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!
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.
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.