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Of all the beauty products invented in the last few decades, micellar water lands decidedly in the top five. Still, not all micellar waters are created equal. Some of them leave behind a greasy residue, which inherently defeats the purpose of a micellar water because — as their name suggests — they’re formulated to be as light as water. Others sting your eyes, or don’t remove makeup that well at all. The best micellar waters, though, do three things excellently: they take off even waterproof mascara with ease; they leave your skin feeling hydrated and soft, not oily or dry; and they’re gentle enough so as not to irritate sensitive skin or eyes. You’ll find seven top-notch options to choose from, just ahead.
Picking out the right micellar water for yourself will mostly come down to two things: your skin type, and your budget. Since it’s the type of product you’ll use nightly, you likely don’t want to shell out a ton of money on an expensive, high-end micellar water. (Though those do exist, if you’re a luxury beauty snob and proud!) As for your skin type — most micellar waters are gentle enough to be used on sensitive skin, but there are also formulas out there that were designed specifically with oily or acne-prone skin in mind.
To shop the absolute best micellar waters, scroll on — and don’t forget to pick up a pack of the best cotton pads while you’re at it.
1. The Absolute Best Micellar Water — Period
There aren’t many beauty products I’d say I couldn’t live without — but Bioderma Sensibio micellar water is the rare exception. Nothing, in my experience, takes off makeup more effectively or gently, and at just $15 for an enormous, 16-ounce bottle, you can’t beat the value. It doesn’t sting your eyes, it leaves no sort of residue on your skin whatsoever, and it’s powerful enough to remove any type of makeup — even the waterproof stuff — with a single swipe. I also love how soft and hydrated it makes my skin feel, and how truly water-like the formula is (some micellar waters can be on the thicker side). There’s a reason this French pharmacy staple is seen in every pro makeup artist’s kit worldwide.
2. Best Cheap Micellar Water
If you’re looking to spend less than $10, you can’t go wrong with any of Garnier’s SkinActive micellar waters. Personally, I like this one, because it’s infused with soothing rosewater and moisturizing glycerin, so it leaves your skin feeling comfortably hydrated (and smelling faintly of roses). An especially nice choice for dry skin.
3. Best Foaming Micellar Water
This foaming micellar water from La Roche-Posay is more of a traditional cleanser, so it’s great for anyone who loves the feel of squeaky clean (but not dry!) skin. Admittedly, most foams can leave your face feeling stripped — but this one is alcohol-free, soap-free, and infused with moisturizing glycerin, as well as the brand’s signature thermal spring water, to promote softer, more hydrated skin. Though this is a safe choice for all skin types, note that foaming cleansers are inherently better-suited to oily skin.
4. Best Micellar Water For Breakout-Prone Skin
If you have acne-prone skin, it may be worth splurging out on this AROMATICA micellar water. Why? It contains tea tree extract to soothe and purify congested skin; niacinamide to help balance excess oil production and promote a more even appearance; and 0.5% salicylic acid to deep-clean your pores, which can in turn help prevent breakouts and blackheads. Though pricey, you do get a generously sized bottle, and, in addition to using it as a makeup remover, you can also use it as a toner on oily, congested areas.
5. Best Micellar Water With Skin-Soothing Ingredients
This micellar water from K-beauty brand NEOGEN is rich in soothing ingredients like centella asiatica, madecassoside, and zinc, so it’s a great choice for sensitive, irritated skin. It also contains other superstar skin-strengtheners, including panthenol and ceramides, as well as glycerin and hyaluronic acid to restore hydration. The result? Immediately softer, more comfortable-feeling skin. Of course, it works wonderfully as a makeup remover as well.
6. Best Milky Micellar Water
From cult prestige beauty brand Drunk Elephant comes the E-Rase Milki Micellar Water, an innovative micellar water with a creamy, milky texture. This is nice for a few reasons: it helps comfort and soothe your skin; and it somehow feels especially satisfying (and extra gentle) on both your skin and eyes. The formula is enriched with nutrients like antioxidants, fatty acids, and fruit-derived enzymes, so it’s more than just a makeup remover — it’s like a nourishing treatment for your skin. You can even swipe this on (bare skin) throughout the day anytime your face begins to feel thirsty or dry.
7. Best Organic Micellar Water
Unlike a lot of skin care products that claim to be organic, this one actually is — you can tell by the ECOCERT/COSMOS stamp right on the label (and you can read more about Mustela’s new organic line, here.) Full disclosure: This micellar water may not be strong enough to remove waterproof makeup, but for extra-gentle daily cleansing — either in the morning, or at night if you wore minimal makeup that day — it’s a lovely choice. It’s gentle enough to be used on newborn babies, which also makes it ideal for adults with highly sensitive skin.