xx

    www.angerawrs.co.uk

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  29. A micelle (/maɪˈsɛl/) or micella (/maɪˈsɛlə/) (plural micelles or micellae, respectively) is an aggregate of surfactant molecules dispersed in a liquid colloid. (Cit. Wikipedia)
    Surfactants may act as detergents and foaming agents, so saying that micellar waters are "soap free" is just non sense in the first place.

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  30. Completely agree with you! Micellar water is definitely not a substitute for makeup cleansers, unless we're talking about a situation where micellar water is all I've got at hand.
    I do like using micellar waters, and I like how mild they are on the skin compared to cleansers, but I'd choose cleansers over micellar water anyday.
    Much love xo
    stainedvanity.wordpress.com

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  31. Thank you for the clarification, Caroline. I've been using micellar water as an extra step in my routine, after cleansing, to make sure the last traces of makeup are removed. Maybe I need to cut back on it. Mine doesn't contain any fragrance and it doesn't irritate me however after reading this post, I think I might reserve it for more urgent occasions.

    Have a good evening!

    MY LATEST POST
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  32. I use it in the morning sometimes because most of cleansers+water make my skin feel uncomfortable. I find that there are barely any recommendation for acne prone skin. All these lovely balms and oils have comedogenic ingredients, alcohol or there are these harsh SLS loaded cleansers. I have very hard water and it makes my skin feel really dry (my skin is more oily wiht soft water).

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  33. I use it in the morning sometimes because most of cleansers+water make my skin feel uncomfortable. I find that there are barely any recommendation for acne prone skin. All these lovely balms and oils have comedogenic ingredients, alcohol or there are these harsh SLS loaded cleansers. I have very hard water and it makes my skin feel really dry (my skin is more oily wiht soft water).

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    Replies
    1. You can try Sunday Riley's Ceramic slip (reviewed here before) or Kate Somerville's Gentle Daily Wash - both are great for oily skins & sulphate free.

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    2. The REN clay cleanser (reviewed previously by Caroline) is great for oily skin, non-drying too

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  34. What about using it as a make-up remover prior to doing a 'proper' cleanse? Or should I be 'proper' cleansing two/ three times?

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    Replies
    1. You can use it as a makeup remover every now and then. This doesn't replace your 'oily' makeup remover. Skin cleanser comes after makeup removal.

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  35. I too read the said article. I thought "craziness". Good skin care starts with a proper cleanse. I have micellar water for emergency use. I think I've used it once.So happy you're of the same train of thought.

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  36. Thank you for this - I hate misleading magazine articles.

    Rosy | sparklesoflight76.blogspot.co.uk

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  37. I use my clarins micellar water in the morning when I have no
    Makeup on insted of water, would this be okay instead of proper cleansing

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  38. I jumped on the micellar water bandwagon a few months ago when it was all the craze - did absolutely nothing for my skin. I don't wear a lot of make-up anyway, so thought it would be the "easy" option, it left my skin yucky. My chin and nose (congested areas for me) were really rough feeling, and my skin was definitely in need of a thorough, proper cleaning after just a couple of days use. I do have the bioderma one and I use this after working out - I am a Personal Trainer so don't have make-up on but as I am constantly exercising and with clients I use it to quickly wipe over my face during the day and then spray something moisturising on over my skin afterwards, just to freshen up really (it is impractical for me to cleanse my skin fully 5 or 6 times a day). My evening routine is then a proper cleanse job with oils/balm etc and I use a light cleanser in the mornings as I don't think the micellar water is even good enough for a morning cleanse really.

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  39. I agree with most of the above; I have bottle of Bioderma and just use it when I am experimenting with eye makeup or to remove eye make up if I have been wearing more than normal (nights out etc.). I would always use a proper cleanser afterwards though, no matter how tired I am or how late it is, once you've got into it, proper cleansing us a hard habit to break!

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  40. I tried the bioderma micellar water for sensite skin and make my skin burn. Tried another brand and no no. Give it up. Love gel cleansing under water , balms and creams.

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  41. I can't agree more. Micellar water is a better option than a cleansing wipe for a lazy night for me, but I do find that in the end it takes longer than if I use a bit of coconut oil and take it off with a flannel.

    Inma x
    sunshineandglow.blogspot.com

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  42. Kate Somerville makes a cleanser that can be tissued off (kateceuticals moisture milk cleanser $58- for 5 oz.) for when you don't have access to water, then you could use a gentle toner to make sure it's all off and acid tone after. I am wondering Caroline, if you approve of this method and the cleanser?

