The perennial million-dollar question that all of us come to face every now and then: to remove or not to remove? After a night of socialising, we get how tempting it can be to head straight for bed without removing your makeup.
But if we were to be frank, there’s really no option here but to go to bed with a clean face. For a quick, fuss-free solution though, micellar water is the answer.
Ahead, find out what makes micellar water an absolute must-have for anyone, and the 20 best micellar water you can add into your skincare routine.
What is micellar water?
Chances are, by now you would’ve heard of micellar water. Long popular in France, this facial cleanser is loved by models, celebrities, makeup artists, dermatologists, beauty gurus, and basically every French woman thanks to its ability to cleanse skin without rinsing afterwards. It also offers many practical benefits, and is super gentle and quite multi-purpose.
Formulated without alcohol, micellar (pronounced my-sell-er) water is powered by a combination of purified water and hydrating ingredients such as glycerin as well as low concentrations of mild surfactants, which are compounds used for cleansing.
Tiny oil molecules in the mild surfactants then group together to form microscopic spheres called micelles, and they act as a magnet to pull makeup and impurities from the surface of your skin.
The invention of this water-based cleanser is largely credited to Jean-Noël Thorel, the French founder of the skincare line Bioderma, which explains why its range of micellar water remains the industry’s gold standard for the product category.
Since its invention, micellar water has now expanded its texture type beyond water as beauty brands are incorporating micelles into jelly, gel, and even milk formulas.
What does micellar water do?
It’s really magical when you drill down to it: as you wipe a cotton pad soaked with the cleanser along your face, the micelles adhere to the cotton while pulling off makeup, sebum, and all the other daily unpleasantness from the skin.
Because micellar water formulas are generally so light and gentle, there’s no need to rinse them off which means the moisturising ingredients packed inside can stay behind to be absorbed.
Another major plus point of this liquid wonder is that it can melt even the toughest waterproof off the skin with little to no irritation.
Best micellar water that is wallet-friendly
Bioderma Sensibio H20 Make-up Removing Micelle Solution
Touted by the brand as the first and only one made to be perfectly compatible with the skin, this industry favourite is an allergen-free, non-comedogenic and hypoallergenic micellar water that incorporates fatty acid esters that are similar to the phospholipids of the human skin cell membranes to help rebuild the skin’s hydrolipidic film.
Bioderma Sensibio H20 Make-up Removing Micelle Solution retails for RM76.25 (250ml) and RM109.40 (500ml) at major pharmacies such as Watsons, Caring, and Guardian. There’s also a 250ml twin pack available on Zalora for RM99.
Sephora Collection Triple Action Cleansing Micellar Water
Using zinc and aloe vera to purify and soothe the skin without any stinging effect, this in-house Sephora formula surprisingly has a good track record with a 4.5-star rating from users, who all loved how the value-for-money micellar water leaves the skin clean and mattified without a trace of makeup.
One of the best micellar water around that won’t break your bank? That’s for sure.
Sephora Collection Triple Action Cleansing Micellar Water retails for RM22 (50ml) and RM50 (200ml) on sephora.my.
Neutrogena Labs Clarifying Micellar Jelly Make-Up Remover
This is a new product and you may wondering why it’s in our list of best micellar water. Well, hear us out.
Ideal for oily, acne-prone skin, this new jelly-type formula is powered by poly hydroxy acid (PHA), a next-generation exfoliating acid with almost all the benefits of an alpha hydroxy acid (AHA) minus the irritation.
This up-and-coming ingredient gently lifts away dead skin cells while moisturising the skin barrier, and is coupled with hyaluronic acid to boost skin hydration.
That’s not all, the mildly acidic makeup remover is also developed to be within your skin’s natural pH range so you can rest assured that your skin barrier health won’t get disrupted in any way.
Neutrogena Labs Clarifying Micellar Jelly Make-Up Remover retails for RM66.50 on Hermo.
Innisfree Green Tea Cleansing Water
Like a natural detergent for your skin, this has a blend of green tea, saponin, and micelle particles to wash off makeup and dirt while maintaining skin moisture re-balancing your skin’s pH level.
Eau Thermale Avène Cleanance Micellar Water
Also suitable for oily, acne-prone skin, this hypoallergenic cleansing water essentially works like a sanitiser to remove makeup and gunk like every other, but with an added benefit of regulating your skin’s sebum production.
Eau Thermale Avène Cleanance Micellar Water retails for RM44.10 on Shopee. It’s also available at major pharmacies such as Watsons, Guardian, Caring, and Aeon Wellness.
Garnier Micellar Oil-Infused Cleansing Water
This formula is one of the first to combine micellar water with oils to wipe away impurities, grime, and even the most waterproof makeup easily while nourishing the skin, making it perfect for dry, sensitive skin.
Nivea Rosy White Hokkaido Rose Oil-Infused Micellar Water
While the micelles work like a magnet to efficiently remove makeup, dirt and sebum, rose water in the fragrance-free formula helps to hydrate and soothe the skin as well as restore skin’s natural moisture balance without leaving a greasy residue.
Yves Rocher Sebo Végétal Cleansing Purifying Micellar Water
This dermatologically tested formula is enriched with re-balancing Canadian boreal tea powder that works hard to help control shine, neutralise the appearance of imperfections, and refine skin texture. Users also love it for its ability to remove makeup gently and effectively without burning the eyes.
