How To Use Micellar Water Correctly

Love Island and TikTok may have their own methods, but here's what the experts say...

Love Island MICELLAR

by Sameeha Shaikh |
Updated on

It's a dance we are all familiar with: apply micellar water on to cotton pad, then swipe cotton pad across face. Simple enough, but what if we told you you've been doing it wrong this whole time? Well, according to Love Island, you might be. Usually a treasure trove for hidden beauty gems, season 10 of the hit ITV2 dating show is also proving itself to be an authority on beauty hacks, too. And the latest one is a TikTok favourite.


As the girls readied for their first night in Casa Amor yesterday, we spotted model Ella Thomas blowing into her micellar-loaded cotton pad before using it to remove her make-up. For the untrained eye, the sight may have left viewers confused, but Ella's method is a tried and tested trick that has been well-loved for some time. In fact, #micellarhack has amassed 13.8M views on TikTok with countless videos touting it the revolutionary way to cleanse. It's not the first time we caught the hack on Love Island either, Jess Harding also tried it earlier on in the series, but what does it involve and how is micellar water really meant to be used? We answer all your burning questions below...

READ MORE: The Very Best Micellar Water For Every Skin Type

How to use micellar water

It involves pouring your favourite micellar water onto a cotton pad, placing it over your mouth and then gently blowing onto it until a delicate foam emerges. You then use that foam to mop up make-up, dirt and residue with the cotton pad. The formula of the micellar water won't change and will still remove make-up as it would the normal way, which leads us to the case in point – why do it in the first place?

In all honesty, it's all about the experience and making the everyday a little more fun. While TikTokers and Love Island may have you believing you've been doing it wrong, we're here to remind you that, more often than not, sticking to the product directions is advised. Dr. Adel agrees, on TikTok she explains, 'I do think the traditional way works better, there is less rubbing and irritation on the skin... although this is a fun hack, micellar water does not need to be activated, you don't need to blow on it, blowing actually introduces bacteria onto the cotton pad which is totally unnecessary.'

If you really want to go against the grain (and direction of brands as well as experts) you could employ the Love Island methods. But we recommend the old school way: saturate a cotton pad with micellar water and sweep it over your face. If you like a thorough cleanse, use a micellar water as the first step in your double cleansing routine, follow up with your favourite deep cleanser, be it a gel, milk, foam or balm.

What is micellar water?

It may look like clean, clear water, but micellar water contains micelles, that being clustered molecules of oil, which are suspended in water. These clustered surfactants are cleaning agents that feature two ends – an oil-loving head and a water-loving tail. When you load up a cotton pad with micellar water, the water-loving tail is absorbed, while the oil-loving head becomes active on the pad, acting like a magnet to draw up make-up, dirt and residue.

Is micellar water a toner?

They may look similar, but they function differently. While micellar water is used to remove make-up, toners are designed for post-cleansing application to rebalance the skin's pH level. Toners also usually contain active ingredients to treat the skin and give it what it needs.

Is micellar water a cleanser?

You could certainly call it that. Micellar water can be seen as a no-rinse cleanser that effectively traps, lifts and dissolve dirt, oil, and make-up without disrupting your skin’s natural lipid barrier. Though we prefer to see it as a great pre-cleanse to your more rigorous cleansing product.

Is micellar water safe for acne?

Yes! It's safe for even sensitive skin types. Micellar waters feature gentle formulas that will rarely be harsh or irritating on active flare ups, plus there are many that will help to decongest your pores without drying the skin out.

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