Formulating Micellar Water – naturally!

„A micellar water is just a marketing claim for a tonic!” – Is this true?

Well, partly, yes. The composition of the two product types reads similar, as both are water-based solutions, basically containing glycols, actives, perfume and preservation besides the solubilizer.

The composition: Water, Glycols, Actives, Perfume, Solubilizers, Preservation

However, a tonic, namely a water-based solution, is dedicated to clearing up the skin after cleansing and/or providing moisture and other active functions. A micellar water is basically the same product type, but is more specifically aimed at cleansing the skin from make-up, sebum and dirt.

Therefore, the surfactants in the formulation have different purposes. In a tonic, there are usually solubilizers added, in order to dissolve lipophilic substances, e.g. perfume oils. In a micellar water, it is beneficial to add more surface active substances than needed only for the solubilization task. If the dosage of a surfactant exceeds the critical micell concentration, the molecules will form micelles, ball-shaped structures. These micelles exert the cleansing action if pressed onto the skin.

As the idea of a micellar water includes that the products does not need to be rinsed off, it is of high importance that the formulation is mild and skin-friendly. The choice of surfactants is the key to an effective product. Following, you will find example formulations for mild, micellar solutions free of additionally added alcohol.

Check out this photo documentation of the cleansing efficacy of the product:


Cotton pad applied with Micellar Water and gently wipe the face

suggested formulations