Micellar Cleansing Water Reviews (Best & Benefits)

For the past 4 years, I have been a fan of micellar cleansing waters. What is micellar water?

  • It's a cleansing solution used to remove makeup. 
  • It looks like water and is unscented. 
  • It's applied with a cotton pad or cloth and is wiped away. 
  • No need to rinse after. Skin is left feeling clean.
  • Micelles (think tiny oil molecules) are suspended in water, and attract makeup, dirt, etc. 
  • Since it's so gentle, it can even be used on the eyes and is nice for sensitive skin. 
  • It's amazing for travel (think not as harsh as wipes, no need for toner) and is best for normal-dry skin. 
  • It's also great for those who don't want a lot of makeup removal steps/products and best if you don't wear heavy-duty makeup. More on that later! Onto the reviews:

I'm reviewing 4 of the most popular brands of micellar water:

  • Simple Cleansing Micellar Water--$7.99 6.7oz (mass retailers, online)
  • Garnier Micellar Cleansing Water--$13.99 400ml (UK, online)
  • La Roche-Posay Physiological Micellar Solution--$20.99 (ULTA, online)
    • Also comes in different versions for oily skin
  • Bioderma Sensibio H2O--$20+ (UK, Beautylish.com, online)
    • Also comes in different versions for oily skin and different sizes
Testing Methods
  • I purchased at least 2 bottles of all and tested them for a year or more (Simple has been tested for close to 6 months since it was recently released).
  • I varied my methods: using one product daily for a week or more, testing each with different types of makeup (such a liquid, cream, and powder products), testing with cloths, cotton pads, Qtips, tissues, as well as the amount of product I used
  • I tested the micellar waters on arm swatches of makeup, which I recreated for 3 items below:

For matte lipstick, I found Simple and La Roche-Posay to remove the least amount of product in one swipe. Bioderma completely removed the swatch. I found similar results with long-wear concealer and waterproof mascara. Bioderma performed the best.

  • I've found my commenters do not wear a lot of makeup, do not like having a lot of products, and do not know a lot about micellar waters (I've shared them three times and find many are still unfamiliar), so I thought this was a great option to share. 
  • Micellar cleansing water is not meant to remove long-wearing makeup, such as waterproof mascara (I'd use an eye makeup remover for that) but I wanted to show the capabilities. It will work, but it would take forever.
  • In general makeup removal, I experienced similar results with all. All of them worked to remove light to regular makeup (moisturizer, primer, liquid foundation, cream concealer, blush, eye shadow, liner, mascara, lipstick or gloss). Simple did cause a pimple (rhymes!) to form one of the weeks I tested it daily (no, I didn't use new products that week), but so many of you love it, so try it.
  • In terms of swatches, Simple and La Roche-Posay were the most gentle, and left the most makeup behind. Garnier and Bioderma performed the best. I would repurhase any of them, but Bioderma remains my favorite.
Do you use Micellar Cleansing Waters?

Extra Elle:
  • Had an eye appointment yesterday. I must have "designer" eyes because my eyes only want the most expensive products, like my eye drops and contacts. I've tried just about everything and the expensive stuff works the best for them. Luckily, I am frugal in other areas!
  • I finally got all of the beach stuff cleaned and put away as well as all of the laundry. I still feel out of whack for the week. Does that happen to you?


  1. I've wondered if these really work, great review I will have to try them out. I am in the same boat with my eyes. Seriously how. Can my contacts be soooo much!!!!


    Whitney & Blaire

    Peaches In A Pod

  2. I've never even heard of this kind of cleanser, but now I'm intrigued! You teach me so much, thank you!

  3. I've been wanting to try these. If I do, I'll stick with Bioderma and stay away from Simple.

  4. I've never tried this before; though the Garnier looks lush!


  5. How interesting! I love the fact that you don't have to rinse them off. And I am a light makeup person so these sound great!

  6. I have never heard of micellar water before but it sounds awesome! Definitely going to have to see if I can find the Bioderma!

