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Jonzac, Bioderma, Uriage: 3 Different Micellar Waters

3 Different Micellar Water Products & A Blind Test

February 4, 2014

Many people still have no clue as to what makes micellar waters so special. But I am obsessed.

In a previous blog post, I detailed the science behind micelle molecules. It’s actually quite fascinating, so go forth and read up on The Magic Of Micellar Water.

Today, I thought it would be fun to show you 3 different micellar products that I’ve been using. And then do a comparison of them with a blind test.

These products are of the French Pharmaceutical variety. Literally, I had someone visit my favorite pharmacies in Paris and bring them back in a suitcase.

Two of them are almost impossible to find outside of France, making them très précieux to my little quivering heart.

Jonzac, Bioderma, Uriage: 3 Different Micellar Waters

From Left To Right:

1) JONZAC Rehydrate Micellar Water For Sensitive Skin
2) BIODERMA Sensibio H20 Micelle Solution For Sensitive Skin
3) URIAGE Make-Up Remover Water For Normal To Combination Sensitive Skin

Take note of how different brands have different names for them. From micellar water, to micelle solution, to make-up remover. But whatever name you call it, all micellar products essentially do the same thing: remove impurities from the skin without irritating it.

Though they are targeted for sensitive skin, they prove useful no matter your skin type.

I mainly like to use micellars as my makeup-remover. My nightly routine begins with wiping off makeup and impurities from the day with a micellar soaked cotton pad.

Yah, I know what you’re wondering… “Why not just use regular ol’ makeup-remover?”

Well, my leery friend, micellar waters are formulated to cleanse without disturbing the skin’s natural pH balance. 

Some of the best micellars that I’ve tried are made with thermal waters, which boast of soothing, anti-inflammatory properties. 

These claims are hard to substantiate, but my positive experiences with micellars makes me a staunch believer that they have special, albeit subtle, magical  properties.

Not all micellars are created equal though. And here, I will attempt to describe and show the main difference between these 3 micellar products.

JONZAC Rehydrate Micellar Water 

Jonzac Rehydrate Micellar Water

This one contains the thermal spring waters from the Jonzac region of France. It can be used daily to cleanse sensitive, dehydrated skin.

It was developed and tested with a view to minimizing allergic reactions. It’s suitable even for babies and children.

My experience: This cleanses without drying out the skin. I like to use this one in the morning. Normally, when I just wash my face with regular tap water, my skin tends to feel dry and taut several minutes later. But when I follow up with this, my skin feels comfortably balanced.

The smell is very light and fresh. It does not irritate the eyes whatsoever. In terms of quantity, you get a lot more for around the same price as the others.

Ingredients: Water*, Anthemis Nobilis Flower Water, Glycerin, Polyglyceryl-4 Caprate, Betaine, Sodium Levulinate, Leuconostoc/Radish Root Ferment Filtrate, Sodium Benzoate, Sodium Hydroxide, Glyceryl Unde ylenate, Fragrance, Lactic Acid.
* Jonzac Thermal Spring Water
** ingredients sourced from plants
** ingredients sourced from organic farming
Natural and organic cosmetic certified by ECOCERT. 

BIODERMA Sensibio H20

Bioderma Micellar Water

Bioderma’s Crealine Micellar Water is THE cult beauty staple among top makeup artists around the world.

The Sensibio is an even gentler version of the Crealine (though I never even thought that was necessary). Obviously this is for people with SUPER sensitive and reactive skin.

My Experience: The scent, which can be best described as “clinical,” is very light and subtle. It’s non-irritating to my rather sensitive eyes.

After cleansing, my skin feels comfortable, retains its natural balance and does not feel dry or tight.

Ingredients: Water, PED-6 Caprylic/Capric Glycerides, Cucumis Satifus (Cucumber) Fruit Extract, Mannitol, Xylitol, Rhamnose, Fructooligosaccharides, Propylene Glycol, Disodium EDTA, Cetrimonium Bromide

URIAGE Makeup Remover Water

Uriage Micellar Water

Uriage micellar water is made with the thermal water from the Uriage Springs near the foot of the French Alps.

