Micellar Water: what it is, what it is for and comparing brands

To throw the first stone who never came home exhausted and ended up sleeping with makeup, right? Despite being common, this habit is not cool.

Yes, we know that removing makeup is not as much of a fun task as putting on makeup … Even so, it is very important to keep our skin healthy!

Okay, but here comes the question: what to use to make up the face? Well, the “menu” of options is extensive. You can use make-up removers in the form of cream, oil, biphasic, oil free , in handkerchief and many other types.

The cosmetic industry is evolving more and more and this is great because, in this way, we always have many alternatives and products available on the market. We can test and vary until we find the one that best fits our needs.

It was with this evolution that another method for removing makeup came up: micellar water. It became a fever and became part of the routine of many people. But, what is it and how does it act? Calm down, we’ll explain!


What is micellar water and where does it come from?

Micellar water may have boomed recently, but don’t think it is a new alternative, no! Long before arriving in Brazil, it was already a success and a fever in Europe, mainly in France.

Your formula is already very old, you know? Our team carried out a research on its origin and two divergent dates were found. Amazing, but there are sources dating back to 1913! They point to a study carried out at the University of Bristol as responsible for its creation.

However, there are also sources who claim that the formula, in fact, was authored by the French, more specifically the Parisians, in the year 1990.

Well, regardless of which one is correct, the fact is that Europeans are already very familiar with this product.

It may have taken him a long time to get to Tupiniquin lands, but he sure is here to stay! Nowadays it occupies space in the necessities of many people here.

There is an explanation for this product to be gaining more and more prominence in the routine of Brazilian women: it is that because it looks like water, it does not contain oil. And since most skins here have a more oily feature, it didn’t take long for micellar water to take over the shelves.

But, ok, what exactly is it and why is it so successful? Briefly, it is a type of dermocosmetic used to tone the skin, in addition to removing makeup and other types of dirt . That is, it is a cleaning solution.

Composed of molecules soluble in water and oil, the term “micellar” comes from micelles, which are the particles created from these soluble molecules. Micelles have both polar (water-compatible) and non-polar (non-water-compatible) characteristics.

And therein lies the big secret: it makes them real magnets of dirt! The nonpolar characteristic of the product is responsible for eliminating residues (such as makeup, fat and sweat).

Its polar characteristic, on the other hand, makes the skin feel really pleasant and not greasy, as it removes traces of nonpolar molecules.

The result? Super clean skin, as it should be! Ah, another super cool point is that it still respects the physiological balance of our skin, without changing the pH. Therefore, those with sensitive skin can use it without fear. Complete package!

What is it for?

She does a lot more than just remove her makeup, see? Micellar water is in the group of multifunctional cosmetics, that is, those that have more than one function.

This type of product has become increasingly common, because after all, it saves space and time. Wonderful!

But now how about we explain each of its uses? Just look:


Yes, you can use your micellar water as a tonic! It has agents that exert a toning action. Therefore, it rebalances the skin and helps to make it much more beautiful and healthy!


When you have just done that aesthetic procedure, like peeling, micellar water can also help!

This type of treatment makes the skin super sensitive and irritated, right? Micellar water will act as a calming agent, minimizing those uncomfortable sensations that arise after the procedure.

Just be sure to ask the dermatologist or beautician first if they recommend using the product after your aesthetic treatment, regardless of what it is, see? Micellar water is a great skin soothing agent, but it is always important to follow a professional’s guidance.

Make-up remover

This is the most famous function of micellar water. It demaquila the skin (removes the dirt) and removes the makeup, but unlike other make-up removers, it leaves the skin healthy and contributes to its renewal.

Ah, but we need to mention an important detail: as your goal is a lighter cleaning, don’t think it works very well to use it to remove that heavy, waterproof make-up. In fact, it is great for removing the smoother, day-to-day makeup.

That super hard-to-get lipstick is going to stay there with the micellar water. She is even able to remove it, but it will take effort. You will spend a lot of product, because it will be necessary to spend several times. And maybe you can still make your skin irritated by having to rub the cotton.

So, leave to use micellar water to remove even the lightest and daily makeup. It will serve as a gentle option, for you to use especially when your skin is more sensitive.

Oil remover

You washed your face thoroughly before leaving the house, but in the middle of the day there is that glow of oily skin.

