Review: L’Oreal Micellar Water (Normal to Dry Skin) vs Cleansing Oil – Which is better?

Ever since I reached my 40s, I found myself constantly battling dry and flaky skin. One thing I did was to switch to a different type of makeup remover. After a long search, I found L’Oreal Micellar Water.

Being a long-time user of cleansing oil, I was concerned if Micellar Water would be as effective in removing stubborn makeup. And so, I did an experiment to find out. Read on and we’ll see how micellar water compares with cleansing oil. We’ll also find out if we can indeed skip double cleansing when using micellar water.

Update Jan 2021: This post was first published in Jun 2019. I’m close to emptying the huge bottle and would not hesitate to repurchase it.

L'Oreal Micellar Water
L’Oreal Micellar Water


More about L’Oreal Micellar Water

L’Oreal Micellar Water comes in three options to suit different skin types. The one I’m reviewing today comes in a translucent-pink bottle and suits those with “Normal to Dry Skin”. The one with turquoise cap on the other hand suits those with “Normal to Oily Skin” while this two-tier liquid option targets waterproof makeup and is meant for all skin types. 

For info, this is the first time I’m using a Micellar Water. I normally avoid products that require additional steps and which create waste. Sadly, all Micellar Water, no matter which brands they are from, require the use of cotton pads.

L'Oreal Micellar Water
Pink Bottle is meant for normal to dry skin

So, what exactly is a Micellar Water?

Micellar Water differs from an oil-based cleanser in the following ways:

  • It has a water-like texture, with just a tiny bit of slip to it (like a toner)
  • You’ll wipe off your makeup with cotton pad instead of massaging the product over your face with bare hands
  • It require no rinsing and may not require double-cleansing
  • It’s a mess-free process. You aren’t confined to removing makeup at the sink or bathroom
  • It is said to be gentle to the skin

The only thing that drew me to make the switch was the last point. Micellar Water is said to be a super gentle method of cleansing that removes makeup without stripping moisture from the skin (source).

I was especially drawn to L’Oreal Micellar Water because it has a customized version meant for dry skin.

What does L’Oreal Micellar Water Promise? 

L’Oreal Micellar Water (Normal to Dry Skin) promises to remove makeup and cleanse skin in just one step. Following that, your skin would feel hydrated and soothed with reduced dryness.

Does it work as per its claim? Can I really skip double cleansing? Will my dry skin condition improve with the use of L’Oreal Micellar Water? Let’s find out. As usual, we’ll start with the pros before revealing the cons.

L'Oreal Micellar Water
L’Oreal Micellar water is said to be hydrating


What’s Great about L’Oreal Micellar Water?

1. Removes Makeup Anywhere You Like

One key selling point of L’Oreal Micellar Water was how you can remove your makeup anywhere you like. You don’t need to be by the sink or within a bathroom. With a cotton pad in hand, you can literally remove your makeup anywhere.

Since the product isn’t greasy, there’s no need to wash your hands after usage, unlike oil-based cleansers.

I didn’t appreciate it until I resumed my in-room workout (which comprised sit-up, strength exercise & squats). It was so convenient as I could remove my makeup at my dresser and then start my exercise routine immediately, without leaving the room.

2. Feels Refreshing on the Skin

L’Oreal Micellar Water has the texture of water. When you wipe it over your face with a saturated cotton pad, it feels refreshing.

If you stay in a place as hot as I do in Singapore where temperature hovers around 30 degree Celsius all year round, you’ll appreciate the cooling and non-greasy application.

When the product dries on the skin, it’ll leave a slightly sticky after-feel. This doesn’t bother me because I normally follow up with double-cleansing (after exercise) even though the official instruction said I didn’t have to. Read on and find out why I prefer to double-cleanse.

3. Effective Against Light Makeup

With double-cleansing, I’ve never gotten a single pimple from L’Oreal Micellar Water. It is fairly effective in removing light face makeup.

