There are times when I want in on a beauty trend so bad that I'm willing to overlook the fact that nine out of 10 produces make my sensitive skin turn a lovely shade of cardinal. But, after discovering how many micellar waters for sensitive skin exist out there on the market and are highly regarded, I was only too happy to make the switch from cream cleansers — and my delicate, reactive skin has never felt so clean and hydrated.
If you're new to them, here's the deal with how micellar waters work: the formula (which originated in France) is made from cleansing oil molecules called "micelles" that are attracted to dirt and oil and can draw out these impurities without sapping your skin's natural oils in the process. Squeeze micellar water onto your favorite cotton pad and apply it like you would a toner. That's pretty much it — no water necessary. This fact is extremely comforting to anyone with dry or sensitive skin who knows all too well that parched feeling that results from washing your face with most cleansers and plain water.
There are a few downsides to using micellar water cleansers — if your skin is extremely oily, they may not be strong enough for you. And they may not effectively remove stubborn mascara and foundation — which is why I highly recommend the Korean double-cleansing method: use an oil-based cleansing balm first to remove makeup, then follow up with micellar water and, voilà, skin like silk.
But back to our sensitive skin needs — trust me, one of these micellar waters for sensitive skin will do everything from deep clean pores to hydrate skin. No mess. No fuss.
1. A 3-In-1 Cleanser That Removes Pollution Particles
This oil-free micellar water is a 3-in-1 solution: it cleanses, tones, and removes makeup (including 99 percent of foundation). It's alcohol-free, removes dirt, oil, and even pollution particles, and is dermatologist and ophthalmologist tested (so even those with the most sensitive eyes can be sure this will remove mascara without making you tear up). This product has been deemed safe for sensitive skin and contains hydrating thermal spring water and glycerin to keep your skin soft and moisturized.
2. One-Step Cleansing Water Cloths With Herbal Essences
These travel-friendly cleansing water cloths are oil free and infused with natural SPA water and herbal essences to soften skin. No cotton needed — simply pull out a pre-moistened wipe and it works to deep clean skin and leaves it feeling fresh and moisturized. Reviewers with sensitive skin say they're gentle and fantastic at removing makeup — and they won't dry out your skin.
3. This Cult Favorite French Micellar Water That Gently Removes Waterproof Makeup
One of the original and most popular micellar water brands, this Bioderma product is made specifically for sensitive skin, formulated with fatty acid esters that naturally help rebuild skin while cleansing it of impurities. Reviewers say this removes every stitch of makeup — even waterproof mascara — and that it's extremely hydrating. Bonus points: one bottle seems to last most reviewers for months and months.
4. A Cleansing Water That Exfoliates With Willow Bark & Papaya Extract
This Korean brand beauty water is rich with natural exfoliants like willow bark and papaya extract, as well as nourishing lavender water, rose water, and orange fruit extracts. It's a cleanser, toner, exfoliant, and helps create a soft, matte base that allows makeup to glide on your skin. It's gentle enough for all skin types and more than a few reviewers use the word "glowing" to describe their complexions after using this water.
5. A Micellar Water So Gentle It Can Be Used On Baby's Skin
Give a warm welcome to the micellar water so gentle, it can even be used on a baby's delicate skin. Since Mustela is actually marketed as a baby brand, you can be sure this micellar water will effectively remove dirt and oil from your skin without removing its natural oils. It's made with 98 percent plant-based ingredients and contains aloe vera and avocado extract to protect and soften skin.
6. A Skin Brightening Micro Water With Hydrogen Mineral Water
In place of refined water, Dr. Jart+ micro water is made with 85 percent active hydrogen mineral water and 90 percent natural ingredients like willow bark and royal jelly extract. It contains absolutely no irritating chemicals, colors, or perfumes, and reviewers say it removes every stitch of dirt and makeup from pores and can even help prevent dry patches of skin during cold winter months.
7. A Thoroughly Hydrating Micellar Water
This lightly fragranced cleansing water can be used morning and evening on even the most sensitive skin types. Reviewers say dehydrated skin instantly gets a boost of hydration from this formula and that it can be used in the afternoon as a quick, easy way to cool off the skin and eliminate excess oil and shine without drying you out. Some reviewers are torn are between whether this is the most effective makeup remover for really stubborn makeup — but a first-step oil cleanser can take care of that.
8. A Soothing Cleanser With Lavender And Cucumber Extracts
Dry and sensitive skin types will benefit greatly from this micellar water cleanser, toner, and makeup remover, which is rich in soothing natural botanical extracts like lavender, cucumber, sage, and calendula. It's a 100 percent vegan product and you won't find any irritating dyes, parabens, mineral oil, or sulfates in this formula. Reviewers with sensitive skin say it won't make your complexion red or dry.
9. A Cleansing Water With Rosemary Extract
This oil and alcohol-free Shiseido cleansing water contains rosemary extract and gently balances and cleanses skin without leaving your face feeling tight. One reviewer with "extremely sensitive skin" says this product does not cause allergic reactions and others rave about its ability to quickly remove makeup and clean all skin types — from sensitive to oily — without irritating skin.
10. A Micellar Cleansing Water With Calming Rose Petals
This alcohol-free micellar water cleanses skin and helps rebalance the pH levels while improving texture and softness thanks to two special ingredients: rose petal floral water and micellar surfactants derived from coconut. It contains an allergen-free fragrance and is especially recommended for sensitive, dry, and acne-prone skin. Reviewers say you can expect a product that is gentle on skin, effectively removes makeup, and is even better than many luxury brand cleansers.
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