Micellar Water vs. Toner: Difference & How to use

Difference between micellar water vs a toner

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Which is better, toner or micellar water? the Difference between micellar water and a toner.

If you love skincare, you know one crucial step to taking care of your skin is to keep it hydrated. If you have a skincare routine, you probably have some sort of toner thrown into the mix, but many people do not even know why they are using this product in the first place.

To make things even more complicated, a new trend has dominated the beauty industry and has become the latest “must-have” product: micellar water.

But what exactly is micellar water? Does it replace your toner or is it something totally different?

If you are a skincare newbie, none of these terms may be familiar to you, and you might be left wondering; what is the importance of all of this stuff anyway?

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Whether you are passionate about skincare or just getting into this world, we are here to answer all of these burning questions and so many more. Today we are splashing into the world of micellar water, its purpose, and if it is better than a traditional toner. 

Before we go deep into what micellar water and toner are, and the benefits of both, we should first note the difference between the two.

What’s the difference between Micellar water vs. toner?

The difference between micellar water and toner is that they are used for very different reasons. Micellar water is an oil and water product that removes makeup, dirt, and debris from the face. And Toner, is made with water and ingredients such as antioxidants that It’s used to balance out the pH level in the face.

According to this study, micellar water is especially great for sensitive and acne-prone skin. Toner can do wonders for oily skin. While they both have hydrating effects, and both can be used to tone your face, they each have a few added benefits that set them apart from one another.

Which is better toner or micellar water?

Micellar water vs toner, which is better, what's the diffrence between micellar water and toner

The question of which is better depends on personal preference and skin type.

As you will find out below, some skin types respond better to one product or another, while some skin types may even find both to be extremely beneficial to add to their skincare routine!


I personally prefer micellar water, I have combination skin (that really changes depending on the weather), and I can’t find enough justification to add a toner to my skincare routine. But depending on your skin, you could definitively find that toner can work great for your skin.

What is micellar water?

Difference between micellar water and a toner, toner vs micellar water

So where did this micellar water trend come from anyway? Micellar water actually originated from France and has been a skincare staple in Europe for several decades.

In fact, many women in Europe consider micellar water to be essential for their skincare routine.

Its popularity in the US is recent, but that does not mean that it hasn’t made a splash.

In fact, if you follow any beauty bloggers or skincare gurus, they have all probably talked about micellar water at some point or another.

As we read above, micellar water is a water-based product that removes all of the makeup, dirt, and debris that pile up on our face every day, but it also has a lot of added benefits beyond its function.

You can use micellar water every day to cleanse your face, and while it does remove makeup (even waterproof makeup) from your face, you don’t have to wear makeup to use micellar water.

Micellar water is great for removing not just makeup, but everything else that accumulates on your face throughout the day (dirt, sweat, etc.). 

Our all-time favorite Micellar water (that is perfect for sensitive skin) is the Bioderma Sensibio Micellar water

Is micellar water a toner? 

While micellar water is different from a traditional toner, some dermatologists do say it can be used as a toner.

This is because it does tone the face, but it does not typically balance a face’s pH levels, as a toner does.

However, while micellar water can be used instead of a toner (especially for sensitive skin) a toner cannot be used instead of micellar water.

The difference is that micellar water has the ability to cleanse the skin, and can clean debris away, whereas toner does not have that same ability.

Do dermatologists recommend micellar water?

Dermatologists generally recommend micellar water for sensitive skin types, because its lack of ingredients reduces its capacity for a severe reaction with the skin. Additionally, it does not strip the skin of the natural oils that it produces.

Even though it is a new fad in America, many dermatologists are excited about people incorporating this product into their skincare routine. However, some dermatologists caution people against hyping up micellar water too much.

While it is a great cleanser, it is not an all-in-one solution to keeping your skin happy and healthy.

In fact, dermatologists still recommend washing your face with a cleanser designed for your skin type and using a moisturizer in addition to micellar water.

 Benefits of micellar water

Benefits of micellar water, micellar water vs toner

One benefit of micellar water is that it is a light product. It does not contain harsh ingredients, and oftentimes it does not need to be rinsed off because water is the main ingredient.

Micellar water also contains micelles, which are molecules that clean out the pores in your skin. Since micellar water is a mix of oil and water, the micelles are suspended in the water.

When the micelles interact with their surface (in this case, the dirt on our skin), the dirt is attracted to the micelles on contact, which creates a powerful cleaning agent. 

Another great benefit of micellar water is the way that it pairs with the rest of your skincare routine.

By using a cleanser like micellar water first, the rest of your skincare routine will have an even greater effect because of how deeply the micelles clean out your pores and allow for your other products to work their magic. 

Another benefit of micellar water is that it DOES NOT CONTAIN ALCOHOL. One of the major complaints about toners is that some do, which can cause irritation and dryness.

And that’s why I personally don’t recommend toner to anyone, but in case you find a toner without alcohol and with other ingredients that can be beneficial for your skin, go for it.

Related Post: What exactly skin-prep routine I do for flawless makeup (All my secrets!)

What is a toner?

While micellar water is a recent beauty trend, toners have been skincare “essential” for a while.

Even though they are widespread in the market today, many people may use them in their skincare routine without having a clear understanding of what they are for. 

While toner can be used to clean out dirt and debris, toner is not designed to remove makeup as micellar water can do.

If you are not using micellar water, dermatologists recommend using a makeup remover before using a toner. Unlike micellar water, toners are not meant to cleanse the face but to restore its natural pH balance. 

Benefits of a toner

Benefits of a toner, what is a toner, micellar water vs toner

With all of the added perks of micellar water, you might be wondering if having a toner is even worth it for your skincare routine, but before you throw out your toner, let’s talk about some of its benefits. 

One of the greatest things about toner vs micellar water is that it is great for oily skin. Since micellar water has oil in it, putting it on oily skin every day could cause further breakouts, but toners do not typically have this effect.

So even though micellar water is trending, people will oily skin should avoid using it daily, and still with their trusted toner. 

Additionally, toner balances your pH level, which is something that micellar water is not usually credited for. This is the reason why you use a toner after you cleanse your face, but before you moisturize.

After you cleanse your face, your pH balance is off. A cleanser will make your skin more alkaline, which your skin will then try to fight against by producing an overload of oils.

This could cause your face to be more oily than desired, which is why using a toner is so important. It balances out your pH levels and fights against the negative effects that alkaline and oily skin can produce.


Another great benefit of toner is that it has a lot of added ingredients that can do wonders for your skin. For example, glycerin (a common ingredient in most toners) moisturizes your skin and can heal wounds faster.

Most toners also have antioxidants that can do wonders for your skin. While you may find some of these ingredients in micellar water, it is much more common in toners. 

Our favorite toner (if you decide to give “toners” a try) is this one by Mario Badescu, which also contains amazing ingredients like glycolic acid and aloe that brightens and rejuvenates the skin.

Final thoughts on Micellar Water vs Toner


Ultimately, using micellar water vs a toner (or both) in your skincare routine is really dependent on your personal preference and your skin type. If you have sensitive skin, using micellar water would be best. If you have oily skin, a toner might be the better option.

Finally, if you have acne-prone skin, using both micellar water and toner could do wonders for your face! Even though micellar water is a new trend, it actually has some great benefits, so don’t be afraid to try it out and see it for yourself!


I hope you liked this post, if so don’t forget to pin it for later and share it with others!

Also, leave a comment below sharing with me what you think about micellar water vs a toner. I’d love to hear from you!

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Micellar water vs. toner: Difference & how to use

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