Product Review: Biore Cleansing Micellar Waters

Biore Charcoal Cleansing Micellar Water and Baking Soda Cleansing Micellar Water

I'm no stranger to micellar water (see this post and this post for evidence), but the new Biore Charcoal Cleansing Micellar Water ($9.99 on sale for $5.99 at London Drugs) and Biore Baking Soda Cleansing Micellar Water ($9.99 on sale for $5.99 at London Drugs) instantly piqued my curiosity with their novel twists on what's more or less a classic formula. So how do they stack up against other ones I've tried? All the details after the jump!

For those of you who haven't jumped onto the micellar water bandwagon yet, here's a quick primer. Micellar water is known for being a cleansing and makeup removing solution that's effective yet mild and super versatile. I've gone from regarding it as a skincare novelty to something that I have to have in my medicine cabinet at all times. You'll see why when I list all the ways I use it:

  • As an AM cleanser if I want something gentle
  • As an all-over oil-free makeup remover
  • As an eye makeup remover that gets rid of waterproof mascara and eyeliner with minimal rubbing
  • As a quick refresh anytime of the day
  • As a nighttime cleanser when I'm feeling lazy and want to do my entire skincare routine from the comfort of my couch with Netflix on
  • As a versatile cleanser/makeup remover/all-in-one product when I'm travelling

Biore Charcoal Cleansing Micellar Water on a cotton pad

Biore's new micellar waters boast two ingredients, charcoal and baking soda, that aren't found in traditional micellar waters but that are true to Biore's brand DNA as a purveyor of acne-fighting, deep-pore-cleansing products. These unconventional ingredients simultaneously piqued my curiosity and my concern. Would Biore's micellar waters cleanse more deeply or feel more refreshing? Would the addition of charcoal and baking soda be irritating around the eyes? After several weeks of thorough testing, I have mixed feelings about the formulas, especially compared to my Holy Grail micellar water Bioderma.

First, the good. Biore's micellar waters are dermatologist- and opthamologist-tested, oil-free, pH-balanced, and hypoallergenic. I'm happy to report that the addition of charcoal and baking soda has not made these formulas irritating whatsover. And at less than $10 for a generous 300 ml bottle, they're more affordable than the French pharmacy brands.

It's been pretty hot in Vancouver lately so I've been chilling my Biore micellar water in the fridge (that's why the bottles look frosty in the photos). The chilled product is a refreshing PM pick-me-up, and doing a quick cleanse like that lets me re-apply facial mist and sunscreen without feeling sticky and gross. I also like using the big oval-shaped cotton pads with Biore micellar water to remove waterproof sunscreen from my arms and legs when I get home; it works like a charm and I don't feel bad about using up a more expensive micellar water on large areas of my body. I could also see this hack working well as a quick refresh after a sweaty workout. Just swipe some micellar water on face, neck, chest, arms, and legs and you're good to go.

Now for the not-so-good. Both formulas feature artificial fragrance and colours, which IMO are unnecessary additions; the charcoal and baking soda didn't make the formulas noticeably better than conventional micellar water at deep-cleansing; they don't leave my skin feeling quite as squeaky-clean and residue-free as Bioderma; and stores don't seem to carry a travel-friendly size (although Biore's website lists a 75 ml bottle).

Final take? Biore's new micellar waters will never take the place of my all-time fave, but they work well enough and they're nice to have as an inexpensive back-up.

Biore Charcoal Cleansing Micellar Water and Baking Soda Cleansing Micellar Water

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  1. I wondered if black miceller water was really a good thing...I don't think I can let go of Bioderma, but it's good to know that this a cheaper and relatively effective alternative.

    1. It doesn't look very black on the cotton pad.

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