For a few years now, I’ve been hearing about how great micellar cleansing waters are for gently removing makeup, but I honestly thought — how? It’s just a bottle of water! Turns out, I’ve been wrong. Professional makeup artists swear by Bioderma Sensibio H2O like crazy, but I refused to buy another expensive makeup remover when there are so many great inexpensive ones out there already. For example, I paid $6.95 for just almost 3.4 oz of Bioderma. (I bought it for the purpose of this review.)
The new Garnier SkinActive Micellar Cleansing Water just hit my local CVS, and I paid about $9 for 13.5 oz, that’s four times the amount of the Bioderma. So if the Garnier works, we’re talking major savings here.
Okay, so what’s micellar water?
I had to do a little research here, because this was so foreign to me, but I found this great article on Huffington Post that explains it all.
According to board-certified dermatologist Hadley King of Skinney Medspa, micellar water is made up of micelles (tiny balls of cleansing oil molecules) suspended in soft water. “The idea is that micelles are attracted to dirt and oil, so they are able to draw out impurities without drying out the skin,” she says. Therefore, micellar water can be used as a facial wash, makeup remover and moisturizer all in one. — Huffington Post
Pretty interesting, right? The article also states that micellar waters have been around since the days when traditional plumbing and the water in France was really harsh on the skin. Now, it’s becoming totally mainstream in the U.S. to use them, in fact — kinda trendy — especially now that mass brands are launching their own versions. So I took a challenge for a eight days. For four days, I used the Bioderma version, then for four days I switched solely to the Garnier version. Let’s take a look at the ingredients, then I’ll tell you the results.
While the Garnier version doesn’t match the Bioderma ingredients — I see some similarities. Ingredient-wise, it is not a dead-on dupe for Bioderma. But both contain water and glycerin. I’m not a cosmetic chemist, so I can’t tell you exactly in layman’s terms the differences — but maybe the ingredients in the Bioderma are a little more expensive. I see cucumber in there — which obviously isn’t in the Garnier. It sounds like it was placed in the Bioderma for skin-soothing, but it’s hard for me to know for sure.
Both are fragrance, oil, and alcohol-free — so that’s a plus.
I used Bioderma for four days, and I was surprised I liked it. Again, I thought it was “just water”, but like I said — I was wrong. It totally worked at gently removing makeup from my eyes, face, and lips. (I wasn’t wearing any long-wear or waterproof makeup at all, but if you do, you’ll want to try Garnier’s waterproof version.) I didn’t feel any residue on my skin.
On day five, when I switched to the Garnier SkinActive Micellar Cleansing Water, I felt like I was still using the Bioderma. I received the same results — complete makeup removal (without rubbing like I do with cleansing cloths), no residue, and my skin felt surprisingly soft. It does not take any rubbing for me, but I recommend the use of a soft cotton puff, one that will absorb the product easily so you don’t have to use a lot of it!
I purchased these a few months ago at a beauty supply in Little Tokyo here in Los Angeles, and they’re PERFECT for micellar water. You can use regular cotton pads too, but I wanted to tell you about these because I like them so much with the micellar water. (Looks like they’re also available on Amazon if you’re interested.)
While I enjoyed my eight days of face-washing freedom, I have to be honest. I really missed my sink and facial cleanser, but really I think it’s just because I come from the school of thought that you should be washing your face with a cleanser suitable for your skin, twice a day. So I’m afraid micellar cleansing waters are not a permanent solution for facial cleansing for me, but I will continue to use it for makeup removal, then cleanse my skin like usual. This is solely up to you and your skin type, because I know people who swear by micellar water, and micellar water alone. It’s totally what you choose, and what makes your skin look and feel its best.
But my honest opinion — the Garnier version is a suitable dupe for Bioderma. I thought it worked just as well as the Bioderma at removing all makeup from my skin. It worked really easily without any rubbing, and didn’t feel harsh or drying.
Have you tried testing either of these products yet? Love micellar water? Sound off in the comments below!