The Independent’s journalism is supported by our readers. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn commission.

8 best micellar cleansing waters

Don’t waste your time using multiple cleansing products, try out the beauty world’s latest favourite

Sometimes keeping up with a complex skincare routine can be too much. From exfoliating to cleansing to toning to moisturising, it’s hard to keep up with what you’re supposed to be doing when. A micellar cleanser cuts out some of those steps, acting as a make-up remover, cleanser and toner in one swipe. Micellar waters are a non-rinsing formula, so you just need to apply to the face with a cotton pad, as you would a toner, making them perfect for those days when you don’t have time for a hot cloth cleanse.

The trend started in France, where they offer an alternative to harsh mains water, and have been available in pharmacies there for years, but have only recently been picked up by the cult beauty world. Their tiny oil molecules, ‘micelles’ (hence the name), are designed to work like a magnet, attracting impurities and pulling them away without agitating or drying. The micelles are often suspended in thermal spa waters, which come direct from natural springs and are naturally mineral-enriched. They’re ideal for sensitive skin and are often used by make-up artists backstage for minimal skin irritation after multiple make-up changes.

We’ve been putting bottles through their paces to see if they really work, testing for ease of use, effectiveness at removing make-up and skin condition after use. These are our favourites.

1. La Roche Posay Micellar Water: £11, boots.com

This is hypo-allergenic and includes thermal water sourced from a spring in the centre of France, which is rich in the elasticity-preserving antioxidant selenium and also has a much lighter texture than the other micellars. We found it worked particularly well on congested skin to remove excess sebum.

Buy now

2. Garnier Micellar Cleansing Water: £3.29, superdrug.com

We found this left skin feeling super-clean without stripping moisture or leaving any trace of product left behind. It also made light work of removing stubborn make-up without damaging lashes — even waterproof mascara.

Buy now

3. Simple Kind to Skin Micellar Cleansing Water: £2.19, superdrug.com

The water in this is triple purified to remove as many impurities as possible, making it great for skin that is easily irritated. Our tester found it was gentle and left skin feeling refreshed, removing make-up quickly, including eye make-up that was usually tough to get off. The price makes this a great one to take for a test drive if you’re sceptical.

Buy now

4. Bioderma Sensibio H2O: £10.20, boots.com

This cult cleanser is ultra-mild and contains fatty acids that help rebuild the skin’s natural protection against the elements and bacteria. We found redness was reduced after a few days of use and it removed even waterproof eyeliners and mascaras easily. There’s also a separate version to help restore dry skin.

Buy now

5. REN Rosa Centifolia 3-in-1 Cleansing Water: £13, feelunique.com

REN’s Rosa water easily removes everyday make-up. It contains Rose Otto Oil, which is commonly used as a pure facial oil to calm, hydrate and balance out red complexions — and also smells great. Perfect for adding a bit of luxury to an otherwise simple product.

Buy now

6. L'Oreal Paris Skin Perfection Micellar Water: £3.33, boots.com

Our tester found that this removed make up easily, flushed out and tightened her pores and didn’t leave her skin feeling greasy. Another good purse-friendly option for those on a budget.

Buy now

7. Eau Thermale Avène Micellar Lotion Cleanser: £12.50, feelunique.com

Using Avène's eponymous French spring water for an extra-soothing formula, this leaves skin feeling fresh and clean and removes make-up easily. It also includes bisabolol, a naturally-occurring oil that improves the appearance of dry, damaged or flaky skin and is often used in anti-ageing products.

Buy now

8. Darphin Azahar Cleansing Micellar Water: £25, darphin.co.uk

This, from the Parisian brand, removes grime and has a pleasantly subtle orange blossom fragrance. It’s particularly good used in the morning to wake you up and leaves a great base for make-up without stripping moisture, thanks to neroli oil and bisabolol.

Buy now

Verdict:

French brand La Roche Posay's micellar is light and gentle, with a nice fragrance and a reasonable price tag. However, if you just want to give micellar a test run or are on a budget, Garnier’s is budget-friendly, effective and even removes waterproof mascara.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

By clicking ‘Create my account’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in