10 Mistakes To Avoid With Micellar Water

Micellar water is a staple in many skincare routines due to its efficacy in removing makeup, oil, and dirt accumulated on the skin’s surface.

However, as straightforward as it may seem to use, there are common mistakes that make micellar water sabotage your skin instead of supporting it.

One of these incorrect ways to use it is even written on most micellar water bottles – “do not rinse off,” which, sure, don’t do if you want your skin to get congested and break out.

And that’s not even the worst of it.

Therefore, in this article, we will go over the ten mistakes to avoid with micellar water to ensure you get the best out of this skincare essential. 

Mistakes To Avoid When Using Micellar Water

NB: I can show you how to never have acne again. If you have acne and want it gone, read this message.

Overusing Micellar Water

Micellar water, though a staple in many skincare routines, should not be overused as it can lead to several skin issues if not used properly.

Composed of tiny balls of cleansing oil molecules suspended in soft water, micellar water works by attracting dirt and oil, effectively dissolving makeup, dirt, and grime on the skin’s surface.

However, overusing this product, particularly without properly rinsing it off, can actually contribute to pore-clogging over time.

This is because, while micellar water pulls away dirt and excess oil, some of its micelles – the cleansing oil molecules – can remain on the skin if not washed off properly.

These lingering molecules can combine with your skin’s natural oil and dead skin cells and create a recipe for clogged pores and potential breakouts.

Additionally, micellar water is not designed to penetrate deep into the pores where more stubborn impurities can reside; hence a proper cleanse is still necessary.

Therefore, while micellar water can be a practical addition to your skincare routine, it should not substitute a thorough cleansing regimen.

Using Micellar Water In The Morning

Another common mistake many people make is using micellar water as a morning cleanser.

Micellar water is a product that helps remove makeup, oil, and debris that has accumulated on your skin from being exposed to outdoor pollution.

Therefore, using micellar water in the morning after waking up may be unnecessary as your skin has not been exposed to any of these factors during the night.

If you have used skincare products that have left an oily residue on your skin from the previous night, washing your face with water or a gentle cleanser is more than enough, and using micellar water is just an extra unnecessary step that can leave residue on your skin and prevent your morning skincare products from fully absorbing into the skin.

Instead, save the micellar water for your nighttime skincare routine when it can effectively remove makeup and impurities from your skin.

This will allow for better absorption of your nighttime skincare products and minimize the build-up of residue on your skin.

Using Micellar Water on Wet Skin

Using micellar water on wet skin is a common mistake that can actually decrease its effectiveness.

Micellar water works best when used on dry skin as its micelle structure can effectively attract and trap dirt, oil and makeup.

When applied on wet skin, micelles can become diluted with water, making them less effective in removing impurities.

Moreover, using micellar water on wet skin can also lead to product wastage as the excess liquid will simply slide off the skin instead of being absorbed.

Therefore, it is recommended to use micellar water on dry skin for maximum efficiency.

Remember, you should always rinse off the micellar water at the end, as doing so will remove the micelles and the dirt they have trapped and prevent clogging and breakouts.

Not Rinsing Properly

Micellar water is one of those products that you shouldn’t trust the label if you want to use it correctly.

This is because almost every micellar water has the same words printed on the packaging: “No-Rinse Formula,”; “Leave-On Formula,” etc.

However, this is not how you should use micellar water, and it is one of the fastest and easiest ways to clog your pores and create an acne breakout.

Micellar water is made with micelles, which are not the same as plain water, and they do, in fact, leave a residue on the skin.

In this residue, there could also be traces of makeup, dirt, oil, or all those things the micellar water was supposed to remove, right?

This oily residue can even be seen and felt coming off as you wash your face with water after removing your makeup with micellar water.

And no, this isn’t beneficial or hydrating for the skin – it’s residue containing trapped makeup, oil, and dirt that can clog pores and lead to breakouts down the line.

Therefore, after removing your makeup with micellar water, you should always follow up with a gentle cleanser and rinse off any residue to ensure your skin is truly clean.

Using Micellar Water as a Sole Cleanser

Relying on micellar water as your sole cleanser is a common mistake that can compromise your skin’s health.

While micellar water is an effective product for removing makeup and surface-level pollutants, it is not designed to deeply cleanse the pores.

As I mentioned earlier, micellar water works by trapping and removing dirt, oil, and makeup, but it doesn’t penetrate deeply into the pores where more stubborn impurities can reside.

Moreover, micellar water leaves behind a residue — a thin layer of micelles (cleansing oil molecules) — that can combine with natural sebum, dead skin cells, and leftover dirt to clog pores.

