4 Micellar Water Cleansers That Give An Innovative New Twist On The French Favorite

If you haven't tried (or even heard of) micellar water yet, you're missing out. Micellar water is a great way to remove makeup and cleanse your skin without having to use harsh cleansers or rinse with regular water. It's been popular in France for ages, and most French women cleanse their faces with eau micellaire instead of scrubbing with water and foaming cleanser.

I was initially intrigued by the idea simply because it sounds like a lifesaver for when you want to wash your face or take off your makeup when you are traveling or without access to a sink. Then I started to hear about how water can actually be really bad for your facial skin, causing it to break out or become irritated. My skin is often red and sensitive, so I'm always on the lookout for ways to baby it. Add to that the fact that many regular facial cleansers are loaded with irritating ingredients such as foaming agents and alcohol, and I was convinced that I needed to switch to micellar water.

If you're on board too, great! But there's currently so many kinds of micellar water cleansers out there. How is a girl to know which one to choose? You could, of course, go for a standard, no-frills option (Simple Cleansing Micellar Water is a great, affordable introduction to the trend). Or you could do what I did and look for the most exciting versions of micellar water: the ones that promise to not only remove makeup and cleanse my skin but also soothe redness, tighten pores, add a healthy glow, and wash my car. I managed to find four intriguing-sounding micellar water cleansers that would do those things (minus the car-washing) and tested them out.

To show you how well each cleanser works (and to protect my sensitive facial skin) I applied a long-lasting lipstick, waterproof black eye liner, and heavy foundation to my arm as seen below:

I applied the same amount of makeup to my arm each time before wiping it all off with a micellar cleanser. Keep reading to see the results of each cleanser!

1. Caudalie Make-Up Remover Cleansing Water

$28, us.caudalie.com

This cleanser comes in a beautiful, pale green bottle that looks lovely sitting on my counter. It promises to cleanse your skin gently (safe for use on sensitive skin and around the eye area), as well as moisturize and soothe. I love the inclusion of 97 percent natural ingredients, such as organic grape water and chamomile, as well as the fact that it's free of parabens and animal testing. It has a light, refreshing fragrance: a sophisticated grape scent that is worlds away from the grape-scented stickers and candy of your childhood.

The only downsides of this cleanser are that it can leave a slightly sticky residue, and the fact that I feel like I use it up very quickly. That said, it successfully removes all of my makeup without irritating my skin.

Below, you can see my forearm is clean and makeup-free (although my arm might have some redness in these pictures just from the repetitive rubbing).

A sidenote: I got tired of using a million tiny cotton balls to cleanse my entire face, so I picked up these large Up & Up cotton squares from Target. They made my micellar cleanser routine much better, since I only have to use one or two squares for my whole face. Just a tip!

2. Perricone MD Blue Plasma

$89, fragrance.net

This is another cleanser without "micellar" in the name, but it promises to deliver a "dual cleansing treatment" through the combination of micellar water and plasma technology to help clear your pores and brighten your skin. You can use the Blue Plasma Cleansing Treatment (sephora.com) to remove makeup and impurities, and then follow it with the Blue Plasma (pictured) to exfoliate the skin like a chemical peel would.

I applied more makeup (exactly like in the first picture of my arm), and then wiped it off with the Blue Plasma. Below is the result.

It definitely removes all traces of makeup, and I also love the subtle glow that it gives my skin without the irritation that other chemical peels can cause. Just one word of warning: it smells strongly of fish, thanks to the natural roe enzyme. The smell quickly disappears though, and it's worth it.

3. Vichy Purete Thermale Beautifying Cleansing Micellar Oil

$22, vichy.com

This cleanser is actually a micellar oil, which is meant to be rubbed onto dry skin to dissolve makeup and then rinsed off with.... water. You're probably thinking, "Wait, I thought the whole point was to avoid water?" Sure, but for nights when you really want to make sure that you get every trace of dirt and makeup off, this cleanser is a necessity. Plus I'm a fan of how soft oil cleansers make my skin, so I love that this combines that with micellar water.

Following the instructions, I rubbed a drop of the oil onto my arm until the makeup dissolved into a milky lather. Normally I would then rinse it off with water but instead I wiped it off with a wet cotton square so you can see all the makeup that came off:

All of these cleansers removed the makeup, but this one definitely did the most thorough job, with absolutely no residue, dirt, or makeup left behind. I highly recommend this cleanser for nights when you have a lot of makeup to take off. I also really like Vichy PURETÉ THERMAL 3-IN-1 One Step Micellar Solution (vichyusa.com) if you're looking for a more standard micellar water from the brand (no rinsing required!).

4. Simple Micellar Makeup Remover Wipes

$7, target.com

Finally, we have micellar water in the form of makeup wipes, aka two of my favorite ways to remove makeup, combined. I was thrilled to get my hands on these and they did not disappoint. A lot of makeup wipes contain high amounts of fragrance and alcohol and end up drying out or irritating my skin. These contain only a small amount of alcohol (not enough to irritate my skin) and zero fragrance. These wipes left my skin feeling soft, clean and hydrated.

Check out all the makeup that one quick swipe with half of the wipe took off my arm.

These are probably the easiest way to use micellar water: no cotton squares required. Just grab a wipe, remove your makeup with it, and throw it in the trash. You can even do this from the comfort of your bed, without having to worry about spilling micellar water everywhere.

So whether you're newly interested in micellar water or an old pro (how very French of you), consider trying out one of these cleansers to give your skin the most updated and multi-tasking version of the trend possible.

Images: Kelly Dougher