Korean brands are the biggest beauty trend of at least the past two years. They just know good skin, and have some of the most innovative ingredients that prove strong in efficacy across the board. Joining K-beauty in the 'big deal products' of the last few years is micellar water. All of a sudden, we have the option to cleanse anytime, anywhere and without a basin full of makeup flecked stains. Now, there's a cool product vying for that top spot in the beauty shelf popularity contest, and it's these powers combined... Welcome, Korean Cleansing Water. Of course, cleansing water is indeed micellar water - but what makes the Korean iteration different from others on the market? Well, read on, we have rounded up some of the best on shelf for you to narrow down which will work for your skin...
No one can ever take the micellar OG glory from the French... The water there was too harsh to support the moisture required for the plump, clear and nourished skin French women sought. So, along came game changers like Bioderma who offered a micelles cleansing formula that pulls up dirt and unwanted oils, while keeping the skin's natural pH levels in tact. It was, is, in short, genius. It's little wonder the rest of the world caught on quickly... But, as with all beauty products, there are innovations just around the corner with constant research into improving formulas and understanding the specific skin needs in different climates and environments. So, essentially, micellar water 2.0 - aka Beauty Water in Korea - has been created to be even more gentle on skin, and is loaded with all kinds of different skin-loving ingredients to make it more than a cleanser - it's skincare.
From Vitamin E, to collagen and even soy bean extract, the K-beauty versions are all about hydrating the skin as you cleanse so you don't end up with that 'tight' feeling some brands can leave you with. While these cleansers are often recommended as a step after oil cleansers (the 'double cleanse' that does give you a super skin clean) experience with these show that unless you're heaving on the contouring and have very thick makeup, they work as stand alone cleansers. Sound good? We think so. Here's our rundown of some of the best on the market and the skin-loving ingredients they contain.
A (More) Natural Beauty
Touch In Sol All Clear Ice Blue Water Cleanser
This is best for those of us with very sensitive skin to harsh skincare chemicals. Which is usually a bit of a shame when you're after efficacy. While natural products can be wonderful, when it comes to areas such a cleansing (and getting a very thorough clean) we're usually faced with having to put in a lot of elbow grease... and that's before we've even gotten to the eyeliner and mascara. This product, however, covers all bases. This botanical based formula is 70 per cent natural ingredients, and is not only moisturising but genuinely removes all makeup with just a couple of cotton pads.
A Double Duty Promise
Primary Raw DoYou Soy Milk Ferment Cleanse Toner
This is perfect for those who love a product that hard working, and can cut out a step in your beauty routine. This soy bean extract-based antioxidant-packed cleansing water doubles as a toner, with the inclusion of Witch Hazel. Meaning, not only is it your go-to for your evening makeup takeoff, it'll come in handy for the AM skin prep, too. It also has tea tree oil, an anti-inflammatory, chamomile and aloe leaf to soothe the skin. But, it wouldn't be K-beauty without a dose of innovative novelty - the formula includes filtrate, the snail-secretion that is pitted to make skin super soft.
A Secret Exfoliator
Exfoliation isn't the first thing that comes to mind when we're talking cleansing waters. In fact, it sounds like a contradiction in terms. But, this clever formulation includes willow bark and papaya extract to gently remove dead skin cells, and gives you that extra clean feeling. It's also a skin brightener and toner. This is best to use on days when you have worn minimal or no makeup and its purpose is to remove the day's impurities, rather than to clean away thick foundation. The smell is a bit much initially, but don't worry, it subsides immediately after use on your skin.
A Moisture Master
The immediate upside to this product compared to other waters is the smell - it's floral and citrus-y, and doesn't have that alcohol scent we've become accustomed to with these cleansers. However, the lack of that smell might also account for the fact that it's not great for removing the day's grime so much as it is the perfect morning cleanse. Ultra moisturising, the brand pins this on their 'fermented moisturising ingredient' which is a little broad... But, as this is probably the most gentle of the roundup (perfect for super sensitive skin), it's more likely to do with the omission of ingredients that strip the skin and dry it out that is the differentiating factor. This is honestly the most beautiful way to start your morning routine (because who wants to scrubbing their face first thing, anyway?).
Story by Rikki Hodge-Smith