This not only increases the risk of breakouts but also can form a barrier that prevents other skincare products from being fully absorbed and effective.

Hence, using micellar water alone is not sufficient for a complete and thorough cleanse.

It should ideally be followed by a gentle facial cleanser that can rinse off any remaining micellar water residue, ensuring that your skin is clean and ready to absorb the benefits of your subsequent skincare products.

Harsh Scrubbing

Harsh scrubbing is a common mistake people make when using micellar water.

This is often due to the fact that micellar water doesn’t foam up, which gives many the feeling that they need to use more pressure and scrub harder in order to remove all the dirt and makeup from their skin.

But just because you cannot see the foam like in traditional cleansers, it doesn’t mean micellar water is not effectively cleansing your skin.

In fact, by applying too much pressure and scrubbing vigorously, you are likely doing more harm to your skin than good.

Applying too much pressure and scrubbing vigorously can create friction, tugging, and pulling damage, which can result in irritated skin in the short term early loss of collagen, and premature signs of aging, including saggy skin, down the line.

These vigorous motions can also be extremely harmful to someone dealing with acne because they will certainly irritate and inflame the spots even more and make them appear red and angry.

Additionally, if you have many pustules, you may also risk popping these and dragging the infected pus into other areas.

To avoid this, you first need to buy micellar water that will effectively remove your makeup.

If you wear heavy makeup, look for micellar waters that are on the oily side. You will easily notice these because you will see the oil floating on top of the water inside the packaging.

If you wear waterproof makeup, you should look for micellar waters that remove waterproof makeup.

If your skin is sensitive and you are currently dealing with acne, you should look for something that’s suitable for sensitive and reactive skin.

Next, you should soak the cotton in micellar water so that it’s saturated and softened. This way, you won’t have to use too much pressure or risk irritating your skin with a dry and harsh cotton pad.

Then, gently press the cotton onto your skin for a few seconds before swiping it away in one gentle motion.

Avoid going over the same area multiple times and resist the urge to scrub.

Using Micellar Water That Contains Active Ingredients

Micellar waters that contain actives such as vitamin C, retinol, and niacinamide are also useless, especially if the actives are what contribute to a higher price of the product.

These actives are great for the skin, especially when it comes to reversing sun damage or hyperpigmentation caused by inflammatory conditions such as acne.

However, in order to do that, these actives need to remain on the skin for some time, and by having them in micellar water, you are not giving them enough time to do what they are supposed to do. 

Micellar water stays on your skin for a couple of minutes until you wash it off with water and follow it up with a second cleanse.

Therefore, you are getting zero benefits from having these actives inside a product that you will wash off after a few minutes.

So if you see micellar water that contains active ingredients and claims to reduce acne, brighten the skin, and eliminate hyperpigmentation, know that you should save your money unless you really like how that particular product works for you.

Using Harsh Micellar Water

When buying micellar water, you need to make sure you opt for something that doesn’t contain harsh ingredients such as alcohol, fragrance, and essential oils that are high up on the ingredient list.

These ingredients are often found in micellar waters marketed towards oily and acne-prone skin, but, in reality, they will only dehydrate the skin, which will cause it to produce more oil to compensate for the lack of hydration.

Additionally, removing your eye makeup with a product containing alcohol and fragrance can be irritating and drying for the delicate skin around your eyes.

Therefore, opt for micellar waters that are gentle and free of harsh ingredients, especially if you have sensitive or acne-prone skin.

Not Changing Cotton Pads

One of the common mistakes when using micellar water is not changing cotton pads frequently enough.

This mistake is often made in an attempt to save the pads and prevent waste. However, this practice is counterproductive and can be detrimental to your skin.

When you use a dirty pad that already has makeup residue on it, you’re essentially spreading the dirt, oil, and makeup back onto your skin.

This defeats the purpose of cleansing and can lead to clogged pores and breakouts.

Moreover, the build-up of product on the pad can also make the cleansing process less effective as the pad becomes saturated and is unable to absorb and lift away any more dirt and makeup.

Therefore, it’s essential to use a fresh cotton pad, or as many as needed, until no more makeup or dirt is visible on the pad.

This ensures your skin is thoroughly cleansed and ready for the next steps in your skincare routine.

If you are concerned about waste, you can try using reusable cotton rounds or microfiber washcloths that can be washed and reused.

This is not only more environmentally friendly but also more cost-effective in the long run.

Ignoring the Expiry Date

Finally, this is a crucial mistake that many people make when using micellar water – ignoring the expiry date.

