Friday, 22 January 2016

Micellar water: The low down

Previously the market was a slave to massively hyped formulations such as a Bioderma that beauty fanatics could only ever hope to pick up on a Parisian holiday, however now the drugstore is awash with many brands doing their own take on micellar water, the latest craze to flood the industry.

So, what is it exactly?

On first glance it appears to be a lazy girl's go-to for rapid make-up removal. It is a designated staple in most French pharmacies and models appear to swear by the stuff, but should this be something we are working into our daily routine?

The science? Well, the liquid is clear and consists of cleansing particles, or micelles that are suspended in soft water. The micelles act as teeny, tiny magnets that stick to and dissolve make-up leaving clean, hydrated skin. It won't sting or strip your skin or leave it dry like the Kalahari.

What I love is that due to the magnetic effect it attracts the make-up/dirt and removes it swiftly without dragging everything around your face. Plus it is sensitive enough to be used on the eyes. It is also the perfect travel companion or can easily be decanted for that long haul flight. You can purchase a variation dependent on your skin type, however it is fairly suitable across the board due to its gentle nature. My skin type veers towards the drier side when winter kicks in and I don't find it to be tightening at all. You might find that a particular brand has just the right balance for you, so read the small print.

Micellar solutions seem to pack a punch if you need a helping hand to streamline your skincare routine. They are powerful, quick and effective, whether you want to breakdown a heavier eye make-up look or just need a quick morning refresher to perk things up and carefully coax yourself out of that tired slumber.

I received a sample from Avène, who are the skin-care queen for those sensitive issues and that inspired me to pitch it against some more widely available drugstore options, from Nivea and Simple, to see how things held up.

Simple Kind To Skin Micellar Cleansing Water, £4.49

For me, this is the most hydrating option on my mini menu. All you need to do is soak a couple of cotton pads in the solution and place them on your eyes to break up the majority of your eyeshadow/liner/mascara. It isn't irritating in the slightest and doing this at the end of the day is so soothing. I find the cleanse to be effective and extremely gentle. After sorting my eyes, I just need to take a couple of new pads for the rest of my face. Job done. I love how hydrating and fresh my face feels after use. The price point is super affordable at normal retail of £4.09. This is also frequently on deal/special offer meaning that you can pick up a bottle for as little as £2.99. I swear by this stuff and I will always return to it. Simples.

Nivea Daily Essentials 3 in 1 Sensitive Caring Micellar Water 200ml, £4.09

The second in line for my budget selection is from Nivea. I selected the Dry Skin formula because we are currently in the middle of an icy Scottish winter, and frankly I will take all the help I can get. As the name suggests, this lotion promises 3 main benefits and all with the addition of soothing Almond Oil to leave things feeling smooth, soft and comfortable. It will remove eye make-up in a flash whilst caring for lashes, offers deep and effective cleansing of face make-up and all this with an injection of moisture.

This is highly comparable to the Simple formula in my opinion and I tend to switch between both depending what is currently on deal of the day. This also comes in a sensitive or normal skin formula so you might want to alter your choice slightly depending on season to ensure that your skin continues to be on best behaviour. I find it performs well removing eye make-up and don't particularly mind if I need to let those cotton pads linger for a few extra seconds like a cold compress. Truth is, it feels quite relaxing. Neither of these drugstore options carry any fragrance at all so a great choice if highly perfumed products aren't your bag.

Avène Cleanance Micellar Water 400ml, £16.00*

When it comes to skincare, the gurus at Avène usually have a few lessons up their sleeve to teach all of us. I have used several of their products in the past and was kindly sent a bottle of their micellar water for review. This particular formula was from their special Cleanance range which caters for blemish prone skin. Personally, I don't suffer from oily/blemish prone skin but wanted to trial it for general effect and thought I could reserve it for those times when my skin was acting up or breaking out.

The Cleanance solution has a very fresh fragrance almost reminiscent of a beach walk or ocean mist which I liked, but again something to consider if you don't find that heavy scents mix with your skin. The solution aims to regulate oil production and keep things on any even keel with a focus on leaving skin with that clean, fresh feeling. As with all Avène products, you don't have to worry your pretty little head about nasties in the form of parabens or harsh alcohol.

As this wasn't necessarily tailored exactly for my skin type I stuck to using it once a day or less frequently, but if it's the correct fit, you should be able to use freely for both morning and evening application. You can't argue that compared to our high-street hits this offering from Avène clocks up a few extra numbers on the till. As we pay more attention to what we are putting on our faces it would seem that we are frequently viewing a skincare regime and holy grail products as an investment.

I enjoyed using this micellar water but found it slightly drying for my personal taste and skin type. That being said, perhaps I will try their Eau Thermale Avène Micellar Lotion Cleanser and Make-up Remover in future for a better fit. This rings in at a little less (£13.00), but for half the volume. Avène are a tried and trusted brand and I am always prepared to give them my time and attention, because let's face it...they know their craft.

It seems that our beloved French pharmacy now faces some pretty mean rivals, but I will leave it to you to select one for what feels appropriate for you. You might find that your loyalty and allegiance remains with timeless favourites which you won't mind splashing that extra cash on (and that's ok). On the other hand perhaps you would prefer to try something new on the shelves that could keep your face clean and fresh and a few extra dollar in the bank.I just wanted to highlight that we always have options, so it wouldn't hurt to get down to your local Boots or Superdrug and get testin'. The crux is efforts made in streamlining our skincare doesn't have to be synonymous with "cutting corners". Best add a bottle to your bathroom cabinet or bedside table... just in case you, you know, fall asleep in your make-up. Whoops.

The competition is fierce. Let's hope they keep it clean....

*I was not financially compensated for this post. I received a sample for review purposes only. The opinions are completely my own based on my experience.*

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