loreal micellar water reviewI know this is probably the worst introduction to a piece of writing, ever, but it’s taken me six weeks of procrastination to write this blog post about micellar water.

In case you missed all the hype, micellar cleansing water popped up on the NZ beauty market recently. Beauty PR teams were creaming themselves largely over Garnier’s Micellar Water which is widely touted as a dupe of Bioderma’s micellar water (which has done the beauty equivalent of ‘gone viral).

Being an avid reader of beauty blogs I first learnt about this so-called ‘miracle’ cleansing water a few years ago and I was itching to road test it to see how it compared against my beloved (albeit kinda pricey) Clinique Take the Day Off Balm which I use every night to take all my makeup off (or Coconut Oil when I’m attempting to reduce my beauty spend, snort…). After the ‘face is off’ I move onto proper cleansing (using warm water, a flannel and a cleanser).

As you can imagine, after learning micellar water had hit NZ shores six weeks back, I was in like Flynn. There commenced serious stalking of all my local supermarkets, Farmers and pharmacies daily (don’t judge me, I was on holiday after just moving to Rotorua). Finally, I found some. Having given up trying to find Garnier’s offering, instead, I purchased L’Oreal’s equivalent (which, I’d heard was better than Garnier’s). So, with micellar water finally in my hot little hand, I skipped home with alacrity to take off all my makeup. It was 10.00am, I didn’t care. This is research people, research.

That was where my excitement ended. I’m absolutely underwhelmed, hence the prolific procrastination that has occured in trying to write about it. I’ve only finally pulled finger as lovely readers of my blog, along with friends, keep asking me if I’ve tried micellar water. Look, I’m not a fan but I don’t want to come across as a Negative Nellie. I feel like I’m standing on the edge of a room of cheerleaders saying “but I don’t like it”. With that honesty out of the way, let me add, this review is just my opinion. Just because this product doesn’t spin my wheels nor work for me, doesn’t mean it won’t work for you. Oh, I should chuck in there that two of my friends bought said product after hearing my desperation of wanting to buy some: They aren’t fans either. Maybe they should’ve made a video of just how this product is meant to work first before putting it on the market. At least that way, customers will have a better idea of what they are buying. My friend who runs her own business told me that The Storyteller Studios are meant to be good at creating video content to help businesses (you can find out more here). I think I remember her video looking really good too. I definitely would’ve liked to have seen a video for this product before I bought it though.

Yeah yeah, what the hell is Micellar Water?

It’s a skincare product that removes makeup and cleanses the skin. It also claims to unclog pores and remove impurities, along with toning and cleansing the skin. Apparently the beauty of micellar waters is that, after using, you are done: No need for rinsing or further cleansing (I disagree).

loreal micellar water reviewHow does it work?

I did some research. I got bamboozled with words like hydrophillic, moleculars, lilophilic… Yeah, nah. So, over a glass of quality red, I reigned in Emily and Lisa, friends who both happen to be brainy scientists, for a plain English explanation. Shit, they are good, one of them needs a You Tube channel.

Anyway, here’s an Emily analogy: If you try and wash dirty, greasy dishes in hot water you’ll never get the dirt off, right? Right… Then you add a surfactant (surfactant molecules, aka an important ingredient found in detergents, soaps and shampoos) and then the oil and water will come together and bam, happy families: You’ll get squeaky clean dishes. Coming back to micellar water, the formula is made up of micelles, tiny oil molecules that have been put in soft water… So, as the PR people say, applied to cotton wool, this stuff’ll wipe off all your makeup, cleanse your face, just like magic (incidentally, I’m not sure if I should say this, but doesn’t that mean micellar water is a… Um, kind of like a soapy water?)

I’m running out of enthusiasm to keep writing about this, so I’ll keep this short.

  • I don’t think it’s miraculous.
  • I also don’t think driving around looking for this was a good use of my holiday.


  • If you are bloody lazy at washing your face at night, then this product might be for you: Tip some micellar water on a cotton pad, swipe your face, done. It’s better for you than using face wipes (that’s another blog post) or, not washing your face at all.
  • It’s inexpensive, so it won’t hurt your wallet. Garnier’s Micellar Water is NZ$13. My L’Oreal version was $15.30.
  • It’s a quick way to wash your face.
  • It’s good for most skin types.
  • L’Oreal’s Micellar Water is fragrance free, hypoallergenic and alcohol free. No baddies.
  • It’s widely available: Most supermarkets, department stores and pharmacies will stock some form of micellar water. The ‘Simple’ skincare folk even make one.

Cons (this is just my experience!)

  • If you wear a full face of makeup, brace yourself to use at least four cotton pads to get all the makeup off.
  • If you wear waterproof mascara, good luck: Micellar water isn’t designed for waterproof mascara. So, after you’ve removed all your other makeup, if the raccoon look doesn’t work for you, then you’ll need to get cracking with waterproof eye-makeup remover.
  • Disappointingly, and surprisingly, it doesn’t remove my McDaddy eyeliner either (e.g. Youngblood Gel Eyeliner, Inglot Gel Eyeliner, nor my waterproof eyeliners, of which I might own a few…)
  • Seriously? Some people would take their makeup off with micellar water and stop there?! Noooooo! Rinse this stuff off then get out your flannel and a cleanser and get cracking [shakes head].
loreal micellar water review
Micellar water in action. I’m not loving that last photo. LOL. That middle photo was number one of four cotton pads.

So, in a roundabout kind of way, all roads lead back to Rome. Soooo, once again, I’m going to scream from the rooftops: If you are looking for something to take all your makeup off, I’ve got five words: Clinique Take the Day Off Balm. Clinique, I’m so sorry to have gone searching for a replacement, I’m bad, bad girl and I love you more than ever. Please forgive me. Oh, don’t wear makeup and still want to cleanse at night? Two words: Flannel. Cleanser.

Clinique's Take the Day Off Cleansing Balm
This stuff is the schizzle.

More ramblings that I couldn’t work out where to insert in the drivel above.

  • I’ve only tried the L’Oreal brand of micellar water, there’s a few different brands out there, namely Garnier, who’ve done a stunning job with their product launch and subsequently got tonnes of airtime with beauty bloggers and gurus alike. Who knows, the Garnier version might blitz L’Oreal’s: I’m not buying anymore though, I’m done. Well… Maybe… Because:
  • Apparently the original micellar water, Bioderma water is awesome, I’ve not heard anyone knock that. Unfortunately this isn’t available on NZ’s shores, so next time I head overseas (like San Francisco in December for my, cough, fortieth birthday), I’m going to buy some in the interests of beauty research. I’ll report back, hopefully, sans whinging with some added enthusiasm).
  • My two mates that have tried it both have normal clear skin. They experienced a reaction, both breaking out. One friend Alyson ended up with a boil-looking abscess thingy on her face. Ew.

And that, is that. That’s about all I have to say about micellar water. Sorry to the fans. I’m ducking from the bashing that’s probably about to occur from the lovers! It’s just my opinion! Just coz it didn’t work for me, doesn’t mean you won’t love it.