If you are a heavy makeup-user, check out my review of Biore Mild Cleansing Liquid. This has been my holy grail makeup remover for many years. 

4. Skin Feels Soft & Moisturized

Immediately after wiping off the makeup from my face, my skin felt soft, moisturized and supple. Here’s the ingredient list for those who are into the science behind a product.


Since I double cleanse, I’m not sure how much I get to enjoy this benefit though.

5. It’s Affordable

L’Oreal Micellar Water retails in major drugstores at an affordable price. I got a 400ml bottle in Malaysia for just rm30. In Singapore, it retails for S$21. And here’s how much it retails for online.

Pretty cheap, I think. :)

MUST-READ: 25 Things to buy in Malaysia – from a Singaporean’s Perspective


What’s Not Hot about L’Oreal Micellar Water?

Now that we have heard all the great stuff of L’Oreal Micellar Water, let’s balance this review with the cons.

1. Less Convenient than a Pump Bottle

Using a Micellar Water is less convenient because many don’t come in a pump bottle. In the case of L’Oreal Micellar Water, I have to lift the large 400ml bottle with every single application.

In all honesty, this isn’t a big deal and you’ll likely get used to “weight-lifting” in no time. :)

L'Oreal Micellar Water
A 400ml bottle although you can get it in a smaller 250ml bottle too

2. Tend to Overpour Liquid

I tend to pour out too much liquid per use. When tilting the heavy bottle upside down, the dilute liquid flowed quickly and over-saturated the cotton pad. As such, you can expect the product to deplete quicker than an oil-based makeup remover. 

L'Oreal Micellar Water
Tends to overpour

3. When to Stop the Cleansing Process?

With an oil-cleanser, I simply massage the product onto my face and rinse. With Micellar Water, I couldn’t be sure when I should stop the cleansing process because even after using 3 cotton pads, I could still see makeup remnants on the fourth cotton pad.

When do I officially stop? Do I continue until I see no makeup residue? 

Updates (Dec 2019): After using Micellar Water for a longer period, I’ve learnt that the cotton pad need not be clear of makeup residue to signal that the skin is properly cleansed. Therefore, I only use at most 2 cotton pads per application. 

4. Requires Cotton Pad & Creates Waste

I like simplicity and am still trying to overcome this psychological barrier of using a product that requires at least three cotton pads per use. This not only creates an additional step in a daily routine, it also creates waste. And not to forget, you’ll have to incur the cost of acquiring cotton pads because they do run out very quickly with Micellar Water.

Updates (Dec 2019): I’ve loving the refreshing feel and gentleness of L’Oreal Micellar Water that I’m willing to include cotton usage in my daily routine. I now use one or at most two cotton pads per application. 

5. Not Effective in Removing Stubborn Makeup

I noticed that L’Oreal Micellar Water (pink bottle) doesn’t remove eye makeup effectively, especially mascara. I don’t want to penalize it because I believe in using a dedicated eye makeup remover for the eye area.

So why do I list this as a con in this review? Check out this experiment I did comparing Micellar Water against a Cleansing Oil.

Experiment: Micellar Water VS Cleansing Oil

Step 1: Smear Makeup Over Inner Arm

To test the effectiveness of L’Oreal Micellar Water against Cleansing Oil, I smeared my arm with 5 different types of makeup, including waterproof makeup and staining lipstick.

Micellar Water VS Oil Cleanser
Testing Micellar Water against Oil Cleanser

Smeared these products on my inner arm

Step 2: Saturate Cotton Pads with Micellar Water (Left) and Oil Cleanser (Right)

I then saturated two cotton pads with either products and placed them on the test area, one on each side.

Micellar Water VS Oil Cleanser
Saturate cotton with different cleansers – one on each side

Note: This method may be slightly unfair to the oil cleanser because it’s not supposed to work with cotton pad. The top and bottom part of the cotton pad wasn’t saturated enough with the oil cleanser. 

