Micellar Water Smackdown

Reviews, Skincare

Micellar Water Smackdown



Micellar water is the hot new thing in cleansers so obviously I needed to try some of them out. I’ve been buying the Sephora Cleansing Water for a while now – I think I’m on my 3rd bottle – but the last time I ran out I decided to take a shot with a drugstore option. The local Ulta finally has the Garnier version so I picked that up to give it a test run. Here’s a quick run-down of the facts:

Garnier SkinActive Micellar Cleansing Water

  • 13.5oz/400mL for $8.99 ($0.67/oz or $0.02/mL)
  • Has no noticeable scent
  • Ingredients: Aqua/Water, Hexylene Glycol, Glycerin, Disodium Cocoamphodiacetate, Disodium EDTA, Poloxamer 184, Polyaminopropyl Biguanide

Sephora Collection Triple Action Cleansing Water

  • 6.76oz/200mL for $12 ($1.77/oz or $0.06/mL) (note – the biggest bottle is slightly more cost effective at $20 for 13.5oz)
  • Has a light cucumber scent
  • Ingredients: Water, PEG-6 Caprylic/Capric Glycerides, Propanediol, PEG-12 Dimethicone, PEG-40 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Sodium Chloride, Phenoxyethanol, Poloxamer 184, Fragrance, Tetrasodium Edta, Glycerin, Citric Acid, Panthenol, Zinc Gluconate, Butylene Glycol, Calendula Officinalis Flower Extract, Cassia Angustifolia Seed Polysaccharide, D-Limonene, Linalool, Sodium Hydroxide, Hydroxyethylcellulose, BHT

As you can see, even though they’re both micellar water, they’re not exactly what you’d call the same thing. On paper the Garnier one is pretty attractive if you have a long list of ingredients your skin doesn’t play well with. But of course, the million dollar question is, does it work any better?

I’ve been trying to practice my winged eyeliner lately so that maybe one day I can get it right on the first try. Or the 5th, pretty much anything less than 10 would be an improvement! Obviously that means I’ve had to remove a lot of eyeliner lately. My most stubborn one is the Laura Mercier Creme Eyeliner, which is the longest-wearing eyeliner I’ve ever met. It was the perfect thing to test out cleansing power.

First, I just did one swipe over the swatch with a saturated cotton pad (Garnier on the left, Sephora on the right):

Micellar Water Comparison

The Sephora cleanser didn’t take off much on one pass, but the Garnier one? Whomp, whomp. Didn’t even disturb it a bit.

But we all know that a good eyeliner shouldn’t come off too easily anyway, so I did an additional five swipes for each. It ended up looking like this:

Micellar Water Comparison

I think the results kind of speak for themselves.

My experience with the Sephora cleansing water (and some other ones that I’ve tried, like Caudalie and Koh Gen Do) is that it doesn’t take off waterproof eye makeup effortlessly, but it’s still manageable if you hate using oil cleansers on your eyes (which I do). Unfortunately the Garnier cleansing water is beyond useless for eyeliner and mascara. Within a few days after buying it, the skin around my eyes was flaky and so irritated that all my other products burned. I was baffled for a minute – I’d been using all my other stuff for a while, no problems – until I realized I was scrubbing my eyes way too hard to take my makeup off. I actually took a day off from eye makeup and made a special trip to Sephora just so I wouldn’t have to go through it again.

Bottom line? Both work well for taking off foundation, but since the Garnier micellar water is literally painful to use on my eyes, it has no place on my bathroom counter.


1 Comment

  1. Lena

    March 4, 2016 at 1:57 am

    I love the Garnier Micellar water – I finished a bottle and will buy another one soon. We don’t have sephora here so I haven’t tried that one, but I’m surprised your experience was so bad!

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