The 10 Best Micellar Waters of 2023, Tested and Reviewed

Garnier Micellar Cleansing Water All-in-1 effortlessly removes every trace of makeup and grime.

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Jessica Juliao

Originally a French skincare staple, micellar water is a multitasking product loved for its ability to cleanse skin and remove makeup, all in one step. A great alternative to makeup wipes and face washes, the rinse-free formulas are gentle yet effective. The thing is, with micellar water’s popularity rising, finding the right one for your skin concerns can feel like a daunting task.

To make your search easier, we identified 32 top-rated micellar waters that work across all skin types. Then we recruited a team of testers to analyze each formula and rate them based on their feel, absorption, effectiveness, hydration, and overall appearance after application. Ultimately, we were able to narrow down the original pool of products to the 10 best micellar waters on the market. With five stars across the board, Garnier Micellar Cleansing Water All-in-1 stands out because it effortlessly cleans away every bit of makeup and dirt without stripping the skin of essential moisture.

Keep reading for our full list of the best micellar waters, according to our lab tests.

Best Overall

Garnier SkinActive Micellar Water Cleanser & Makeup Remover All-in-1

5
Garnier Micellar Cleansing Water All-in-1

Walgreens

What We Love: The micellar water is formulated with high quality ingredients that effortlessly clean the skin without stripping it of its natural moisture.

What We Don’t Love: It’s not the best at removing waterproof mascara.

Coveted by makeup artists and makeup lovers alike, it’s no surprise Garnier’s original micellar cleansing water checked off all our boxes. Formulated without parabens, alcohol, oil, fragrance, or sulfates, this water easily cleanses the skin without stripping it of its natural oils. Not to mention, this product is great for those with sensitive skin as it’s non-irritating and gentle. The lightweight formula easily absorbs into skin and effortlessly removes any makeup, dirt, and grime. With just one swipe, our tester’s skin was left feeling revitalized and cleaner than ever. “It feels like a fresh shower, brightening my skin and bringing life back into my face,” he says.

I’ve been using this micellar water for years, and it still amazes me how much grime it removes. I especially love how easy it is to use: The no-rinse formula makes it great for those who are always on the go or those who need a quick clean without the hassle. While it does a superb job at removing almost every trace of makeup, you might have to use a bit more elbow grease (or just a few extra cotton pads) to fully get waterproof mascara off.

Price at time of publish: $12 for 23.7 fl oz

Size: 23.7 fl oz, 13.5 fl oz, and 3.4 fl oz | Good for: All skin types | Scented: No

Garnier Micellar Cleansing Water All-in-1

InStyle / Jessica Juliao

Best Splurge

Origins Mega-Mushroom Skin Relief Micellar Cleanser

4.9
Origins Mega-Mushroom Skin Relief Micellar Cleanser

Sephora

What We Love: Infused with a mushroom blend, this micellar water is loaded with antioxidants that deeply moisturize.

What We Don’t Love: This micellar water doesn’t function as a makeup remover.

The sound of mushroom-infused skincare may sound off-putting, but the natural ingredient is actually a skincare wonder that helps hydrate and brighten skin — and it happens to be the star ingredient in this formula. Aptly named, this micellar water is packed with a unique blend of plants and mushrooms to soothe skin, visibly reduce redness, and replenish hydration. Our tester raves about how revitalizing the product feels: “The consistency is extremely comfortable and lightweight, and I barely noticed that I put on anything at all,” she says. “I love washing my face with face wash, however, this micellar water makes my skin feel so much softer than any cleanser I’ve used.” It’s important to note, that unlike other micellar waters on this list, this is not a makeup remover, so we recommend using this as the second step of your cleansing routine to achieve that extra clean feeling.

Price at time of publish: $36

Size: 6.7 fl oz | Good for: Normal, Dry, and Oily skin | Scented: Yes

Origins Mega-Mushroom Skin Relief Micellar Cleanser

InStyle / Jessica Juliao

Best Budget

Simple Kind to Skin Micellar Cleansing Water

4.8
Simple Kind to Skin Micellar Cleansing Water

Amazon

What We Love: Like the name suggests, it’s a no-frills yet effective cleanser.

What We Don’t Love: Our tester mentions that it made her skin feel a bit tingly, which may be off-putting for some.

Skincare should be simple and straightforward, and Simple Kind to Skin Cleansing Micellar Water is as easy as it gets. Formulated with vitamins B3, B5, and C, this water enriches the skin with gentle ingredients while cleansing away all traces of makeup and dirt. If you’re looking to incorporate micellar water into your routine, this budget-friendly product is a great place to start: It’s gentle, easily removes grime, and comes at a great price point. Not to mention, the product efficiently removes makeup, too, so you get a great two-for-one. The simple ingredients thoroughly clean the skin and absorb excess oil. “I am very impressed with the way the product works; It effectively removed all my makeup to the point where using this was better than washing my face,” our tester shares. She notes that it also made her face feel slightly tingly, but in a good, refreshed way.

