These 11 Micellar Waters Make Cleansing a Breeze

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Byrdie / Michela Buttignol

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 beaten.

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

4.8
Bioderma

 Courtesy of Amazon

Who else recommends it? Good Housekeeping and Allure both picked Bioderma Sensibio H20 Micellar Water.

What do buyers say? 85% of 33,800+ Amazon reviewers rated this product 5 stars.

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.

Best Budget: Simple Skincare Kind to Skin Micellar Cleansing Water

4
simple micellar water

Courtesy of Amazon

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.

Best for Sensitive Skin: Avene Eau Thermal Micellar Lotion Cleansing Water Make-up Remover

Avene Eau Thermal Micellar Lotion Cleansing Water Make-up Remover

Courtesy of Amazon

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 SkinActive Micellar Cleansing Water All-in-1 Mattifying

Garnier

 Courtesy of Ulta

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.

Best for Combinaton Skin: Biore Baking Soda Cleanser with Micellar Water

Biore Baking Soda Cleanser with Micellar Water

Courtesy of Amazon

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.

Best for Dull Skin: Acure Brightening Micellar Water

acure brightening micellar water

Courtesy of Credo

Key Ingredients

Resveratrol is a naturally occurring antioxidant that can be found in the skin of grapes, peanuts, all berries, and even dark chocolate. It's part of a group of compounds called polyphenols that act as key antioxidants, serving on the front lines to protect the cells against damage that leads to cellular aging.

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

L'Oreal Micellar Cleansing Water Complete Cleanser

Courtesy of Amazon

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

burt's bees micellar water

Courtesy of Walmart

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.

Best Splurge: Bioeffect Micellar Cleansing Water

Bioeffect

 Courtesy of Neiman Marcus

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

Purity

 Courtesy of Sephora

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.

Best Towelettes: Clinique Take the Day Off Micellar Cleansing Towelettes

Clinique Take the Day Off Micellar Cleansing Towelettes

Nordstrom

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.

What to Look For in Micellar Waters

Non-Irritating

Micellar waters are known for providing a gentler cleansing option. Look for micellar waters that are not irritating to the skin, with no harsh ingredients like soaps and alcohol. They should primarily consist of tiny oil molecules with extra components that provide additional skin-soothing and cleansing properties.

Since micellar waters are used to remove makeup, including around the eyes, they should not be harsh or full of chemical fragrances or strong ingredients that can irritate the delicate and sensitive eye area.

Beneficial Ingredients

If you want your micellar water to provide even more benefits than cleansing and makeup removal, look for ones that contain additional beneficial ingredients. These include antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, oils, and plant extracts.

Skin Type

Look for micellar water that is designed for your skin type. Some will mattify and purify for those with oily or acne-prone skin, while others provide anti-aging polyphenols or moisturizing oils for dry skin. If you have sensitive skin, look instead for a minimal product that cuts back on the ingredient list, providing the basics for cleansing and makeup removal. Brands without fragrance, phthalates, parabens, and petrolatum will help you keep it simple and pure

FAQ
  • What is micellar water used for?

    Micellar water is used to break down and remove oil, makeup, and dirt from the skin. It uses tiny fat molecules to de-grease and removes substances on the skin, leaving a refreshed and clean face without the use of harsh soaps, detergents, or stripping ingredients.

  • Does micellar water really clean your face?

    Micellar water really does clean your face by using tiny fat molecules to break down and wash away makeup, pollutants, and grime from your skin. It can also remove sweat and dirt and works without water.

  • Does micellar water need to be rinsed off?

    While micellar water does not need to be rinsed off, you may wish to do so. Some people will experience breakouts if there is a film left on the skin after applying and wiping away micellar water. You can double-cleanse by using micellar water before your normal face cleanser.

  • What is micellar water vs toner?

    Micellar water breaks down and removes products and grime on the skin. It is usually used as the first step in a skincare routine. Toner is typically used after cleansing to mop up and remove any remaining product. It does not fully remove the product on its own but does often provide additional benefits.

Article Sources
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  1. What Is a Micellar Water Cleanser, Exactly? Plus 8 Best Micellar Waters to Shop Right Now. Good Housekeeping. https://www.goodhousekeeping.com/beauty/anti-aging/g26416748/what-is-micellar-water-cleanser/

  2. 19 Micellar Waters That Remove Your Makeup in One Simple Step. Allure. https://www.allure.com/gallery/best-micellar-waters

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