Today we’re continuing our sweetgrass series with a simple Sweetgrass Micellar Water that comes together in a flash and really lets our stunning sweetgrass hydrosol shine. This gentle facial cleanser requires no heat to make—simply weigh everything into the bottle you plan to store it in, and you’re done! Easy peasy.
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Micellar water is mostly water, making it one of the things that you should definitely be making instead of buying if you use it regularly! This one rings in at 97.6% water/watery things—I’m including the hydrosol in that calculation. I’ve used the sweetgrass hydrosol at 50% to ensure you really get the chance to enjoy its rich, sweet, warm scent. In addition to smelling fantastic, sweetgrass hydrosol is also astringent—a great characteristic for a leave-on facial product. If you want to dial back the scent, or if you’re using a hydrosol you find to be a lot more fragrant, feel free to reduce the percentage of hydrosol, replacing the removed amount with additional distilled water.
With 97.6% of the formula out of the way, we’ve got just 2.4% left to cover! 0.4% of that is our cleansing agent—PEG-6 Caprylic/Capric Glycerides. When I was deep in the trenches of micellar water experimentation early in 2018 I tried every surfactant and solubilizer I own, and PEG-6 Caprylic/Capric Triglycerides (also sometimes sold as PEG-6 Caprylic/Capric Glycerides) was the only one that worked. I wanted to create a micellar water formulation that cleansed the skin and had a comfortable leave-on skin feel; everything else I tried left my skin feeling tight and/or sticky, even when I dialled back the usage so far that the cleansing power of the end product was unsatisfactory. I experimented with many different usage rates for the PEG-6 Caprylic/Capric Triglycerides as well and found I could notice a difference between 0.5% and 0.4%, so I recommend using an accurate scale for this formula! If you don’t have or can’t buy PEG-6 Caprylic/Capric Triglycerides you are certainly welcome to experiment with alternatives, but I can’t offer any guidance as to what you might like as PEG-6 Caprylic/Capric Triglycerides is the only version I liked.
The remaining 2% is 0.5% preservative, and 1.5% humectant blend—0.5% sodium lactate, and 1% propanediol 1,3. Keeping the humectant usage rates low (and selecting non-sticky humectants) helps ensure the end product has a lovely not-even-there skin feel. It can be tempting to really dress up micellar water with all kinds of beautiful water-soluble actives and whatnot, but in my experience, it doesn’t take much to create something that feels tacky and unpleasant on the skin, so I’ve learned to keep things pretty simple.
And that’s it! Measure, mix, voila—micellar water!
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Sweetgrass Micellar Water
57.12g | 47.6% distilled water
60g | 50% sweetgrass hydrosol
0.48g | 0.4% PEG-6 Caprylic/Capric Triglycerides (USA / Canada)
1.2g | 1% Propanediol 1,3 (USA / Canada)
0.6g | 0.5% sodium lactate (USA / Canada)
0.6g | 0.5% Liquid Germall Plus™ (USA / Canada)
Weigh everything into a 120ml/4oz squeeze bottle. Cap and shake to combine. That’s it!
To use, soak a cotton pad in micellar water, and wipe it over your face. Repeat with fresh cotton until it comes away clean (I usually need two).
Shelf Life & Storage
Because this micellar water contains water, you must include a broad-spectrum preservative to ward off microbial growth. This is non-optional. Even with a preservative this project is likely to eventually spoil as our kitchens are not sterile laboratories, so in the event you notice any change in colour, scent, or texture, chuck it out and make a fresh batch.
As always, be aware that making substitutions will change the final product. While these swaps won’t break the recipe, you will get a different final product than I did.
- As I’ve provided this recipe in percentages as well as grams you can easily calculate it to any size using a simple spreadsheet as I’ve explained in this post. As written in grams this recipe will make 120g.
- To learn more about the ingredients used in this recipe, including why they’re included and what you can substitute them with, please visit the Humblebee & Me Encyclopedia. It doesn’t have everything in it yet, but there’s lots of good information there! If I have not given a specific substitution suggestion in this list please look up the ingredient in the encyclopedia before asking.
- Because micellar water is a leave-on cleanser I find the leave-on skin feel is extremely important; it’s also very easy to make micellar water with an unpleasant leave-on feel, be it too sticky or too tight. Avoid sticky ingredients wherever possible.
- You can use a different hydrosol or more distilled water; this will obviously impact the scent of the final product.
- If you choose to alter the surfactant you’re on your own. I experimented with every surfactant I own and PEG-6 Caprylic/Capric Triglycerides is the only one that produced good results.
- You can use a different humectant instead of propanediol; sodium lactate would be my top choice, though vegetable glycerin could also work (you may find it to be a bit sticky). Propylene glycol will also work.
- If you’re like to use a different preservative, please review this page.
The sweetgrass hydrosol was gifted by Plant’s Power.