Step 3: Give Each Side a Gentle Swipe

I let the cotton pads sit on the test area for 1 minute before giving them a gentle swipe.

You can see that the test area on the right (with oil cleanser) is cleansed better. I like to think that the result could have been even better if I’d followed instruction and skipped the cotton pad. As you see, the cotton pad didn’t absorb oil cleanser as effectively as it did with the micellar water.

Micellar Water VS Oil Cleanser
Result after one swipe (Micellar vs Oil Cleanser)

Step 4: Give Another 2 More Swipes

Next, I gave the test area two additional swipes on each side. The side with the micellar water still has lipstick stain and mascara on it while the area with oil cleanser is almost makeup-free except for the remaining mascara (which is likely due to experiment design error – shouldn’t use cotton pad with oil).

Micellar Water VS Oil Cleanser
Result after 3 swipes (Micellar vs Oil Cleanser)

Result of Experiment: Micellar Water vs Cleansing Oil

From the experiment, it is clear that Micellar Water (pink version) was less effective in removing general face makeup than an oil cleanser. And do note that both took a little bit more effort in removing stubborn eye makeup.

When I gave each area two final swipes, the area cleansed by oil cleanser is completely clear of makeup while you can still see mascara and lipstick stain on Micellar Water’s test area.

So in conclusion, L’Oreal Micellar Water (for normal to dry skin) seems less effective against heavy or stubborn makeup. To be fair, we did mention that L’Oreal has another product version that’s meant to remove stubborn makeup, right? However, that blue version may not suit those with dry skin, if that’s what you’re looking for.

L'Oreal Micellar Water vs Oil Cleanser
Result after 5 swipes (Micellar vs Oil Cleanser)

6. I Get Pimples When I Skip Double-Cleansing

Let’s continue with the cons. I guess by now, you know why I insisted on double-cleansing with L’Oreal Micellar Water even though the product instruction told me I didn’t have to.

I actually skipped double-cleansing over a three-day test period and earned myself five small and painful pimples.

7. Not Travel-Friendly

In my recent trip to Osaka, I found myself packing an oil-based cleanser instead of L’Oreal Micellar Water.

Why? Because I figured that I would require thrice the amount if I was to pack the latter. That isn’t great for someone who prefers to travel light.

L'Oreal Micellar Water
More product required per application than oil cleanser



Despite the long list of cons over its pros, I can see myself happily using and finishing L’Oreal Micellar Water. Many of the cons are related to its packaging which I found myself being able to get used to easily.

And since I wear light makeup on most days, perform double-cleansing and use a separate eye makeup remover, L’Oreal Micellar Water (for normal to dry skin) works sufficiently well for me. However, I am not sure if I would be repurchasing it as I still couldn’t get over the part regarding the overuse of cotton pads.

Updates (Dec 2019): The more I use L’Oreal Micellar Water, the more I love it and would definitely repurchase it. However, I’ll make sure I always have a bottle of cleansing oil as that would be easier to travel with (less products needed, no need cotton pad). 

I’m increasing the review rating from 4 to 4.5.

All in all, I think if you need a product that you can use without rinsing (e.g. camping, gym, modeling) or for some reason, you hate removing makeup at the sink/bathroom, you may find yourself loving L’Oreal Micellar Water. Rating: 4.5/5


To find out the latest price on Amazon, click HERE


That’s all to today’s review. Hope you’ve found it useful. If you’ve tried Micellar Water (any brands), I’ll like to know how it worked for you. Did you need to do double-cleansing to avoid clogged pores?

And before you go, let’s connect so that you’ll continue to receive such honest reviews. Just click the button below to subscribe and you’ll also get access to all my exclusive contents. Chat soon! 



(This post was first published in June 2019 and last updated to include latest opinion.)

This post may contain affiliate links, meaning I earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no cost to you. Read mfull disclosure for more info.

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