Many think that because micellar water doesn’t stay on the skin for a long time, the damage it could do shouldn’t be significant.

However, just like any other skincare product, micellar water also has an expiry date for a reason.

Over time, the ingredients in the product can break down and lose their effectiveness, making it less useful in cleansing and removing makeup.

Moreover, expired micellar water can also harbor bacteria that could potentially lead to skin irritation or infections.

Therefore, make sure to mark the date of opening your micellar water and discard it once it reaches its expiration date.

If you don’t use makeup regularly and find yourself constantly throwing away products that have expired but aren’t finished, consider purchasing smaller sizes or pouring the micellar water in a cosmetic container that you can give to a friend or a family member to use.

Best Micellar Waters for Your Skin Type

Here are some of the best micellar waters for every skin type:

Best Micellar Water for Dry Skin: Bioderma Hydrabio H2O Micellar Water

The Bioderma Hydrabio H2O Micellar Water is specially formulated for dry, sensitive skin.

It contains hydrating ingredients to help prevent dehydration and irritation while removing makeup and impurities.

The micellar water is also free of alcohol and fragrance, making it perfect for those with reactive skin.

The Bioderma Hydrabio H2O Micellar Water does leave a little more residue than ideal, however, it provides an ultra-smooth cleansing process that leaves your skin feeling soft and hydrated rather than feeling tight and dried out.

Best Micellar Water for Oily Skin – Garnier SkinActive Micellar Cleansing Water

The Garnier SkinActive Micellar Water with the pink cap is the best micellar water for oily, acne-prone skin that’s sensitive and reactive to harsh ingredients.

It effectively removes makeup and dirt without exacerbating redness and irritation and also leaves a minimal residue, making it easy to wash off.

Best Micellar Water for Sensitive Skin: Bioderma Sensibio H2O Micellar Water

The Bioderma Sensibio H2O is a cult favorite and highly recommended by dermatologists for sensitive skin.

It’s gentle, fragrance-free, and effective at removing makeup and dirt without stripping the skin of its natural oils.

Additionally, it also soothes and calms any redness or irritation, making it ideal for those with sensitive or reactive skin.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does Micellar Water Clog Pores?

Micellar water can potentially clog pores if not used properly, mainly when it’s not thoroughly rinsed off.

Residual products left on the skin can trap dirt and oil, leading to clogged pores and breakouts.

Can Micellar Water Cause Acne?

Micellar water can contribute to acne if not thoroughly rinsed off, as the residual product can trap dirt and oil, which can clog the pores and cause an overgrowth of the acne-causing bacteria.

However, acne is usually a deeper skin issue, and severe, long-term acne is unlikely to be caused by incorrect usage of micellar water.

How to Use Micellar Water for Acne?

Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to use micellar water for acne-prone skin:

  1. Choose the Right Product: Start by selecting micellar water specifically formulated for sensitive skin. Look for products that are oil-free, non-comedogenic (won’t clog pores), and free of harsh ingredients such as alcohol and fragrance.
  2. Soak a Cotton Pad: Soak a cotton pad with the micellar water. Ensure it’s saturated but not dripping.
  3. Gently Cleanse: Use the soaked pad to gently cleanse your face. Don’t scrub or drag the cotton pad across your skin, as this can exacerbate acne. Instead, press it onto your skin and swipe gently.
  4. Rinse Thoroughly: Though many micellar waters are marketed as no-rinse cleansing products, if you have acne-prone skin, it’s crucial to rinse off the product thoroughly to prevent any residue from clogging your pores.
  5. Follow with Acne Treatments: Once you’ve cleansed and rinsed your skin, you can apply your acne treatments. Micellar water can prep your skin for these treatments by ensuring it’s clean and free of makeup and excess oils.

Why is Micellar Water Oily?

Micellar water may feel oily due to the tiny oil molecules, called micelles, suspended in soft water that it contains. These micelles are lipid compounds that, while effective at removing dirt and makeup, can leave a slightly oily film on the skin.

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1 thought on “10 Mistakes To Avoid With Micellar Water”

  1. As someone who has never, ever found a cleanser that agreed with my skin and since I never wear makeup anymore, Garnier micellar water was a miracle. No irritation, no greasy feeling left over, and no dryness. I use 2 cotton pads: the first is well-drenched (7 splashes), run it all over to soften whatever’s on the surface. 6 splashes on the 2nd pad and run it over my skin in the opposite direction of the first. Water hasn’t touched my face in years. I’ll try a tepid rinse, but I can almost guarantee my skin will be tight and irritated in less than 5 minutes. BTW, I’m loving your articles! I keep learning something new! Thank you 🙂


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