"Micellar water has become very famous in the U.S., but it's just not good," says Mila Moursi, a Parisian facialist who's now based in Los Angeles and treats the complexions of celebs like Jennifer Aniston. If you gasped, please note that I did the same. "It's supposed to cleanse and tone, but you cannot do it all with micellar water, and it doesn't take the place of a cleanser and a toner."
A quick chemistry refresher on micellar water and how it works. Micelles are oil suspended in water, which act as the surfactant (aka: cleansing agent). Micellar water has molecules that have a hydrophobic (water-fearing) end and a hydrophilic (water-loving) end. This helps to get your complexion clean, because the oil end helps to attract oil and dirt (and leftover makeup) on your complexion and the water-loving end helps to sweep it away.
Traditionally, this step has stood in for face-washing at the sink, but skin pros aren't too sure that's a great idea. Many dermatologists, for example, believe that even though molecular magic is happening within each bottle, micellar water should still be rinsed away to make sure that every bit of dirt and gunk that's been trapped by the formula is ushered off of skin. In addition, leaving a surfactant on the complexion can cause irritation, which can compromise your skin barrier (something you definitely don't want). Le sigh.
So what does this all mean? If you want to use a micellar water for ease and convenience, go for it; however, know that most pros, including Moursi, stand by good old-fashioned soap and water to get your complexion really clean. In fact, Moursi likes to use a cleanser, followed by a toner. But whether you take the more-is-more or less-is-more approach, you're good so long as you wash your face every day.
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