Originally a French skincare staple, micellar water is a multitasking product loved for its ability to cleanse skin and remove makeup, all in one step. It’s a great alternative to makeup wipes and face washes, especially for busy people, because it’s gentle yet effective.
As dermatologist Dr. Fayne Frey previously told InStyle, micellar water works by using micelles (a.k.a. tiny molecules that remove dirt, makeup, and other impurities) to cleanse your skin, and it doesn’t contain soap or other ingredients that might cause irritation. And it’s super easy to use, so there’s no reason to skip it at night. All you have to do is soak a cotton pad with micellar water and gently wipe your face to remove the day’s grime—no rinsing required.
These are the 10 best micellar waters to buy in 2020:
- Best Overall: Bioderma Sensibio H2O Micellar Water
- Best Value: Garnier SkinActive Micellar Cleansing Water
- Best for Waterproof Makeup: L’Oreal Paris Micellar Cleansing Water
- Best Drugstore Option: Simple Micellar Cleansing Water
- Best High-End Option: Lancôme Eau Fraîche Douceur Micellar Cleansing Water
- Best for Oily Skin: La Roche-Posay Effaclar Micellar Cleansing Water
- Best for Sensitive Skin: Caudalie Micellar Cleansing Water
- Best for Dry Skin: Garnier SkinActive All-in-1 Hydrating Micellar Cleansing Water
- Best Anti-Aging Option: IT Cosmetics Miracle Water Micellar Cleanser
- Best Wipes: Burt’s Bees Micellar Cleansing Towelettes
Best Overall: Bioderma Sensibio H2O Micellar Water
With an average 4.6-star rating across over 6,800 reviews, Bioderma’s micellar water is the most popular one on Amazon. It’s great for all skin types, and it’s even gentle enough for sensitive skin. Plenty of customers call it their “holy grail” skincare product because of how well it works. “I fell in love the first time I used it,” wrote one shopper. “Removes my face makeup easily and gently and does not irritate my very sensitive skin. It also does not leave a greasy residue.” It’s available in a few different bottle sizes (even a small one for travel!), and you can also opt for a bottle with a pump instead of the traditional cap.
Best Value: Garnier SkinActive Micellar Cleansing Water
At just $7 for a generously sized bottle, this micellar water from Garnier will get you the most bang for your buck. It works super well on different skin types, and thousands of Amazon shoppers agree. Reviewers say they rely on this affordable option to take off their makeup at the end of each day, and there’s even a version designed for waterproof makeup. “After I washed my face with this cleanser, I actually felt like I could ‘feel’ my face,” one person wrote. “Like this entire time there has been a small layer of yuck keeping me from that fresh, clean feeling.”
Best for Waterproof Makeup: L’Oreal Paris Micellar Cleansing Water
If you’re looking for a micellar water to remove heavy or waterproof makeup, then consider this option from L’Oreal. Even though it’s tough enough to remove the most stubborn long-wear makeup, it’s still dermatologist- and ophthalmologist-tested for safety. One customer raved about how well it removed their “full glam” makeup look: “The thing that literally made me say ‘wow’ out loud was my lipstick removal,” they wrote. “I have been wearing the same stuff for years and it stays all day/night with zero transfer, but it can be a pain to get every last trace of it removed. In just three swipes, my lipstick was gone! And no heavy rubbing or scrubbing!”
Best Drugstore Option: Simple Micellar Cleansing Water
This micellar water from drugstore brand Simple is another budget-friendly option, especially for anyone trying micellar water for the first time, since it comes in a small 6.7-ounce bottle. Shoppers especially love that the formula uses simple ingredients (including vitamins B3 and C) to remove impurities from the skin without causing irritation. “It’s gentle on the eyes and I don’t feel like I need to wash my face after removing my makeup,” said one customer.
Best High-End Option: Lancôme Eau Fraîche Douceur Micellar Cleansing Water
Based on all of the Sephora shoppers who’ve given it five-star reviews, this micellar water from Lancôme is worth the splurge. Not only do customers say it removes their makeup well, but they love how it makes their skin feel after applying it. “This is one of my most favorite ‘buy it again’ products,” wrote one person. “It’s incredibly gentle, smells delicately amazing, and is such a huge time saver because it works on eye makeup too.”
Best for Oily Skin: La Roche-Posay Effaclar Micellar Cleansing Water
Specially formulated for people with oily skin, La Roche-Posay’s micellar water won’t leave your face looking greasy after each application. It uses the brand’s signature Thermal Spring Water, an antioxidant-rich solution that soothes skin while removing dirt and makeup. Another notable ingredient is zinc, which can help fight oil and acne without clogging your pores. “I’m absolutely horrible about washing my face before I go to bed, so I’m always looking for products that are quick and easy,” said one customer. “This got off all my makeup and did not sting my eyes or leave my skin feeling irritated, as most toners do. And even though I didn’t rinse it off, my skin actually felt clean.”
Best for Sensitive Skin: Caudalie Micellar Cleansing Water
Although micellar waters are generally safe for sensitive skin, Caudalie’s version contains two calming ingredients that make it stand out from the rest: organic chamomile and grape water. The chamomile extract moisturizes sensitive skin, while the organic grape water (found in many of the brand’s best-selling products) reduces redness and soothes skin. And since the rest of this micellar water’s ingredients are considered clean and safe, it’s even earned the “Clean at Sephora” seal. “[It] feels very gentle and refreshing and will last much longer than those 25 packs of harsh makeup remover wipes,” wrote one customer. “I am extremely acne-prone and have not noticed a problem there either.”
Best for Dry Skin: Garnier SkinActive All-in-1 Hydrating Micellar Cleansing Water
If over-washing your dry skin leaves your face feeling tight or irritated, using a hydrating micellar water can help prevent that. This one from Garnier is similar to the one featured above, except it uses rose water and glycerin to moisturize skin. Shoppers say it leaves their face “fresh and clean.” One person wrote: “I have very dry, acne-prone skin and this cleanses without being too harsh or drying…I use this with an exfoliating cotton pad and it works wonders for my skin.”
Best Anti-Aging Option: IT Cosmetics Miracle Water Micellar Cleanser
This powerful option from IT Cosmetics is packed with skincare ingredients that make it an anti-aging treatment and makeup remover all in one. The multitasking micellar water contains collagen and peptides, which will smooth and firm your skin while reducing the appearance of wrinkles. “It leaves my skin soft with a noticeable glow and doesn’t dry out or aggravate my sensitive skin,” wrote one customer. “I’ve found that it really helps keep my skin balanced even in the dry Canadian winter.”
Best Wipes: Burt’s Bees Micellar Cleansing Towelettes
Even though they’re not in liquid form like the others on this list, these Burt’s Bees wipes use micellar water to cleanse your skin without the need for cotton pads. Each resealable pack comes with 30 wipes so you can feel fresh and clean, even while on the go. In addition to the micellar technology that removes makeup and impurities, they also contain rose water, which is a calming, anti-inflammatory ingredient that shoppers say makes the wipes smell amazing. “Loved how they got off all my makeup and made my skin feel so refreshed after,” one person wrote.