Carrying the micellar water in the bag can help you, because it will remove sebum, control oiliness during the day and leave the skin with a more matte appearance.

Ah, it can also be used before you put on makeup. After all, oiliness gets in the way a lot at this time, right? It makes the make-up melt, it doesn’t stick right to the skin… If you spend it in the morning before all this, it is possible that this habit will help you to keep the makeup for longer!

The benefits

The great advantage of micellar waters, as we have already said, is that they promote light cleaning, as they are free of alcohol, parabens or dyes.

Therefore, the eye area and the area close to the mouth will not suffer from the product, even though they are more sensitive parts.

Micellar waters also do not usually leave the skin irritated, oily or sticky, as they do not contain oil. This is great for those with acne-prone skin!

Some manufacturers even include active ingredients that are beneficial for the skin.

Moisturizing, calming agents, botanical extracts and zinc (very good for preventing pimples) are some examples.

It is nice to evaluate several options, so you find out which one is best for you and which brand best suits your skin’s needs.

In addition, micellar water is an alternative known and wanted for being a product with multiple functions.

It can be used on many occasions, not just to take off your makeup!

For this reason, it is still considered a practical, intelligent and functional product: a package, several functions. Who doesn’t?

It not only demaquila, but also purifies, rebalances, removes traces of dirt accumulated in the pores and softens its appearance.

Ah! And because it does not leave product residues on the skin, unlike other types of make-up remover, it does not need to be rinsed.

Just go through and follow the other steps of your routine, which also saves time, right?

Micellar water or make-up remover?

What is the difference between micelle technology and ordinary makeup remover? Well, to answer this question we can list some factors:

  • While most micellar water formulas are oil-free, some types of make-up removers are more oily, which does not serve very well for acne-prone skin.
  • Sensitive skin may suffer more with some types of makeup remover. Those that contain alcohol, for example, are products that can end up irritating this type of skin, while micellar water provides a much smoother and less aggressive cleansing.
  • Common make-up removers do not have a tonic function, so this means one more product for you to carry in your bag.
  • Micellar water is able to remove all kinds of dirt, such as accumulations of pollution and excess sebum. Common make-up removers only remove makeup.

Therefore, the conclusion is that micellar water is great for those with sensitive and acne-prone skin, as well as very good for those in a hurry and little patience. Because of the multiple functions and its lightness, it ends up being much more practical and has much less risk of causing allergies.

On the other hand, it is interesting to have another type of makeup remover with more efficient cleaning power, because as you already know, micellar water does not have the capacity to remove heavy makeup. That Saturday night make-up will ask for a more powerful remover.

Are thermal water and micellar water the same thing?

No! The two act very well when it comes to keeping the skin beautiful, however, they have different functions and characteristics. Many people confuse these two types of cosmetics, after all, both have the word “water” in the name.

Another point in common is that, visibly, they are exactly the same: they have a watery appearance and transparent color, just like water. It is only by analyzing more deeply that the divergences appear.

We have already talked about the characteristics of micellar water, so we will explain more about thermal water. It is removed from rocks and hot springs, so it is naturally enriched with super beneficial minerals for the health of our skin, such as manganese, magnesium and zinc.

The thermal water also has many other benefits, as it acts by moisturizing, healing and calming the skin. Oh, and we must not forget its antioxidant action, very good to help prevent premature aging!

Therefore, it is highly recommended for those who have irritated skin and need a calming action. It serves as a primer, as it helps to fix the makeup, besides being used to relieve the dryness of the skin.

But, anyway, the main difference between the two is that, while the micellar water cleans and demaquila the skin, the thermal water does not do the same thing. It does not have the cleaning function, in addition to being sold in spray form (different from micellar water).

Oh, and you don’t have to choose between micellar water and thermal water: one doesn’t interfere with the other. Wonderful, right?

How to use

As you already know, micellar water has several uses. For all of them, the way of using it is basically the same, with few differences. What really changes is the time and order of application.

Tonic or pre-makeup

When you are going to use the product to tone or prepare your skin, it is interesting to use it in the morning, after washing your face. Just look:

  1. Wash your face with a soap specific to your skin type;
  2. After it is very dry, put some of the micellar solution on a cotton pad. It is interesting to use a disc-shaped cotton, because it is generally thinner and absorbs less product, consequently causing less waste;
  3. Pass the cotton gently over the face, covering all areas: close to the eyes and mouth, on the cheeks, forehead and neck. There is no need to rinse;
  4. Wait a few minutes for the skin to absorb the product and then continue with your care routine. Don’t forget the sunscreen!

