Micellar waters are gaining popularity as alternatives to regular cleansers and makeup removers, and Garnier jumps on the trend with its SkinActive Micellar Cleansing Water, Regular. As it turns out, it's a worthy option that delivers on all its claims, meaning it easily earns our highest rating.
SkinActive Micellar Cleansing Water, Regular, comes in a plastic bottle and its fluid, watery formula is easy to dispense onto a cotton pad, just like other micellar cleansers we've reviewed.
Before we get to the heart of this review, a note about the "micellar technology" Garnier employs in this formula. Micellar technology is a way to formulate a cleanser that involves how surfactants (which this and many other cleansers contain) combine with water and interact with oils, like the "oil" our skin produces, to cleanse them away.
Though the technology isn't anything groundbreaking (though the marketing hype may make you think otherwise), the product itself it quite good for all skin types and is fragrance-free!
True to its claims, no harsh rubbing is needed to cleanse the face; gentle circular motions with your cotton pad are enough to distribute this across the face. The water-light liquid removes oil, dirt, and most makeup (though not very waterproof varieties) effectively with no residue left behind, without leaving skin feeling dry or tight.
One concern, because this contains the cleansing agent disodium cocoamphodiacetate, leaving it on the skin is NOT a good idea. Cleansing agents break down makeup and oil and skin as well. We recommend washing it off with a gentle water soluble cleanser and following up with your other skincare products.
If you've been wondering whether micellar waters are an option to add to your skincare routine, Garnier's SkinActive Micellar Cleansing Water, Regular, is a great, inexpensive product to consider. The only thing that could have made this better is the addition of soothing ingredients, as some of the pricier alternatives included (looking at you, Bioderma). Thanks to its gentle, fragrance-free formula and effective performance, it's a true drugstore find—even for extra-sensitive skin.
This all-in-1 cleanser is surprisingly powerful yet gentle to skin. It effectively removes makeup, cleanses skin and refreshes. A multi-purpose cleanser that contains Micellar technology. Like a magnet, micelles capture and lift away dirt, oil and makeup without harsh rubbing, leaving skin perfectly clean, hydrated and refreshed without over-drying.
Aqua / Water, Hexylene Glycol, Glycerin, Disodium Cocoamphodiacetate, Disodium EDTA, Poloxamer 184, Polyaminopropyl Biguanide
Garnier Nutritioniste At-A-Glance
Strengths: Interesting and potentially helpful cleansing oil and foundation primer.
Weaknesses: Insufficient UVA protection from some of the sunscreens; average to below average moisturizers and eye creams; mostly irritating cleansers; no effective products for blemish-prone skin; jar packaging.
Debuting with permanent hair dye and then making the segue to a full line of hair-care products emphasizing carefree, casual styles with can't-miss-it colorful packaging has been Garnier's formula for penetrating the
Unfortunately, this group of products hasn't got much going for it except the lure celebrity spokespeople provide. The amount of fragrance is perhaps forgivable for a French-owned product line, and in most of the Nutritioniste products it's not too intrusive. What is deplorable is the lack of sufficient UVA protection in the sunscreens. A skin-care line has no right to speak about the anti-aging benefits and "breakthrough approach" of its products when they cannot get this fundamental aspect consistently right.
It's also disappointing that some products contain irritating peppermint, which made us wonder whether the dermatologists who consulted for Garnier had any idea of what's good for skin and what isn't. It seems they didn't, because what they ended up with is a mix of pro and con products that make it impossible for consumers to assemble a sensible skin-care routine, not to mention products that make skin-lifting claims most dermatologists would dismiss as cosmetics puffery.
The hook for this line is the way it is said to bring nutrition and dermatology together. The products are "fortified" with antioxidants such as lycopene and nutritional ingredients such as fatty acids, vitamins (A and C, never present together in the same product!), and minerals. Garnier wants you to think this is a revolutionary idea, but it isn't—did they also overlook that everyone else, from L'Oreal (Garnier is owned by L'Oreal) to Estee Lauder and Clinique, has been using such ingredients in their products for years? And why consult a nutritionist (as Garnier did) when their training and professional expertise has little to do with application of anything to the skin? The whole scenario proves Garnier was more concerned with creating an attention-getting story for this line rather than formulating truly breakthrough products.
Despite our disdain for the way Garnier's marketing takes precedence over making the products as good as they could be formulary-wise, there are some bright spots. Because Garnier is owned by L'Oreal, it's no surprise to find that there are lots of similarities between the better and worse aspects of L'Oreal's skin care as well as with L'Oreal's department-store sister company Lancome. In some ways, Garnier's formulas best those of both companies by including a greater array of antioxidants and intriguing skin-identical ingredients. The occasional jar packaging choice reduces the effectiveness of some of these products, but other than that, Lancome users should take note of the happy face–rated products in this line. You'll be getting a better product for considerably less money here (though, at least for now, no free gift with purchase—but you can buy Lancome foundations or mascaras instead when gift time comes around).
For more information about Garnier Nutritioniste, call (800) 370-1925 or visit www.garnierusa.com.
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