Years ago, the only way I knew how to remove layers of makeup was by rubbing my face with a very slippery and greasy baby oil, or using the classic Chimbo soap and water combination.
Either way my face ended up awful, or with a greasy residue that exacerbated my acne, or tighter and drier than an espadrille.
Then I discovered micellar water, that magical liquid that removed any trace of makeup and dirt from my skin without mistreating it. The best part? It never left her tight, dehydrated, or greasy.
It has been around for more than 100 years, supposedly invented by the French, but everyone seemed to have forgotten about it until, in recent years, it was reactivated and became a boom.
What have you not yet incorporated it into your skincare routine? Wait, I’ll tell you why it is an essential that you should use now, how to make your own, and what are the best options on the market .
What is micellar water?
Basically, it is a solution that contains tiny cleaning oil molecules (known as micelles, hence the name micellar water) suspended in soft water . These micelles are what attract dirt, oil, sebum and other impurities, and remove them from the skin.
And although micelles are tiny oil droplets, they don’t leave an oily residue like traditional makeup removers.
It not only cleans and removes make-up effectively, but it does so in a gentle and gentle way, without drying out the outermost dermal layer of the skin, leaving it supple and hydrated. It’s basically everything you need to cleanse, tone, and hydrate without needing to rinse it off afterward.
Its mild properties make it perfect for dry and sensitive skin, as it does not irritate the skin. And oily, acne-prone skin will like it too, as it removes extra oil and many are anti-inflammatory and soothing.
It is the perfect complement to any skincare routine. You will surely be looking forward to trying it!
However, some products contain anything but natural ingredients. For this reason, I have decided to make it from scratch at home with the ingredients that I like. A DIY cleaner is also very flexible and inexpensive. You don’t need a lot of ingredients for this recipe, and you can make a pretty big batch with the required ingredients.
What to include in homemade micellar water
Water is used to keep the skin’s pH level balanced, although you don’t have to limit yourself to normal water, you can use different hydrolates with different properties. Below I give you some recommendations and variations.
The water should also be hydrating. One of the best moisturizers I know of is vegetable glycerin ; a legendary beauty secret in France for smooth and supple skin.
Glycerin is also known to help skin retain moisture, smooth rough texture, and give skin a healthy, hydrated appearance; so it could not be missing in this recipe.
I have also decided to add some more hydration and healing properties by adding a few drops of base oil . You can use any oil, from sweet almond oil, argan oil, or rosehip oil for this, but you may not need it.
I have put hemp seed oil infused with ozone for its acne fighting properties and its healing benefits.
Soap is used as a surfactant, to trap all the dirt, but because it is surrounded by good ingredients, it does not dry out the skin.
This recipe is very easy to prepare, it does not have any irritating or harmful ingredients, I promise you it smells divine and it works. Let’s get to the point!
Ingredients and tools
- 225 ml of hot distilled water
- ⅛ teaspoon lecithin, granulated or liquid
- ½ teaspoon liquid vegetable glycerin
- ½ teaspoon carrier oil, such as argan, jojoba, sweet almonds, grapeseed, safflower
- ½ teaspoon liquid soap
- A few drops of essential oil, such as rose, lavender, or tea tree (optional)
- Fine mesh strainer
- Sterilized glass jar with tight-fitting lid (a dark colored jar is recommended to protect brittle oils)
- Glass mixing bowl
How to do it
Pour the warm water into the glass container, add the rest of the ingredients and mix it very well. If any large particles of lecithin remain, remove them. Finally, transfer the micellar water to the glass bottle and cover it.
Its use is the same as commercial micellar water. Soak a cotton ball or pad in micellar water and squeeze out the excess. Apply it all over the face with gentle strokes, avoiding rubbing or stretching the skin. Let it work for a few seconds and remove it with a clean cotton ball.
Repeat the same process until the cotton comes out completely clean.
If you are using waterproof makeup or mascara, you may need to leave the cotton on your skin or lashes for a few seconds to loosen it. Do not rub roughly or you will irritate the skin or pull a few eyelashes.
This homemade version is much cheaper than the purchased one, and you also save on preservatives and perfume, ingredients that can irritate your skin. Although you may also need a little more time and patience to completely remove all makeup, due to the lack of surfactants.
This homemade micellar water stays in perfect condition for a month, so make the right amount to use it all and not have to throw anything away. You can make more batches at any time.
Different carrier oils and essential oils can be used to achieve totally different blends, with different properties and benefits.
Variations and substitutions
Witch hazel, cucumber water and rose water
You can certainly use different waters or hydros to achieve different results. If you have visible pores and oily skin, use witch hazel instead of water. This does not affect its useful life. If you have dry or sensitive skin, use rose water instead.
Cucumber water can be made in the same way: blend a cucumber and strain it so that only the juice remains. Use it in place of water to soothe and hydrate all skin.
Note: Once you introduce a botanical compound, such as rose petals or cucumber, you will need a preservative or keep it in the refrigerator. You can even freeze it!
Birch sap and other options
Birch is well known for its healing abilities, so you can include it in your homemade micellar water by making a decoction of birch tips if you are lucky enough to have it around.
The tips will smell like wintergreen, since birch has the same compound as wintergreen – methyl salicylate – the precursor to aspirin. It is very healing and can help reduce inflammation and acne problems.
You can also add a drop of sweet birch essential oil to the water if you don’t have the trees nearby. Be careful as it is very strong! One drop is all you need.
Warning: If you have any sensitivity to aspirin, it is best not to use any birch compound.
Kathie Sand always saw the world of beauty as the terrain on which to build her professional career, a goal that was clear to her when she was only 15 years old. Her great concern to expand knowledge led her to settle in Paris where she studied hand in hand with the best beauty professionals and with the most advanced techniques for skin care.