Does Micellar Water Remove Sunscreen?

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Sun protection is the answer to a lot of skin issues, but when putting on sunscreen daily, more questions arise.

How do you remove sunscreen from the skin? Does micellar water remove sunscreen?

a young girl wearing white tank top is smiling at the camera while holding a cotton pad with micellar water to remove sunscreen on face

With all the thick layers you apply on your skin throughout the day, there are bound to be consequences if you don’t remove them properly.

In this article, we explain why it’s important to clean your face after putting on sunscreen and show you how to remove sunscreen from your skin or face using micellar water.

La Roche-Posay Effaclar Micellar Cleansing Water
Editor's Choice
  • Suitable for sensitive and oily skin
  • Removes dirt, makeup, and SPF
  • Gentle, water-like texture
Simple Micellar Cleansing Water
Budget Pick
  • Unclogs pores
  • Instantly boosts skin's hydration by 90%
  • Suitable for sensitive skin
Avène Micellar Lotion
Premium Pick
  • Removes dirt, makeup, and sunscreen
  • Restores skin barrier
  • Softens skin

Why You Don’t Want to Leave Sunscreen on at Night

Drying

Water and cleanser alone are not enough to remove sunscreen well. 

If you put moisturizer on top of the sunscreen that you thought you’d gotten rid of, your moisturizer will just sit on the surface of your skin; it won’t be absorbed.

This will cause a lack of moisture in the long run.

Product Buildup

Many people think that since sunscreen needs to be reapplied, it means that it’s super easy to remove as well. 

But in reality, the dirt that gets stuck between the layers and all the excess sunscreen tend to build up and cause skin issues like breakouts and blackheads.

What Is Micellar Water?

Micellar water is a gentle detergent used for the skin. It removes dirt and grime (and yes, even sunscreen!) well with just a swipe of a cotton pad. 

Its formula is so mild that it has skin-balancing and hydrating properties too, so you can even use it as a toner.

How to Use Micellar Water to Remove Sunscreen

So does micellar water remove sunscreen?

Micellar water is usually enough to cleanse your face without cleansers, but if you’re using it to remove sunscreen, you have to remember that it’s not an alternative to traditional cleansers.

This is because micellar water can break down the oils of sunscreens, but it’s super gentle so it’s best used as the initial step in double cleansing to make sure all the layers are completely removed from your skin.

a woman with body wrapped in white towel is putting micellar water in a cotton pad

Here’s how to use micellar water to remove sunscreen:

  1. Add a generous amount of micellar water onto a cotton ball or preferably a cotton pad.
  2. Gently swipe on your skin and make sure that you apply it on every part of your face.
  3. Use a gentle cleanser to remove any sunscreen residue left on your skin.
  4. Do your skincare routine as usual.

What to Consider When Buying Micellar Water

Formula

There are lots of micellar water in the market, each with different formulations that you can choose from.

Many people react differently to different skincare products, so you have to check if there’s something in the formula that you might be sensitive to.

One of them is whether you like a fragrance or no-fragrance formula. Some people break out with fragrance, and a number of brands offer fragrance-free formulas to address this issue.

Another ingredient to look out for is alcohol. A lot of buyers experience dryness with alcohol, so check the label if the micellar water you’re planning to buy has it or not.

Skin Type

Some brands formulate their micellar water to target different skin types. 

If you have sensitive skin, it’s best to purchase micellar water with minimal ingredients to avoid any flare-ups. 

Meanwhile, if you have oily skin, we recommend choosing micellar water with high removal power to cleanse the sunscreen along with the dirt, grime, and oil buildup on your face.

Price

If you’re wearing sunscreen every day (and we really hope you are!), you would need to use a lot of micellar water to remove the layers well.

Since it’s water-based, it tends to run out quicker than your other skincare products, so it’s important to choose one that won’t burn a hole in your pocket.

The Best Micellar Water to Remove Sunscreen

1
Avène Micellar Lotion

If you’re looking for a well-known product that gets the job done, we highly recommend getting Avène for your skin. 

Primary Benefits: Removes dirt, makeup, and sunscreen; restores skin barrier; softens skin

Features:

  • Soap-free, paraben-free, alcohol-free, mineral oil-free, animal-derived ingredient-free
  • Formulated to minimize risk of allergic reactions
  • Claims 98% of impurities from pollution are removed

We guarantee that this will be one of your favorites. Thank us later!

This is definitely a product that you’ll wish you’d found sooner.

Not only will this micellar lotion succeed in removing your sunscreen, but it will also effectively soften and smoothen your skin.

It’s great for sensitive skin since it’s super gentle and is formulated to minimize the risk of allergic reactions. 

The one thing that you might not like about this product is its fragrance, and if you’re sensitive to them, we have four more products on our list that are as effective.

2
Garnier SkinActive Micellar Water

If you like the classic drugstore holy grail, you might want to try the Garnier Micellar Water. 

Primary Benefits: Effective cleanser; suitable for sensitive skin; removes makeup and SPF

Features:

  • Cruelty-free
  • Oil-free, alcohol-free, fragrance-free
  • Hypoallergenic 

Trust us, you’ll fall in love with this formula!