To remove makeup

Do not forget that if you are using makeup that is more difficult to remove, it is interesting to use another type of make-up remover. You can mix between it and the micellar water, inclusive.

If you have waterproof mascara, for example, use a more powerful makeup remover in the eye area and apply the micellar solution to other areas of the face.

  1. Soak a cotton pad with micellar water;
  2. Apply it all over the face, including the hairline and the corners;
  3. If necessary, use one more cotton. It is important that it comes out clean, because only then are you sure you have removed all the makeup from your skin. It is possible to choose not to rinse, because the micellar water does not need to be rinsed;
  4. Finish with a moisturizing cream suitable for your skin type or another product of your night routine.

What happens if I sleep with makeup on?

Now a pause on the topic “micellar water” to talk about this habit so important that it is taking off your makeup, right?

Removing the skin is a basic step for those who want it to remain beautiful for much longer. Still doubt?

Look what sleeping with makeup can cause:

  • Acne : When the makeup stays on the skin for a long time, it can clog the pores. As a consequence, the dreaded blackheads and pimples appear;
  • Early aging : Did you know that it is during the night that the skin is renewed? When you are sleeping with makeup on, this renewal process is hampered. Thus, over time it loses its elasticity and accumulates wrinkles;
  • Allergies : As the face is one of the parts of our body that has the most sensitive skin, staying so long with the products can be very harmful and end up causing irritations;
  • Oiliness : When you don’t clean your skin properly , it tends to get more oily. And the more you don’t clean your skin, the more oil it accumulates. Nobody deserves to keep their face shining;
  • Dark circles : The eyes also suffer from all this. With the accumulation of dirt, they can become irritated and, consequently, you will wake up with dark circles.

Ufa! How much, right? As nobody wants these “gifts” not pleasant, nothing to fool around. Removing the make-up is essential and should not be left until the next day. Combined?


But back to micellar water: you already know a lot of things about this type of product, so it’s time to also understand what it is made of, right?

Of course, the list of ingredients will vary between brands, but it is possible to say that some of them are standard for all options, that is, they are the essence of micellar waters. We can mention:

  • Water;
  • Solubilizer (surfactant) – which promotes cleaning;
  • Glycerol – which age as an umectant;
  • Preservatives

It is possible to observe the composition of each option, to stay on top of the other substances included by the brands in their products. They may contain a number of other cool skin ingredients, but that varies.

Okay, but what is the role of these standard ingredients and what are they? Ready for a quick (and very basic) chemistry lesson?


Surfactants are present in various cleaning products (not just cosmetics!). Detergents, bleaches, shampoos, soaps and facial cleansing gels fit into this list, which is much bigger than these five examples, by the way.

But what are these surfactants? Well, a micelle is a ball of surfactant molecules. These molecules have the exterior with a hydrophilic characteristic (that is, it has an affinity for water) while its interior has a lipophilic characteristic (which has an affinity for oil and fat).

As one of the ingredients of the micellar solution is water and these molecules have their exterior compatible with it, it is possible to say that the product is a compound of surfactant molecules wrapped in water.

You can understand the presence of surfactants being common in detergents, shampoos and micellar waters with an explanation: the shampoo removes oil from the hair, just as the detergent removes grease from dishes and micellar water removes sebum and other dirt from the skin.

Okay, so does it mean that, in a more simplified language, micellar water is soapy water? Almost!

It is necessary to pay attention to the fact that not all surfactants are the same. If you wash your face with the same soap that washes your clothes, for example, the result will be quite different from what you would have if you used micellar water.

Therefore, what changes between these products are the types of surfactant present in each one of them. In shampoos, we usually see in the component list Sodium Laureth Sulfate , Sodium Lauryl Sulfate and Cocamidopropyl Betaine .

In micellar waters, on the other hand, it is more common to find the disodium Cocoamphodiacetate , Hexylene Glycol , PEG-6 Caprylic and Poloxamer 184 surfactants .

These cosmetics contain surfactants that are gentle enough to not hurt, dry out, or irritate your skin. That is why they are so beneficial and different from other products.

Finally, it is possible to say that the surfactant is responsible for the characteristic of cleaning micellar waters.