Price at time of publish: $8

Size: 6.76 fl oz | Good for: All skin types | Scented: No

Simple Kind to Skin Cleansing Micellar Water

InStyle / Jessica Juliao

Best Drugstore

Avene Eau Thermal Micellar Lotion Cleansing Water Make-up Remover

4.9
Avene Eau Thermal Micellar Lotion Cleansing Water Make-up Remover

Amazon

What We Love: Formulated with Avene thermal spring water, this cleansing lotion soothes the skin while simultaneously removing all traces of makeup.

What We Don’t Love: It has a light fragrance that may irritate some.

While there’s no magical well water that will solve all our skin concerns, Avene thermal spring water is the next best thing. It contains beneficial minerals, derived from the earth’s deepest and oldest dolomite rocks, that help soothe skin and aid in skin conditions, like sunburns and irritation from shaving — and it’s also the key ingredient in this micellar water. Upon application, our tester was amazed at how lightweight and comfortable the formula feels. “It absorbs extremely fast, leaving my skin refreshed and hydrated,” she says.

Because this product is a cleansing lotion, it’s no surprise it nourishes your skin barrier. But, it also gently removes pollutants, relieving skin of the harmful pore-clogging particles. It’s worth noting that this does have a faint smell, but our tester says it’s a nice, subtle addition. “The scent is gentle and soothing — very pleasant and not too overpowering.” All in all, our tester loves the product so much she started integrating it into her routine. “I would say Avene lives up to its brand name in creating such high-quality products,” she adds.

Price at time of publish: $18 fo 6.76 fl oz

Size: 16.8 fl oz, 6.76 fl oz, and 3.38 fl oz | Good for: All skin types | Scented: Yes

Eau Thermale Avene Micellar Lotion Cleansing Water

InStyle / Jessica Juliao

Best for Sensitive Skin

Vichy Pureté Thermale Mineral Micellar Water

5
Vichy Pureté Thermale Mineral Micellar Water

Amazon

What We Love: This micellar water contains 15 natural minerals that help cleanse and revitalize the skin.

What We Don’t Love: Because the formula is extremely gentle, it may take a few swipes to remove all your makeup.

Finding products that work with sensitive skin can be a struggle, but luckily this micellar water from Vichy was made specifically with sensitive skin in mind. Formulated without alcohol or other harsh ingredients, this cleansing water features Vichy’s mineral-rich volcanic water — which is loaded with 15 minerals to be exact — and micellar technology that attracts and traps any residual dirt. Plus, it also includes vitamin B5, a humectant, which soothes the skin and enhances glow. Our tester loves the makeup removing and cleansing capabilities, highlighting that it took her makeup off “with ease” and left her skin feeling “clean and hydrated.” That said, because it’s gentle, it does take a few more swipes to thoroughly remove makeup (especially waterproof mascara) compared to other options on this list, but that is a minor inconvenience that can be overlooked.

Price at time of publish: $15 for 6.76 fl oz

Size: 13.52 fl oz, 6.76 fl oz, and 3.38 fl oz | Good for: Sensitive skin | Scented: Yes

Vichy Purete Thermale Mineral Micellar Water

InStyle / Jessica Juliao

Best for Oily Skin

Kumiko Skincare Matcha Micellar Water

4.8
Kumiko Matcha Micellar Water - Purifying Facial Cleanser and Makeup Remover

Thirteen June

What We Love: This micellar water is formulated with matcha, which leaves skin looking glowy, not greasy.

What We Don’t Love: It has a light cucumber scent that some may not like.

Concocted with a blend of almond oil, organic matcha tea extract, and echinacea flower extract, this cleansing water hydrates skin, removes excess oil, and boosts collagen production. Our tester enjoyed how this micellar water made her skin feel, giving her complexion a refreshing “burst of energy.” Beyond the feeling, she was also impressed to see her eye makeup melt away in just one simple swipe, with no lingering mascara left under her eyes (something that is dreadful to deal with). In addition to the key ingredients, this is enriched with chamomile, cucumber, horse chestnuts, and aloe vera, giving the water a nice, spa-like scent that doesn’t overwhelm the senses. Our tester highlights that while it leaves her skin glowy it also absorbs any excess oil. “I would definitely recommend this product to everyone!” she says. “It meets all the quality checks: It’s hydrating, smells good, and doesn't leave any residue on skin.”

Price at time of publish: $35

Size: 8.4 fl oz | Good for: Oily and Normal skin types | Scented: Yes

Kumiko Matcha Micellar Water

InStyle / Jessica Juliao

Best for Dry Skin

Drunk Elephant Milki E-Rase Micellar Water

5
Drunk Elephant Milki E-Rase Micellar Water

Sephora

What We Love: It contains a blend of three ceramides to calm and hydrate dry skin.

