With pricey bottles of assorted high end brands getting scooped up on Amazon and U.S. beauty corporations scrambling to keep up with the trend, it looks like micellar water is quickly becoming a “must-have” item. I recently received a sample in the mail of a drugstore brand miceller water, and was given a sample size of a DIY a friend made. The DIY was pretty good, but needed a little tweaking, and has me on a quest.
Plenty of beauty bloggers have 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. There are more You Tube video tutorials than written directions and I hate watching videos. I feel good about adding to the written direction pool.
The basic premise of micellar water solution is so simple it might shock you: soapy water. That’s really it! By using the science of surfactants like detergent and soap to work with us, we can create our own simple formula that makes a nice sized replacement.
Now for the science.
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.
Note: I decided NOT to use homemade soap, either liquid or bar, for this recipe. I also decided against soap nuts or other saponin containing natural ingredients, although I may revisit that in the future. For convenience, this recipe uses up some old face wash I have (from Bare Escentuals) because you can use it around your eyes which you can’t do with homemade soap, or at least not nearly as easily. If you want to stay completely natural, feel free to sub the face wash for Dr Bronners, homemade liquid soap, or twice as much homemade grated bar soap. But realize you’ll have to keep your eyes shut tight when using to remove eye makeup as it will be potentially irritating to your eyes, more so than if made with face wash.
Now! You will need:
1/2 tsp Lecithin (soy or sunflower work well, I used soy)
1/4 tsp Jojoba Oil
1/4 tsp Red Turkey Oil (optional, can just double on jojoba oil and shake well)
Pinch guar gum
1 tsp Face wash of choice (I used Bare Escentuals)
1 tsp Vegetable Glycerin
12 oz, divided Heated distilled water (not boiling)
2 oz hydrosol of choice (optional, can use something like rose water…or just more water: I used green tea)
2 oz Witch Hazel (May use rose or lavender witch hazel, I used lavender witch hazel)
Essential oils as desired (lavender, tea tree)
Tinctures/extracts for skin as desired (chamomile, myhrr for example)
Non-metal mixing bowl
Non-metal stirring implement
Bottle to store formula (at least 16 oz.)
I used 2 oz. Green tea, 2 oz. witch hazel, and 4 oz. heated distilled water, then added 1 tsp each glycerin and face wash. Stir gently.
Following that, I added 1/2 tsp lecithin, 1/4 tsp red turkey oil, and 1/4 tsp jojoba oil (or 1/2 tsp jojoba oil) and pinch guar gum. Mix well, using small whisk if necessary for guar gum and lecithin.
Let sit about 30 min while the lecithin forms micells, and then place in your bottle. Add extracts and essential oils, then add another 8 oz or so of hot water to top off. Shake well before each use, especially if you didn’t use red turkey oil to help emulsify the oils. It will need to be shaken a little regardless, however.
A note about preservatives (again). Ideally this watery, bacteria breeding ground should get about .12 oz, give or take, of the preservative I use (I would probably round up to .15 to be safe because I don’t wear make up often so it’s going to take me a few months to use all this). Another trick will be to store the bulk of it in the fridge and just keep out a small, 4 oz jelly jar with a small amount in it or a 2 oz squeeze travel bottle with some and refill that as needed, watching for mold or funny odor. You could be smart and do both! Remember when using preservatives to check the manufacturer’s recommended usage rates! Each one is different, so don’t go off my dosing here.
And that’s it! It works very well to get makeup off! I think it took two passes before my skin felt truly clean when I used it with a full face of make up on, but that day I was also hot and sweaty. I like to pack a 4 oz jelly jar full of those little round make up remover pads and saturate them with solution. You only get a few in there, but once they are gone it’s convenient and easy to refill if you keep your solution in the fridge.
Thanks for DIY’ing with me!
* This is yet another photo free post. I apologize, I will try to make sure my next posts have photos to help jazz up my writing.
**Speaking of preservatives, I’m switching mine. I’ve been using Optiphen, but it has a bad side effect in that it can break an emulsion like a lotion and cause it to separate if I add it when the emulsion is still too warm, but if I wait until the emulsion cools too much, it’s often so thick it makes getting it into pump bottles very difficult. Liquid Germall Plus is also safe and paraban free, and economical. I just ordered a small bottle to try out as it has many good reviews. I hope it works better and I’ll save the Optiphen for my non-lotion needs, like micellar cleanser.