From experience and from scouting around the internet and browsing the cosmetics shelves, I’ve noticed that “cleansing water” fall into 2 categories. One calls themselves “micellar cleansing water” and another calls itself just plain “cleansing water”. Some mention in passing that it should be rinsed off (few do) and others say it is a no-rinse formula.
But it is this latter no-rinse formula that really captures the imagination of many. How wonderful it must be to avoid washing your face in the morning or evening? Just wipe on a cotton pad to “cleanse” your face and continue with your skincare. You don’t even have to step into the bathroom or risk wetting the floor with your vigorous splashes of water in the sink. Yay!… or is it?
Most cleansing waters and micellar cleansing waters are stated to have a mild formula and are suitable for sensitive skin. They are usually a very liquid, water based product, that is basically like applying water on your skin. But they contain chemicals that help adhere to dirt and makeup on skin, which makes it easy to wipe off using a cotton pad. You can’t do that with just mere water.
It is this ability to cleanse the skin that makes it a popular makeup remover these days. It does feel more gentle on skin and less drying than makeup removers of yore. But because it feels like water and is said to be so gentle and cleanses your skin so well, that we are also told that you don’t have to rinse your face thereafter.
In some instances, I know people use this as their facial cleanser. They use a cotton pad to wipe the product on skin, then follow up with the rest of their skincare. Or, I’ve been told by people they use this as a toner. After regular cleansing, they wipe a cotton pad with cleansing water all over their skin and follow on with skincare.
When I ask them why they do so, the answer is usually that it’s so gentle and it feels so refreshing. Also, many formula including the popular Bioderma brand says that you can. There’s no need to rinse the product off, because it has already cleansed your skin.
I must say I’m not comfortable with this. So before I launch into my spiel, why don’t you share your thoughts with me on this issue. Do you wash your face after using a micellar cleansing water, or is that your facial cleanse? Please don’t feel embarrassed because I’m not an expert and this is just me talking based on my experience, and I am always open to hearing of other peoples’ experiences 🙂
Ok, I repeat, I’m no expert. I am not Caroline Hirons nor am I trained in chemistry and skincare and I do not work in this field. I’m not a skincare guru (please, gurus make me think of skinny old men wrapped in a loincloth meditating on the top of a mountain, and I like my clothes and earthly luxuries too much to abandon them to live in a barren cave, sorry) All I have going for me is logical thought, and perhaps a caustic, cynical view on the world 😛
Wash your face after using a micellar cleansing water
As you can guess therefore, my view is that you should rinse your skin with water or at least follow up with a cleanser AFTER using a micellar cleansing water.
One of my early experiments with cleansing water was with the famed Bioderma Micellar Cleansing Water which I’m less than blown away by to be honest. It removed my makeup well, I concede, but what got my goat was all the raves and reviews saying you could just wipe this on your skin and go to bed.
What I found from experience is that any brand of micellar cleansing water I use leaves a film on my skin. It may not be obvious or uncomfortable, but it’s there. If you cleanse your skin before stepping into the shower as I do, you will notice it. I find that when water comes in contact with my skin, the skin on my face feels slippery. If you don’t believe me, try it for yourself. Wipe some cleansing water on your skin then add some water to it. It feels slippery.
That’s when I realised that it wasn’t clean. Clean skin shouldn’t have that slippery feel to it.
Is your face really clean if you leave it on?
Secondly, when you use a cleansing balm or oil or facial cleanser, which may contain chemicals, and then rinse it off, the product is rinsed off your skin. Touch your skin. It isn’t slippery, but it’s clean.
Now, think for a minute about what makes up a cleansing water. It’s chemicals.
Although it looks clear like water (some don’t, but most popular brands make them clear) it isn’t water. It’s loaded with chemicals that react with dirt, oil and makeup on your skin to enable it to be lifted off.
I stand to be corrected but something that is supposed to “clean” shouldn’t remain on your skin unlike something that “treats” i.e the rest of your skincare.
Now, wouldn’t you want to rinse that off your skin?
Incidentally, I spoke to a representative of a French skincare brand recently and we got to speaking about micellar cleansing waters, which his company also makes. When I mentioned my view about having to rinse after using it, he told me that it was the right thing to do.
In fact, he was quite disparaging about the brands that advise you that micellar waters are a no-rinse formula, giving me that Gallic eye roll and flap of his hands that was so quintessentially French LOL! 😀 His was an organic and natural brand and even he told me “These cleansing waters have chemicals, you must rinse off with water and use a cleanser!” and since we know that micellar waters were popularised by French brands, that’s an alternative French viewpoint for you to consider! 😀
My final case for washing your face AFTER using a micellar cleansing water is this.
If you take a shower, won’t you rinse your face?
If micellar cleansing waters were so effective, why don’t we have one for the body? You still take a shower or a bath. You still wash dirt and sweat and oil off your skin under running water (at least I hope you do 😛 ).
I don’t see anyone rushing to skip this cleansing part of your day. Sure, skip it if you’re ill but everyday? So, why would you skip it for your face?
If your excuse is that your skin is so sensitive that you cannot use any cleanser, well from experience, there are many many options available out there in the market. You just need to find one that is suitable for you.
If you say your skin does not react well to scrubbing, then why the heck are you scrubbing your skin? Be gentle. Your face is not the floor that needs scrubbing and if you stop using face washing gadgets and just your hands, you may find that your hands are the most gentle of all gadgets.
I am a big advocate of face cloths and you can get some very lovely soft microfibre cloths that barely tug on your skin, yet leave it clean.
RELATED READING: How using face cloths helped transform my skin – READ HERE
Treat micellar water as your first cleanse, not your only cleanser
Above all, I will never use a cleansing water or micellar cleansing water, no matter how gentle they claim to be as my one and only cleanse. If you get your face cleanse right, that’s half your skincare and skin problems battle won. The rest of your products can only be effectively absorbed on clean skin.
So, why impede that absorption of your $$$ serum with a barrier of no-rinse micellar cleansing water?
But as I said, this is me and my case for washing your face after using a cleansing water. As deceptive as the name is, it isn’t water. It cleanses, yes. But it isn’t water and if you really want to cleanse your skin, you need good old-fashioned water to rinse it off and a cleanser of your choice after that.
Do you wash your face after using a micellar cleansing water? Do you feel that it’s ok not to?
As always, please feel free to disagree with me. I’m always open to discussion, which is what this is for anyway 🙂 I have my views and you will have yours so have your say!