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 • Skincare  • Skincare Reviews  • My New Favourite Affordable All-in-One Micellar Water and Chemical Exfoliant

My New Favourite Affordable All-in-One Micellar Water and Chemical Exfoliant

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Image – Courtesy of writer

If you’ve been looking for a way to cleanse and buff your skin all at once – gently and efficiently – you’ve come to the right place. Because I recently tried the Garnier SkinActive Micellar Gentle Peeling Water All-in-1 and it was everything my skin needed (and more) all under one lid. 

Yes. More so than any expensive micellar water or chemical exfoliant I’ve tried recently. Wait, a high street skincare product that costs just £5.99 (or $10.49 in the US) and, in my opinion, trumps all others? Who knew?

Now, I’m not often ‘all in’ with brands like this. And some might think it’s far-fetched to say that a beauty editor like me, with access to a plethora of products, thinks this is such a game-changer.  

I mean, why go for the obvious, mass marketed choice when I could have chosen anything – perhaps even a smaller, more obscure brand that actually needs the endorsement? 


Image – Courtesy of writer


Honestly? Because this is just a really good product.

And, whilst I wholeheartedly believe in celebrating small businesses and adore hearing the personal stories behind them, sometimes I feel big money names like Garnier, L’Oreal and Nivea are simply dismissed as ‘box-tickers’. 

Don’t get me wrong, some mass-produced formulas have massively disappointed me and have made me feel like they have simply been created in a hurry. Rushed to the front of the queue just so that the brand can say they’ve got the latest innovation on the shelves. 

But products like Garnier Micellar Gentle Peeling Water restore my faith a little bit. So, here’s why it worked for me.


It’s a micellar water

To know me is to know I love a micellar water. I feel they are the perfect balance of ‘getting the job done’ and hydrating for my oily skin. Often, cleansing with a foam or gel to counteract my oiliness can take my skin to the opposite extreme. 

My skin can feel dry and tight afterwards and then any serum or moisturiser I apply next is sucked in immediately, leaving zero glow. (Having said that, there are cleansing gels that do work for me – Caudalie Vinopure Purifying Gel Cleanser is *chef’s kiss* – take note oily skin types.) 

If my skin is feeling particularly needy in the morning though, sometimes I’ll skip cleansing it with water and reach for a micellar water instead. And this one leaves no stone unturned. 

The oil lifts off any dirt, the purified water swipes my skin clean and the combination of the two leaves it fresh and hydrated (but not greasy). It makes my skin smell nice too, thanks to the papaya extract.


It’s a chemical exfoliant

Containing 1% PHA and glycolic acid, it doubles up as a gentle exfoliant, buffer and glow-giver. So, not only does it brilliant cleanse my skin, but it also gets rid of my dead skin cells and leaves it even and extra soft. 


It is suitable for sensitive skin

Because of its PHA (which stands for polyhydroxy acid, one of the gentles skincare acids), sensitive skin types should be able to use this daily. It has been tested on all skin types and formulated especially for sensitive skin types after all. So yeah, you’d think so.

I do not have sensitive skin, but I do experience painful stinging on the area around the tops of my cheek bones/under eye area on a daily basis, sometimes even after using the gentlest of chemical exfoliants. Sigh.  But with this product, there is zero stinging, and this makes a refreshing change.


Image – Courtesy of writer


It isn’t sticky

Some PHA or AHA exfoliants leave a sticky residue on my skin afterwards. Not this. It absorbs into the skin much more quickly than any others I’ve tried meaning you can apply a serum or moisturiser on top straight away.


And it’s housed in a recycled bottle…

…except for the label, lid and additives of course which is a slight grumble. You’d think a brand like this would have the financial means to take that extra step. But anyway. The fact that it’s an all-in-one so you don’t need to use a separate cotton pad for a chemical exfoliant helps the planet too. And for the haters, there are always Garnier’s reusable cotton pads of course. 

That’s the thing about mass market brands like this. They make sure they cover all bases (apart from things like labels, lids and additives…) and are fortunate enough to have the money to do so. 


What other users are saying

Others definitely seem to agree with me. Carrie on says “Repeat purchase. Smells lovely and makes my skin look amazing. Since using this product I’ve had no spots.” And Strattybird says, “I have sensitive skin and this is really gentle.”


Overall value for money

In my opinion, you won’t find a better 2-in-1 micellar and chemical exfoliant. The price is just a bonus. 


The takeaway

A micellar water and chemical exfoliant in one hit that doesn’t make my skin sting, sticky or greasy? Oh, and by the way it’s cheap too. I’ll take it!

As much as I love to treat myself to more indulgent brands and formulas (because hey! Spending lots of money on something must mean it’s better – right? Hmm), this product really is the definition of cheap and cheerful.


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Beauty Editor

The former Beauty Editor of Glamour UK, Philippa has been a beauty and lifestyle journalist for over 16 years, picking up countless tips and tricks from makeup artists, hair stylists, dermatologists and celebrities. In that time she’s written for names like Cosmopolitan, The Sunday Times Style, The Telegraph, Grazia, Refinery 29 and Byrdie. Philippa lives in the UK with her husband, two children and their hyperactive cockapoo, Paddy.

Expertise: Makeup, hair care
Education: Oxford Brookes University

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