Prepare to gasp, but I've never loved micellar water. When I do reach for a bottle of the stuff, it's always, always, always Bioderma's Sensibio H20 ($15)—the French budget-friendly, holy-grail formula practically every celebrity, editor, and beauty-obsessed person on earth seems monogamously besotted with.
I did a little digging, and according to cosmetic chemist Joseph Cincotta, micellar (pronounced my-sell-er) water is traditionally composed of purified water, hydrating ingredients (like glycerin), and small doses of very mild surfactants.
"The molecules of those mild surfactants naturally group together to form microscopic spheres called micelles, which act like magnets for dirt and oil," Cincotta explained to Allure. "When you wipe a cotton ball soaked with the cleanser along your face, the micelles adhere to the cotton while pulling makeup, sebum, and any other daily unpleasantness off the skin. The formulas are so light and gentle that there's no need to rinse them off, which means that the moisturizing ingredients can stay behind to be absorbed." Additionally, experts say micellar water can be an especially great option for anyone with sensitive or acne-prone skin.
As a society obsessed with both convenience and skincare, the apparent infatuation with micellar water makes sense. In addition to cult-loved French brand Bioderma, countless other brands like Garnier, La Roche-Posay, La Praire, Darphin, and Caudalíe have their own iterations, and the latest name to board the buzz-worthy micellar water train is Drunk Elephant.
Meet E-Rase Milki Micellar Water ($28), Drunk Elephant's newest whimsical skincare launch I couldn't wait to get my hands on. Would it meet my Bioderma-level standards? Would it turn me into a full-on micellar water fanatic? Is it as special as all of Drunk Elephant's other best-selling face, body, and hair elixirs? I was keen to find out. Below, I'm giving you the 411 on everything Milki Micellar—why it's unique, what it's made of, how to use it, and last but not least, my honest review. Keep scrolling!
E-Rase Milki Micellar Water: The 411
As with all Drunk Elephant products, E-Rase is completely free of essential oils, silicones, sulfates, fragrance, and PEGs. (You can learn more about what the brand intentionally leaves out of their products, here.) I'll get into the ingredient specifics shortly, but in a nutshell, the brand describes their micellar water debut as a supremely gentle, pH-balanced (5.0!) milk anchored by a strategic lineup of skin-loving ingredients like ceramides, vitamin E, lush fatty acids, and non-fragrant plant oils for a hearty dose of antioxidants.
It's a no-rinse solution that effectively removes stubborn makeup, sucks up the inevitable daily buildup of grime (like dirt, pollution, bacteria), and leaves the delicate skin mantle soft, plump, nourished, hydrated, and totally void of irritation. You can simply use it to take off your makeup before you cleanse, you can use it in lieu of your cleanser (yes, it's that effective), or you can just use it anytime your skin needs a quick dip of refreshment.
The Key Ingredients
You've probably already gleaned Drunk Elephant's take on micellar water isn't like other micellar waters on the market. First of all, as someone who is breakout-prone and paranoid about each and every ingredient within my skincare products, I ran the full list by AcneClinicNYC.com (which scans for anything comedogenic, aka pore-clogging) and E-Rase's entire roster of ingredients got the green light. Translation: There's pretty much zero chance of this elixir causing any new bourgeoning bumps on your face. But let's dive in further, shall we?
First and foremost, E-Rase Milki Micellar Water contains a specialized Micellar Cleansing Blend composed of gentle surfactants and emollients designed to vacuum-up daily grime. Wild melon seed oil, marula oil, mongongo oil, baobab seed oil, and passionfruit oil are added to offer a potent blend of skin-enriching omega 3-, 6, and 9-fatty acids, antioxidants, and skin-rejuvenating moisture. Vitamin E helps to soothe and preserve the complexion's natural lipid balance while staving off damaging free-radicals and other environmental aggressors. Last but not least, a special blend of three plant-derived ceramides (AP, NP, and EOP) calm irritation, maintain the complexion's moisture balance, protect against water loss, improve skin elasticity, and strengthen the skin barrier.
How to Use It
The utility of this new launch is one of its most beautiful traits. As I mentioned above, you can use it in place of your cleanser, before you cleanse, after you cleanse, or just whenever you feel like your skin needs a quick reset. (Plus, there's no need to rinse, which just enhances the convenience factor!)
As for application tips, the brand recommends gently shaking the bottle before each use, applying it to a soft cotton pad or toning cloth, and then gently smoothing it over your entire face, eyes, lips, you get the idea. It's highly effective at removing makeup, so there's no need to tug, pull, or rub. If you have areas with more makeup or if you use stubborn formulas like waterproof mascara, just hold your soaked pad in place for a few seconds so the milk can saturate and dissolve any product buildup.
I'll try my best not to blubber and babble here, but I haven't felt this passionate about a new beauty launch in a really long time. It's completely woken me up from my quarantine-induced beauty coma, and honestly, I think this might be my favorite Drunk Elephant product of all time. I thought my love for my previous micellar water go-to—Bioderma Sensibio H20 ($15)—was unshakable, but this milky elixir from Drunk Elephant just set a new standard for any and all micellar waters to come.
The majority of formulas I've tried pretty much feel like slippery water, and while they're great for quickly cleaning and removing makeup, (at least, according to my dirty cotton pads), I've never felt like they do anything else for my skin. And frankly, I want all of my skincare products to be doing the most. E-Rase, however, feels like a true skin treatment—it's what I've been waiting for.
