Suddenly micellar (in French pronounced ‘me-sellaire’) waters are a bit of a trend in Canada. They originated in France and are non-rinse, soap-free cleansing waters that contain micelle molecules. Applied with a cleansing pad, they are terrific at whisking off makeup tout de suite. Some tone as well, and/or boast skin soothing ingredients such as cucumber extract. I started using them recently and find them totally refreshing.
But what are micelles?
To find out more, I consulted Bioderma, a French brand that claims its micellar waters were among the the first to be available at Canadian drugstores (in 2007). It’s the cult favourite brand of these cleansing waters among backstage makeup artists and models, who have to quickly remove makeup between shows. The formulas are designed to cleanse the skin gently and leave it soft and soothed.
‘Micelles are molecules that are made of fatty-acid esters,’ explains Bernard Pochic, Montreal-based national trainer for Bioderma, whose micelles are of natural origin and are extracted from sugar. ‘When you use a cleansing pad, the micelles deploy,’ he says. The composition of the molecules makes them brilliant at trapping and gobbling up makeup, dust and pollution. (I’ve got it: They’re the Swiffer of skin care!)
Isabelle Villeneuve, director of research and development at Laboratoire Dr. Renaud, a spa brand based in Laval, Que., sings the praises of micellars: ‘You don’t need water, so at night they save you time in the cleansing ritual, and they’re very convenient and good for travel.’ And because they don’t need to be rinsed off, they’re well tolerated by sensitive skin that sometimes cannot tolerate even water. Dr. Renaud’s micellar’HydraPure Make-Up Removing, Cleansing and Toning Water’has been part of the brand for 18 years. (Not all brands of these cleansing waters have ‘micellar’ in the name.)
A bonus is that many are fragrance-free, and are designed to remove eye makeup, too, making them ideal for correcting makeup with a cotton swab. But it’s best to read the labels in each case, as each formula is a little different.
Who should use micellar waters?
Are they for everyone? If you have oily skin, a micellar water might not feel like it’s cleansing your skin enough. And they’re not necessarily designed to remove waterproof mascara easily, advises Villeneuve.
But if you think of those nights when you’re really tired and just want to fall into bed without going through your normal nighttime regimen, you might be glad to have a micellar on tap so you can at least easily remove your makeup.
Watch for more micellars coming to department stores and drugstores, formulated to target various skin issues.
This article was originally titled "Help me, Rhonda!" in the May 2013 issue of Best Health. Subscribe today to get the full Best Health experience’and never miss an issue!’and make sure to check out what’s new in the latest issue of Best Health