It’s been said that back in 1991, tap water in France was filled with so much filth and chemicals that women all over the country just could not bear to wash their faces with it. Enter the micellar water, which Bioderma has claimed as an innovation by them, the revolutionary cleansing product that serves as an alternative to the makeup remover and many other products today.
Despite the long history of this innovation, the product really took off and gained popularity in Singapore in the mid-2010s, quickly ascending celebrities’ and skincare enthusiasts’ must-have lists, achieving “it” product status.
Many still swear by the technology micellar water offers and have kept it as a staple in their beauty routines for years, with recent launches of new variations of the technology proving how it’s truly more than just a fad.
How micellar technology works
With tons of micellar products in the market right now, many of them contain similar active ingredients, but essentially water and one or more surfactants.
The way this works is when enough surfactant is added to water, these molecules convene to form a spherical arrangement of cleansing agents called the micelles. Micelles are complex structures with a hydrophilic head that is water soluble and a lipophilic tail that attracts oil materials and not water. This double affinity present in micellar water allows the attraction of all kinds of impurities (sweat, makeup, impurities from pollution, etc.) and the attachment to the cotton wool.
TLDR: Micellar water contains particles called micelles, with molecular heads adhering to the cotton pad and tails that stick out to grab the nasty gunk off our faces.
When to use a micellar product
Formulated with gentle ingredients that lightly draw out all the dirt and sebum from our pores (just like a magnet!), leaving only natural oil and nutrients in tact, this no-rinse combination is ideal for all skin types.
If you’re looking for a quick no-fuss cleanse before bedtime or just way too busy for the 10-step Korean skin care routine, switch out your usual steps with this one product. Simply soak a cotton ball and wipe it along your face. You’d be amazed at how soft and clean your face feels after!
It’s also a good idea to bring a travel-sized bottle of micellar water along in your bag for days spent on-the-go. Wipe away the accumulated impurities of the day between destinations before reapplying your makeup for your skin to take a breather and to avoid clogged pores. This product is especially great for acne-prone skin!
With the amazing benefits and convenience the micellar technology brings about, it’s no surprise heavyweight brands have tuned in on the trend and advanced their own formulas in new forms!
New micellar water to try
The micellar is not going anywhere and some of our favourite brands have even launched new micellar products. Here are some of the latest launches to check out.
Drunk Elephant E-Rase Milki Micellar Water
Drunk elephant welcomes a brand new member to its parade of skin-loving products: the E-Rase Milki Micellar Water.
Made with ultra-mild micelles, moisturising ceramides, plant oils, and soothing vitamin E, this unique combination produces a milky texture that nourishes the skin while dissolving and lifting away dirt and makeup.
Gentle enough to be used in the most delicate of areas, including the eyes and lips, E-Rase is formulated at pH 5.0 to restore balance and repair irritated and dehydrated skin.
Chock full of antioxidants, this product is 100% free of essential oils, silicones, sulphates, fragrances, and pegs that might harm your protective barrier. Use it anytime between facial cleansing for clean, cool and supple skin!
Drunk Elephant E-Rase Milki Micellar Water retails for S$40 and is now available in selected Sephora outlets and Sephora.sg.
Derma Lab Hydraceutic Micro Micellar Water
Did you know that the Asian skin has naturally thinner stratum corneum (the outermost layer of skin) and hence is more susceptible to skin barrier damage?
The micellar water may have been invented in France but Derma Lab has taken this holy grail of a product and transformed it to better suit the Asian skin, with added benefits!
Formulated with Derma Lab’s very own Derma Mimic Complex, specially designed for sensitive skin, this micellar water contains anti-pollution properties that thoroughly remove microscopic dirt and impurities while keeping your skin hydrated and soft.
Dermatologically tested with a 200-strong scientific research team, the Derma Lab Hydraceutic Micro Micellar Water was developed to strengthen the skin barrier for enhanced protection and to replenish all those good-for-you nutrients.
Exclusively available at all Watsons stores islandwide, in two sizes, 400ml (S$26.90) and 90ml (S$10.90).
Don’t forget these OG favourites
Bioderma’s Micellar Water
This micellar water needs no introduction. A highly-lauded favourite garnering tons of celebrity fans from the likes of Gwyneth Paltrow, Natalie Portman, and Victoria Beckham, over the years, Bioderma has got something for everyone.
