There are many makeup cleansers these days with many new ones more popping up every day and some even containing a cocktail of fancy ingredients to temp you. However, there is one that has become quite popular, probably because it is cheap and very easy to find, even at supermarkets.
You’ve definitely seen it or even used it before, the Garnier Skin Active Micellar Cleansing Water which not only has been a beauty blogger favourite, it also has very high reviews in places like Influenster, where it ranks as #1 Micellar Water with a rating of 4.5/5. It is even said to be the UK’s number 1 micellar cleansing water.
But is it actually worth the hype and should you try it? Let’s find out.
The Garnier Micellar Water comes in a plastic, see-through bottle that has round edges. It’s very simple but yet looks beautiful and approachable. It doesn’t have a lot of design or branding but the simplicity matches the fact that this is a simple cleansing product. It definitely looks much more expensive than it is and that’s great.
The Garnier Micellar Water comes in 5 different versions which are colour coded. You’ve almost definitely seen the most popular one, the pink one, which is for sensitive skin. There is also the green one for oily & combination skin, the blue one for blemish prone skin, the turquoise one for delicate skin & eyes and finally the yellow one for dry & sensitive skin. However, no matter what skin type you are, I’d still recommend the pink one the most, even if you don’t have sensitive skin. It’s always better to treat your skin as sensitive and use as little unnecessary ingredients as possible. All you really need is the pink version, the rest are just added “fancier” options.
For these reasons, in this review I will be discussing the pink, for sensitive skin, version.
A full size 400mL bottle retails for £4.99-3 depending on the retailer and offer. It’s an overall quite cheap price compared to other cleansers, but at the same time a little expensive considering the simplicity of the ingredients contained. See ingredient section below.
One 400mL bottle is said to last for 200 uses but that is only true if you use it on an already or mostly clean face. See practicality of use section below.
This product also comes in a smaller size of 125mL for £2 and in even smaller travel sizes for around £1. As it is often with these type of products, the larger size the cheaper per mL per product, so unless you are travelling or there is a specific offer, go for the larger one.
Bear in mind though that you will need cotton pads to use this product and so it’s not as cheap as it might initially look, you’d need to add the, cheap but still extra, price of the cotton pads on top to get a realistic price on how much it costs to use this.
Texture and Colour
The cleanser literally looks like water and has a watery texture. It is free from dyes and thickeners which is great.
It is this very watery texture that appeals to many. There is definitely an advantage on the fact that it feels that you are just using water to clean your face, even if it’s not exactly that. It feels and looks natural.
One of the reasons why I usually go for sensitive skin products, even though my skin is the oily type, is because they tend to be fragrance free.
The pink Garnier Micellar Water for sensitive skin is fragrance free and that’s a great advantage. Fragrance has zero skincare benefits but some potential negatives. It’s just unnecessary beyond the psychological factor of smelling nice and therefore, feeling pretty (but we have perfumes for that) and really shouldn’t be added in cosmetics.
However, the cleanser does have a medium strength smell that comes naturally from the ingredients contained. It’s nothing specific that I can describe, it’s a general cleanser smell that is neither specifically pleasant or unpleasant.
As mentioned above, there are 5 different Garnier Micellar Water versions all of which have different skin compatibilities.
However, the pink one, which I am focusing this review on, is suitable for all skin types including the sensitive ones. The formulation is very simple, only 7 ingredients, and is highly unlikely to cause you any sensitivity.
The pink Garnier Micellar Water for sensitive skin lasts for 6M. This might not sound particularly long but you will definitely use it up in that time. The lower product lifetime comes from the simplicity of the formulation and the lack of a long list of product stabilisers. It’s better this way anyways, avoiding any extra potential ingredients and the 6 month time frame given is definitely acceptable for a cleanser product.
Here’s what the brand says about this product:
“MICELLAR CLEANSING WATER EVEN FOR SENSITIVE SKIN
Sensitive skin deserves the most gentle skincare.
Because we know that you go out, go away on holiday and don’t have time to spend hours on a complicated routine, Garnier have developed a smart range of cleansers specifically for sensitive skin.
Your everyday format for home sweet home
Enjoy all the benefits of Micellar Waterfor Senstive Skin in a 400mL bottle.
Remove make-up, cleanse and soothe your skin – and there’s no need to rinse, which can sometimes irritate your sensitive skin.
Micellar Cleansing Water has a high tolerance formula that has no perfume, plus no need to rub or rinse.”
Practicality of use – user experience
This cleanser is very easy to use. It has a lift off cap and a tiny hole opening which only allows a small amount of product to come through. However, because of the watery nature of this cleanser, you can still pour more product than needed and create a mess, so pour gently!