What We Don’t Love: Our tester wishes there was a slight scent added to the product.

This milky micellar water from Drunk Elephant contains a three ceramide blend key for maintaining the moisture balance of your skin. Besides the hydrating benefits, ceramides also aid in strengthening skin’s elasticity, so your complexion will appear more plump and revived after using this. For our tester, the difference in suppleness was immediate. “[The formula] feels so nice, like velvet. I keep touching my face because it feels so hydrated now,” she says. Beyond the way it makes skin feel, it also does an exemplary job of removing makeup, dirt and debris — this is thanks to melon seed oil, which nourishes skin and helps dissolve makeup. While the product works wonders to revitalize skin, it also comes in a chic bottle (made of recyclable packaging) that easily dispenses the perfect amount of product onto a cotton pad — the cherry on top.

Although non-fragrant products are great for sensitive skin, our tester wishes there was a light fragrance. But even without, she shares that she plans on buying this product because she loves it so much.

Price at time of publish: $28

Size: 8 fl oz and 3.3 fl oz | Good for: Dry and Normal skin types | Scented: No

Drunk Elephant E-Rase Milki Micellar Water

InStyle / Jessica Juliao

Best Calming

Neogen Calming Cicatree Micellar Cleansing Oil

Neogen Calming Cicatree Micellar Cleansing Oil

Neogen Lab

What We Love: It nourishes skin, instantly alleviating any redness or irritation.

What We Don’t Love: Because it’s a micellar oil, it has to be rinsed off.

Unlike other micellar cleansers on this list, this one requires a quick rinse because rather than a water, it’s actually an oil. The consistency packs a gentle punch: Removing all impurities while also deeply nourishing your complexion. “I can feel the oils breaking down and deep cleaning my face,” shares our tester. Made from cica tree and tea tree, this micellar oil tames skin flare ups and prevents future breakouts from popping up. “My skin is usually very reactionary, but this oil cleanser leaves me glowing,” our tester adds. The only fault we could find is that this oil requires a quick rinse, but in doing so you ensure you’re thoroughly washing your face.

Price at time of publish: $29

Size: 10 fl oz | Good for: All skin types | Scented: Yes

Neogen Calming Cicatree Micellar Cleansing Oil

InStyle / Jessica Juliao

Best for Makeup Removal

Medik8 Eyes & Lips Micellar Cleanser

4.8
Medik8 Eyes & Lips Micellar Cleanser

Dermstore

What We Love: It quickly and thoroughly removes the most stubborn makeup.

What We Don’t Love: While you can use this on your entire face, it is specifically targeted to remove stubborn eye and lip makeup.

Looking for a makeup remover that won’t totally strip your skin? Medik8 Eyes and Lips Micellar Cleanser dissolves stubborn makeup while simultaneously soothing skin. With ingredients like vitamin B5 and hyaluronic acid, this thick water-like cleanser hydrates the eye and lip areas, eliminating the look of fine lines and completely erasing any lingering waterproof eyeliner or lipstick. “I was apprehensive it would leave some residue due to the fact that it's a bit thicker and milkier, but it absorbs like a dream,” shares our tester. While this product can be applied to the whole face, it is important to note that it’s intended to be used on your eyes and lips.

Price at time of publish: $20

Size: 3.38 fl oz | Good for: All skin types | Scented: Yes

Medik8 Eyes & Lips Micellar Cleanser

InStyle / Jessica Juliao

Best for Travel

Bioderma Sensibio H2O Micellar Water

4.8
Bioderma Sensibio H2O

Walgreens

What We Love: This straightforward cleanser won’t irritate your skin.

What We Don’t Love: The bottle dispenses a lot of product at once.

Bioderma Sensibio H20 Micellar Water is the ultimate travel companion: Coming in a TSA-friendly 3.3 ounce-sized package, its non-irritating formula moisturizes and cleanses the skin wherever you are in the world. After a long flight, your skin may be out of sorts (flying can exacerbate any breakouts and dehydrate your skin), but this cleanser quickly rebalances it in just a swipe. It also removes all traces of makeup, and with the inclusion of cucumber extract, soothes your skin. “Though the product was very lightweight, my skin was instantly refreshed after usage,” shares our tester. Just be cautious when applying this to a cotton pad as a lot of product comes out at once.