Well, but what about glycerol, what does it do? It helps to promote makeup solubility in the surfactant present in micellar water.

In addition, as you already know, it is a humectant, as it has the ability to retain water from the environment and attract it to the skin, keeping it soft and hydrated!

Price and where to buy

Like the composition, the price will change according to the brand. There are several on the market and, therefore, the same can be said of prices: there are alternatives for all tastes – and pockets.

It is possible to find micellar waters in the range of R $ 25 and R $ 30, while we see some brands in the range of R $ 70 and R $ 80.

Often the most expensive ones are usually imported and the cheapest national ones, however, this is not a rule, see?

Ah, it is possible to find the best values ​​for micellar water and other cosmetics in our price comparator, Consulta Remédios ! You can save money and still find pharmacies that deliver to your region. Cool huh?

Comparison of brands: what is the best micellar water?

Only you can answer that question. After all, everything will depend on the characteristics of your skin. A brand may be super cool for your friend, but not for you. So it is important to read the labels well before buying.

Well, now that you know exactly how it works and in what situations to use micellar water, it’s time to choose which is best for you!

Today there are several brands on the market. Before you buy, you need to answer a few questions: what are your goals with micellar water? What is your skin type? How much makeup do you wear?

Our team has already tested some brands, so let’s list them here and share the experience we had to help you understand the characteristics of each one!

1. Micellar Water Needs

Needs micellar water promises to be effective for all skin types. It is not tested on animals, does not contain alcohol and is tested both dermato and ophthalmologically.

It is only sold in 200mL versions and has no other variations. Displays its functions right on the label:

  • Clean;
  • Demaquila;
  • Purifies;
  • Tones;
  • Balances;
  • Softens.


It does not leave a sticky appearance on the skin, but it is also not possible to feel that impression of clean, soft skin that micellar waters usually leave.


Here, it is practically non-existent! Super discreet and smooth, like L’Oréal’s. It is characteristic of cleansing products for the skin, which have a softer smell. This is a positive point for those who do not like strong smells, right?


It is functional, just like La Roche’s, as it has a hole that allows you to dose the amount of product in the cotton, avoiding waste. The format is even similar to that of La Roche: rounded.


The price is affordable, like that of other national brands: on average R $ 18 *. So it can be an alternative when you can’t spend that much but still want to take care of your skin!

* The price survey was carried out through Consulta Remédios on 10/9/2018. Values ​​may change.


In terms of efficiency, the situation is the same. Cleaning requires effort, even for the softest make-up. She does remove the make, but wait to spend more cottons than normal and don’t even try with waterproof products.

It does not make the skin as hot as other micellar water options. During the test, it was not possible to feel the skin purified, smoothed, toned and balanced as the brand promises.

In summary, it is a more affordable micellar water, but it does not have the same efficiency as the other tested options.

2. Effaclar Ultra La Roche-Posay

This version of La Roche micellar water is targeted at oily skin and is available in 100mL or 200mL packaging. There is also the “traditional” option, suitable for sensitive skin .

Our team tested the thought for oily skins (Ultra version), which has a blue packaging. Its composition includes thermal water from La Roche , which is very interesting since it ends up uniting the benefits of both products.


It has a slightly stickier texture than L’Oréal, for example. With L’Oréal, we don’t feel any “slippery” feeling, unlike La Roche. Sure, this can change from skin to skin, but it doesn’t make much sense for an oily skin product to leave that feeling, right?


A very negative point of this micellar water is the smell. It is very strong and very striking and, as much as it smells good, it exceeds the acceptable count for a skin product. It ends up getting a little sickening.


La Roche packaging wins over product savings. The hole is not as big as L’Oréal’s, so you can more accurately measure the amount of micellar solution you want to pour into the cotton.

Regarding the design, it is very beautiful! The fact that one is transparent (for sensitive skin) and the other is blue (for oily skin) facilitates the recognition of each one and prevents people from confusing one version with another.

Ah, one point is important to comment: the version for oily skins has zinc in its composition, so it promises to control oiliness throughout the day. She even keeps her promise, but don’t expect a miracle in that regard.


The price is a little bit higher. According to research carried out at Consulta Remédios, the 100mL version, for example, has a value between R $ 28.00 and R $ 35.00 *.

