Review: Micellar Waters

(This post is written for The Glosse Posse.)

[dropshadowbox align=”center” effect=”lifted-both” width=”autopx” height=”” background_color=”#c9efd3″ border_width=”1″ border_color=”#dddddd” inside_shadow=”false” ]This post contains affiliate links, which means I may receive a very small compensation if you click on the link and when you purchase an item. This allows me to keep my site running. Thank you for your support![/dropshadowbox]

I first learned about the ‘magical’ micellar waters last year when several bloggers and beauty magazines were raving about how clean and soft their skin felt after using the Bioderma micellar waters. These micellar solutions are meant to be the gentle alternative to cleansing the skin without rinsing with water. Though these solutions are soap- and alcohol-free, they are able to remove make-up, including waterproof mascaras, sebum, and impurities from the skin. It’s often known as the 3-in-1 cleanser for its ability to 1) remove makeup, 2) cleanse skin, and 3) tone skin. Furthermore, these solutions made great makeup brush removers. See why it’s magical? Bioderma has two kinds of micellar waters: Sensibio for those with sensitive skin and Hydrabio for normal/combination skin. So why didn’t I run out and buy one? Each bottle (250ml) costs C$22 before taxes. That’s quite the investment for a skin care product that will run out fairly quickly. (I’m told it’s cheaper in France.) So I decided to look for drugstore dupes.


Garnier Clean Sensitive Moisture Infusion Cleansing WaterThere were quite a few bloggers who found Garnier’s cleansing water to be a good drugstore dupe. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find any in Shoppers Drug Mart or London Drugs. In fact, it was by chance that there were discontinued (but still good) Garnier cleansing waters for sale at Winners for C$4.99 (from C$10). I think it did an alright job of removing makeup several cotton pads later, but it most certainly could not remove waterproof mascara. Although my skin did not feel oily, I noticed some foundation trapped in my nose pores (I must have had a lot more makeup on) so I decided to use a cleanser instead. Otherwise, this cleansing water is generally the fastest way to remove makeup and cleanse my face when I’m ready to fall asleep. Unfortunately, the 200ml pump runs out of product pretty quickly. Since I didn’t use Garnier very often, I would say it lasts around 1-2 months if you use it every day.

Vichy Calming Cleansing Micellar Solution (Purete Thermale) – I received a miniature bottle from Vichy earlier this year and because I am a fan of Vichy products, I was looking forward to using Vichy’s micellar water. There were mixed reviews from beauty bloggers on Vichy’s micellar solution. Some said it was the drugstore dupe, others found it left an un-cleansed feeling. I personally couldn’t tell the difference between Garnier’s and Vichy’s. They both felt pretty similar but Vichy has two sizes available (200ml and 400ml) and costs more (at least C$20?). Vichy also has a Normaderm Micellar Solution Face and Eyes for imperfection-prone skin.

Other Alternatives

Marcelle Soothing Cleansing Water – According to blogger Beauty is Ubiquitous, Marcelle’s C$14 (200ml) cleansing solution is the drugstore dupe for Bioderma Sensibio. It appears that ‘the formulas are almost identical!’ Marcelle is a Canadian brand and can be found at Shoppers Drug Mart and London Drugs. I don’t know if it’s available outside of Canada.

Boots No7 Beautiful Skin Cleansing Water for Normal/Oily Skin – Our fellow Glosse Girl and blogger, Mastering Oxford, recommends this cleansing water (200ml) in lieu of Bioderma. This cleansing water contains zinc to control the oil, so this is perfect for combination/oily skin types. Just looking at the packaging, I give it one thumb up for the pump dispenser but one thumb down for the lack of a cap.

L’Oreal Sublime Soft Gentle Micellar Solution – Most beauty bloggers adore L’Oreal’s micellar water (C$13-15 for 200ml) for the silky-soft feeling on their skin. The main complaint, however, is the packaging, so handle this container with care!


Based on the two micellar solutions I’ve used, makeup removal and cleansing have never been so easy. Even my waterproof red lipsticks will come off without leaving a stain. Unfortunately, when it comes to removing waterproof and smudge-proof mascaras, it won’t do anything. I suppose that’s expected and I doubt that Bioderma would be able to accomplish the task either. Furthermore, although both solutions will remove some makeup from the brushes, the best ‘cleanser’ for makeup brushes was La Roche-Posay’s foaming cleansing gel.

The most effective 3-in-1 cleanser, in my opinion, is still Vichy’s 3-in-1 One Step Cleanser (read my review here). Instead of water, it’s a cleansing milk so skin will still feel cleansed but also moisturised. It also does a better job at removing waterproof mascara, though not completely. For smudge- and waterproof mascara, you’ll need to use an eye makeup remover specifically for waterproof eye makeup (I’ll write about this next week). Take care of your lashes. 😉

Follow on Bloglovin
She Said Beauty

2 thoughts on “Review: Micellar Waters

  1. Well, there are definitely brands here that I haven’t seen here on the southern part of the West Coast. For at least the last 3 years I’ve always had a bottle of the Vichy Purite Thermale on hand. It’s great for (1) quick face cleanse when I’m so exhausted that splashing soap off my face seems an insurmountable task (2) my gym bag so I can remove all that pore-clogging make-up before I start sweating. Best part? I can leave my mascara on! We all now how I feel about mascara.

    This time around when my Vichy ran out I tried that LaRoche Posay micellar instead. I see no difference between the two. [The LaRoche bottle seems to have a better chance of remaining shut.] Those are the only two brands I’ve seen in the States. But I do agree that in order to get all of your make-up off, you need multiple, saturated cotton pads. The “just one” in the directions doesn’t do the trick. Maybe we bother wear too much make-up.

    I could never get into the 3 in 1 creamy cleanser because it always calls for you remove the cleanser with a cotton pad. I always felt like I was rubbing my skin off with the rough cotton and ended up with raccoon eyes.

    Now I’m incredibly curious about the Normaderm version. I haven’t seen it here in the States. You have effectively piqued my curiosity!

    • Really? You don’t have the Garnier or L’Oreal or Boots No7?
      I feel like the 3-in-1 cleansers with cotton pads are a waste and perhaps not very environmental. I just wanted to see what all the hype was about. I suppose it also means I do wear too much foundation sometimes. :S After Vichy’s 3-in-1 cleansing milk, I really like Neutrogena’s face wipes. There’s one in particular that will remove waterproof mascara (but takes some time if you don’t want to lose your lashes). I’ve had to experiment with the cleansing milk before I figured out the best way to remove makeup. I deal with the face first before working on the eyes.
      How is it that you don’t have the Normaderm micellar water in Cali? I don’t think it’s been discontinued… Perhaps you could order it on or some other online beauty store? I don’t know how effective it is or how different it is compared to the Purete Thermale.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s