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Best micellar water 2023: Cleanse your skin and simplify make-up removal

best micellar water

Wipe away the day with our pick of the best soothing, no-rinse micellar waters

It’s the French skincare secret that’s become an essential part of our routines worldwide, and with good reason. Not only is the best micellar water prized for its ability to remove make-up and cleanse your skin in one time-saving step, but many varieties also boast a wealth of calming and moisture-boosting benefits. They’re often gentler than traditional cleansers – which makes them particularly great for those with sensitive skin – and they’re more hydrating (not to mention far more eco-friendly) than make-up wipes.

French pharmacy label Bioderma invented the first micellar water in 1995, and now almost every skincare brand has its own version with different ingredients to suit different skin types. From budget-friendly buys to vitamin-enriched formulas, we run through the very best micellar waters to add to your regime.

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How to choose the best micellar water for you

What is micellar water?

Micellar water looks and feels like normal purified water – but it’s not-so-secret ingredient is micelles, small cleansing oil droplets that work like a sponge to trap grime and make-up, dissolving impurities so they can be easily wiped away. They’re also enriched with vitamins, are incredibly hydrating and won’t strip the skin.

How do I use micellar water?

For many, micellar is the first step in their skincare routine when make-up, SPF and exposure to daily pollutants call for a more thorough double-cleanse.

Simply soak a cotton (or reusable) pad in your favourite micellar formula, wipe across your eyelids and face, and follow with your second cleanser of choice. If you find toners quite drying, this multi-purpose tonic can also be a great alternative – simply pat the formula into your skin with a pad or your hands after cleansing with your usual cleanser.

How much should I spend?

If you’re regimented with your skincare routine and micellar water is just the first step in your double-cleanse, you really don’t need to spend a lot. You’ll find that even the cheapest formulas are great at removing all traces of make-up without the need to scrub – just keep in mind that you may need to go for a second swipe.

For those who prefer a more pared-back routine, or those bleary-eyed nights when the most you can manage is to half-heartedly remove your make-up from the comfort of your bed, a formula with added benefits, including antioxidants, ceramides and anti-ageing actives, will be worth the investment.

How we test micellar waters

Our testers put micellar waters through their paces every night to remove a full face of makeup and SPF, as well as often-invisible daily dirt and grime. While rounding up the best, key factors we consider include how they feel on application, whether or not the product has been designed to target a specific skin type or concern, how well it removes makeup, and how our skin is left feeling after use – whether that’s soft, refreshed and hydrated, or oily, dry or perhaps crying out for a second cleanse. Since the price of micellar water can vary wildly, depending on the brand, we aim to include products that cover the spectrum, from budget-friendly to high-end options. The formulas below are those that impressed us the most.

The best micellar waters you can buy in 2023

1. La Roche-Posay Sensitive Micellar Water: The best micellar water for sensitive skin

Price: £13 for 200ml | Buy now from Feelunique

Anyone with delicate skin that’s prone to redness, irritation and breakouts knows how important it is to shop for cleansers that are right for your skin type. This expert formula from La Roche-Posay is soothing on sensitive skin and not only cleanses brilliantly but also calms. It uses the brand’s signature Thermal Spring Water, an antioxidant-rich solution that hydrates the skin while removing dirt and oil. Those with acne-prone complexions will find this a great addition to their skincare routine. And since it’s so gentle, it’s also a great one for removing eye make-up.

Buy now from Feelunique

2. Herbal Essentials Himalayan Infused Micellar Water: The best micellar water for dry skin

Price: £15 for 200ml | Buy now from Superdrug

What makes this Herbal Essentials micellar water different from other brands is its base ingredient, pure Himalayan spring water, which is packed with minerals such as potassium and magnesium to keep skin healthy. As well as purifying, this formula feels super hydrating and refreshing, and it contains provitamin B5 to condition. Another notable ingredient is betaine, which is known to soothe and calm the skin, so this could be great if you regularly suffer from redness and irritation.

