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Micellar water

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Written by   502
1 month ago

I’m pretty sure it seems weird for me to be writing about beauty products but this one in particular is a pretty fascinating product to me. It actually holds a lot of basic chemistry concepts despite being such a simple cosmetic product. Plus I’m also fascinated by it because of its origin. You see, micellar water isn’t a new trend. It’s been around for almost a century already. The trend of micellar water started in early france. I’m not sure when exactly it started but the first company that utilized this concept is bioderma. It came out around 1913 and was followed by an American company in 1993. As to why micellar water became widespread was because France’s was mostly hard water. I don’t have much information on their water sources but seeing as they mostly utilized sea water and deep well water, it could be a factor in their water’s calcium and magnesium content. It could also be attributed to the fact that they have chalky soil in some regions. 

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This is what happens when soap is used in hard water. It's usually thicker though

Why is oil mixed with water so fascinating? 

To understand that, we need to look at its individual key ingredients. The water part, and the oil part. 

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First is the water which isn’t really just regular water. And if you’ve worked in the lab like me, you’ll know that water isn’t just water because there are so many types of water. There’s deionized water, reverse osmosis water, distilled water, hard water, etc. For this particular product, although most beauty lines use “purified water” what they actually use is soft water (yes, there’s soft water and there’s also hard water). This isn’t harmful, don’t worry 😅😅😅 on the contrary, it’s actually the kind of water that’s good for people because of the lower Calcium and magnesium content in it  (It’s opposite with hard water. Do you know that white stuff that builds up in the bathroom if your water is from deep wells? Those are mostly caused by hard water-binding with your soap molecules and it can be pretty irritating). But nowadays, they use other types of water like essence-infused water and whatnot.

For the oil part. I wonder if they taught this in high school but oils and water don’t mix. If you try to mix oil with water, they form these little separations called micelles. This micelle is the very soul of the product since it makes cleansing and moisturizing possible. 

For the basic chemistry of it, we’ll have to look at an oil’s molecular structure. An oil and almost any surfactant molecule (including soaps and detergents) will have similar structures where they have a water-loving (hydrophilic) and water hating (hydrophobic) end. 

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On a mechanistic view, these micelles are ingenious since the hydrophilic ends will face outwards while the hydrophobic ends will stay away from water. Despite the ball figure they make, the hydrophobic end will still be attracted to dirt. And this is where the “like attracts like” concept in chemistry comes in handy. You see, the dirt, make up and oil on your skin are basically hydrophobic. Same constituents so they’ll attract each other. 

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But the difference between soaps and this micellar water is that it doesn’t make your skin dry like what happens when you just rinse your face with just soap. Also, because of this very gentle formulation, it’s good for all skin types, even the highly sensitive ones. And again, that’s because of the soft water they use for it. Of course, additional ingredients also contribute to the moisturizing properties of micellar water like the type of oil they used, the amount of glycerin, triglycerides, lecithin, and a few other ingredients that aren’t irritating to the skin. 

 

There’s also something funny I found while looking up the ingredients of micellar water. Apparently, it’s not just the product itself that does the cleansing but also in the method of applying 🤣🤣🤣 So cotton pads have a lot of hydrophilic ends in their structures (which is why cotton is so absorbent). That very fact means that the hydrophilic ends of the oil/surfactant molecule have something to bind too. And instead of the oils forming micelles, they leave the hydrophobic ends fully exposed to make dirt/carbon absorption much easier. 

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All those -OH (hydroxyl) ends are the ones that attract the hydrophilic ends

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Sot this is what it essentially looks like on a bigger picture. And this logic kind of makes the surface area in which micellar water reaches larger compared to your soap and water.

It’s funny to me but it does make sense but I’m concerned with the environmental impact of the disposable cotton people use. I hope they do something like inventing reusable cotton pads for makeup. 

This is enough of my chemistry rambles for the day XD 

Related article:

https://read.cash/@Hanzell/chemistry-for-the-day-kojic-acid-vs-glutathione-vs-collagen-24d03cca


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Written by   502
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Comments

I am amazed on how you explained what this product has. Chemistry at is finest. Ive been using micellar water but no knowledge how it was made or what it has. Well thanks to this article you have. ☺️

$ 0.05
1 month ago

As I've said, it's good to appreciate the every day products we have by knowing some of its most basic concepts

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1 month ago

Yes. Yes. That is just so true. You are so good on checking about it.

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1 month ago

Well I'm actually a chemist that works in a chemical laboratory

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1 month ago

Just wow! I am more than amazed to know this. Maybe soon, you can invent some reusable cottons? Hahaha that can be a good thing to save money from buying a lot of cotton pads. I am still amazed that I am talking with a chemist. 💗

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1 month ago

I'm pretty sure someone else is working on that already 😅 those aren't part of my research interests, sadly so I don't think I'll be the one to invent that

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1 month ago

Oh jeez I really hate chemistry. Haha. But hey I got to know micellar water! And still don't know if I'll remember it or maybe you will (I mean I'll remember you when I mx water with oil!). Haha

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1 month ago

I'm just doing this for a sense of appreciation for the product 😅😅😅 cuz it's pretty cool to me yet most people really don't understand why a certain product is made the way it is

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1 month ago

You are cool too! Yes some people or like me, don't really used things as such, or don't go into the details. Hehe. But I'll surely recommend it as cleanser!

Btw you can invent undisposable cottons! Rawr.

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1 month ago

Aww thank you ❤️ I was supposed to write about food additives and food mutation again but my sisters told me to stop scaring people 😂😂😂

Lol iba Yung focus Ng research ko eh, mostly on antimicrobials and nanotechnology ako 😅

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1 month ago

Yay i love to hear food mutation! As I have learned the word mutation on the movie series on netflix, the 100, they mutated the people to be able to come to earth when the radiation is over. Yayy they live after over 600 years again I think? And I guess I like to know how food mutation is done yiee, specially on those food that sell on department stores, or like 7 eleven, they sell those menudo that has an expiration but last for a week? I wonder how it was done.

Ow. Haha ibwon't asked further about the topic of your research haha. My lil brain can't take micro and something. Haha

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1 month ago

I don't know Netflix series 😅 tamad ako manood Ng western series. Anime Lang talaga 🤣 but what I meant was that iba Yung ancient food to the food now because of cross germination and then natural mutations through gene rearrangement Yung mga food sa convenience stores Naman, iba pa Yun Kasi Yun dinadaya na eh. So it's either food adulteration or violation of the non discrepancy act

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1 month ago

Interesting lesson we have for today, teacher :D I have read micellar water twice today. One mentioned in another article and your full discussion about it.

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1 month ago

Lol what are the odds other people would write about it today 😂 I just wrote it on a whim though since I was pretty lazy to do extensive research today

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1 month ago