Is Micellar Water Oil Based? You Might Be Surprised!

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is micellar water oil based or water based

When it comes to skincare, there’s a lot of confusion and misinformation out there. One of the most common misconceptions in the skincare industry is about micellar water. Micellar water is quickly becoming one of the most popular skincare products on the market. It’s often praised for its ability to gently remove makeup, dirt, and oil without irritating or drying out the skin. One of the most common misconceptions is whether or not micellar water is oil based. So in this post, we’ll look at the ingredients of micellar water and answer the question is micellar water oil based or oil free?

What is Micellar Water

is there oil in micellar cleansing water

Micellar water is a must-have skincare product. At first, micellar water was popular in France because it was an affordable alternative to makeup remover. It has since gained worldwide praise among skincare enthusiasts and dermatologist for being an effective and gentle.

Micellar water is gaining attention for its gentle and non-irritating formula. It is ideal for those with sensitive skin that needs a gentle cleansing. It’s also been shown to be helpful in caring for reactive skin types such as rosacea. It also makes a great makeup remover and many people use it as a first cleanse in a double cleansing routine.

The basic formula has tiny molecules called micelles suspended within soft, gentle water. This cleansing solution combines gentle surfactants with hydrating molecules. It works by attracting dirt, oil, and makeup from deep within your pores without irritating them. 

Related post: Micellar Cleansing Water Vs Witch Hazel

Is Micellar Water Oil Based?

is micellar water made with oils

Since micellar water has become a skincare staple among many, you may be wanting to give it a try in your routine. But first, to make sure it’s right for your skin type, you need to ask yourself a few questions – is micellar water oil-free or should those with oily and acne-prone skin stay away?

It’s a common misconception that micellar water is made up of oil and water. In reality, micellar water is actually made up of water and surfactants. Surfactants are molecules with both hydrophilic (water-attracting) heads and lipophilic (oil-attracting) tails. This means that the hydrophilic heads are attracted to water, and the hydrophobic tails are attracted to oils or grease.

When surfactants and water are added together, the surfactant molecules arrange themselves into little spheres called micelles. Each surfactant molecule is arranged with the hydrophobic ends (water hating) in the center of the sphere and the hydrophilic (water loving) heads facing outward. Essentially, the hydrophobic tails (that hate water!) are protected from the water by the hydrophilic heads.

However, it’s important to keep in mind that not all micellar waters are oil-free, as some brands of micellar water do contain oil like, Garnier SkinActive Micellar Oil Infused Cleansing Water which contains argan oil.

In these products, the oil will sit in the middle of the micelle and it will be surrounded by surfactants just like in non-oil based micellar waters.

Related post: Will Micellar Water Cause Acne?

Which Micellar Water Has Oil In It?

does micellar cleansing water contain oil

Not all micellar waters are oil-free, so it’s important to take a look at the ingredients list before purchasing. Luckily, though, most micellar waters are oil-free. Let’s take a look at some of the popular micellar waters on the market.

Is Garnier micellar water oil based?

Most of Garnier’s micellar waters are oil-free, with the exception of their SkinActive Micellar Oil Infused Cleansing Water and the Micellar Cleansing Water With Hyaluronic Acid + Aloe which contain argan oil and castor oil, respectively.

The rest of the lineup of the Garnier micellar waters are oil-free.

Is Nivea micellar water oil based?

Many of the Nivea micellar waters do contain oils like castor oil and sweet almond oil. One that is oil-free is their Nivea MicellAIR Expert Micellar Water.

So, if you’re looking for an oil-free micellar water, Nivea is not the best brand as they only have that one product that is actually oil-free.

Is Simple micellar water oil based?

The cult-favorite Simple Micellar Water is oil-free, as well as Simple’s Kind To Skin Micellar Cleansing Water.

So, if you’re looking for an oil-free micellar water, Simple is a great option. Plus it also has Vitamin B3 and Vitamin C which are both great for the skin.

Is Bioderma micellar water oil-free?

Bioderma’s Sensibio H2O Micellar Water is oil-free, as well as their Sebium H2O Cleansing Micelle Solution. Both of these are popular in the skincare community and are formulated without any oils.

So, if you’re looking for an oil-free micellar water, Bioderma is a great brand (and a cult-favorite)

Is Micellar Cleansing Water Oil Based FAQ’s

does micellar cleansing water have oil

Is micellar water as good as an oil cleanser?

