Over the past six months, this has been the MOST requested product that you all have asked me to review. So I'm happy to tell you that the day has finally come! I'm sure you all saw my posts when the new Garnier micellar waters first started popping up in stores back in November of 2015, but I actually didn't make a purchase until March of this year. Better late than never though, right?
There are two different formulas in this range but I opted for the waterproof formula, which I purchased online at Ulta for $8.99 and if you're reading this before 5/28/16, it's BOGO1/2OFF (there's also a non-waterproof formula and that's on sale as well). You know I don't wear waterproof mascara, but I do wear a lot of long-wear foundation and concealer and I also often wear waterproof eyeliner, so that's why I opted for the waterproof formula.
Enough with the intro...let's get to it!
Garnier SkinActive Micellar Cleansing Water All-in-1 Waterproof Makeup Remover & Cleanser
(retail: around $8.99, 13.5 oz.)
This formula is both oil-free and alcohol-free.
Just like with all of the other micellar waters out there, you do not need to rinse this product from your face after cleansing. Such is the beauty of micellar waters, right?
Made in USA
Can we talk about this cap for a minute? I LOVE IT. It not only looks kind of cool, but it is also so easy to pop open and to shut. It shuts very tightly and I can hear a "double click" when I close it, which totally prevents leaks. I tested this several times by holding the bottle upside-down, shaking the bottle while upside-down, and even storing it upside-down for a day. No leaks!
So let's begin by explaining the concept of micellar waters to those of you who are new to them. If you don't know what a micellar water is at this point, I highly recommend that you stop reading this review and read THIS first and then come back. I'll wait...
OK, now that we've gotten that out of the way, let me tell you that I have only ever tried two other micellar waters, both of which I have reviewed for you. You can check out my review of the Simple Micellar Water HERE, and my review of the Yves Rocher Hyrdra Vegetal Hydrating Micellar Water HERE. Why am I tell you this? Well because I know that you're going to ask if I think that this Garnier micellar is a dupe for the iconic Bioderma Hydrabio or Bioderma Sensibio. And to that I must say, "I don't know, because I haven't tried either of them." Sorry! But I CAN tell you that my good friend Amber of Beauty Junkies Unite shared HER opinion on this topic in her review of the Garnier Micellar Water HERE. So definitely check that out.
And by the way, how in the heck do you pronounce "micellar"? Well when I first started reading up on micellar waters, I read an article translated from French (I believe that micellar water was originally developed in France as a response to the harsh, hard water in Paris; women needed a softer water for facial cleansing and micellar water was born). So in that article, it was stated that you pronounce micellar like this: MEE-cell-ar. Which is how I then pronounced it for about a year. THEN, I realized that the English pronunciation is quite different. Here in the US, it's pronounced: my-CELL-ar. So it's up to you. Do you want to say it the fancy French way or the less fancy American way? I won't judge you either way!
Finally, my review. Short answer: I LOVE THIS STUFF.
Long answer: this is the best micellar water of the three that I have tried. I don't know if it has to do with the fact that this is a bi-phase formula, but I'm thinking that must have something to do with it.
As you can see, part of this formula sits at the top, and you MUST shake the bottle to mix both parts before use. In my opinion, the part that's on the top is "the good stuff" that really breaks down my makeup, while the bottom portion is the "water" in the "micellar water". Unlike the Simple and Yves Rocher products, which are NOT bi-phase, this Garnier product effectively removes my long-wear makeup, mascara, and waterproof eyeliner with ease. And I think it's because of that magic juice at the top.
Because I'm apparently pretending to be a mind-reader today, I'm guessing that your next question is going to be, "Well G., there are tons of bi-phase makeup removers out there. How the heck is this any different from those?" And to that I will tell you that the bi-phase makeup removers I've used over the course of my life always leave an oily residue behind. Because they're just makeup removers and they're designed to be used before you cleanse your face. THIS product does not leave an oily residue behind. There is really no need to cleanse after you use this product (although you certainly can if you'd like to). But let me tell you that you may THINK there's an oil-like residue left behind when you first use this product. But the magic in this product is that after about two minutes, that feeling completely disappears (at least for me). Immediately after I use this product, if I touch my face it feels both wet and slightly oily. But after two minutes? It's completely gone. My face just feels fresh and clean, with NO residue left behind.
There is no fragrance to this product, and it does not sting my eyes (I have actually gotten it IN my eyes a few times and no stinging, redness, irritation or foggy vision has occurred). When I dispense this onto my cotton pad, it feels and looks like plain water; it's really not any thicker or heavier than water to me. I have been using this product for almost two months now, and I have not experienced any breakouts or irritation due to this product.
For a full face of makeup, which includes long-wear liquid foundation, long-wear concealer, oil-control powder, blush, highlighter, bronzer, eyeshadow primer, eyeshadow, eyebrow gel, eyebrow pencil, eyeliner, and mascara, I need six standard cotton pads. One for each eye (used front and back), and four for the rest of my face. I also sometimes use Viva Paper Towels (they're really soft) for my face but NOT my eyes (I only use the softest of cotton pads for my eyes, such as the ones made by Shiseido). But for my face, I find that Viva Paper Towels are great. They are super soft and absorbent, which means that they can hold a lot of the micellar water without it dripping to the floor, on your lap, etc. And they become even more soft once you apply the micellar water. I like to buy one roll of Viva (they're expensive!) solely for my face and it lasts quite a long time. But that's just me--I am not recommending you do the same, and some of you are probably going to say that ANY paper towels are too harsh for the facial area. But I don't use micellar water on a daily basis--only when I'm exhausted or cold and I don't want to stand at the sink at night. So Viva Paper Towels work great for me since they're so much bigger than cotton pads and I can use one sheet for my entire face.
True to the bottle, whether I'm using a cotton pad or Viva, there is absolutely no tugging or forceful rubbing involved when I use this Garnier micellar water. The makeup lifts off my face with ease on the very first swipe, although I DEFINITELY recommend following the directions on the bottle when it comes to removing eye makeup. Douse your cotton pad with micellar water, and then gently hold your pad against your closed eye for several seconds. This gives the micellar water time to loosen things up and you will not have to tug or pull to remove your mascara, etc. It will literally glide off.
The only negative thing that I can say about this product is that it settles quickly. After I shake it and dispense some product onto my cotton pad, by the time I'm ready for the next pad, the formula has already settled and I need to shake the bottle again. Sometimes I forget to do that, and I have caught myself using more of "the good stuff" at the top of bottle because I dispensed it before shaking. After a few weeks of use, I started to notice that "the good stuff" was shrinking and the ratio of the good stuff to water was not the same as before. So I HIGHLY recommend that you shake this bottle every single time before you dispense, so that the proportions are the same throughout the life of the bottle. If you don't do this, you might end up with JUST water and no good stuff left before you're halfway through the bottle.
FINAL VERDICT: This is my new holy grail micellar water for all of the reasons detailed above. It works better than the other two I have reviewed in the past, because it removes EVERYTHING. Not a trace of makeup is left behind--not even mascara--when I use this micellar water. And there is no residue left behind either. It's the perfect product for those lazy nights when you don't have the energy to stand at the sink, and it's also great for a quick cleanse in the morning if you used traditional cleanser the night before. I also love that this product doesn't irritate my skin or sting my eyes. I give this one my highest recommendation and if this tells you anything, I have already purchased two additional bottles since the bottle I purchased in March. This is the type of product that I need to make sure I have in back-ups because I really don't ever want to be without it.
The products featured in this post were purchased with personal funds. For more information, click here.