3. Avène Cleanance Micellar Water: The best micellar water for blemish-prone skin

Price: £14 for 400ml | Buy now from Lookfantastic

Specially formulated for people with oily and blemish-prone skin, this product from Avène is the dream one-step cleanser because it really does make you feel like you’ve had a good wash. Not only does it remove all traces of make-up and impurities from the face and eyes with ease, but your skin feels almost tingly-fresh afterwards. The notable ingredients include comedoclastin – a plant-based active ingredient derived from milk thistle, which helps to reduce excess sebum – and zinc, which soothes and visibly reduces redness.

Buy now from Lookfantastic

4. Garnier SkinActive Micellar Cleansing Water: The best budget micellar water

Price: £4 for 400ml | Buy now from Boots

At just £4 for a whopping 400ml bottle, this popular micellar water from Garnier offers the most bang for your buck. There’s a whole range of Garnier formulas out there suitable for varying skin types, but the one designed for sensitive skin is our favourite, effectively removing make-up without the need to rub or strain. It works particularly well as a first cleanse. The generously sized bottle promises up to 200 uses and, having tried it for two weeks already, we believe every word.

Buy now from Boots

5. Bramley Micellar Cleansing Water with Chamomile & Rose Water: The best micellar water for natural ingredients

Price: £16 for 250ml | Buy now from Bramley

If you’re keen to shop from an independent label doing great things for the planet, sustainable British brand Bramley is one step ahead and its award-winning bath and body products are second to none. As its first foray into skincare, this all-natural micellar water is packed with chamomile and rose water, so it feels comforting and soothing on the skin. The very light floral fragrance smells refreshing and clean – it’s great for sensitive skins, too.

Buy now from Bramley

6. CeraVe Micellar Cleansing Water: The best-value micellar water

Price: £10 for 295ml | Buy now from Lookfantastic

Cult US brand CeraVe is known worldwide for its affordable, efficacious skincare, and this latest arrival is no exception. Like the other cleansers in the range, the micellar water comes armed with a ton of skin-boosting benefits, including ceramides and niacinamide, which work to keep your skin barrier happy and hydrated. On application, it feels gentle, removes all traces of make-up with ease, and skin feels clean and fresh. After a week of use, we’d barely made a dent in the bottle, so for a purse-pleasing £10, this is excellent value.

Buy now from Lookfantastic

7. Holland & Barrett Aloe & Cucumber Micellar Water: The best micellar water for travel

Price: £4 for 150ml | Buy now from Holland & Barrett

When you’re packing for a trip, this cute 150ml-size bottle is perfect for stashing in your suitcase so you can keep up your good skin habits while on the road. Formulated with soothing and hydrating aloe vera and cucumber extract, it’s a gently fragranced, no-frills cleanser that’s perfect for all skin types, including sensitive skin. It removes make-up effectively and leaves skin feeling soft, clean, and calm – and all for less than a fiver.

Buy now from Holland & Barrett

8. Bioderma Sensibio H2O Micellar Water: The best micellar water for stubborn make-up

Price: £11 | Buy now from Feelunique

The original micellar water is a staple in French pharmacies and make-up artists’ kits alike – and for good reason. It’s a gentle formula that makes light work of removing impurities, including the most waterproof of mascaras (no tugging at our lashes here), while enveloping the skin and protecting its natural pH. It’s particularly great for sensitive or inflamed complexions since it’s both fragrance-free and works in harmony with the cellular lipids found in our skin for ultimate hydration. There are other formulas available, too, so there’s something for every skin type.

Buy now from Feelunique

9. Ecooking Micellar Water: The best for micellar water for lacklustre skin  

Price: £18 for 200ml | Buy now from Lookfantastic


If (like all of us) you’re dreaming of that lit-from-within radiance, make this kind-to-skin formula from Danish brand Ecooking part of your skincare routine. Its cocktail of organic, glow-giving ingredients includes cucumber extract, which is rich in amino acids, vitamin C, and calming aloe barbadensis leaf water – all of which will enhance your complexion as you cleanse. We love the handy, innovative spray bottle for precision application, too. 

Buy now from Lookfantastic

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