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March 22, 2023

The French have gotten a lot of things right. Bordeaux, baguettes, brie, vacation days—everything seems so luxurious and effortless. Add micellar water to the list. It’s not a new product. It’s a skincare trick that’s over 100 years old. And it works. Over the past few years I have been traveling A LOT, from Bali to Upstate New York, to Australia, Thailand, and so on. As a result, I have been culling down my skincare routine to my core tried and true products. Products that get me through any climate, any season, any hormonal breakdown and any skin issue. Garnier Micellar Water I simply must have on me at all times.

Garnier Micellar Water Is The Best Cleanser (And It’s Available Everywhere)

Good micellar water really cleans your skin. It’s so gentle, but seriously gets everything off. Whether you are wearing a ton of makeup or none at all, whether you have been hiking for hours dripping with sweat, or just got off the subway. The magic of micellar water works.

Micelles are tiny fat molecules that float in water and hold onto the oil, dirt, and makeup on the face. Using a cotton pad is one of the reasons micellar water is so effective. Because cotton is hydrophilic (water-loving) the hydrophilic heads of the solution are attracted to the cotton, leaving the hydrophobic tails to stick up and attract the oil and dirt and makeup when swiped along skin, working almost like a magnet. This is the perfect solution to washing your face quickly, and effectively.

I usually wash my face first with a gentle cleanser. This cleanser may differ from season to season, but I always follow up with a full face swipe of micellar water. Some of you can probably just use micellar water. Personally, I am so acne prone I need to use a cleanser that helps attack this problem as well. But it’s likely not a necessary step for most.

A Bit More History And Science

Dr. Debra Luftman of LuftmanMD in Beverly Hills explains that “the technology of [micellar water] is actually quite old, dating back from research at the University of Bristol in 1913.” The formula was designed to combat the negative effects of France’s hard water supply—it’s essentially water with tiny spheres of oil that trap and remove makeup, oil and impurities from the skin. The rinse-less formula removes makeup, cleanses and tones skin all at once. With a simple swipe of a cleansing pad, the micelle particles in the formula draw out dirt and makeup from the skin. It’s no wonder the water is a makeup artist favorite and has earned cult beauty status, with Bioderma’s micellar water selling one bottle every 3 seconds (you read that right).

It’s Amazing For Travel

While Bioderma is a best selling brand, I usually opt for Garnier’s sensitive skin version of Micellar. It’s widely available in nearly every pharmacy throughout the world. Stuck in a layover in Bangkok? Backpacking through the mountains in Ubud in Bali? Walk into any pharmacy and you will see that pink bottle staring at you from the shelf. It’s easily found in any regional airport pharmacy as well. Which means that you can pick one up after you clear the security line and avoid that silly liquids rule. So for usually no more than $8-$10 you can have a full bottle of a cleanser that gently and thoroughly cleans your skin.

“It’s great for travel when you don’t have access to your full toiletry bag,” says Dr. Luftman. “Considering the fact that it requires absolutely no rinsing and is suited for all skin types—especially super dry, sensitive, and acne-prone skin—the water is a serious game changer.” The cleansing water is so easy to use and surprisingly effective in removing impurities, including makeup, while respecting skin’s balance and it allows you to remain consistent. Consistency and effectiveness in your cleansing routine is key.


Many use micellar water as both makeup remover and cleanser. Gently drag a cotton pad soaked in the cleansing water across your entire face. Repeat movement 2-3 times. Do not rinse. What about stubborn mascara or lots of makeup? You may need a second micellar water soaked pad, or make the second pass your favorite eye makeup remover.

READ THIS NEXT: Do French Women Age More Gracefully? Yes. Here’s why.

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