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  43. "'Plus, it's free of soap, fragrance, alcohol, and other abrasive chemicals that can wreak havoc on your complexion daily.'"

    Such bollocks. Don't take your skincare advice from a magazine advertorial!

    If you think of 'soap' as a surfactant -- let's face it, no one uses bar or liquid soap in a cleanser these days -- then micellar waters OF COURSE contain 'soap'. How do they think micelles form? A micelle is essentially oil surrounded by surfactant molecules, suspended in water. Face has oil on it, but water won't shift it. Enter surfactant that allows water and oil to mix, lifting off the oil and makeup/dust/whatever from your skin. This is how micellar waters work. No 'soap' no micellar water.

    Plenty of micellar waters contain alcohol. Plenty contain fragrance and a cotton pad is abrasive enough that can irritate plenty of folks' skin.

    I don't think micellar waters are the divil at all but I really don't like misinformation. I think that with cleansers the best kind are the most inoffensive to the skin while being good at dissolving makeup. This is why oils are great. A cleanser is on the skin for so little time that nothing in it will have time to absorb into the skin, but they can be drying and irritating, e.g. heavy on surfactants (bye bye lipid barrier) or crap like St. Ive's apricot kernel bits (hello torn-up skin).

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  44. From testing ten for my blog (onwrinklesandrosacea), micellar cleansing waters seem to fall into two groups: those with stronger or harsher formulations ('soapy' non ionic detergents/ drying alcohol/ fragrance) and those with weaker or gentler formulations (non-foaming emulsifiers/ alcohol free/ fragrance free). The non foaming emulsifiers include polysorbate 20, PEG-40 hydrogenated castor oil, PEG-6 caprylic/ capric glycerides: these often have additional emollient or humectant properties. L'Oreal's brands - eg. Garnier, Vichy, La Roche-Posay - fall into the 'soapy' category and absolutely are chemical soups.

    Not everyone wears make up, not everyone can tolerate hard tap water, not everyone can tolerate the essential oils most plant oil/ balm cleansers are loaded with, not everyone can tolerate a terry cotton flannel. Please everyone let's not dismiss or forget those of us with the hypersensitive skin of vascular rosacea, atopic eczema or other dermatitis. Truly gentle micellar cleansing waters are a godsend for some of us, personally I can use an oil-based cleanser with water and a muslin cloth most days but my rosacea is fairly mild and my eczema is inactive. For morning cleanses or whenever my skin is throwing a tantrum a couple of cotton pads drenched in Nivea's, Simple's, Bioderma's or REN's micellar water is much less abrasive than the alternatives. Flushes don't lie! ;)

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    Replies
    1. So agree with you. I have severe eczema and most products don't work for me. Furthermore I am allergic to the very hard water where I live, so my dermatologist recommended gentle cleansing with the Bioderma micellar water and this works for me. As I don't wear makeup and live in the country then a deep cleanse is not required, but I do miss that clean feeling from washing with a cream and a flannel (too abrasive most times).

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  45. I only use my bioderma for removing makeup, especially on my eyes. My eyes are sensitive and I have yet to find a cleanser that doesn't irritate them or leave a slight film on the lashes. I wear contacts so that is very important to me...
    But I love it for removing makeup, but I could not imagine using it as a cleanser except for emergencies (if I was kidnapped or stranded on an island as an example) ;)

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  46. I would use Micellar water on a plane or if I'm in a place where there is no available clean water. Otherwise, I would double cleanse.

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  47. I don't just use Micellar to clean my face, I always use a wash and a scrub. But after a wash and scrub the Micellar water will stick pick up dirt. So I don't see why I wouldn't use it regularly.

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  48. I definitely agree with that washing (or cleansing for that matter) your face should not be a quick step. It's really important to get perfectly clean skin before applying any other product and, of course, going to bed. But I actually have used Bioderma's micellar water as my only cleansing product, not because it's quick, since I use several cotton pads and take enough time to cleanse properly, but because I have extremely dry and sensitive skin, and double or triple cleansing with different products plus rinsing with tap water makes my skin condition even worse. I been using micellar water only and not rinsing during six months and my skin is in its best shape.

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  49. I use Garnier micellar water. It is gentle on my sensitive skin and I enjoy using it. Though I use it as an initial step to remove make up and any dirt in my face before I use a proper cleanser to wash my face. I just can't left out washing my face from my usual skincare routine because if I don't do that, my skin doesn't feel clean at all. I also don't understand how people say it's quicker because it's definitely not. Hahaha.

    ReplyDelete

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