    <3, Pamela
    Sequins & Sea Breezes

  7. Really interesting review!! I've never used micellar water, but it's a fun product to try! xo, Biana -BlovedBoston

  8. I have the Simple micellar water + just got a version from Bourghese. I need to use them more- but I keep forgetting! :)

    Le Stylo Rouge

  9. These look cool! I have never tried them before!
    Melanie @ meandmr.com

  10. Looks and sounds amazing!
    Carrie and Stacy
    CS Gems

  11. wow - never heard of this... loved reading your very thorough reviews! Thanks! Glam Karen

  12. I have no idea that simple came out with a micellar water. I going to have to track it down. Due to I love simple products.


  13. I'm not surprised that Bioderma outperformed the others. I'm a huge fan! :D

  14. I didn't know what a micellar cleansing water was! This sounds like great stuff! Thanks for sharing!

    Doused In Pink

  15. Simple company sent me a few samples and a coupon for their micellular water. I'm really glad I read your review first so I didn't waste my time. I wear a lot of longwear makeup, so I don't think that would work the best for me. But the Garnier one seems pretty geared toward my needs. However, Garnier products tend to smell really awkward. Do you find that to be true?

  16. Amazing product! Definitely looking into these as I really need to get better about my makeup removal :)

  17. I am a fan of the makeup removal wipes and didn't really know these existed. They sound like something that would be good for me, but with travel, I'd rather take a pack of wipes than a liquid I think. Might be a good option for home though, and I'd probably choose the Bioderma!

  18. I love Bioderma! It is amazing, although its hard to get here!
    xo, Kyla - KyMarieC / @kycurrierlewis

  19. My Bioderma is about to finish and I'm planning to pick up Garnier next. Have read great reviews on Garnier so I'm eager to try it myself.

    Shireen | Reflection of Sanity

  20. This sounds like an amazing product!

  21. I have never tried this before! I love all the new beauty products you introduce me too!

  22. Thanks for sharing! I need to get a lot better about cleaning off my makeup.
    Southern Elle Style

  23. Interesting, I think I've seen this in Target the other day. I have used the cleansing water from Sephora which was very effective. Great review Elle!!

  24. I didn't know much of the micellar water, though I have Caudalie and love it, but I use it like a "spray", like a thermal water. I liked some Simple products, so I would like to give it a try, but since you said Bioderma and Garnier performed better, I think I would buy Garnier, then! I don't normally use matte lipstick, more a gloss, then Simple would be OK for that, but I want to try Garnier, after your review!

  25. I've never heard of this before but I'm totally interested to try!! Thank you for sharing. My post today was about how I'm totally out of the loop on beauty stuff and this post just reaffirmed that I need to learn more! xo

  26. Count me in as one of the unfamiliar! These sound great, and I'd love to give the Bioderma brand a try. And I totally hear you about feeling out of whack. That always happens to me after being on vacation!

  27. I've never heard of these but they sound great! Might just have to check them out!

  28. Micellar water is hard to find here bt i have good reviews abt Bio derma.. very informative post :)

  29. I've never heard of this before! Very interesting.

    xo, Kate
    Petals and Prada

  30. Thank you for such a thorough review and comparison. I've used and love Bioderma but its difficult for me to get my hands on so I was hoping to find a replacement. In particular, I was looking at the Garnier version. Good to know is the closet in terms of peformance. :-)

  31. I haven't used micellar water but the Bioderma seems worth a look. I tend to use the Body Shop Makeup remove since it is gentle and works really well. Vacations always put me behind, glad you are catching up though.

  32. I've been super curious about these since I saw the simple one when it first came out. I think I wear too muck make up thought. But they might be nice after I use a makeup remover wipe?
    I have to use a more expensive contact solution with my contacts for some reason so you aren't alone! They get too dry and thr cheaper ones make it worse lol!

  33. I love bioderma, but I haven't purchased it in awhile. I really should pick some up again asap! Great review btw!

  34. I have never heard of this before but it sounds awesome! Definitely need to check out one of these brands!

    <3 Shannon
    Upbeat Soles

  35. You are the quite the thorough beauty blogger Elle! I give you major props for all the intensive testing that you do!

