With pricey bottles of the Bioderma Crealine (a French pharmacy favorite) getting scooped up on Amazon and U.S. beauty corporations scrambling to keep up with the trend, micellar water is quickly becoming a "must-have" item.
Many a beauty blogger has written about how awesome these magical waters are, how they remove stubborn makeup, don't require rinsing, and feel oh-so-gentle on the skin, but few have actually cracked the code and made their own. YouTube user Honey Golden was among the first I have seen, and it was her formula that I decided to hack to my specifications and share with xoVain.
The basic premise of micellar water is so simple it might shock you: soapy water. That’s really it! By using the science of surfactants like shampoo and soap to work with us, we can create our own simple formula that makes a nice sized replacement.
Surfactant molecules have a water loving (hydrophilic) head and a water repelling tail (lipophilic or hydrophobic). These molecules attract grease and oil to their tail and are carried off when the head meets its friends, water molecules. Micelles are crystal-like groups of surfactant molecules which have pushed all of the hydrophilic tails into the center, allowing the spheres to be suspended uniformly in an aqueous solution with a little help from heat and an emulsifier.
Here's What You Need To Make Micellar Water
- Lecithin (soy or sunflower work well)
- Oil (must be liquid at room temp)
- Face wash of choice
- Heated distilled water (not boiling)
- Optional water-based ingredients (hydrosols work well here, including rosewater and witch hazel)
- Non-metal mixing bowl
- Non-metal stirring implement
- Measuring jigger
- Measuring spoons (⅛ tsp., ½ tsp.)
- Bottle to store formula (at least 16 oz.)
First, mix all the watery ingredients (up to one cup, should be at least 50 percent pure water) in Pyrex.
I used 3 oz. rosewater, 1 oz. witch hazel, and 4 oz. heated distilled water.
Add ½ teaspoon glycerin and ½ teaspoon face wash to the liquid and stir well.
Now stir in ⅛ teaspoon lecithin and ⅛ teaspoon oil.
Allow to sit for 20 minutes, so the heated lecithin has a chance to form micelles, and strain over a coffee filter.
Add any fragrance or actives you’d like. I did a few drops of chamomile tincture, myrrh tincture, and one drop each of lemongrass and thyme essential oils.
Now add eight more ounces of warmed water to dilute and you’re done!
Here’s how it compares to my store-bought micellar water when removing eye and lip makeup.
As you can tell, the DIY formula works as well as store-bought on eye makeup, and takes off about 90% of the lip makeup. It's just a bit less effective than the Embryolisse stuff. I’d call that a success!
So now that you got a mini science lesson, you can tweak this recipe if you so choose. Using water-only hydrosols and sensitive skin friendly face wash can give you a completely neutral formula for those who seek such things, and you can even use half of what you made to create wipes with my wipe how-to from a while back! The original YouTuber soaks cotton pads in her solution and freezes them, another fun option. It is advisable to keep the main portion in the fridge and use daily from a smaller bottle. Keeping un-preserved DIYs fresh is very important, kiddies!
- Are you a fan of micellar water?
- Would you ever make your own?
- Any xoScientists want to expand further on micelles, polar and non-polar solutions, or emulsions?
Photos by Darnell Scott