Hot Off The Shelf Review – Garnier Micellar Cleansing Water

Garnier Micellar Cleansing Water Review

The latest addition to my micellar cleansing water line up is from one of my favourite affordable skincare brands – Garnier, and I have to say, I think it’s my favourite so far.  I’m sure you’ve all heard of micellar waters by now, they have become increasingly popular over the past few years – and has been a massive hit with most beauty bloggers and makeup artists.  Bioderma kicked off the trend and the whole beauty world went utterly mad for it.

I’m not going to lie, when I first heard of micellar waters, I was quite sceptical.  To me, it sounded like a lazy girl’s solution to makeup removal (which isn’t necessarily a bad thing), but it also sounded like a beauty recipe for a series of breakouts.

About 2 weeks ago I discovered the Garnier Micellar Cleansing Water in the skincare aisle at Clicks and I immediately popped both variants into my basket.  I’ve been using both (alternating between the two) for the past 2 weeks, and that’s why I’m calling this a ‘Hot Off The Shelf Review’ blog post – they’re brand spanking new to the South African market, plus I haven’t been testing them for a full month (which is usually what I like to do with all my skincare products for review purposes).  As luck would have it, about a week after I bought these 2 bottles, Garnier South Africa sent me a press drop that contained both as well.  Totally jumped the gun on this one (it actually happens SO often), so I’ll have to include the extras in a giveaway at some stage.  I’ll probably include one of each in a ‘Pamper Hamper’, as mentioned in this blog post.

What is micellar water?  Turns out micellar water has been around for over 100 years, first gaining popularity in France, where it was designed to help Parisians deal with the region’s harsh water supply.  The formula is made of micelles (microscopic, single-layer fatty bubbles) suspended in soft water.  Micelles act like magnets, gently lifting away makeup, sebum and impurities from the skin.  Rather than containing a foamy solution that strips your skin of moisture and leaves behind harsh chemicals, micelles cling on to the dirt and makeup on your skin and dissolve them in one easy no-rinse step.

Somewhere between cleanser and a toner, you simply pour a little bit on a cotton round, then wipe your skin clean – it really is that easy and it feels very refreshing!  I’m a huge fan of using it for double-cleansing either before or after washing my face.  I also use it in the morning to remove any leftover residue after sleeping with a heavy night treatment / overnight mask.

As someone who currently has dry, dehydrated and sensitive skin, I loved that the pink top bottle is non-drying, non-irritating and didn’t cause any flareups.  If you have oily or combination skin, don’t fret just yet – the minty green bottle is the one for you!

Garnier Micellar Cleansing Water

Here’s how I like to use this magical water:  Double-cleansing (cleansing twice) is an essential step in my skincare routine, especially if I’ve worn makeup throughout the day.  I usually start by cleansing once (using cleansing oils, cleansing balms, or cleansing waters) to remove most of my makeup, and then cleanse again (using a cream- or foaming cleanser)  to remove any dirt and oils that have built up throughout the day.  For eye makeup, I place a soaked cotton round over each eye for around 15 seconds before wiping away.  No harsh scrubbing or rubbing is required here, folks.  However, for removing really stubborn waterproof eyeliner and mascara, I suggest using an oil-based 2-phase makeup remover before you go in with this cleansing water.  The Garnier Micellar Cleansing Water is also perfect for use after cleansing oils because it removes any residue that is left behind.

I did an additional experiment – I used this AFTER cleansing twice with a cleansing oil & a foamy cleanser, and it still managed to find the smallest little bits of dirt and makeup that were left on my face.  A lot of people can’t spend R2000,00 on a facial cleansing tool (i.e. the Clarisonic), so something like a cleansing water ensures you get every little speck of dirt & grime (jeez, it sounds like we’re washing dishes here).

The pink top bottle is alcohol-, paraben- and fragrance free, that means it is gentle enough for even sensitive skin types (it doesn’t leave my skin feeling dry or taut), plus it doesn’t sting my eyes or cause temporary foggy vision either.

