HOW MICELLAR CLEANSERS WORK AND WHY THEY'RE GOOD TO SKIN

What's a micelle or micellar cleanser? Here's an easy-to-understand explanation of what, plus why you should try one.
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What's a micelle or micellar cleanser? Here's an easy-to-understand explanation of what, plus why you should try one.

Months ago, I pretty much stopped washing my face. Yep, you read that correctly. No washy the face. I blame my discovery of how micelle cleansers work. Micelle cleansers cut time from my skincare routine. Plus, they allow me to remove makeup and outside-air gunk from my skin when I'm already in bed, where the sink isn't.

The specific facilitator of this time- and effort-reduced regimen is Bioderma Sensibio H20, a micellar cleansing water or micelle cleanser (same thing) which leaves skin clean, fresh and ready for serum and moisturizer. No rinsing required. It removes waterproof eye makeup too.

about a micelle

In simple-ish terms, a micelle is a type of molecule cluster. One end of each molecule loves water (hydrophilic); the other hates it (hydrophobic) and prefers oil instead. In a water solution, they group to form a spherical shape with a water-loving exterior and a water-hating oil-loving interior. When gently applied to a surface -- the skin, let's say -- the micelle spheres split open against that surface. That puts the oil-loving molecule ends against the skin. When the application pressure lifts, the molecule cluster grabs up all the oil/grime.

how micellar cleansers work

what's a micelle cleanser_what's micellar water_why you want to use one

how micellar cleansers work and why they're good to skin

The easiest way to explain how micellar cleansers work is this: essentially, micelles are kind of like mute Pac-Man types that wokka-wokka-wokka-wokka up all the makeup and dirt off your face in a jiffy.

According to Bernard Pochic, Bioderma's National Trainer, regular makeup remover doesn't gobble. It dissolves the bond between cosmetic pigments and your skin so you can wipe it off. Doesn't sound all that different, but if you think about it, when you're wiping stuff off something, a fair amount of smearing goes on, and maybe you need toner, or sudsing cleanser and rinsing, before it all comes off. Basically, you have to work a bit harder, which takes more time and can be a challenge for sensitive skin.

Gobble-up molecules require less pressure and less work, the way a vacuum suction cleans a floor faster than sweeping with a broom.

So, when you're stumbling into bed after yet another late night of work/family responsibilities/hanging with friends/running after deadlines, which clean-up method would you like better?

La Roche-Posay Physiological Micellar Solution; Marcelle Micellar Solution; Bioderma Sensibio H20; Lancôme Eau Fraîche Douceur Micellar Cleansing Water; all at drugstores. La Prairie Cellular Cleansing Water at Holt Renfrew.

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