Filed Under: SKIN

Micellar vs Toner vs Essence: Demystifying the Differences

Micellar cleansing waters. Toners. Essences. They’re not the same. They have their own distinct benefits and unique backstories. And they’re all essential to your skincare ritual. We’re here to break down the differences and bring them back together in an innovative new way.


Micellar water is a facial cleansing phenomenon that’s been sweeping the world from east to west. A gentle everyday cleanser, it has become the coveted beauty secret of models, celebrities, makeup artists and dermatologists around the world. Why has it achieved such beloved beauty status? Milder than traditional soaps and cleansers, it dissolves impurities and light makeup without stripping, drying, stinging, irritating or leaving unwanted residue. Though not designed to remove heavy waterproof makeup, it’s perfect for purifying and freshening skin and has a multitude of other benefits as well.


France is known for its souffles, macarons... and hard tap water. Filled with heavy minerals, hard water can compromise skin’s pH balance and leave it dull, dry and damaged. Tap water was stripping Paris of its beauty so Parisians sought a facial cleanser that didn’t need to be washed off. Enter micellar water: a no-rinse, gentle cleansing formula that was developed in the 1990’s in France to get around the hard tap water situation. What was once a French beauty secret has now become a staple for glow-seekers across the globe.


Micellar water is made with purified water with a balanced pH, hydrating ingredients such as glycerin and cleansing agents called surfactants. Micellar technology uses gentle surfactants that have both an oil-loving and a water-loving action. These surfactants bind together in small concentrated clusters called micelles, which act as magnets to attract oil, debris and dirt. The tiny cleansing molecules are suspended in water to draw out impurities without drying skin. Micelles get activated by saturating a cotton pad with the formula and sweeping over your face. This simple gesture rearranges the micelles for optimal cleansing.


Micellar water lifts light makeup, oil, and impurities from skin with the swipe of a cotton pad. A versatile multi-tasker, it can be used as a cleanser, light makeup remover and toner. It combines gentle cleansing care with skin-balancing and hydrating benefits. Micellar water is mild, non-irritating and suitable for all skin types, even the most sensitive. And because it doesn’t require rinsing off, it’s perfect for traveling. Take it to the gym or on a trip to clean, hydrate and nourish your skin on the go.


An essence is a cross between a toner and a serum. It’s a light watery liquid that hydrates and primes skin for better absorption of skincare products that follow. It adds a base layer of moisture and nourishment to keep skin healthy, supple and radiant. In terms of texture, it’s more emollient than a toner but not as ultra-concentrated as a serum. Packed with nutrients, antioxidants and other active ingredients, an essence formula has a low molecular weight which enables it to deliver high doses on a deep level. Its specific function varies by brand, ranging from brightening to hydrating to anti-aging.


Steeped in the splendors of the ancient east, facial essences have been at the core of Asian beauty ceremonies for centuries. Though essences are often associated with Korean beauty, their early origins can actually be traced back to Japan. An 1813 guide to geisha beauty rituals, the “Miyako Fuzoku Kewaiden”, mentions the use of cleansing beauty waters to reveal translucent skin. Today, essences are at the heart of every Asian skincare routine. One reason that K-Beauty and J-Beauty caught on in the west is that their philosophies so perfectly align with the clean beauty approach of nourishing skin rather than stripping it.


A toner is your second stage of cleansing. A fast-absorbing liquid, it’s designed to remove any last traces of your cleanser as well as dead cells and the day’s debris. It whisks away stubborn makeup, residue or dirt left behind to complete the cleansing ritual. It balances pH, restoring your skin’s natural acid mantle and ability to fight off bacteria. It has astringent properties that tighten pores and control excess oil. A revitalizing boost for skin, it refreshes your complexion while preparing it for the rest of your skincare routine.


Alcohol-heavy toners were invented because the soap used to clean faces would leave a scum and be so harsh that it would throw the pH of skin off balance. These tingly OG toners would bring the skin’s pH back to normal and remove the sticky residue that lye-based soaps left after washing. But they would also leave skin tight and dry. Though these harsh lye soaps are not commonly used today, toners are still a vital part of a skincare routine. Depending on the brand and their secondary function, toners can sometimes contain alcohol, salicylic acid, witch hazel or benzoyl peroxide. But a gentler generation of toners has also emerged to refresh skin and balance pH without the use of potentially harsh ingredients.





Not long ago, you had to fly to France to stock up on micellar water so you could cleanse your face like a Parisian. Fast forward to today and micellar waters are widely available in the states. But finding one in a sea of micellars that is made with natural skincare ingredients and works isn’t easy. After all, there hasn’t been much innovation in the micellar category. Until now.

Furtuna Skin captures the essence of innovation with a next generation micellar water. Presenting Acqua Serena Micellar Cleansing Essence. A dual-purpose micellar formula that cleanses as it tones to make prepping skin as effortless as it gets. In one sweep, it combines the gentle cleansing of a micellar with the pH-balancing benefits of a toner. As a cleanser, it purifies and prepares skin without soap or harsh chemicals that can cause irritation or breakouts. It leaves skin radiantly glowing, supple, fresh and clean -- never tight and dry like aggressive cleansers. As a toner, it balances skin to restore optimal pH, cleans off residue, tightens pores and clarifies skin of excess oils. Its toning properties draw out dirt and oil without oil-stripping ingredients like alcohol that are common in toners. And it slips on with the sublime texture of a lightly moisturizing essence to leave your face hydrated and nourished.

Bringing breakthrough performance to natural skincare, Furtuna Skin has crafted this proprietary clean beauty blend from wild-foraged ingredients that are also certified organic. It cleanses your skin in a soothing botanical bath of antioxidant-rich Anchusa azurea, chicory, beet and mallow, foraged with respect from our Sicilian Farm.

Light and watery yet concentrated like an essence, our wild skincare cleanser features powerful levels of bioactives to deliver hydrating and anti-aging benefits.The robust nutrient profile of our olive-enriched micelle surfactant system sets it apart from other brands. Different by design, our micelle surfactant system is based on ultra-nourishing olive olive and coconut oil and combined with our own Farm-exclusive organic olive leaf water to amplify the nutrients available for skin. In laboratory tests, our proprietary olive leaf water proved to be a powerful antioxidant that protects against free radical damage by 100% and blocks free radical formation by 100%.

Serene as the waters that flow through our Sicilian countryside Farm, Aqua Serena Micellar Essence effortlessly removes dirt and light makeup as it brightens and balances pH with each swipe. The no rub, PEG-free cleansing treatment is gentle enough to use everyday and around the eyes. Micellar reimagined, Acqua Serena is an innovative essence that blurs the line between cleanser and toner.


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