I Gave Up Face Wash for a Month & Here’s What Happened
Yes, it’s true—for a full month I completely gave up washing my face. Before you throw me to the wolves for committing the number one skin care sin, know this: I was still cleansing, just not in the traditional way I had been. For a full month I put my favorite face washes aside—and believe me, I always really loved a good lather—and instead, I did as French girls do, and cleansed my skin exclusively with micellar water. Did I breakout? Was my skin an oily mess? Keep reading to find out!
What Is Micellar Water?
Over the last year or so, micellar waters have gone from lesser-known French imports to absolute must-haves here in the States. There are micellar waters available in your local drugstores and supermarkets, ones at luxurious department stores, and still others sold by small-scale indie skin care brands. No matter where you look, it’s undeniable that micelle technology has made its mark—in fact, the haircare industry has even caught on and has started using micelles in shampoo formulas, too!
Micelle technology works by suspending tiny micelle cleansing molecules in a soft water solution. The micelles work by attracting, and subsequently trapping and lifting away any dirt, makeup, or other impurities that may be lingering on the skin’s surface. The waters were originally popular in France as an answer to the country’s hard water problem. When washing your face with hard water it can potentially strip the skin of its natural oils and compromise its optimal pH balance.
My Micelle Experience
After hearing over and over how French girls don’t cleanse their faces with water and traditional face washes, I figured why not give it a try myself? I don’t have hard water at home so I wasn’t particularly concerned with dryness but I figured who wouldn’t want to use something that left their skin feeling soft and hydrated—oh, right…and clean? I decided to go with La Roche-Posay’s micellar water for my little experiment. First, because they sent us a complimentary sample and it was in the office. Second, because if I’m going to cleanse my skin like a French girl, well then I should use a product actual French girls use, right?
Before I get into what happened, here’s a bit about me: I have somewhat normal skin that gets a breakout here and there once a month—if you catch my drift. I wear a full face of makeup every day—we’re talking foundation, concealer, bronzer, two different blushes, three coats of mascara, with a primer, brows, highlighter and gloss… every day.
For my experiment I only replaced my face wash with micellar water. I still used a makeup remover wipe each night because I didn’t want to go through a bag of cotton balls each day just to get my makeup off. What surprised me most after the first night was that I still had SO much makeup leftover on my face, which was evident after I swiped the micellar water-soaked cotton pad over my face—so.much. It made me quickly realize the importance of washing your face each day in addition to using a wipe, instead of just relying on a towelette. I used a few cotton balls soaked in micellar water until the last one finally came away clean. My skin didn’t feel dry or tight, but rather super comfortable and I liked how it was just slightly damp for my moisturizer application. The next morning, I reached for the micellar water again. I didn’t expect to see anything on the cotton ball but apparently dirt and oil really can buildup over night—again showing how important it is to cleanse both morning and night!
After a month of using exclusively micellar water I can fully understand why this is such a go-to for French girls. It’s super convenient, it’s nice not to get puddles of water all over the floor when cleansing my face, and it really does leave my skin feeling more moisturized. I had no problems during my micellar month, and I can possibly attribute that to how clean my skin really was during this time. When using micellar water you see what’s coming off and you know if there’s anything still lingering, so it’s easier to ensure that you cleanse the surface of your skin of impurities that you may not have otherwise.
Would I stick to only using micellar water? No. While I loved micellar water, I missed my exfoliating face washes and my charcoal cleansers that I would incorporate into my routine once or twice a week and really longed for a good exfoliation by the month’s end. Will I use micellar water more often? Absolutely. I’ve now decided to incorporate micellar water after I use a makeup remover wipe to ensure I’m removing all of my glam before washing my face.