Thermal waters are naturally rich in minerals and trace elements, which enhance the skin’s ability to repair itself.

My Experience: I love the light, floral scent. For whatever reason, this one feels slightly cooler (and therefore quite soothing) on the skin.

As with the other micellars, my skin feels comfortable and retains its natural balance. It also effectively removes stubborn eye-makeup without causing irritation.

This was the first micellar water I’d ever tried.  I actually got it for a beauty swap, but ended up keeping it and using it. The beginning of a beautiful love story!

Ingrdients: Water, Uriage Thermal Spring Water, Polysorbate 20, Butylene Glycol, PEG-6 Caprylic/Capric Glycerides, Cetrimoniom Bromide, PED-40 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Polyaminopropyl Biguanide, Fragrance, Citric Acid, Glycerin, Punica Granatum Fruit Extract


Ok. You could say that these 3 micellar products are hardly different from each other. They all work pretty much the same way.

They do, however, differ in one significant aspect: their ability to “lift” or remove makeup.

To show you what I mean, let’s do a blind test!

I will show you three images.

In each image, a different micellar product was used to remove make up.

I used four cotton pads, starting with the one on the left and ending with the one on the right.

Product A, Micellar Water Blind Test

Product B, Micellar Water Blind Test

Product C, Micellar Water Blind Test

For the above images, I tried my best to apply the same types and amount of makeup. But since these photos were taken weeks apart, it may have happened that I put on a little more mascara during one trial (ahem, as was obviously the case with Product B).

The most important thing is to look at how much makeup was removed with the first cotton pad and compare that to how much makeup was left on the last (4th) cotton pad.

Based on this criteria, I think we can all agree that Product C comes out the worst.

But when it comes to telling which product comes out on top, Product A or Product B, things are a little less clear.

The trickiness comes from the amount of black mascara on Product B’s first cotton pad, which makes the difference between the 1st and the 4th cotton look more dramatic than it actually is.

So to level the playing field, let’s make the 1st cotton pads disappear…

Micellar Water Blind Test

Micellar Water Blind Test

Now let’s compare Product A’s cotton pad 2 with its cotton pad 4. Then compare Product B’s cotton pad 2 with its cotton pad 4.

What do you think?

I think the difference is much more evident, making Product A officially the best at removing makeup!

Actually, from experience, I know Product A is the winner.

But if you think I’m being biased, there is another blogger I know who actually participated in a real blind trial. Her conclusion and that of 99 other bloggers matches mine.

And just for fun, I’m not going to reveal to you which one is Product A. Bwahaha!

If you are burning with curiosity, then go read The Micellar Blind Trial via Jo’s blog Patent Purple Life.

You’ll see, the winner is none other than Product A.

In Conclusion

Micellar waters are great for:

– Removing makeup
– Washing your face without having to wash your face (great for cleaning your face in the middle of the day)
– Keeping your skin’s natural balance
– Cleansing eye-makeup without any irritation

On very rare occasions, when I am just too tired at night,  I sometimes very quickly cleanse my face with micellar soaked cotton pads.

It’s the only way I would ever, EVER allow myself to go to sleep without first washing my face.


p.s. To help you narrow down which one is which, Product C is the Jonzac Rehydrate Micellar Water (womp, womp…)
A Micelle Molecule

The Magic of Micellar Water

August 16, 2013

French women are crazy about using only the gentlest products on their skin!

There are some who even go as far as to refuse tap water from ever touching their faces. And for these women, the invention of l’eau micellaire has been their saving grace.

L’eau micellaire, or Micellar Water, is a cosmetic invention that is not yet well-known outside of France. Instead, it has remained one of those secret staples among celebrity makeup artists around the world.

