Friday, May 20, 2016

Review: Garnier SkinActive Micellar Cleansing Water All-in-1 Waterproof Makeup Remover & Cleanser


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.
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37 comments

  1. This one is my holy grail micellar to date as well - although I only use it to remove waterproof mascara - also with ease!

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  2. i can honestly agree with everything you said in this review .

    i've been using this since february & it's also become a holy grail for me .

    the only other micellar water i've tried prior to this was by lancome & this blows it out of the water . i love how it literally melts & breaks down product almost instantly . i especially love it for liquid lipsticks . no more harsh scrubbing/tugging . it's made my life so much easier !

    here's to hoping garnier never discontinues it . it's amazing !

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    1. I'm going to have to get this on the fact you said it removes liquid lipsticks. I hate trying to get that stuff off because in the past, trying to get liquid lipsticks off almost destroyed them

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    2. i'm a liquid lipstick junkie & this takes it off so easily !!!!!

      pat your saturated cotton pad onto your lips for a few seconds & then wipe it off .

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  3. this stuff broke me out! it's such a bummer because it takes off makeup like a dream. I don't tend to break out easily but the moment I started using this my skin broke out badly. I'm thinking it's the oil part that did it, or at least I hope it is. I'm going to try the non-waterproof formula and pray I doesn't do me wrong. Overall, it definitely gets the job done.

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  4. I love this stuff too! I would still take Bioderma over this, but it's a very close runner up for me.

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  5. I totally agree with your review. I have 1.5 bottles of Simple Micellar that I'm going to use up (bought them before Garnier released theirs), and then it will only be the Garnier non-waterproof formula for me. Also thanks for pointing out the bi-phase quality, I KNEW it felt different/better, but couldn't figure out why until I read this review.

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  6. I love this stuff too! It takes away waterproof makeup with so much ease..love it!

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  7. Thank you for this thorough review, including pronunciation! :D The Simple micellar water was all I've gotten around to trying so far, and it felt wasteful to use so many cotton pads to use it to remove makeup. But sounds like that was normal. I really like it for quick cleansing when I'm not wearing makeup. I can't decide if I like the bottle/cotton pad or Simple MW wipes more, depends on the situation.

    I will probably end up trying both these Garnier ones eventually, and I will try using this one for removing face and eye makeup to see if anything can tear me away from my beloved cleansing oil collection! :)

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  8. This is my favorite Micellar water as well! I didn't think that the Simple version was effective on my eye makeup but this takes it off so easily! I noticed the dual phase formula in the store and that's the reason I got this one over the pink version. I was so happy that it didn't leave a greasy residue either, as I was kind of expecting it to! It's awesome!

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  9. I completely agree ! I use Bounty select a size for my removal - soft and no tugging - no residue from the paper towels or the water - able to move on to next step of moisturizer and under eye stuff and off to bed one flash

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  10. I bought this because the area around my eyes has become quite sensitive. Makeup wipes, even those for sensitive skin, sting and burn. So, I thought I'd try cleansing water. Love this stuff. No stinging or burning, at it removes all of my makeup.

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  11. This removes all my makeup, but unfortunately there's some cons. Makes my eyelids all red and swollen, and I hate that film it leaves on the skin. Would repurchase, but not for eye makeup removal. This gets a 7/10 for me.

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  12. Can you use this stuff on brushes?

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  13. Thanks for this awesome, thorough review! I've only tried one micellar water in the past and it was the BIODERMA Sensibio, but I was kinda meh about it. I wasn't impressed by it, but I didn't hate it either. I'm not familiar with these types of product. I would like to give Garnier's a try though. :)

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  14. I'm kinda bummed that this came out soon after I had finally taken the plunge and gotten Bioderma. I dunno if anything well top Bioderma for me now. I absolutely love the stuff, and don't really want to try anything else anymore. But my back account would thank me if I found a good alternative.

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  15. Micelles are cells in the body that allow for the absorption of fats and lipids (oils). These cells have a special coating outside of their memebrane that allows the fat to be pulled into the cell. This is concept behind this product. You apply the product on the skin so that the micellar pulls the gunk off of your skin and into the "cell". Thanks to the ability of these cells to break bonds. Lol I paid 20k this semester to be a medical lab science major, and a chemistry minor.

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    1. That is so cool though. I would love working in a medical lab, my only issue is my inability to understand math! Your explanation of how this stuff wields makes it sounds like it should cost way more than $8!

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  16. Guess who knows the chemistry and the biology behind this product! Me !! Too bad it only costed me 20k to know this information lol broke college girls

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  17. I have a problem...I have an addiction to eye makeup. I keep telling myself I need to stop because all the manipulation I do to my eye area will cause bad wrinkles quickly, especially when I makeup remove. However, this stuff is so magical, it will remove most of my eye makeup in like 2 swipes! Even on days when I really cake it on! Removing the remainder of mascara and eyeliner in my lashes takes a kettle more effort but if I use a cotton ball, there is virtually no rubbing! I just swipe until it's gone! I use this every night and the bottle lasts me a quite a while. (Not sure how long but since it came out I'm only in my second one as opposed to constantly buying Neutrogena wipes.