At first, the milky color and slightly thicker (but still slippery) consistency made me nervous, but I can't put into words how delicate, dreamy, and silky this stuff feels on the skin. Yes, it expertly vacuums everything from your face you want vacuumed (pollution, acne-causing bacteria, makeup, etc.), but it also leaves your complexion soft, glowy, and superbly clean feeling with zero tightness or stripping.
I usually wash my face three times a day—right when I get up, right after my morning run before I shower, and then before I go to bed. I've started using E-Rase after my run in the morning and also at night to remove my makeup or daily grime before I go in with my normal evening cleanser. My skin has never felt so plush, nourished, and healthy. If I could bathe in the stuff, I would. As a beauty editor who's job is to try as many products and formulas as possible, I feel confident saying that micellar stans and newbies alike will fall head over heels for Drunk Elephant's latest launch.
Want more Drunk Elephant recs? I'm sharing the brand's top ten best-sellers at Sephora just below, along with helpful rating and review stats.
Shop the 10 Best-Selling Drunk Elephant Products at Sephora
Rating: 4.5/5 stars, 1334 reviews
Starring customer review: "I’ve received two samples of this, and I had to get the full size. I use this under makeup and mixed with the Drunk Elephant Sheer Umbra on barefaced days. This is amazing if you’re thinking about getting it—you won’t regret it. I’m a Black girl (I wear shade 390 in Fenty Beauty) and it gives us the most perfect glow."
Rating: 4.4/5 stars, 1460 reviews
Starring customer review: "By far the best oil I've ever used. I use this on my face but also on my scalp. My skin drinks it up!!! My hair is stronger. I've reordered this before my bottle ran out for fear that it won't arrive in time and I'd have to go two days without it."
Rating: 4.1/5 stars, 1248 reviews
Starring customer review: "This is a dry skin savior. I have combination skin, and it added hydration and smoothness into my skin, without adding to the oiliness on my chin. Whereas most moisturizers would cause me to break out on my chin, this one doesn't. I do enjoy the whipped texture. It's a thick cream so the airiness helps it last longer and helps it spread better. The price is a little hefty, but I like it better than other moisturizers I've tried."
Rating: 3.8/5 stars, 1287 reviews
Starring customer review: "I really like this eye cream. This has kept my under eye area fairly moisturized, and I feel like my crow's feet have diminished. My skin is also very sensitive, and what I love about this cream is it doesn't irritate the eye area. I will definitely purchase again!"
Rating: 4.3/5 stars, 2224 reviews
Starring customer review: "I never write reviews, but I HAD to write a review for this mask! I have tried so many masks and thought I would give this one a try after doing my research on AHAs and BHAs. I was shocked to really see a difference in my skin! I would mention that the mask was pretty uncomfortable my first time wearing it, but after a while, I got used to it. I wear this mask once a week for 20 minutes, and I am LOVING IT."
Rating: 4.2/5 stars, 2150 reviews
Starring customer review: "This is my first hydrating serum, so I don't have anything to compare it with. I have very dry skin and nothing could quench that thirst and I'd feel dry a couple of hours after applying a moisturizer. This serum feels like a burst of water on the face. On pairing it with a moisturizer it works like magic! I use two pumps of this serum plus one pump of Protini plus one to two drops of the marula oil, and it really changed how my skin felt. As a line, DE is definitely very expensive, but I just love how it feels. It works!!"
Rating: 4.1/5 stars, 1182 reviews
Starring customer review: "I'm very happy that I bought this product! I spoke with my doctor before I started using it. Thankfully, I didn't have any negative reactions to the patch test. I've been using it for 6+ weeks and my skin looks A LOT better! I would always get really bad break-outs, now I get maybe three zits every once in a while. My skin also looks like it's glowing instead of being super greasy. I'm using this product with a gentle facial cleanser, a facial oil that has vitamin E, and a moisturizer that contains hyaluronic acid."
Rating: 4.3/5 stars, 2850 reviews
Starring customer review: "I use this product every night before moisturizer. Although it doesn't say to do this, I put it on my skin and let it soak for 30 minutes before moving onto moisturizer. This product feels so nice on my skin, and I feel so good using it. It's cleared up so much of my skin and continues to prevent terrible breakouts from happening. I suggest this to literally everyone! It's changed my life."
Rating: 3.7/5 stars, 3173 reviews
Starring customer review: "I've used this serum for about 2 1/2 years. This serum really works. I have smooth skin but uneven tone and it was looking dull. It has brightened my face and apparently has given me a glow. Strangers have stopped me to tell me that I'm glowing and my family and friends keep saying I look so bright. It probably took a couple of months of continued use to be noticeable, but if you're looking to glow, keep using this. I use it once in the AM and then add moisturizer and sunscreen."
Rating: 4/5 stars, 4546 reviews
Starring customer review: "I used to just use aloe vera as a moisturizer, CeraVe face wash for dry skin, and witch hazel as my toner. I got this as a sample a year ago, and I brought it on a trip to the Philippines—I was worried it was going to break me out since I have sensitive and dry skin. I tried it, and HOLY CRAP, IT CLEARED MY SKIN SO WELL. I used to have major little bumps on my forehead, but it has dialed down ever since I started using this. This is the only moisturizer I will be using and one that I trust. I wish they made bigger sizes of this—it is so expensive, but in my mind, and the wonders it has done for me, it is worth it."