It’s only recently that micellar water has finally begun to garner some attention from beauty enthusiasts. And while not all of the attention has been positive, I personally can attest to the fact that micellar water works brilliantly as a makeup remover!

So what exactly is micellar water? It is a non-rinse, soap-free cleansing solution that contain micelle molecules. It will typically look clear and have the same consistency as water.

To apply it, you soak a cotton pad and then wipe off makeup and other impurities from the skin.

The better the quality of the micellar solution, the less cotton pads you have to use.

The Science of Micelles

Micelles are spherical structures that surfactant molecules form when they reach a certain concentration in water.

Surfactant molecules have a hydrophilic (water loving) head and a lipophilic (oil loving) tail. In aqueous solutions, the water loving heads spontaneously position themselves to be closer to the water, while the oil-loving, water-repelling tails group themselves in the center in order to be far away from the water.

This is how micelle structures form…

A Micelle Molecule

[A Micelle sphere. Photo from Wikepedia’s article on Micelle]

Micelles are actually quite common. Many products that contain surfactants (which act as detergents, wetting agents, emulsifiers, foaming agents, etc.) can be said to be “micellar water.”

Because micelles are so common, some have scoffed at the idea of micellar water, saying that it’s nothing but glorified bottled soapy water that has been marketed as an expensive magical formula.

Still, micellar waters should not be dismissed so easily.

Micellar waters have been formulated with mild surfactants. Meaning they are incredibly gentle cleansers and are suitable for all skin types. 

And yes, they are actually damn good at removing makeup and impurities from the skin.

I know, because I’ve gone through several bottles from different brands.

I suspect that the use of cotton pads play a major role in why they are so effective at removing makeup.

Cotton is hydrophilic, and when you pour the micellar solution on the cotton pad, the hydrophilic heads are attracted to the cotton, leaving the oil-loving tails sticking up to trap oil and wax based substances, like makeup and sebum.

The beauty and science blogger Lab Muffin wrote up a fantastic article complete with hand-drawn diagrams explaining how micellar waters works and the role of hydrophilic cotton.

My Experience With Micellar Waters

I like micellars because they are so gentle on the skin. And they are impressively effective at removing makeup. Especially eye makeup! I appreciate how they remove stubborn eye makeup without stinging the eyes. 

Another thing that I like about micellars is that they feel soothing and refreshing. On afternoons when I want to clean and freshen up my skin without splashing water, I like to use a good micellar solution.

In the evenings, I still like to wash my face with my regular cleanser. But my face no longer feels sufficiently clean unless I’ve first wiped down with a micellar soaked cotton pad.

Honestly, micellar water has become such an essential part of my cleansing routine that during times when I’ve run out, I’ve really gone out of my way to get my hands on more.

micellar waters that I've tried

When I was living in Paris, I had the luxury to try micellar waters by two different brands: Uriage and Cattier. Though I didn’t get the chance to write reviews on them, I loved using both of them. But you won’t easily find them outside of France.

Bioderma‘s Sensibio H20 is perhaps the most well known out of all the micellar waters. But again, it’s really difficult to get your hands on a bottle. Even if you’re lucky enough to find it outside of Europe, it’s incredibly overpriced.

So these are the biggest drawbacks of micellar waters: they are not yet widely available, and the ones that are available are way too expensive.

Colin, the trusty cosmetic scientist of Colin’s Beauty Pages asks “Why do these products cost so much?” The irony is that they are very simple solutions, and would not be that difficult to formulate.

So while I’m waiting for domestic skincare companies to catch onto the magic of micellar water and create products that sell at reasonable prices…

I’ve resorted to asking friends who go on trips abroad to bring me back bottles of micellar water. At prices truly worth scoffing at.

For now, my beauty cabinet is happily stocked with three bottles of the Bioderma Sensibio H20.

We’ll see how long they last.

What about you, have you used micellar waters before? Which ones? And what were your experiences?