Beauty: micellar waters and oil cleansers - what product should you use?

Beauty: micellar waters and oil cleansers: what cleanser should you use?

If you're a makeup lover like I am, there's three things you can't live without: good makeup, good application tools, and good cleansers. I've tried loads of different ways to get my skin pure again after a day of being slathered in a bajillion layers of products, and I figured I might as well provide you an overview based on my experiences.

First, let's discuss the cleansing product that's been the talk of beauty-town for the past two years: miccelar water.

Beauty: micellar waters and oil cleansers: what cleanser should you use?
 purity micellar water by Corine de Farme; micellar gel refreshing by Corine de Farme, €5.99 for a bottle of 500ml at - almond scented Source Micellaire Enchantée by Garancia, €12.57 at

Micellar water confused me for a while. Is it a toner, is it a cleanser, is it actual magic like many advertisements seem to want to make you believe? There's this commercial of a micellar water by l'Oreal or Dove or another brand like that which basically makes it seem like micellar water effortlessly removes every trace of makeup in one swipe of a cotton pad, but that's simply bollocks. No micellar water in the entire world will remove your mascara and eyeliner like that, and that's not why you should use it. 

Nor is it a toner! Toners were invented to restore your skin's pH balance after harsh soaps, which has become superfluous since we've discovered more gentle ways to cleanse the skin. However, a proper toner still has its use, NOT to reduce pore size like alcohol based toners claim to do (don't use those, they suck), but as an extra step in your skincare routine, pampering your skin with antioxidants and all that other good stuff your skin can't get enough of. In other words, anything your skin might still need apart from the moisturizer that comes after.

What is micellar water good for then, you ask? Micellar water is soft water (low on calcium etcetera) which contains micelles, and micelles are tiny oil molecules that attract dirt. It basically works like a very gentle soap does, carrying away grime without the need for rinsing your face afterwards. This makes micellar water a good option for people who wear a lot of makeup, as a last step after your normal cleansing routine. In addition, it's a great product for those who wear very little (or no) makeup but still want to wash their face at the end of the day (as you should) and finally, it's a solution for those who are often on the go. The fact that you don't need to rinse after using micellar water makes it a very practical product if you're living out of a suitcase/camping/flying/whatever. Oh, and since micellar water is so gentle, there's no need to keep it away from the sensitive eye area.

Out of the micellar waters I've tried, the almond scented one by Garancia is my favourite. It gets more grime off than the Corine de Farme one, and I'm a sucker for that dessert like fragrance. Corine de Farme's micellar gel is also really nice, even more so because it does foam but you stil don't have to rinse it off after using it. Score!

Moving on to my personal prefered cleansing method: oil based cleansers.

Beauty: micellar waters and oil cleansers: what cleanser should you use?
 Sensational soft cleanser by Rituals, 13.50€ - makeup removing cleansing oil by Caudalie, 17.50€

Since I've started using Revlon Colorstay foundation, which is medium to high coverage (super pigmented) and VERY long lasting, I have discovered the need for a heavy duty cleanser that is gentle on my sensitive skin (no scrubbing!), and doesn't take five rounds of cotton pads to get everything off. If I don't clean my skin properly after wearing this foundation, I get breakouts within days, and that ain't pretty. 

I reviewed Rituals' sensational soft cleanser almost a year ago, and it convinced me of oil cleansers' superiority over other options. You just massage the product in with your fingers, then you get your hands wet and do some more massaging (the water makes the oil milky, almost like a subtle foam), and feel the makeup dissolve in the oil. I also use it for my eye makeup, because I love one step routines, and because it doesn't sting the least bit. Finally, you grab a wet washcloth and wipe all of it off, and presto! Perfectly clean skin.

Caudalie's cleansing oil is lovely as well: hypoallergenic, and 100% natural ingredients. It's a bit runnier than Rituals' oil gel, but it works the exact same way. I usually need nothing else than my oil cleansers to get all of my warpaint off, except when I'm wearing eyeliner. In that case I usually go at it first with my favourite eyemakeup remover, and follow up with my oil cleanser.  Keep in mind that I reach for oil cleansers because I have dry, delicate skin, and oil ensures that I don't dehydrate or irritate it any further.

Finally, two products that defy simple categorization although you might also classify them as oil cleansers: my old favourite L'Oreal waterproof eyemakup remover, and my new favourite Darphin aromatic cleansing balm.

Beauty: what cleanser should you use?
 L'Oreal express eyemakeup remover review
 L'Oreal express eyemakeup remover, €7.99

Technically, I guess you could also call this an oil based cleanser, because you shake the bottle to emulsify the liquid and despite its claims, it DOES leave an oily film. But I don't mind that! I prefer oily cleansers because I find them more gentle and less drying. This one does an excellent job at getting waterproof eyemakeup off with minimal rubbing. I usually soak a cotton pad in it and then I press it to my eyelid and lashes for a couple of seconds, letting everything soften up, and then I wipe it all off.

Darphin aromatic cleansing balm with rosewood review
Darphin aromatic cleansing balm with rosewood, €35.95

The Darphin cleansing balm is what I reach for when I want to treat myself and my skin. It smells heavenly, and I feel like I'm giving myself a spa treatment when I use it. It contains marula oil and ylang ylang essential oils, and you apply a small grape sized amount of the waxy product to the face, massaging it in with wet hands which transforms it into a milky cream that pampers and cleans the skin. You can also use this on your eye makeup, although it might sting a bit if your eyes are very sensitive.

Well, that was quite a story! I hope some of this was informative to you. I didn't review any cleansing milks or lotions because they are not my preferred way of getting my makeup off at the end of the day. What are your favourite ways to get clean?

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