Price at time of publish: $17 for 16.7 fl oz

Size: 16.7 fl oz, 8.33 fl oz, and 3.38 fl oz | Good for: Sensitive skin types | Scented: No

Medik8 Eyes & Lips Micellar Cleanser

InStyle / Jessica Juliao

Other Options You Might Like

Shiseido Refreshing Cleansing Water

Similar to the Neogen Calming Cicatree Micellar Cleansing Oil, this pick from Shiseido is more of an oil than a water, yet still has all the benefits of a traditional micellar water. The lightweight formula, which contains grape seed oil, gently removes makeup and any debris, improves dullness, and evens out skin tone. This is definitely a great option for those with drier skin types who need extra hydration, but our tester mentions that it can feel heavy for those with oily skin and the pump can be a bit messy.

Mustela Baby Cleansing Water

Mustela prides itself on its baby-safe skincare, making this cleansing water a great pick for the whole family. Safe to use from birth on, this cleanser is formulated with gentle ingredients such as avocado and aloe vera to intensely hydrate without the risk of irritation. Despite the mellow formula, our tester found the scent (which she described as chemical-y) to be off-putting which lowered its overall score. That aside, we still think it’s a great option for those who need a gentle, affordable cleanser.

Our Testing Process 

To begin, we researched the top rated micellar waters on the market. After conducting some online investigation, we were able to come up with a list of 32 top-rated micellar cleansers to test in our lab. Using advanced technology, our testers measured their skin’s moisture levels before and after use, noting any significant changes. Then, they swiped one product on each side of their face to rate the formulas on a scale of 1 to 5 in five important categories: Feel, absorption, effectiveness, hydration, and overall appearance. Once all the testers provided their notes and feedback, we were able to pull together the results and narrow down the list to the 10 best micellar waters.

What to Keep in Mind

Ingredients

Finding the right ingredients for your needs is super important for maintaining your skin’s moisture barrier and preventing any breakouts. According to Geeta Yadav, M.D., board certified dermatologist and founder of FACET dermatology, micellar water with fragrances, essential oils, or alcohol should be avoided, especially for those with sensitive skin. “These ingredients can make the formula sensitizing, which defeats its purpose as a gentle cleanser,” she says. “You can look for micellar waters that use purified or spring water, but otherwise, there isn’t anything critical to look for.” Purified and spring waters are rich in minerals that aid in your skin’s health. (Both Vichy Purete Thermale Mineral Micellar Water and Eau Thermale Avene Micellar Lotion Cleansing Water contain unique mineral waters.)

Skin Type

When selecting a micellar water, it's important to cater to the needs of your skin type. No one wants any unexpected breakouts or to exasperate already dehydrated skin, after all. For instance, if you have sensitive skin choose a gentle cleansing water like the Vichy Purete Thermale Mineral Micellar Water or Neogen Calming Cicatree Micellar Cleansing Oil, as they are both formulated for sensitive skin. If you have oily skin, you want a micellar water that will remove impurities and sop up excess oil (try the Kumiko Matcha Micellar Water - Purifying Facial Cleanser and Makeup Remover). On the other hand, those with  dry skin should opt for a formula that is super nourishing and moisturizing. In this case, try out Drunk Elephant E-Rase Milki Micellar Water, which is rich in hydrating ingredients.

Your Questions, Answered

What is micellar water and how does it work?

“Micellar water cleanses the skin without using surfactants — instead, it uses micelles, which are essentially little fat bubbles,” Dr. Yadav shares. “If you think back to middle school science class, you learned that oil and water don’t mix, but oils mix well with one another.  Micelles clean the skin using this concept: They grab onto the oil, dirt, and grime on the skin and whisk it away."

How do you use micellar water?

To use micellar water, simply apply a few drops of the solution onto a cotton pad and gently apply to your skin. If you’re using a micellar water to remove any makeup or sunscreen, follow with your preferred cleanser. Otherwise, no need to rinse. As Dr. Yadav says, micellar waters fully cleanse your skin without making it feel squeaky clean or tight.

Is micellar good for your skin?

According to Dr. Yadav, micellar cleansing water is great for your skin. “Micellar water is very gentle on the skin because it uses those micelles to clean away excess oil and grime, not surfactants, which can aggressively strip the skin of its natural oils and leave it dehydrated,” she explains.

Is micellar water toner? 

Although there are some common features (like the consistency and appearance of the two), micellar water is different from toner. In essence, micellar water acts as a cleanser, whereas toner is an additional step used after cleansing.

Do I need to wash my face after using micellar water?

“I recommend using micellar water to cleanse in the morning. You’ll have gone to bed with clean skin, and the only thing on your skin’s surface is residue from any skincare products you might have worn overnight,” Dr. Yadav shares. “To fully remove makeup or sunscreen, however, I’d suggest a true cleanse.”

Why Trust InStyle?

Amanda Rosenthal is a commerce writer for InStyle. Amanda has experience researching and testing different makeup products and has tried tons of different micellar water. With additional knowledge from professional, board certified dermatologist, Dr. Geeta Yadav, and first-hand experience trying out numerous cleansing waters, rounded up the top picks for this story.

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