The cleanser is absorbed quickly by cotton pads and it removes dirt and oils that you didn’t even know existed without needing to rinse after. However, it is definitely a round two cleanser as I like to call them, a cleanser to clean an almost or already makeup free face. It removes makeup well but if you start with a full face of makeup you will need literally a quarter of a bottle to clean your face fully and about a stack of cotton pads. All and all, not a great or cheap experience.
However, this cleanser is great if you wash your face first with a wet cleanser or a cleanser balm and then want to remove any left-over makeup, or if you are not wearing makeup at all and want to just take away the day’s dirt or face oils. If you use it like that then it will last you, as it says, for 200 uses, otherwise forget it. You’ll need liters per week to clean full makeup faces!
This cleanser is very kind to the skin and leaves it feeling soft and clean without stripping away the skin’s natural oils. It is a very good, simple and cheap cleanser that lasts for a while, if you use it on makeup free or almost free face. It’s a great cleanser to use after your primary cleanser, to take away any left-over dirt, and it will even look great on your beauty dresser.
Cleansers don’t really need to be nourishing to the skin, that’s a burden for the rest of your skincare to carry. This means that you can use a good and effective cleanser that is cheap without loosing out of any skincare benefits. This is exactly why this cleanser is worth it even though it’s only made up of 7 simple ingredients.
Micellar water has been quite a trend in the cosmetic industry, party because of how fancy and sciency it sounds, but also because micelles are very good solvents. This product contains Poloxamer 184 which is a half-water half-oil soluble compound and therefore, likes to form micelles. Micelles are supramolecular particles or assemblies (think of them as spheres although they can also form other structures like layers) that form due to containing water loving and hating (or oil loving) parts. They are superior to traditional solvents because they can often dissolve both water and oil.
This product contains 7 ingredients of which 5 will offer you a skincare benefit (2 of which are just cleansers), 0 negatives and only 1 potential irritant. This product contains 1 preservative, Polyaminopropyl Biguanide, which is safe in low concentrations up to 0.1% but should not be inhaled or used in sprayable products.
To keep this article short, I am only listing the ingredients that make this product a cleanser and any skin nourishing or skin positive/negative ingredients, while ignoring the ones that only play formulation purposes. For the full list of ingredients scroll down to the “full list of ingredients” section.
- Aqua/Water based formulation.
- Hexylene Glycol– Skin conditioner.
- Glycerin – Found naturally in the skin so can be seen as a skin replenishing ingredient. A skin conditioner that helps improve and smooth the appearance of skin. A good moisturiser that is almost always present in moisturising products.
- Disodium Cocoamphodiacetate – A cleanser.
- Poloxamer 184 – A cleanser that can form micelles.
Ingredients that can cause irritation to some:
This is actually really case specific, as different people have different sensitivities and allergies. Just because a compound has been reported by some to cause sensitivity, it doesn’t mean you will have an issue. “Sensitizer” compounds being present is not a negative in my opinion, as this is the case with pretty much everything out there and funnily enough I’ve seen products that are targeted specifically for sensitive skin, containing some compounds that have been reported by some, or are known to be, sensitizers.
If you have sensitive skin or you are prone to skin sensitisation and unwanted reactions, try a little bit of this at the back of your hand first and consult a medical doctor if you are concerned. Never use cosmetics on irritated or broken skin.
The following compounds present in the pink Garnier Micellar Water have been either proven or claimed by some to be sensitizers, irritants, allergens etc: Hexylene Glycol.
Full list of ingredients for the pink, for sensitive skin, Garnier Micellar Water: Aqua/Water, Hexylene Glycol, Glycerin, Disodium Cocoamphodiacetate, Disodium EDTA, Poloxamer 184, Polyaminopropyl Biguanide.
This is a good, relatively cheap and kind cleanser that will last you for a while. However, it is a type two cleanser, as I like to class it, which means that is only efficiently used on clean or near clean skin. This is not the cleanser you should use to take off a full face of makeup but rather the second one to take away any traces left or oil and dirt build up.
It is fragrance free, has a very simple formulation and only one preservative. It’s not specifically skin nourishing but it really doesn’t need to be. It doesn’t require rinsing and it leaves the skin feeling natural and not stripped.
I recommend this cleanser no matter of your skin type.
I am not affiliated with any company or brand. These are my views and experiences.
Beauty is a very personal thing, we all have different skin, requirements and biological build which can influence things. What worked for me might not work for you and vice versa. Have you ever tried these products? Did they work for you? Let me know your experiences below!
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