I distinctly remember the day that I discovered micellar waters. The one in question was a specific, quite famous brand that I won’t mention by name (cough cough
Bioderma cough). It was years ago, when I was in London, and as all wonderful/terrible beauty discoveries begin, I read about it in Goop.
Suddenly, I’m in Paris (these were the days before French pharmacy beauty hitting our shelves), and I buy a small bottle, and ermegerd my life is changed. It was the moment I realized I had never successfully taken off my makeup at night. Gross.
Since that fateful day, micellar waters have become a staple in my beauty routine. Those mornings when I’m feeling too lazy to wash my face? Yank out the micellar water. Eye makeup not off properly? A quick swipe of the micellar water on a cotton pad, done and dusted.
Sounds all good, right? What the heck am I making a whole post about this for?
Well, the truth that this aforementioned brand is not cruelty-free came barreling down on me like a ton of bricks. Suddenly, ethics came up against ‘beauty that actually works’ in one giant conundrum, something I’ve discussed before in my cult-beauty swaps post.
So, I tried one or two cruelty-free options, but none worked like my beautiful French pharmacy brand. And then, I admit it, I went back and bought another bottle, tail tucked firmly between my legs.
2021 update: SO many more brands are on the market that are proudly Cruelty-Free. Albeit, as many that came on the market, that many were bought by non-CF parent companies, effectively ruling them out as good cruelty-free micellar water options.
Enter in: another beauty roundup. Similar to my Best Cruelty-Free Eye Creams post, this is the Go-To List for those of you, like me, working hard to be ‘No Harm Done in 2021.’ (2021 update: Yes, I just invented this, and this needs to be a hashtag or something).
I’ve searched high and low for the best cruelty-free micellar waters for every budget, all with great reviews and more cleansing than toning.
Here we go…
The Best Cruelty-Free Cleansing Micellar Waters
Shop the Post (Plus a Few Extras)
VERSO MICELLAR WATER | This is the one I’m currently using (I’ve been trying to test these all on rotation). If you’re looking for a no-nonsense, cleans-your-skin micellar water option, this is ideal. I will admit, I mostly chose this one over the others because of it’s minimal packaging in the most aesthetically-pleasing tones.
DRUNK ELEPHANT E-RASE MICELLAR WATER | If I were to buy my next one, it would probably be this. I’ve had great luck with Drunk Elephant products, finding them both effective and useful.
PACIFICA KALE WATER | There are a few Pacifica micellar waters, and truth be told, I had no clue which one to put on this list. However, after doing a little digging, I’ve found the Kale Water to have the best reviews and least amount of complaints of stinging. Ouch. A great budget-friendly option — and the beautiful packaging doesn’t heart, either — and probably the one I’ll try out next.
IT COSMETICS MIRACLE WATER | More than just a cleansing solution, IT Cosmetic’s version also has skin improving aspects to it. Think a multitasking toner, skin improver, and cleanser in one. This thing has reviews like “The texture of my skin has improved dramatically; smaller pores, smoother, and just an overall glow.” That’s just one, of many. If you’re just looking for a quick makeup remover, you’re better off sticking to one of the cheaper options here (it’s $38). But if you need a multitasking, skin-improving wonder? The pick of the bunch.
EMBRYOLISSE LOTION MICELLAIRE | Embryolisse is one of my favorite of the ‘French Pharmacy’ brands out there. Their Radiant Eye cream is something of a cult hit, one I tried back in London and loved. They don’t get the same love as other French pharmacy brands, but considering they are one of the few cruelty-free ones out there, they deserve to be loved. Plus, anything that makes me feel any semblance of ‘French’ and ‘chic is a win in my book.
OMOROVICZA PEACHY MICELLAR CLEANSERS | Can this even count as a ‘water’? These little pre-soaked rounds are the perfect texture for a morning cleanse. Plus, they really do remove all the makeup. I would absolutely purchase this again. If it came in a water rather than pre-soaked rounds (eco-friendly and all). They also have a more eco-friendly refill version, too.
KOH GEN DO CLEANSING SPA WATER | Now, I pretty much assume very Asian-based beauty brand is not cruelty-free, just by pure association of selling in China. Imagine how surprised I was to learn that this beaut — consistently listed as one of the best micellar waters on the market — is, indeed, cruelty-free. Beauty lovers, rejoice!
Want more Cruelty-Free Beauty Content?
The Best Cruelty-Free Eye Creams
My Cruelty-Free Winter Skincare Edit
Cruelty-Free Swaps for Cult Makeup Products
My Can’t Live Without Beauty Products: Skincare
My Step-by-Step Skincare Routine for Normal/Combination Skin