Micellar Water vs Toner: What is the Difference?

France is well known for its micellar waters and toners. But what is the difference between these two French skincare powerhouses?

Micellar Water and Toner are both commonly used in skincare routines, but they serve distinct purposes and contain different ingredients. Let’s explore their differences in detail:

Micellar Water vs Toner thomsenmichaela

Micellar Water

Micellar Water is a skincare product primarily used for cleansing. It contains micelles, which are tiny lipid molecules that cling to dirt, oil, and makeup. When you apply Micellar Water to your skin with a cotton pad, the micelles attach themselves to the impurities on your skin’s surface, and they are swept away when you wipe the pad off. It’s a gentle and hydrating option for cleansing, often free from alcohol, and is usually suitable for sensitive skin.

  1. Primary Purpose: Cleansing the skin by removing makeup, dirt, and oils.
  2. Ingredients: Contains micelles, water, mild surfactants, and often hydrating ingredients like glycerin.
  3. Use: Typically used as the first step in a skincare routine or as a makeup remover.
  4. Skin Type: Generally suitable for all skin types, especially sensitive ones.


Toner is a liquid skincare product meant to be used after face washing and ahead of moisturizing. Its main purpose is to balance the skin’s pH, minimize pores, and condition the skin to absorb subsequent products like serums and moisturizers more effectively. Toners may contain ingredients like witch hazel, rose water, alcohol (in some cases), and hydrating elements.

  1. Primary Purpose: Balancing skin’s pH, tightening pores, and enhancing the absorption of other products.
  2. Ingredients: Contains astringents, hydrating elements, or skin-soothing agents depending on the formulation.
  3. Use: Used after cleansing and before moisturizing.
  4. Skin Type: Specific toners may be designed for different skin types, with variations for oily, dry, or sensitive skin.

The Bottom Line

In essence, Micellar Water serves as a gentle cleanser that is primarily used to remove makeup, debris, and oils from the skin’s surface. In contrast, Toner is applied after face cleansing to stabilize the skin’s pH, tighten pores, and prepare the skin for subsequent skincare products.

While Micellar Water is primarily focused on cleansing, Toner is more concerned with treating and preparing the skin. Choosing between them or using them in tandem depends on your specific skincare needs and skin type!

If both are used in a routine, Micellar Water would typically come first, followed by a Toner.

I hope that helps clear things up – no pun intended! 🙂

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