Let’s get one thing out of the way: I love micellar water. But guess what, my holy grail, aka the one that’s a cult favourite among beauty editors and fanatics around the world, hasn’t changed at all in the last 5 years. Any conversation about micellar water has to include Bioderma’s Sensibio H20, Sincapore’s No.1 makeup remover, and for good reason — the formula is unbelievably gentle and non-irritating, yet thoroughly effective in removing makeup.
If you’re here, you’re probably wondering: how does Drunk Elephant’s new E-Rase Milki Micellar Water compare? Will it dethrone a very worthy industry leader and clinch the top spot in my beauty routine? These questions will be answered in my honest, unsponsored review below. For those who might need some convincing on why the beauty world’s obsessed with micellar water though, read on.
If I had to sum up my love affair with this skincare innovation, it’d be convenience. Instead of walking over to the sink, the no-rinse formula of micellar water enables me to simply pour the lightweight liquid onto my cotton pad, then swipe it across my face to remove my makeup for the day, long-wearing eyeshadow included.
Compared to makeup wipes, which I’ve grown to severely dislike, micellar water is way more gentle on our skin, and yet does the job just as well. Or maybe, better. This is because it contains tiny microscopic spheres called micelles, which draw out impurities, oil and dirt, which then get removed from the skin. Bioderma aside, brands such as Garnier, Caudalie, even Chanel and Dior, have embraced the skincare trend, making the product quite a staple in cleansing line-ups these days.
The E-Rase Milki Micellar Water
What’s so unique about Drunk Elephant’s then? We’ll start with the DE promise. As with all the skincare products in the clean beauty brand’s arsenal, the E-Rase is free of silicones, sulphates, fragrances, and PEGs, all while making sure the ingredients are biocompatible and skin-friendly.
Here, you’re looking at a micellar water that’s made of ultra-mild micelles, and formulated to gently remove makeup, dirt, pollution, and bacteria from the face and eye area, without sensitisation, irritation, or drying out of your skin. A low pH of 5.0 also means it works with our skin, rather than against it.
Another key feature is, of course, the milky formula. While most micellar waters are clear, this one is translucent with a richer consistency, mostly due to the brand desiring to bump up the formula’s moisturising properties. A combination of ceramides, plant oils and vitamin E gives it that distinct milkiness, which is in our skin’s favour as they help to nourish and soothe it.
- Micellar Cleansing Blend — a mix of ultra-gentle, dirt- and pollution-capturing surfactants and emollients.
- Three-Ceramide Blend — ceramides AP, NP, and EOP, derived from plant sources, help soothe and maintain the moisture balance of skin while protecting against water loss. They help strengthen the skin barrier as well.
- Vitamin E — soothes and preserves the skin’s natural lipid balance, and also loved for its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
- Wild Melon Seed Oil — rich in omega 6 and 9 fatty acids, as well as antioxidant polyphenols, and provides soothing, moisturising, and barrier-supportive benefits.
- Other antioxidant-rich plant oils, including marula, baobab, mongongo, ximenia seed, passionfruit, and sweet almond.
How To Use
This one’s quite the multi-tasker. You can use it as a makeup remover, in place of your cleanser, before or after cleansing, or any time your skin needs a refresh and boost of moisture.
As Drunk Elephant Tiffany Masterson puts it, “Use it whenever and however you need it. A post-workout refresh, a colour mistake corrector, a long car ride cleansing solution, a lazy late-night saviour, a straight-up makeup remover — you get the idea. There are no rules. No rinsing required.”
As a cleanser, you’re recommended to shake the bottle before use, apply the formula on a soft cotton pad, and hold it for a few seconds on heavily made-up areas, without tugging, in order to dissolve stubborn makeup. For light makeup, a gentle swipe will do.
I do enjoy Drunk Elephant’s products; they’re good for my skin and they work, while the price point isn’t entirely out of my league either. I will admit that I’ve been slightly swayed since the brand has achieved cult status among my peers, though with the luxury of trying most of their items, I can unbiasedly declare that I’ve come across a couple items that I’m merely… lukewarm about.
This isn’t one of them. The E-Rase has successfully buoyed itself to the top of my recent cleansing favourites, and dare I say, for the time being at least, made me neglect my bottle of Bioderma micellar water. What travesty!
First, let’s talk about the texture. As mentioned earlier, the milky consistency is a departure from most micellar waters, which might take some getting used to. It’s lightweight though, and feels like a toner or light essence on the skin. Still, I had the weirdest feeling after using it, which can be awkwardly summed up as: it felt like… nothing. I know, that’s an odd description for a skincare product, especially since I’m used to waxing lyrical about sensorial experiences, but “nothing” might just be one of the E-Rase’s biggest strengths.
I never needed to soak my cotton pad excessively, or tug, pull, and drag it across my face at any point in time. With one gentle swipe, I was able to effectively remove makeup, everything from foundation to blush to liquid lipstick, leaving behind only a few traces. The second swipe saw them disappearing altogether. “Nothing” refers to how little effort was required to completely remove these impurities, while my skin didn’t feel the least bit dry or stripped after, as if I hadn’t done anything at all. I was so surprised, I walked over to a mirror to check if my makeup was truly gone — it was.
My favourite part has to be how my skin felt after. The low-effort cleanser left it plump and soft, which was especially refreshing since I know my skin had just been cleansed. My skin always feels less grimy, nourished and lighter, more free.
Now, for the not-so-great part. Yes, this is an honest review after all. Some online reviews mention that this leaves behind a slightly oily residue that demands washing off. I did notice a bit of this on my first use, but felt like I had gotten used to it after a couple more tries — or maybe my skin’s on the slightly drier side so I wasn’t as bothered. It also helps that I usually use this product before my nighttime cleansing routine, so not long after, I’d be going over my face with my usual oil or foam cleanser. If I’m lazy, sure, I’ll use it on its own, and I’ve been guilty of that. My personal preference though is to always double cleanse, so if you’re diligent about that, this wouldn’t be an issue.
If I had a gripe though, it would be that I had to pour out a lot of product in order to properly soak my cotton pad. To be fair, and as a wearer of minimal makeup, I could still stick to my regular usage of two cotton pads for my entire face, thanks to how effective the micellar water was. If you’re going to spend precious dollars though, this might be a concern. Comparing this to Bioderma’s product, which is at $41.90 for 500ml and not including seasonal offers, versus $40 for 236ml for Drunk Elephant, I’d say that Bioderma’s more value-for-money.
Both are effective, both are gentle and great in the long run. The main difference, I feel, is whether you feel like a micellar water needs to condition your skin as well. You might feel that it’s unnecessary; after all, a cleanser’s only going to stay on your face for a couple of minutes, and that’s a fair statement. For myself, I’m satisfied with Drunk Elephant’s extra nourishing formula, and am convinced that cleansing well is the foundation of good skincare. I would hold on to this precious product as long as I can, for my regular makeup removing routine, and whenever my skin needs that soothing boost of moisture.
Drunk Elephant E-Rase™ Milki Micellar Water, $40 (236ml), available on Sephora.sg and in selected Sephora stores.