Garnier Pure Active Micellar Cleansing Water

The minty green tinted bottle is called the Garnier Pure Active Micellar Cleansing Water – if you have problematic or acne-prone skin, then this is the one for you.  I compared the ingredients lists of the two bottles, and there seems to be just one difference:  The Pure Active bottle contains ‘Alcohol Denat’ which is denatured alcohol.  This may cause sensitivity / irritation when used on sensitive or dry skin (because denatured alcohol is quite drying), so I personally prefer the pink top version.  In all honesty, I have no idea why the packaging of the Pure Active variant states that it is suitable for sensitive skin types because denatured alcohol is definitely not to be used on sensitised skin.  Denatured alcohol is usually added to skincare products to help combat overactive sebacious glands (oily skin or oily T-zones), but it tends to dry out the skin.  I personally try to steer clear from any skincare products that have this as a listed ingredient.

As mentioned I have been testing the Pure Active variant this past week as well, and although my skin hasn’t reacted in any way, I think I will pass this one on to my niece (who is a tween and really struggling with breakouts) to use on those lazy days when she can’t be bothered to properly cleanse her skin (which is probably most days…).

The Garnier Micellar Cleansing Waters retail for R79,95 each at Clicks stores.  I have checked my local Dis-Chem stores and I haven’t seen these on the shelves yet, but I’m sure they will roll out to Dis-Chem soon.  R79,95 is a total steal, as you get a whopping 400ml per bottle!  Being a lot more affordable than it’s close competitors, I feel that the Garnier Micellar water is a superb budget-friendly option.

Top Tip:  I like to soak a few cotton pads in cleansing water and put them in a ziplock bag for on-the-go use or travelling.  They’re so much more refreshing than face wipes, not to mention a heck of a lot more effective at cleansing the skin.

So what are you waiting for?  Trust me, once you try it for the first time, you won’t know how you lived without it.



  1. Sandra Wiese
    25 August 2015 / 12:10

    Excellent tip! Dankie, ek gaan def. die sakkie ding doen!

    • 25 August 2015 / 20:20

      Ek is bly jy het my blog post geniet, Sandra. 🙂 Dankie dat jy ‘n draai kom maak het.

  2. 25 August 2015 / 12:10

    Lovely post – can’t wait to get my hands on a bottle of this 🙂

    • 25 August 2015 / 20:20

      Thank you, Jess – I’m sure you are going to love it. 😉

  3. Missy
    25 August 2015 / 12:19

    Wow that last sentence got me — Sooo going out to get me the sensitive one. Actually awesome that they have an alcohol, paraben and fragrance free version 🙂

    Thanks Luzanne

    • 25 August 2015 / 20:21

      I agree, you can’t go wrong with the pink one. 🙂 You’re welcome, Missy.

  4. Lean Breytenbach
    25 August 2015 / 12:22

    This was a review that I’ve been waiting for! Unfortunately they’re not available at our Clicks yet, but hopefully soon! And the tip is a GREAT idea! Will definitely get my hands on ziplocks too… <3 <3 <3

    • 25 August 2015 / 20:22

      Yay! So happy to hear that, Lean. 😀 I’m sure they’ll be in your Clicks store very soon. xo

  5. 25 August 2015 / 12:35

    I have been hearing great reviews, but as usual I trust your word on beauty products. I will definitely go an get the pink one. Can’t wait to start using it! x

    • 25 August 2015 / 20:23

      Thank you for your kind words, Shalane. 🙂 You are going to LOVE the pink one. xo

  6. 25 August 2015 / 12:52

    I’ve used both types of cleansing waters in the Bioderma and Garnier range. And while in the Bioderma range I liked the sebium one much more because I have combination skin; I enjoy the one for sensitive skin in the Garnier range. The Bioderma sebium cleansing water does not have alcohol in it, so it is much more gentle on the skin. I am really impressed with the Garnier cleansing water because it is so cheap compared to Bioderma; and if you’ve never used Bioderma then I don’t think you would be missing anything when using Garnier.

    Nihaad – the little blog of STUFF

    • 25 August 2015 / 20:24

      I haven’t tried the Bioderma Sebium one, only ever used the Sensibio H2O. 🙂 I agree, Garnier is a very good affordable option. Thanks for popping by the blog, Nihaad.