Micellar water and oil cleansers are both effective at removing makeup, dirt, and oil from your skin, but they work in slightly different ways.

Micellar water is a water-based solution that contains tiny micelles, which are clusters of cleansing molecules. When you apply micellar water to your skin, these micelles attract and trap dirt, oil, and makeup, lifting them away from your skin without the need for rinsing. Micellar water is generally a gentle and effective option for removing light makeup or for a quick cleanse when you’re in a hurry.

Oil cleansers, on the other hand, use oil to dissolve and remove impurities from your skin. They are particularly effective at removing heavy makeup, sunscreen, and other products that are difficult to remove such as waterproof makeup. Oil cleansers can also help to balance your skin’s natural oils, leaving it feeling soft and hydrated.

Both micellar water and oil cleansers have their own unique benefits, and the choice between them ultimately comes down to personal preference. If you don’t wear a lot of makeup and are looking for something very gentle, micellar water is a great option. If you wear a lot of heavy/waterproof makeup or sunscreen, micellar water won’t be strong enough to remove those without a lot of scrubbing, so an oil cleanser will be the best option.

Related post: Cleansing Oils Vs Micellar Water

Will micellar water take off eyelash extensions?

Oil-free micellar water won’t be strong enough to break down the glue used in eyelash extensions. It can, however, be used on natural lashes to remove residue and dirt build-up. However, oil-based micellar waters can break down the glue on the lash extensions which could lead to them falling off prematurely.

Why does my face feel oily after micellar water?

The ingredients used in micellar water leave a film on the skin, which can leave an oily or greasy feel, especially if the micellar water is oil-based. This is one of the reasons why it’s best to follow up with a cleanser after using micellar water to ensure you aren’t leaving any residue behind.

Micellar water can cause acne and skin congestion if it’s not properly rinsed off and left to sit on the skin. The residue can also interfere with the skincare products you apply afterwards, which can cause them to be less effective.

Is cleansing water oil based?

It’s a common misconception that cleansing waters and micellar waters are the same, but they are actually pretty different. Cleansing waters are simply water-based with added ingredients such as plant extracts, oils, vitamins and minerals. Many cleansing waters are oil-based, which can help nourish and moisturize the skin, but some cleansing waters are oil-free. It just depends on the formulation.

Is micellar water like an oil cleanser?

Micellar water and oil cleansers are both used to cleanse the skin, but they have different compositions and mechanisms of action.

Micellar water is a water-based solution that contains tiny micelles (clusters of surfactant molecules) that attract and lift dirt, oil, and impurities from the skin’s surface. It is gentle and doesn’t require rinsing with water, making it a popular choice for quick and easy makeup removal. Micellar water is not an oil cleanser, as most don’t contain oils.

On the other hand, oil cleansers are made with a combination of natural oils and emulsifiers that help dissolve and lift away makeup, dirt, and impurities from the skin’s surface. Oil cleansers are often used as the first step in a double cleansing routine to thoroughly remove makeup and sunscreen before following up with a water-based cleanser. Unlike micellar water, oil cleansers require rinsing with water to remove the product from the skin.

In summary, while both micellar water and oil cleansers are used to cleanse the skin, they have different compositions and functions. Micellar water is a water-based solution that attracts dirt and impurities, while oil cleansers contain oils that dissolve makeup and dirt.

Related post: Micellar Water Vs Toner: Is One Better?

Is Micellar Water Oil Or Water Based Wrap Up

While some micellar waters may contain oil, the majority of them are oil-free. Micellar water has gained popularity in recent years as a gentle and effective way to remove makeup, dirt, and oil from the skin. Its unique formula, which uses micelles to attract and remove impurities, makes it a great choice for those with sensitive or acne-prone skin. So if you’re looking for a quick and easy way to cleanse your skin without the need for harsh soaps or cleansers, give micellar water a try. And don’t worry about it being oil-based, because most of them are not, just be sure to check the label before purchasing!


Elizabeth is the owner of The Blushing Bliss, a skincare and beauty blog that she started to order to help others navigate the overwhelming world of skincare. With skincare trends constantly changing, there’s one thing that will always be true: science. Elizabeth is here to help decode the science behind skincare and with a background in chemistry and microbiology, she's a pro at deconstructing scientific studies and medical jargon. She’s on a mission to tell you what works and what doesn’t do you can save time and money and get the skin of your dreams.

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