A Deeper Look into Tap, Thermal, Toner and Micellar Water

Frequently, clients ask me about the various types of hydrating and cleansing waters. Here’s my take:


Ahh, good ole tap water. The first thing we learn in Esthetics school is how to cleanse the skin with warm soapy water. To me, nothing feels better than water or gets the job done quicker. Depending on where you live, water can be hard or soft, making it a different experience for everyone.

Soft water is often acidic (pH 6.5 or lower) and can feel a bit slimy and hard to rinse off, whereas hard water rinses clean, sometimes leaving your skin feeling a bit tight. Hard water typically has a higher, more alkaline pH (pH 8.5 or higher) due to the presence of minerals (mainly calcium and magnesium). The extra minerals in hard water can dry out your skin or cause irritation. Excess minerals on the surface of the skin draw water out from within the epidermis to the surface where it is then evaporated (hence, the tight feel). This process is known as osmosis. Hard water deposits can further interfere with this process by blocking ion channels, causing inflammation. You can learn more about tap water from my previous blog post.


Think Yellowstone or a European vacation, soaking in a hot spring full of mineral-rich thermal water. Geothermal water has been revered for its healing health benefits for generations. Thermal hot springs are bodies of water heated by the Earth’s geothermal energy. These hot springs have a higher mineral content because hot water can hold more dissolved minerals than cold water. Selenium, sulfur, magnesium, and calcium can improve your skin’s texture and appearance if present in the right concentrations. Selenium’s antioxidant properties can help to soften skin and protect against UV radiation damage. Sulfur is found in many ointments to treat common skin irritations. Magnesium and calcium, at the right ratio, can promote skin hydration by reducing trans epidermal water loss. You can watch this video to learn more about TEWL. These minerals also play a role in reducing inflammation. If you want to dive in deeper, check out this handy chart from one of my favorite bloggers.



Toners play many roles in skin care. Some treat acne, balance the pH and provide hydration. Most toners use water as the base in the formula. Years ago, I came across an ingredient called D2O (deuterium oxide), also known as heavy water. After researching it, I learned that it is more resistant to vaporization, allowing the skin to stay hydrated for a longer period. Additionally, it has a UV protective effect which is due to its resistance to forming harmful ions. Furthermore, the growth of certain bacteria is slightly inhibited by heavy water. As a result, we developed Simplified Face + Body Toner which is rich in D2O, witch hazel, cucumber and honey which gently improves skin tone while restoring balance. To learn more about toner benefits, you may check out this earlier post.


Micellar has been around for about 20 years and was developed to assist women in-a-pinch. It should be used with care and only when you don’t have access to running water. It is a surfactant, meaning it is a soapy mixture developed to remove makeup and debris without having to rinse it off. Using Micellar is beneficial if you’re on a road trip, glamping or doing a quick-change after work. If you like the idea of it, I would recommend using it as a pre-cleanse and then follow up with your favorite cleanser. You will want to avoid getting Micellar into your eyes, so you’ll have to use something different to remove eye makeup.

Thank you for reading The Freckle blog! Please subscribe to stay informed of all things relating to skin care. Also, check out my website and YouTube channel for product news and recommendations.

Shelley Skin Care
Your Guide to Good Skin


One Comment Add yours

Ciao! Please leave a reply...

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.