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French women take their skincare seriously—and they have the glowing complexions to prove it. One of their secrets to healthy skin? Micellar water, a soap-free, no-rinse cleanser that contains tiny micelles (oil molecules) that sop up dirt, makeup, and oil and leave you with clean skin.
There are many reasons why French women—and women all over the world, really—love micellar water, one being that it pulls double duty. Micellar water removes makeup and cleanses your skin in one simple step, making it the ideal product for minimalists or people who just don’t have the time for a 10-step skincare regimen. That said, you can also use micellar water as the first step in a double-cleanse routine. Simply pour some out onto a cotton pad, wipe the pad across your eyelids and face, and follow up with your cleanser of choice for a clean that can’t be beat.
Here are our choices for the best micellar waters to remove your makeup and keep your complexion clear.
Best Overall: Bioderma Sensibio H20 Micellar Water
This micellar water is a staple in French pharmacies—and for good reason. Ideal for sensitive and irritated skin, it’s formulated to soothe while it cleanses your skin and removes eye and face makeup in one step. It contains fatty acid esters, which are similar to lipids (a.k.a. fats) already present in your skin. These help to repair your skin’s protective layer, effectively treating irritation. You’ll walk away from your sink with soft, smooth skin—and no flakiness or redness in sight.
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Best Budget: Simple Kind to Skin Cleansing Water
Get serious bang for your buck with this budget-friendly micellar water. It’s chock full of good-for-your-skin ingredients, including vitamin B3, vitamin C, and triple purified water. Sensitive skin types, rejoice: This micellar water is free of potential irritants, like perfumes, dyes, and strong chemicals. It’s even been ophthalmologist tested for use around the eyes. After swiping your face with a micellar water-soaked cotton ball, you can expect your skin to feel hydrated yet clean.
Read reviews and shop for the best drugstore cleansers on the market.
Best for Sensitive Skin: Avene Eau Thermale Micellar Lotion Cleansing Water
If you have sensitive skin, then you know that finding a cleanser that won’t leave you beet red is quite the struggle. Enter this micellar water designed specifically for those with easily irritated skin. It’s formulated with the brand’s thermal spring water to calm inflamed skin and glycols to hydrate. The micellar water can be used on the face, eyes, and lips to remove makeup, gently cleanse, and tone.
Best for Oily Skin: Garnier Micellar Cleansing Water All-in-1 Mattifying
Those with oily skin will do best with a mattifying micellar water, like this one. It’s gentle enough to use on face, eyes, and lips yet powerful enough to effectively absorb and control excess oil. Reviewers rave about its ability to remove makeup, freshen up the skin, and curb shine—so no more oil slick by noon.
Take a look at other product reviews and shop for the best cleansing oils available online.
Best for Dry Skin: Cerave Hydrating Micellar Water
Got skin that’s on the dry side? Look no further than this ultra-nourishing micellar water. It contains three types of ceramides to repair your skin’s protective outer layer so moisture stays in and irritants stay out. The ceramides are released over time using the brand’s patented technology. Plus, you’ll also find niacinamide, a major skin-soother, in the formula too.
Check out our guide to the best face washes for dry skin.
Best for Combinaton Skin: Biore Baking Soda Cleanser With Micellar Water
It can be tricky to care for combination skin that’s oily in some spots and dry in others, but it doesn’t have to be. This micellar water gets it just right. It does a great job of deeply cleansing while balancing out your skin. It combines the gentleness of micellar water with the deep-cleaning, pore-unclogging power of baking soda, a natural exfoliant.
Read more reviews of the best cleansers for combination skin available today.
Best for Acne-Prone Skin: Yes to Tomatoes Acne Fighting Micellar Cleansing Water
Acne-prone skin can get in on the micellar water fun with this formula. What sets it apart is the salicylic acid in the formula. Salicylic acid is the gold standard in acne treatments—it unclogs pores to leave you with smoother, clearer skin and prevent future breakouts. The gentle micellar water base ensures skin is adequately moisturized, while the pump top squirts out just the right amount of product.
Want to take a look at some other options? See our guide to the best acne face washes.
Best for Dull Skin: Acure Brightening Micellar Water
Say goodbye to lackluster skin by cleansing with this micellar water. It’s formulated with a variety of glow-boosting ingredients, including argan oil, coconut, resveratrol, and probiotics. Thanks to the aloe and sunflower oil in the formula, this micellar water also acts as a moisturizing toner to prep your face for the rest of your skincare routine.
Best for Heavy Makeup: L’Oreal Micellar Cleansing Water Complete Cleanser
Waterproof mascara. Liquid lipstick. Full coverage foundation. When you’re wearing a full face of heavy makeup, you need a makeup remover that can cut through all of that without forcing you to harshly rub your skin. This micellar water perfectly fits the bill. The alcohol-, oil-free formula is designed to remove even the most stubborn waterproof makeup without leaving you with a greasy film.
Best Natural: Burt’s Bees Micellar Cleansing Water
The 99.5% natural formula contains Australian White Cyprus oil and honey extract to blast through makeup, dirt, and oil without over-drying your skin. The formula is gentle enough to use twice a day, and you’ll marvel at how soft and clean your skin feels. As a bonus, the formula is free of fragrances, parabens, phthalates, and petrolatum.
Take a peek at some of the other best natural face washes you can buy.
Best Splurge: Bioeffect Micellar Cleansing Water
For those who enjoy the finer things in life, it’s time to turn your attention to this splurge-worthy micellar water. What makes it different from other micellar waters on the market is its base ingredient—Icelandic water. This water has been filtered through volcanic lava, which removes many hard minerals (such as calcium and magnesium) that can cause irritation.
Best for Travel: Philosophy Purity Made Simple Micellar Cleansing Water-Travel Size
You don’t have to forgo your cleansing routine when you’re on the road. This travel-size micellar water was made for getaways, so stash it in your suitcase while packing for your next trip. It’s formulated for all skin types, so you can share with your besties if they forgot to bring a cleanser with them. Remind them how important it is to take their makeup off before bed.
Take a look at more of the best travel beauty buys to pack for your trip.
Best Towelettes: Clinique Take the Day Off Micellar Cleansing Towelettes
So this isn’t technically water—but we couldn’t resist adding this super-convenient option to the list. These towelettes are soaked with a gentle micellar water formula to remove eye makeup and refresh your skin whenever you need it. They’re ideal for bringing to the gym or stashing at your desk in case you need to quickly change your makeup after work.
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