  7. Talitha ❤
    25 August 2015 / 13:54

    Loved this review so much, Lu. Thank you, you always have such detailed and in-depth reviews, I really appreciate it. And love the tip at the end of the blog post, so going to try it.

    I’m off to go buy myself the pink one. XO

    • 25 August 2015 / 20:24

      Thank you for taking the time to read my blog post, Talitha. I hope you got your hands on a pink bottle. 😀

  8. Jenna
    25 August 2015 / 13:56

    Great review of the Garnier cleansing waters. I’ve always used the Bioderma Sensibio H2O but will definitely be giving the Garnier one a whirl, way more affordable. 🙂

    • 25 August 2015 / 20:25

      I’m sure you will love it just as much as the Bioderma version. 🙂

  9. Olwethu B
    25 August 2015 / 14:11

    I have very oily skin, and I think the green one will be better for me. I will go to Clicks after work today,I am very lazy when it comes to cleaning my skin. Hopefully this will help for the pimples and oily skin.

    Thank you, Luzanne.

    • 26 August 2015 / 09:12

      Sometimes skin care products that contain Denat. Alcohol can actually exacerbate an oily skin, the drying properties can make your sebacious glands (oil-producing glands) overactive. Fortunately these are very affordable, so if the Pure Active variant doesn’t work for you, you can still get the pink one. 🙂

  10. Carmen klassen
    25 August 2015 / 14:23

    Thank God you like this product. I bought it last week and havent used it yet. I was hoping you would do a review. More importantanlty i was hoping you like it. Shewww (wipes forhead). Im so relieved. I will use mine when i get home.

    I obviously have the pink one. It was actually the last one on the shelf. I was going to fight someone for it. I could just imagine the horrific fight. Beauty products everywhere. Not to mention the trollies turned upside down.

    Anyway that didnt happen and I managed to get out of clicks is one piece.

    • 26 August 2015 / 09:14

      Haha! Your comment just made my day, thanks Carmen! 😀 My skin has been extremely sensitive these past few weeks, and this hasn’t caused any sensitivity. Hurraaah!

      LOL @ your drugstore fight…would have been entertaining to watch if it happened! 😉

  11. Lindie
    25 August 2015 / 14:29

    Thanks so much for this review. I was about to buy the Bioderma micellar water this week but was inwardly moaning about the price. When I read your review I immediately popped out to Clicks during lunch and got the Garnier one for sensitive skin. Thanks ! I am looking forward to using it 🙂

    • 26 August 2015 / 09:14

      I hope you love it, Lindie! 🙂

      • Lindie
        26 August 2015 / 11:05

        Couldn’t help myself and just HAD to use it last night. I really love it 🙂 Thanks so much Luzanne!!

        • 26 August 2015 / 13:57

          Yay! You’re welcome, Lindie. x

  12. farzana
    25 August 2015 / 14:54

    Such a helpful review, I luv your honesty. It’s so refreshing. 🙂

    • 26 August 2015 / 09:15

      Thank you for leaving such a sweet comment, Farzana. 🙂

  13. PippyG
    25 August 2015 / 14:56

    Great tip:) Thank you

    • 26 August 2015 / 09:15

      Thanks so much, PippyG. ♥

  14. ayesha
    25 August 2015 / 14:56

    Yay for the review. Everyones talking about micellar water. Definitely worth a try

    • 26 August 2015 / 09:16

      Thank you for popping my the blog to read my review, Ayesha. 😉

  15. Sandra
    25 August 2015 / 15:00

    Thanks for this post. It was so helpful.

    • 26 August 2015 / 09:16

      You’re welcome, Sandra. 🙂

  16. Yolandi Wilken
    25 August 2015 / 15:59

    I just love your reviews!!! Your blog posts are so fun to read.

    Much love,

    Lands xxoo

    • 26 August 2015 / 09:16

      Yay! Thanks for being so kind and supportive, Yolandi. 😀 xo

  17. 25 August 2015 / 16:07

    I have extremely oily skin but I find that when I use facial products with alcohol as an ingredient I just end up getting even oilier and breakout-prone as the sebum comes back with a vengeance! So last week I bought the one with the pink top and so far I’m loving it.
    It’s very calming and removes oil and makeup without over-drying my skin.

    Thanks for this review Luzanne.