Many people have had this product on their skincare routine for years and have not experienced any breakouts or dryness, which proves how effective it is at cleansing the skin and how perfect it is for dry skin.

A hand holding a bottle of garnier skin active micellar cleansing water on a beige background.

The price is very affordable as well, given that it’s a drugstore product, so you don’t have to worry about emptying the bottle too quickly.

3
La Roche-Posay Effaclar Micellar Cleansing Water

Nothing beats a long-time staple. La Roche-Posay is one of them and for good reason.

Primary Benefits: Suitable for sensitive and oily skin; removes dirt, makeup, and SPF; gentle, water-like texture

Features:

  • Soap-free, alcohol-free, paraben-free, oil-free, non-comedogenic
  • Dermatologist and ophthalmologist tested
  • Made with La Roche-Posay thermal spring water 

If you’re looking for a trusted brand, this is one that we highly recommend.

Stuff your cart and hoard some La Roche-Posay because this is magic water!

Not only does it get the job done when it comes to clearing your face of dirt and sunscreen, it also leaves your skin refreshed and soft.

It wouldn’t leave your skin tight and dry as well, so if you have sensitive skin, use this to avoid any breakouts or irritation.

However, if you’re not into fragrance, this one might not be for you. If you can get past the scent though, this product is certainly a must-have!

4
Bioderma Micellar Cleansing Water

Your search is finally over if you try out this total game changer.

Primary Benefits: Suitable for sensitive skin; soothes skin; removes dirt and SPF

Features:

  • Oil-, alcohol-, and paraben-free
  • Water-like texture
  • Non-sticky formula 

A warning though, once you’ve tried this, you might never be able to live without it.

Bioderma successfully removes even the thickest layers of sunscreen and guarantees that you won’t react to this product even if you have the most sensitive skin.

You won’t feel any dryness; instead, you feel super refreshed after use.

It’s seriously the only makeup and SPF remover you’ll ever need, so stock up!

5
Simple Micellar Cleansing Water

Simple has formulated a micellar water that’s so good you might get addicted.

Primary Benefits: Unclogs pores; instantly boosts skin's hydration by 90%; suitable for sensitive skin

Features:

  • Made with vitamins B3 and C, hexylene glycol, and triple purified water
  • No artificial perfumes, no color or dye, and no harsh chemicals
  • Hypoallergenic, non-comedogenic 

With its price and effectiveness, it’s such a steal! Definitely a must-buy!

You’ll be surprised at how a product so cheap can actually be the savior of your skin.

Simple Micellar Cleansing Water is so well-made that it cleanses makeup and sunscreen well without stripping your skin of natural oils. 

It’s dermatologist and ophthalmologist tested too, so you can freely use it without worry. Best of all, it’s suitable for sensitive eyes and skin.

a young woman wearing bath robe is holding two cotton pads with micellar water to remove her sunscreen

FAQs

Why is sunscreen so hard to wash off?

Physical sunscreens are designed to last, especially on water.

They’re usually thick and oil-based because of ingredients like zinc and titanium oxide, which are hard to take off the skin.

This means that the only way to remove sunscreen from your face naturally is through oils too, such as coconut oil, sweet almond oil, jojoba oil, or olive oil.

If you don’t like the feeling of oils sitting on top of your skin, proceed with a water-based cleanser.

This is where micellar water comes in. You can even skip oil cleansing if you use micellar water.

Should I use micellar water after sunscreen?

Yes, you should use micellar water after every application of sunscreen.

This is to avoid any product buildup and dryness on your skin, which could cause acne and blackheads. This is also why it’s not OK to sleep with sunscreen on.

Does micellar water remove waterproof sunscreen?

As mentioned, waterproof sunscreens contain ingredients like zinc and titanium oxide, which sit on your skin and tend to build up if you don’t know how to remove them well.

Micellar water’s formulation is enough to break down and remove deep-seated formulas. Micellar water is infused with micelles, which are tiny particles that soak up all the dirt, grime, makeup, and sunscreen that are stuck on your skin.

That is why and how it removes waterproof sunscreens easily.

Conclusion

With all the options on the market, it’s impossible to not be able to find the perfect micellar water for you.

Now that you know how important they are to your skin, it’s best to add them to your routine today!

Want more on sunscreens?

These articles might be able to help:

Authors

  • Stephanie Martin

    Stephanie Martin blends her beauty industry background with expertise in communications to lead in the fashion and beauty world. As a fashion and beauty editor, she is known for engaging and informative articles. Her lifelong passion for fashion, makeup, and hair shines through her work, earning her widespread respect among readers and clients. Stephanie's style, a mix of classic and contemporary, makes her a dynamic and influential figure in the industry, inspiring others with her knowledgeable and approachable insights.

  • Amanda Meehan

    Amanda Meehan, a licensed esthetician and massage therapist, brings holistic beauty to the forefront. Trained at the Aveda Institute Denver and the Center for Natural Wellness School of Massage Therapy, her accolades include the High Honors and Beauty Is As Beauty Does awards. Beyond skincare, she's a certified Reiki Master and yoga instructor.

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