The first step of cleansing

15 Mar 2014

Micellar Cleansing Waters
Cleansing is the first and most important step in my skincare routine, and one I look forward to everyday. Just the same as you cannot expect your skin to be happy if you don't take the time to look after it properly, if you don't cleanse properly, the rest of your skincare products can't do their job properly. Each step of my skincare routine is there for a reason; to battle my oily and dehydrated skin, to reduce redness, to sort out those pesky blocked pores, to nourish, protect and nurture. But without proper makeup removal, no product, no matter how good or expensive, will work effectively. In my younger days I was no stranger to makeup wipes, and it's only the past two years I have completely removed them from my routine, preferring to have a packet in my drawer for any quick fix makeup mistakes, or most often, to clean makeup packaging if it gets a bit mucky. Ditching the makeup wipes has been one of the most beneficial things I have ever done for my skin. No longer does my skin sting and itch, nor does it feel unbearably tight, my redness has massively reduced, as has my oil making my skin easier to manage, and my skin is no longer sensitive to any products. Instead I now turn to Micellar Cleansing Waters, a staple in my routine and a product which every brand is starting to cotton on to. 

My first dabble into cleansing waters was with the coveted Bioderma, a product it seems practically every beauty blogger owns. There's two cleansing waters available from Bioderma, the Bioderma Sensibo H2O Micelle Solution (Escentual, 100ml-250ml, £4.50-£9.99) which most people tend to use, and the Bioderma Sebium H2O Micelle Solution (Escentual, 100ml-250ml, £4.50-£9.99) which I use. Sensibo, which comes with a pink label, is fine for most skin types but formulated as best for those with sensitive skin. Sebium, which has a green label, can also be used for all skin types, but it's targeted at those with oily skin like me. I adore Bioderma. There hasn't been one occasion since I first tried it, that I haven't had a bottle in my stash. A light, delicate water, which works to deeply cleanse the skin, improving the quality of sebum production with a specially formulated Fluidactiv Complex. It's perfect for a first cleanse, removing the majority of product we can see on the skin, and even works as a good eye makeup remover if you haven't used any waterproof products. A 250ml bottle will last me six months minimum, with daily use, and it's far more gentle on my skin than makeup wipes filled with alcohol.

As such a big fan of Bioderma, I've tried a few other cleansing waters over the past couple of years to see how they compare. A product which was once hard to find in the drugstore at reasonable high-street prices, is now popping up in familiar brands, like Garnier and L'Oreal. I decided to put the Garnier Cleansing Micellar Water (FeelUnique, 400ml, £4.99) and the L'Oreal Paris Skin Perfection 3in1 Purifying Micellar Solution (FeelUnique, 200ml, £4.99) to the test to see whether either could beat my favourite Bioderma to the top spot. Cleansing Waters are a fantastic option for a first cleanse, but it's important to remember that using a cleansing water alone will not cleanse your skin properly; they will only remove the makeup we can see. I always follow a cleansing water with a 'proper' cleanser; cream, balm or oil, to make sure my skin is really clear of makeup, dirt and impurities. A cleansing water alone will not cleanse your skin deeply enough for it to have a beneficial effect, and could even cause your skin to deteriorate. Check out this post from Lilmisschickas to see how Micellar Waters alone can be more damaging than beneficial. 

L'Oreal's offering is nice. It's light with a delicate formula, which easily removes makeup and prepares my skin for my second cleanse. It's great for removing light eye makeup, but anything waterproof is a no-no if you want to avoid irritating your eyes. Formulated as a makeup remover, toner and skin soother in one, I would put this one down as more of a simple and easy makeup remover. There's two things that let this Micellar Water down; it feels ever so slightly greasy, like a very fine oil residue is left on my skin, and the packaging makes using this product a daily test - a more rounded top would work better. For a high-street brand, it's good. But it doesn't beat Bioderma to the top spot and I won't be repurchasing. Garnier on the other hand, have done a pretty good job with their offering. Perfectly packaged, easy to use and effective, this is the closest match to Bioderma I have come across. It removes makeup just as well as Bioderma, can even tackle light waterproof makeup and there's no greasy residue feeling after use. I also really love the design and packaging for this one, much more than L'Oreal's. If you want value for money, the Garnier option is a really great alternative to Bioderma and for price per ml, is much more purse-friendly. Bioderma will always be my favourite cleansing water, but at half the price for double the amount of product, Garnier may have pushed Bioderma from the top spot for now. 

What's your first step in cleansing?

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