Meet the cleanser you never knew you needed

Best Health - - LOOKS -

DON’T LET THE CLEAR liq­uid de­ceive you; there’s a lot hap­pen­ing in­side a bot­tle of mi­cel­lar wa­ter. Touted by skin ex­perts as a beauty es­sen­tial, the rinse-free sci­en­tific po­tion works like a mag­net. A cer­tain con­cen­tra­tion of sur­fac­tants (com­monly used cleans­ing agents) gather in spheres to form mi­celles, which have wa­ter-lov­ing and oil-lov­ing com­po­nents, says Olivier Mar­tias, med­i­cal di­rec­tor for Bio­derma North Amer­ica, the brand be­hind the 1995 dis­cov­ery.

“When mi­cel­lar wa­ter is poured onto a cot­ton pad, mi­celles open up: the hy­drophilic head of the sur­fac­tants is fixed to the cot­ton, while the lipophilic chain is di­rected out­wards,” he says. When that cot­ton pad is ap­plied on the skin, the lipophilic chain catches lipids — think makeup, ex­cess se­bum and pol­lu­tion residue. Then, thanks to the sur­fac­tants, the im­pu­ri­ties cling to the cot­ton pad, not your skin, he ex­plains.

A mul­ti­task­ing star — it can also be used af­ter cleans­ing to re­move ex­cess dirt, he says — mi­cel­lar wa­ter wins big be­cause of what it won’t do: ir­ri­tate skin. For­mu­lated to pro­tect skin’s bar­rier and de­liver anti-in­flam­ma­tory ben­e­fits, a mi­cel­lar cleanser com­bines ef­fi­cacy with tol­er­ance, even for the most sen­si­tive skin types. With a hefty fan base be­hind the iconic orig­i­nal — one bot­tle of Bio­derma Sen­si­bio H20 is sold glob­ally ev­ery two sec­onds — con­coc­tions that ad­dress spe­cific ob­jec­tives such as con­trol­ling oil or in­creas­ing hy­dra­tion have made a splash, too. ALYSSA BALL, AS­SIS­TANT WEB EDI­TOR COURT­NEY REILLY LARKE, AS­SO­CIATE EDI­TOR LISA SNOW, PRO­DUC­TION MAN­AGER BETH THOMP­SON, EDI­TOR IN CHIEF LISA HAN­NAM, WEB EDI­TOR

“My skin (es­pe­cially around my eyes) be­comes eas­ily ir­ri­tated, and it’s hard to find a cleanser that won’t leave some sort of rash. Af­ter us­ing this at night for a while, it’s safe to say that noth­ing ap­peared. I was also amazed at how it hy­drated.”...

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