* The price survey was carried out through Consulta Remédios on 08/09/2018. Values ​​may change.


When it comes to removing make-up, that is, efficiency, Effaclar Ultra gets a good note: it has enough capacity to remove makeup. You can even remove waterproof products more easily than L’Oréal.

Despite leaving a slightly sticky appearance on the skin, it passes after a while and this micellar water leaves a super delicious feeling! Do you know that feeling of fresh, well-groomed and clean skin? Then!

With that, we conclude that it is a good option for those looking for a micellar water with the removal power a little more similar to other make-up removers. However, if you are not a fan of very strong smells, don’t bet on it.

3. L’Oréal Paris Micellar Water

L’Oréal’s micellar water is one of the most famous in the country. On the label, it lists its five functions:

  • Clean;
  • Demaquila;
  • Purifies;
  • Softens;
  • Rebalance.

Liquid, it is available in packs of 100mL , 200mL and 400mL . Ah, it is also sold in the form of a handkerchief , which comes in a pack of 25 units.


Its texture is very liquid and, as it has no oil in its composition, it is not harmful for oily skin. Our team tested the product on an acne-prone skin and it proved beneficial, not increasing the appearance of pimples at all after continuous use.


The smell is practically non-existent, which is great. After all, the intention is to clean the skin, not to perfume. It has that typical smell of skin cleansing products , which is barely noticeable. If you are sick of fragrances, you can bet on this one!


The packaging is similar to L’Oréal’s shampoos in terms of format and its design is nothing new. Although not revolutionary, it is beautiful, transparent and with pink details.

The only thing that can bother you is the size of the hole through which the micellar solution passes: it is too big! This ends up causing us to waste product. When using, you have to be careful not to drop more than necessary on the cotton.


The price is another attraction, as you don’t have to pay that much for it. The value of the product ranges from R $ 20 to R $ 35 * in the 200mL version. The 100mL price ranges from R $ 13 to R $ 21 *, while the 400mL ranges from R $ 29 to R $ 46 *.

* The price survey was carried out through Consulta Remédios on 08/09/2018. Values ​​may change.


But let’s talk about effectiveness! We tested its removal ability with both waterproof makeup and easier to remove makeup.

What was noticed was that it works very well for light make-up. Ordinary mascara, foundation, creamy lipstick and normal eyeliner came off easily.

However, as is typical of micellar waters, the other more resistant makes were annoying to remove. It was not impossible, but it took a little more work. This is not exclusive to the brand, but rather to the micellar waters in general.

It also fulfills what it promises on the packaging: you can really feel that it leaves the skin looking nice and smooth!

The conclusion is that this is a very good product for people with acne and sensitive skin, after all it does not favor the appearance of pimples, does not sting the eye and does not cause any discomfort on the skin.

4. Nivea Micellar Water

Nivea’s micellar water promises to capture even the smallest particles of impurities present in the skin. Its label exhibits the following benefits:

  • Cleans deeply;
  • Demaquila;
  • Purifies;
  • Refreshes;
  • Softens;
  • Moisturizes and soothes the skin.

As there are 6 benefits in a single product, the label also indicates that the cosmetic is a “6 in 1 Cleaning Solution”. Suitable for all skin types, it is found in 200mL packaging.


Its texture is good, leaving the face smooth and with a refreshing sensation. It does not leave the skin with a greasy touch, but like Needs water, it leaves something to be desired in relation to the feeling of clean skin.


The smell of this micellar water is non-existent. That is, if you don’t like strong smells or have any allergies , this will not be a worrying factor!


The product packaging is functional and easy to use. The hole through which the water passes is of an adequate size, avoiding possible waste. The shape is slightly rounded, which makes it easier to pick up with your hands.


The price of the product is close to that of the other national options. The values ​​vary between R $ 25 to R $ 33 *. Considering that the packaging has 200mL, it is in the same cost range as L’Oréal.

* The price survey was carried out through Consulta Remédios on 08/09/2018. Values ​​may change.


Its efficiency is questionable. For cleansing skin without makeup, micellar water works well. When it comes to assisting in the removal of make up, it requires a lot of effort and in fact does not collaborate much. Thus, a more powerful makeup remover is needed for the task.

If you liked the text, then how about giving it 5 stars? Your opinion is always very important! And if you have used any micellar water mentioned in the text or know another one that you also liked, tell us your experience in the comments!

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