Marcelle Micellar Water Review - The Acne Experiment

Marcelle Micellar Water Review - The Acne Experiment

Today I will whisk you away to a far-away land, as I imagine it – and I must because I've never been there. A place where the streets are lined with pastries, and the women so much better than me, and they aren't even trying. Like how doesn't that work exactly? How can you try and not try at the same time?

Yes... Paris. The mecca of couture, and birthplace of such trends as lady tuxedos, too-small plates of food, and ridiculously simple beauty products. Pull up a chair, grab an espresso, and light up une clope* the same way you might light a candle -Let's talk micellar water.

*My clope is actually a q-tip I have set on fire because I don't smoke, and q-tips can't go in your ear anymore, apparently. What the hell else am I gonna do with this thing.

Micellar water is hailed as a kind of all-in one miracle product: a cleanser and make-up remover that cuts through oil and other gunk, but it doesn't necessarily have to be rinsed off (I'll get to this in a minute). So basically it functions as a cleansing wipe, except for this futuristic sounding thing called "micelles."

There are good explanations online for how micellar water works, but all I can think of are the septic tank munchers from those Rid-x commercials. Instead of munching away at poops, micelles attract impurities. And instead of being suspended in septic tank water, micelles are suspended in soft water. In sum, micelles eat crap.

So, now that I have given you a mental picture of smearing septic tank water on your face and eyes, let's get on with the review.

  1. Decide to wash face.
  2. Realize that face does not tolerate face wash.
  3. Discover water washing.
  4. Get a weird rash.
  5. My face isn't clean, is it.
  6. You can tell me guys, it's ok I can take it.
  7. What a foolish mortal I be.
  8. Wait patiently for face scientists to invent something that is like water, but better.
  9. Discover that micellar water exists and was invented in 2014.
  10. No actually, micellar water was invented in the 90s.
  11. No actually, micellar water was invented 100 years ago.
  12. Spend 30 more minutes researching the origin of micellar water.
  13. No, no. Micelles were discovered in 1913; its skincare applications were not.
  14. I hope you're taking notes, there will be a test.
  15. Aquire micellar water.
  16. Aquire face cottons.
  17. Soak a lil' micellar water on a face cotton. 
  18. Rub that micellar water all over face.
  19. It should take eye makeup off too. (should, not will*)
  20. Rinse**
  21. Pat face dry & apply moisturizer.
*I think micellar water does an ok job at removing eye makeup, but you'll probably want to follow up with a proper eye-makeup remover or oil if you've got a lot on or if you're using waterproof products.

**Yes rinse. I looked into it, and the advice I liked best is this: micellar water has some chemicals in it that you probably shouldn't leave on your skin. If your skin is sensitive like mine is, you'll probably want to rinse every time to avoid irritation. If your skin is not sensitive, you might not care. It's up to you.


Ok, to start, the brand I tested here – Marcelle – is probably new to a lot of y'all. It's a Canadian brand (Québecan to be exact), which is our French connection here. I only heard of it because it appeared in my Birchbox, but from what I've read, it's a close dupe for Bioderma – the big mama, OG micellar water.

If you look at the ingredients, Marcelle's micellar water shares over 50% of it's 9 ingredients with Bioderma Sensibo H20. The key different ingredients in Marcelle's are glycerin (a humectant), aloe (a humectant), and salicylic acid. These aren't weird additions.

So, my take is, as far as micellar waters go, Marcelle's is a good one to try first. The salicylic acid concerned me a bit (my skin is not a fan), but it's is the last ingredient in the list; there probably isn't enough in there to make a big difference, plus I was planning on rinsing anyway.

I tested it for 3 weeks, using it at night only as a "cleanser," followed by a teensy bit of jojoba & tea tree oil, then Retin-A. I also used a clay mask once per week. Here's what happened:

Marcelle Micellar Water Before & After - The Acne Experiment

Micellar Water Before & After - The Acne Experiment

Marcelle 3-in-1 Micellar Water Before & After - The Acne Experiment

I got a mixed bag of results. My forehead cleared up while my chin broke out, and my skin didn't feel dry or irritated during the trial. Because it's a swipe product, avoiding the chin area would be super easy. I probably would have continued using it, except at week 3, I felt like I was getting a nose zit, my most hated of all zits. I blamed the salicylic acid.

The results of the trial were encouraging enough, however, to make me want to try micellar water again, but a different formula. Or maybe just slightly different. (A Bioderma review is coming soon is here!)

Next Up: Dermalogica Ultracalming Cleanser

PS:  Like a lot of you, I'm sure, I spend a lot of time stalking Caroline Hirons. She tells me that micellar water is not actually cleanser, should not be used in place of a proper cleanser, and should function more as a pre-cleanse to actual cleansing. I now have cleanser on the brain and plan to get a Caroline-sanctioned cleanse routine in place before she hunts me down and kills me for being so disgusting and unwashed on the internet.


Marcelle Micellar Water Review :: The Acne Experiment / Crappy Candle

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  1. I thought you already tried retin-A for six months and it didn't work out that well, are you still using it???
    How soon is your review coming? xD
    I use the bioderma sebium cleanser, the only BHA product that didn't break me out. It didn't clear up my skin or anything but I love it, it washes off all my makeup, smells amazing, cleanses deeply without drying out the skin (gotta love french products)
    Might as well try their Micellar water after checking out your review.

    1. Oh I just checked your retain A review and found out the case.

      It's a bit strange after six months I don't see your skin flaking, my skin hurts when I use tretinoin 4 days in a row

    2. My skin flakes if I use it to often. I'm on .01 Retin-A now, and only use it every other day. If I used it more often, I'd probably look like a dried up old onion.


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