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  18. thanks for the review I will definitely try! For years the ONLY thing that would get my eye makeup off was the koh gen doh cleansing water ( not even bioderma worked on me and I tried everything!) but that stuff is 39 dollars a bottle. When I ran out recently and just could not cough up another 39$ I ordered the Vichy 3 in 1 micellar water. That is a little more than the garnier ( about 14$) but it actually worked too! However it did sting my eyes a slight bit, so excited to try the garnier!

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  19. I love this stuff too! I still primarily use my trusty Mary Kay Eye Makeup Remover with a soft cotton pad on my eyes because it does a better job of breaking down heavy mascara and eyeliner for me; however, on lighter makeup days, this will still get the job done. I love that it takes every trace of foundation off my face. I use the exfoliating cotton pads because I really like to get all the gunk off my face. I can go in with my Paula's Choice BHA liquid after this product, and there's no remaining foundation on my cotton pad. I always used to use presoaked facial cleansing cloths on lazy days when I didn't want to wash my face at the sink, but they didn't always get my skin clean with one wipe, and they sometimes started to dry up before I finished the package. This has solved this dilemma. Yes, I'm using more cotton pads, but I still think I'm saving money because I get so many more uses out of this bottle than in a package of cleansing wipes, and bonus, it wields better. I might have to try the Viva paper towel method, but I really like my exfoliating cotton pads! Are the Viva towels truly "paper" towels, a.k.a., made from wood pulp?

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  20. Well I'm convinced I must try this. I tried the Simple micellar and did not care for it but you are the 2nd blogger that I really like that endorses this one and I would love for it to work for me.Thanks for the great review and all the great info you put out there!

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  21. I LOVE this stuff. I had only tried a sample of the Simple micellar before the Garnier and I hated it. When I bought the Garnier in February I was really excited to try it and I was not disappointed. I use the pink one, not the waterproof, and I've had significantly fewer pimples since. I'm down to the last third of my first bottle since I use it almost every day, but I've already bought four from CVS to keep on hand in my stockpile.

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  22. This is also my hg micellar water as well. I also put some in a small spray bottle to spritz my face on days I don't have makeup on. It's refreshing and moisturizing at the same time. Definitely have to shake like you said.
    Thank you so much for all of the amazing deals and reviews you give. I'm totally impressed and tell everyone about you.

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  23. Kleenex makes a hand towel that comes in a box. They feel the same as Viva paper towels ( my favorite).
    I use them for everything makeup. Probably more expensive than the paper towels though.

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  24. So many people loving this! I tried it an disliked it so much that I threw it away after a week. I don't wear alot of makeup, no long wear, no waterproof mascara etc. I found it took forever to get my face half way clean and way, way too many cotton pads. And it still didn't remove all my mascara and I had to go back with eye make up remover. Way too much work late at night. I wish they would bring back my holy grail cleansing oil, leaks and all.

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    1. I have been using this for awhile and just recently my mom gave me a bottle of Lancome's makeup remover. I used 3 pads with the Garnier and when I went over it with the Lancome it looked like I never even tried to take my makeup off! It definitely does not remove all of my makeup and I wear very little to begin with.

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  25. I just watched an add for this before a YouTube video and they pronounced it mice-lar (just two syllables). When I say it, I just say it really fast and mumble, LOL.

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  26. Thanks for the awesome review. I can't wait to try it because you can never have enough makeup removers especially ones that work well!

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  27. I've been enjoying the regular kind, and you basically read my mind with "How is this different from other bi-phasal removers?" After reading your review, I think I'll need to try the one!

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  28. thank you for the thoughtful, thorough review!! i know you said on insta this took awhile so much appreciated :) i just started using micellar water with a sample that came in my ipsy bag this month (not this brand) and i love it! i am deff going to buy this one as soon as there is a sale on garnier at cvs/rite aid/etc. thank you :) !!

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  29. I have the regular version and was unsure of getting the waterproof. I may get it, but I also like to use the regular version as a replacement for a face wash in the morning. I might pick this up instead.

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  30. I love this stuff. Especially the non waterproof one with the pink cap. It's so good I've gone through 3 bottles and my daughter loves it too. I have very sensitive eyes and It doesn't burn them like most makeup remover wipes do.

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  31. I was in Sephora the other day with my sister. She was shopping for a concealer and I stumbled across some Micellar water(I don't remember the brand). I got excited because i wanted to see what all the fuss was about and I would be able to finally try it. I got some mascara and smeared that on my hand and let it dry. I then put some of the water on a cotton pad and the first swipe wiped away 90 percent of the product and the second swipe removed it all. Mascara is the product i always have issues removing. Most makeup removers irritate my eyes so I am hoping that this will be a holy grail product for me as well. Thanks for the review.

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  32. The dual phase, to my knowledge, is a part that dissolves the makeup and a more cleansing part that scrubs a bit at the skin to dissolve it.

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