    • 26 August 2015 / 09:18

      That is very true, Hlobi. I think the pink top one is actually best for everyone, even if you have problematic skin. I say this because the green top version doesn’t contain anything else that could be beneficial for acne-prone skin – no tea tree oil etc.

      You’re welcome, I’m glad you enjoyed the blog post. 😉

  18. 25 August 2015 / 16:18

    Great post! I recently purchased the Body Shop Camomile eye and lip makeup remover but not I need soemthing to help remove the makeup on the rest of my face. I guess this will be the perfect item to pair with my eye makeup remover, especially to get under the contour and highlight areas.
    The Glam Unicorn | Beauty Blog

    • 26 August 2015 / 09:19

      I think it will be a great addition to any skin care routine. Thank you for taking the time to read my blog post, Rivania. 🙂

  19. Ntokozo Majola
    25 August 2015 / 16:53

    You are always full of helpful tips and tricks! Nice one Luzanne! Will definitely be going out and stocking up!

    • 26 August 2015 / 09:20

      Yay! Thanks, Ntokozo! 🙂

  20. momo
    25 August 2015 / 18:10

    I picked up a bottle at clicks after i saw your instagram post, and so far so good.

    • 26 August 2015 / 09:20

      Thank you for letting me know, Momo. Have a lovely Wednesday! 🙂

  21. Adele
    25 August 2015 / 21:11

    Love it! Can’t wait for Garnier to bring more of it’s range to South Africa. Now if I can only find that amazong conditioner they give you in their hair-dye kit…

    • 26 August 2015 / 09:21

      I agree! Even their Fructis shampoo and conditioner ranges, I used them whilst living in Scotland and I loved them. Best smelling shampoo and conditioner I have EVER used. 😀

  22. Alexa Pohl
    26 August 2015 / 00:31

    Thanks for your review, they sound like great value. Keen to try the pink version. I hope skin care houses get with the program soon & realise denatured alcohol/ fragrance/sulphates have no place in skin care. Especially not for sensitive, dehydrated, acne, oily skin types!

    • 26 August 2015 / 09:22

      So true, Alexa. Thanks for popping by the blog. 🙂

  23. Linelle
    26 August 2015 / 07:52

    Great review, definitely think I should go buy this when I find it 🙂 thanks for the great tip too!
    My husband is going to run away because every time I read your blog I add more stuff to my beauty routine 😉

    • 26 August 2015 / 09:23

      You are so welcome, Linelle.

      Haha!! Loved your comment, don’t worry…Neal still doesn’t really understand why I need all these products. 😉

  24. Anina
    26 August 2015 / 09:30

    Wonderlik – sal dit onmiddellik op my lysie sit!
    Lekker dag vir jou, L! 🙂

    • 26 August 2015 / 10:07

      Jy ook, Anina – dankie dat jy altyd my blog posts kom lees. Ek waardeer dit so baie. 🙂 xx

  25. R Fourie
    26 August 2015 / 09:48

    Baie dankie, Luzanne – ek hou van n review wat deeglik en interessant is. Die pienk bottel is die een vir my. Clicks hier kom ek ….:-)

    • 26 August 2015 / 10:08

      Dis ‘n groot plesier, ek hoop jy geniet dit! 😉

  26. 26 August 2015 / 13:54

    Thank you for the great review and tips Luzanne – I can’t wait to try this! 🙂

    • 26 August 2015 / 13:58

      You are very welcome, Catherine! 😀 Thank you for popping by the blog.

  27. 26 August 2015 / 14:05

    As soon as you posted it on Instagram, I went to get it at Clicks at The Grove in Pta. It’s amazing! P.S. Love your latest Youtube vid 🙂

    • 28 August 2015 / 17:59

      Yay! I’m so happy to hear that, Siveshnee – thank you for being so supportive. 🙂

  28. Nadia
    26 August 2015 / 22:22

    Hi Luzanne,
    I just started using the mineral charged water by Mac which cost me a whopping R300 and I flinch everytimr I use it as it gets less and less every day. Is this garnier product similar? I wanted to use something to cleanse morning and night and if this does the same thing then it would definitely benefit my skin and my bank account.