  36. I've heard so much about Bioderma, but I've never tried it. I LOVE the Simple water though. I have multiple backups under my sink. I love that it's inexpensive and easy to find and works great with my skin type. Your put so much work and time into your reviews which I appreciate so much as a reader!

  37. I currently use cleansing balms and oils to remove my makeup but I'm also interested in trying micellar waters. Thanks for the low down Elle!

    Rowena @ rolala loves

  38. Interesting! I haven't heard of this type of cleanser. Not sure if it's the best fit for me in taking off the mascara I wear but could be worth a try on the rest of my face. Thanks for testing them!!

  39. I love Micellar Water, I think it is just really great for the skin. I've only tried two kinds, Bioderma and Simple and I think Bioderma is the best, I probably will just buy Simple for a while cause it's much cheaper, and easier to get your hands on! Great post!!

  40. I had thought about trying the Simple one based on some other reviews, but I was on the fence about whether or not I needed it. If I am using eye make up remover, make up wipes and then my usual skin care routine including face wash, serum and moisturizer...I didn't see where I needed to add another step. Plus I have sensitive combination skin, so i am glad you said this was for normal to dry. Clearly I dont need it.

    The eye doctor is the worst for me. I hate being dilated. Hate hate hate!!! I have been putting it off for the last year but I really need to go. Hope you start feeling back in the swing of things! It always takes me a full week/weekend to feel fully back and settled.

  41. I'm very tempted to try these, as I don't wear a lot of makeup and I also don't like having a lot of products. I'd rather not shell out $20 for Bioderma, so the Garnier sounds like a better option for me.

  42. I am the reader you described! I have never heard of this either, which is funny because even though I don't wear a lot of makeup, I'm constantly combing the aisles looking at it!

  43. Great review Elle! I should definitely try this because I have very sensitive skin and need something gentle to use.


  44. Thanks for this! I've been curious!

  45. So interesting to see how each product works with different waterproof and hardcore makeup. We are in love with Chanel's makeup remover which is so light but gets everything off!

    xx 365Hangers

  46. I've been testing a couple of these myself. I'm really liking them and totally understand why they've become so popular.

  47. Wow, you are so thorough! I've been considering the Nivea Miscellar Cleansing Water because I've heard a lot of good things about it but you've definitely rounded up the best of the bunch. Such a great review lovely! xx

  48. Great review, Elle!! I can't believe I haven't heard of this stuff. It looks awesome! I love that it's gentle and natural. I'll have to try it out!

    I'm hosting my Friday Favorites link-up tomorrow. Don't forget to join in!

    The Closet by Christie


  49. Awesome review! I haven't tried these, but I saw the Simple version at Target and almost picked it up.

  50. it is not available here in India :(

  51. Bioderma has been on my radar for a while. Might have to drop the cash and see for myself! Thanks for sharing your review!

  52. I've been using the Simple myself and found that it does not remove all of my foundation. I think I'll give the Garnier a try if I can find it.
    I always find when coming back from vacation that I'm out of whack for a bit.

  53. I've used these for years, too. Way before they became popular - I think I just picked one of the French ones and liked the quality (though I just have to rinse my face afterwards - such a creature of habit!) And also this is most likely the best review and explanation I've seen - you did a fantastic job, Elle! x

  54. Great roundup of reviews on these products! I've been so curious about them but was hesitant to take the plunge. I wear quite a bit of makeup on a daily basis, so I'm not sure if these would work for me, but maybe for vacation when I'm wearing little to no makeup at all.

  55. I like Bioderma the best. I have had decent luck putting it on a cotton pad, then holding the saturated pad on my eye for about 15-20 seconds before wiping. It seems to help break down the eye makeup without the excessive rubbing. I agree with you though - eye makeup remover is probably the most effective. I don't wear waterproof mascara, though.

    I'm a sucker for packaging and the Garnier one looks so pretty. Is that weird? LOL


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