A few months ago I started seeing something new on the shelves of the skin care area: micellar water. It looks just like regular water, but there’s so much more to it. And it turns out that it’s not new!
It’s also no surprise that DIY micellar water is simple to make and has better ingredients than the commercial stuff. We’ll examine these points soon, but first let’s learn more about this special water.
What is Micellar Water?
Micelles are tiny particles of oil suspended in water. It was produced in France many years ago, but with modern production of soaps and detergents, this was a product that went by the wayside for a while.
Many brands on the market contain all sorts of oils, pure water, fruit extracts, grapeseed oil, argan oil, plant extracts, and more.
The basic concept is that the oil particles are suspended in the water, therefore making it an excellent makeup remover. It is applied to a cotton ball and pressed onto your face – not rubbed. Makeup, dirt, oil, and anything else on your face is attracted to the oils in the micellar water while the water and extracts hydrate and nourish your skin.
So basically, micellar water is a make up remover, hydrating agent, toner, and moisturizer all in one.
What’s not to love?
DIY Micellar Water: Better Ingredients
One thing I don’t love about the commercially produced micellar water is the preservatives and other unnecessary ingredients.
Some brands have such things as poloxamer 184, iodopropynyl butylcarbamate, a petroleum product, and many more substances that are not natural.
Since I don’t love these ingredients, it makes more sense to make my own.
If you have oily skin and are concerned about using a product with oil in it, buy or make one with non-comedogenic, or pore clogging, properties. Most animal oils and waxes are comedogenic, as well as a few plant based oils. If you have allergies, keep an eye on the ingredients as well.
DIY Micellar Water Recipe
DIY Micellar water is simple to make!
Here’s a recipe that can be altered to fit you and your skin type.
Ingredients & Supplies
- 8 ounces pure warm water – reverse osmosis or distilled
- ⅛ teaspoon lecithin, granular or liquid (find lecithin granules here or liquid lecithin here)
- ½ teaspoon liquid vegetable glycerin (find it here)
- ½ teaspoon oil, such as argan, jojoba, sweet almond, grapeseed, safflower (find these carrier oils here)
- ½ teaspoon liquid soap (learn to make your own here)
- optional, a few drops essential oil, such as rose, lavender, or tea tree (find pure essential oils here)
- fine mesh strainer
- sterilized glass bottle with tight-fitting cap (dark colored bottle recommended to protect fragile oils)
- glass bowl for mixing
First, place the warm water in the glass bowl. Measure other ingredients into the bowl. Mix well. Strain out any particulate from the lecithin. Finally, transfer to glass bottle and cap tightly.
Apply some DIY micellar water to a cotton ball and squeeze out excess. Press all over face, avoiding rubbing. Leave on a few seconds and remove. If you have waterproof makeup or staining lipstick, you may need to rub a bit, but try to avoid it. Rubbing can irritate your skin.
This homemade version is so much cheaper than buying it and has no preservatives. It is shelf stable and will last about a month, depending on how fast you use it. You can vary the oils and essential oils to come up with different blends.
Variations and Substitutions
Witch hazel, cucumber water, and rosewater
You can certainly use different waters to achieve different results. I have large pores and oily skin, so I use witch hazel instead of water. This doesn’t affect the shelf life. Neither does using rose water. If you don’t have rose water and want to use it for sensitive skin, you can make a tea out of rose petals and use that.
Note: Once you introduce a botanical compound such as rose petals, you’ll either need a preservative or you can store it in the refrigerator. You can even freeze it! I freeze mine in ice cube trays and then store it that way. Take out one cube and thaw it. This will last several days.
Cucumber water can be made the same way. Liquefy a cucumber and strain it so you have only the juice left. Use this in place of the water and treat it as described for the rose petals.
Birch sap & other options
One more expensive brand of micellar water contains birch sap. Birch is well known for its healing ability. You can make a decoction of black or sweet birch tips if you are lucky enough to have them in your area. The tips will smell like wintergreen, since birch has the same compound as wintergreen – methyl salicylate – the forerunner of 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 you 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 aspirin sensitivities, it’s best to stay away from sweet birch.
I’ve also made a “tea” from plantain leaves and calendula petals and used the water from that. It is also very healing and soothing on your skin.
Have you ever used micellar water, or do you plan to make DIY micellar water? Tell us about it!