    • 28 August 2015 / 18:05

      Hi Nadia, I purchased the MAC Mineral Charged Water last year and I must admit, I actually don’t like it very much. It didn’t really do anything for me. The Mineral Charged Water is a mist to hydrate the skin or prime the skin before makeup (not remove makeup or cleanse the skin in any way), a micellar water is something that you use to remove oil and makeup. They’re not really similar… Where did you hear that you should use the Mineral Charged Water to cleanse in the morning?

      I think the Garnier Micellar Water is a great addition to any skincare routine, it does a really great job of cleansing the skin & leaving it feeling soft and hydrated. 🙂

  29. Lalannie
    27 August 2015 / 13:09

    You have such cute and useful tips. Thank you.

    • 28 August 2015 / 18:05

      Thanks for reading, Lalannie. 😉

  30. sharleen
    27 August 2015 / 15:41

    Always useful tips on your blog. Thank you very much

    • 28 August 2015 / 18:05

      Thank you for leaving such a positive comment, Sharleen. 🙂

  31. Inge Bosch
    28 August 2015 / 11:40

    Hi Luzanne,
    Thanks for the (yet another :P) great blog post! I first saw the Garnier Micellar Cleansing Water a long time ago on a YouTube video (Lauren Curtis – do you watch her videos too?) and immediately thought I needed to get my hands on it! Needless to say, after much searching, I couldn’t find it… typical South Africa – we’re always the last on the list LOL. So when I saw your review, I was so excited that this product was finally available here, and your review reminded me of why I wanted it in the first place! I was at Clicks yesterday and bought a bottle. I used it last night and, even though I can only base my opinion on one use, I can truly say I’m impressed. My skin felt soft and clean and surprisingly hydrated (I have dry skin) and I can’t wait to use it again tonight. Thanks for always being so thorough and honest in your reviews – they really do help when deciding to spend money on beauty products. Take care 🙂 <3

    • 28 August 2015 / 18:08

      I love watching Lauren’s videos, she’s such a beauty. 🙂

      So true, I’ve honestly made peace with the fact that South African will either receive the products we REALLY want last or not at all. 🙁 I’m so happy to hear you are loving the Garnier Micellar Water!

      Thank you for leaving such a thoughtful comment, it’s comments like yours that encourage me and always brighten up my days. ♥

  32. Simone Cameron
    29 August 2015 / 13:25

    Now I can’t wait until I can roam the streets again to get this!! I’ve become so lazy obviously the last 2 weeks….I some mornings just throw water onto my face as my cleanser *can’t look fa e*… so this would make me feel a little less guilt about my bad facial routine at the moment.

    Not sure which I’d use though…since the Kiehls challenge I rarely get breakouts…. so perhaps the regular pink one is the one I’d try first.

    Have you tried the Avene thermal water? How does this compare to that?

  33. Yolandi Barnard
    6 September 2015 / 23:24

    Het die een vir combo/oily skin gekoop…dis AMAZING! My grootste pluspunt..Dit is so “gentle”,ek het gedink my gesig gaan weer bloedrooi wees na die tyd en dit gaan brand soos n kool vuur, maar niks. Garnier micellar water gaan dus n lang pad met my stap 🙂

  34. portia
    7 September 2015 / 10:48

    hallo L , I have tried the MICELLAR , the pink bottle, I was sceptic as I stick to the brands I know due to my very sensitive skin, I love it , it is absolutely amazing , thank you for the intro to the MICELLAR

  35. Candice
    10 July 2016 / 18:49

    Oh my, I came across your Blog by accident and boy am I glad I did. It is AMAZING, so much useful information. I just cannot get enough Lol!!! I haven’t purchased anything as yet but no worries come month end I will be trying those products. I cannot wait. I am one of those women who stands in front of the shampoo and skin care isle deciding and deciding on which variant to purchase. At the end I end up leaving with nothing. But no longer those days will soon be a thing of the past!!!!

  36. 22 September 2017 / 14:28

    What a good review, stumbled across your blog while looking for Micellar water reviews and I will definitely be bookmarking it. Thanks for the ziploc bag tip, I make my own make up remover from coconut oil, baby shampoo and water and I keep it in a little bottle… works like a charm and the ziploc idea is great for travel.

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