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I’ve always felt a deep connection to the LGBTQ+ community and am proud to help support their continued message of positive change and inclusivity. My Pride t-shirt this year features the name of @georgemofficial’s iconic 1990 album, released exactly 30 years ago and used with the blessing of his estate. He was a true icon and the album, his music, and this t-shirt are reminders to always be kind and listen to one another – something I wholeheartedly believe in and a message I live by every day. 25% of all sales of this shirt will go to @aktcharity and its work to combat LGBTQ+ youth homelessness in the UK. kisses xx VB #pride2020
The birth of micellar water started off with Bioderma’s original, Sensibio, in 1991 before the brand launched several other versions specifically formulated for different skin types with Hydrabio, Sébium, and ABCDerm H2O being the three most notable variants. This bears testament to just how serious this French brand can get!
Read reviews of the Bioderma micellar water by the Daily Vanity team to find out which one works best for you.
Garnier Micellar Water
If you’re looking for something strong enough to remove the most stubborn of liquid lipstick or even your waterproof mascara in one swipe, this budget-friendly Garnier’s Micellar Cleansing Water would do just the trick!
No harsh rubbing required for a clean complexion with this alcohol-free product that does not contain parabens, sulphates or fragrances.
innisfree Hydrating Micellar Cleansing Water
With natural green tea extractions stabilised and purified for safe application, this cleanser from innisfree is rich in 16 hydrating amino acids, bringing an addition layer of moisturiser to your skin.
With its gentle formula designed for the most delicate of areas, the innisfree hydrating micellar water with green tea is suitable for all skin types and is sure to leave your skin feeling clean and fresh!
Available at all innisfree outlets islandwide, retailing at S$20 (300ml).
Micellar’s for your hair & body too!
Known for its gentle yet deep cleansing capabilities, micellar technology doesn’t just stop at facial care. In fact, with the scalp having more sebum-producing follicles present to protect the hair, the micro-sized cleansing droplets of micelles are even more needed to clear clogged pores.
The new age of the micellar trend is in a wider range of cleansing products that tap into this technology. We’re seeing more shampoos and body gels that use the micellar technology to offer the cleansing capabilities that you have been according to your facial skin.
Dove Micellar Water Shower Gel
With the coronavirus introducing fervent hand-washing, it’s not unlikely that our skin has been stripped off of its natural moisture. If you’re struggling with dry skin, here’s a product to keep your eyes on.
Dove’s brand new take on the cult-favourite micellar offers two variants of paraben and sulphate-free shower gel – soothing and detoxifying.
The Soothing Micellar Shower Gel is packed with moisturising goodness and infused with a relaxing scent of Lotus Flower to help soothe your mind and body, to get you ready for the busy day ahead. Suitable for daily use for all skin types, especially sensitive skin.
Formulated with Green Tea extract to detoxify the skin, the Detoxifying Micellar Shower Gel is a cooling and gentle cleanser for those who lead more active lifestyles. Be it dead skin cells, chlorine from a post-swim or sunblock, this shower gel will leave your skin feeling squeaky clean.
The Dove Micellar Shower Gel Series is now exclusive available at all Guardian stores. The Soothing Micellar Shower Gel and Detoxifying Micellar Shower Gel retailing at an introductory price of S$8.90 (instead of S$9.90). The products will be available at all Fairprice, Cold Storage, and RedMart stores from 1 August 2020 onwards. And then from 13 August 2020, they will be up for grabs at Watsons outlets.
Pantene Micellar Detox & Scalp
Combining the technology of Micellar and Pantene’s pro-vitamin formula, the Pantene Micellar Detox & Scalp Cleanse series is specially designed to remove dirt and deposits from an oily scalp to restore natural balance, while leaving hair refreshed.
Infused with white charcoal extract and filled with antioxidants and pro-vitamin B5, this set works together silicon-free to strengthen the hair structure and restore shine, all while stimulating natural hair growth.
Retails for S$11.90 and available at all leading supermarkets, drugstores, and at its official store on Shopee.
Redken Clean Maniac Micellar Touch Shampoo
For those who aren’t hesitant about spending a little more on haircare, here’s a totally splurge-worthy Micellar Shampoo by Redken.
Powered by micellar technology and Neofresh Technology (a patented odour neutralising technology that repels unpleasant odour!), the Redken Clean Maniac Micellar Touch Shampoo has a unique formula that provides added UV protection so you can go under the sun without any worries!
Retails for S$49.90 and available at Shopee.
Gentle & Balance Hair Care
Aside from the micellar technology, the Gentle & Balance Hair Care range contains PDO lavender oil (the highest quality lavender oil from Provence, France) which effectively soothes red and irritated scalps.
With natural prebiotics derived from plant sugars to restore the microbiome of your scalp, this product gently cleanses even coloured hair, leaving your tresses shine-free and looking better than ever! An added bonus, this set is also SLS-free (Sodium Lauryl Sulphate-free)!
The shampoo and conditioner are both available in two sizes, 300ml and 500ml, from S$35 to S$55 and are available at all L’Occitane stores.