Simple Water Boost Micellar Cleansing Water
Infused with skin-loving minerals and a plant extract, this gentle formula only leaves your skin feeling refreshed, supple and instantly hydrated, not dry or tight. Because it contains no dyes, harsh chemicals, and artificial perfume, it’s highly recommended for dry, dehydrated or even sensitive skin.
Senka All Clear Water Fresh
This leaves oily to combination skin thoroughly cleansed and purified without weighing down on the skin. Uji green tea in the formula helps to keep skin oil-free and mattified for longer.
L’Oréal Paris 3-in-1 Micellar Water – Refreshing
Free from alcohol, oil, and fragrance, this watery liquid comes infused with mineral-rich French mountain water to strengthen skin’s moisture barrier and provide instant hydration. This is no doubt one of the best micellar water in the market.
L’Oréal Paris 3-in-1 Micellar Water – Refreshing retails for RM26.90 (250ml) and RM35.90 (400ml) at major pharmacies and on Hermo.
Hada Labo 3-in-1 Micellar Cleansing Water
Packed with skincare properties, this micellar water offers double the moisturising benefits to deeply hydrate skin and help prevent moisture loss thanks to a hyaluronic acid duo. On top of that, it also has moringa seed, phytic acid, and biosaccharide gum-4 to protect skin against environmental pollution.
The mild formula causes little to no irritation, so it’s suitable for use around the eye and lip area.
Hada Labo 3-in-1 Micellar Cleansing Water retails for RM65.90 at major pharmacies and on Hermo.
Best micellar water that is splurge-worthy
Drunk Elephant E-Rase Milki Micellar Water
Featuring ultra-mild micelles, replenishing ceramides, vitamin E as well as a buffet of antioxidant-rich, non-fragrant plant oils (marula, baobab, mongongo, wild melon seed, ximenia seed, passion fruit, and sweet almond), this barrier-supportive micellar cleanser is formulated to thoroughly and gently dissolve makeup, dirt, pollution, and bacteria from the face and eye area without irritation, sensitisation or stripping skin’s acid mantle.
You’ll also be happy to know that the milky formula is made at a slightly acidic pH level of 5.0, which is safe to use around the eye and lip area to remove makeup and grime while the key ingredients provide the skin much needed nourishment, making it ideal even for those who deal with sensitive skin, eczema, psoriasis or other delicate skin conditions.
Drunk Elephant E-Rase Milki Micellar Water retails for RM122 on sephora.my.
Caudalie Micellar Cleansing Water
Hypoallergenic and non-irritating, this gets rid of sebum, pollution, oils, and makeup with a soap-free formula that’s delicately scented with the fresh fragrance of orange, lemon blossom, watermelon, and mint.
Caudalie Micellar Cleansing Water retails for RM99 at all Caudalie stores and online at Ken’s Apothecary.
Kiehl’s Herbal Infused Micellar Cleansing Water
A herbal water that employs a combination of micellar technology and a skin-calming infusion of thyme essential oil and lemon balm floral water to effectively remove makeup, gunk, and oil while providing skin 24-hour hydration. No wonder fans consider this one of the best micellar water around.
Kiehl’s Herbal Infused Micellar Cleansing Water retails for RM140 (250ml) at all Kiehl’s stores and online. There’s also a smaller 75ml size available for RM55.
Laneige Perfect Makeup Cleansing Water
With a blend of Triple Micellar Technology and peppermint extract, this mildly acidic formula can clean off even waterproof makeup to leave skin and pores refreshingly smooth and pristine.
La Mer The Cleansing Micellar Water
This ultra-luxurious formula reinforces the many benefits of micellar water with its signature marine nutrients to micro-emulsify makeup and draw out impurities while hydrating and soothing the complexion the La Mer way.
La Mer The Cleansing Micellar Water retails for RM385 at all La Mer counters. La Mer also offers exclusive home concierge service nationwide, click here for more information.
Origins Dr. Weil For Origins Mega-Mushroom Skin Relief Micellar Cleanser
Concocted with a powerful blend of mega-mushrooms and berries, this formula has added antioxidant boost to keep skin healthy and protected from environmental aggressors.
Everything that a good micelllar water does plus anti-ageing and anti-pollution properties? No wonder this is considered one of the best micellar water you can find in Malaysia.
Origins Dr. Weil For Origins Mega-Mushroom Skin Relief Micellar Cleanser retails for RM158 at all Sephora stores and on sephora.my.
Dior Hydra Life Micellar Water – No Rinse Cleanser
Formulated with skin-soothing, antioxidant echinacea flower extract, this micellar water offers makeup removal and toning properties in a single step. Saponin, a natural cleaning agent, further cleanses and revitalises the skin with a purifying and softening foam.
Dior Hydra Life Micellar Water – No Rinse Cleanser retails for RM160 at all Dior boutiques and on sephora.my.
L’Occitane 3-in-1 Micellar Water
Great for all skin types, this daily non-comedogenic micellar water is packed with cucumber and thyme to eliminate all traces of makeup, excess sebum and impurities accumulated throughout the day without rendering skin uncomfortably taut.