About two months ago, I received a product review offer from ChickAdvisor and, although I rarely throw my name into the hat, I thought "why not?" Surprise, surprise! I was selected to receive and review both of the products below. Full disclosure: I paid $1 to have these items shipped to me and also received a cute mug and a bag of David's Tea. I then had to review these items on the ChickAdvisor website within two weeks. These reviews are based on those ones but more detailed. . . and after using these products for a longer period of time.
If you've never checked out ChickAdvisor, it's a website where women like me (and you?) can share our honest reviews of a range of products, stores, etc. They also provide a platform for companies to have their new products reviewed by a built-in group - that's the Product Review Club and there are usually a few review opportunities listed in there. This is my first time actually being selected but I've signed up a handful of times.
Here are the products: Garnier SkinActive Micellar Water and Miracle Wake-Up Cream
Like my terrible pic? Well. . . it's the only one I got before (spoiler alert!) sending these off to a new home
Garnier SkinActive Micellar Water ($9.99 retail value)
What is a Micellar Water?
It is all the rage in European skincare these days (especially in France) and is making its way across the pond in a big way. It's a waterless cleanser that is intended to gently remove dirt, oils and makeup. . . without foamy bubbles, scrubbing or rinsing of any kind! Sounds almost too good to be true. . . hmm. . .
How / When do I use it?
Using a cotton pad, gently drag across your face. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Seriously, if you're using this to remove make-up and cleanse, you might go through a lot of cotton pads.
Generally, this can be used any time you wash your face, instead of washing your face. Personally, I have a hard time letting go of my double-cleansing method and found myself using it as more of a toner than a full-out cleanser.
What's special about this one?
It's mainstream? Garnier is a known brand that can be purchased in nearly every drug store and their products are usually pretty decent. Other micellar waters that I've seen need to be ordered from overseas or at least over the internet. This is definitely more convenient.
Ingredient list? Triggers?
Here's CosDNA on the subject. The ingredients look pretty standard and there's only one minor trigger for acne and sensitivity. No huge issues. . . but nothing too exciting in my opinion.
So what did you think, Meg?
I, um, well. . . I kind of hated this product. I was really excited to try it and it was a total let-down in terms of it suiting my needs. What are my needs? I have combination skin and (still) suffer from hormonal acne so gentle yet effective cleansing is important to me. . . but I also wear makeup (long-wearing eye makeup in particular) and need to easily remove it. Your needs might be different though so you might love this product (the friend I passed it along to may fall in love with it, who knows?).
I liked the ease of use as well as the scentless, water-like quality. I did not suffer from any breakouts or reactions to this product. I found myself using it most often in the morning to remove my nighttime moisturizers and sleeping pack, or using it as a toner, instead of at the end of the day. And I can't deny that the price is fair and the fact that I could walk into a store and pick this up instead of having to get online. . . well, that's awesome. I wish I liked it!
On the down side, this did not work well at makeup removal. At all. Apparently there is one that is formulated for removing waterproof makeup so that might have been a better fit. Even though my makeup isn't necessarily waterproof. Since I couldn't use this as intended at night, I quickly returned to the double-cleansing method I know works for me and my skin (an oil cleanser and then a foaming one). While this product did feel gentle, it also left behind a bit of a film (moisturizer?) which made my skin feel less clean that I would have hoped. It certainly didn't strip my skin. . . but it also didn't feel 100% clean and fresh either. While I didn't mind this in the morning, since I was about to add several layers of other products, it did not work for me at the end of the day. That's when I need all the day's grease and grime off my face so I can do my nighttime routine without worrying about a breakout the next day.
Ultimately, I don't think micellar waters in general are something that I will use in the future - they just don't seem to fit what I look for in my skincare. If you don't wear much makeup and / or don't have much time to dedicate to a skincare routine (this might be great at the gym, for example), this type of product might be a better fit for you. Even so, I would be interested to know how this stacks up against other similar products. This simply didn't wow me enough to understand why micellar waters are becoming such a craze. Maybe there are better ones out there? Personally, I will stick to what works for me and my skin.
Garnier SkinActive Ultra-Lift Miracle Anti-Fatigue Wake-Up Hydra-Gel Moisturizer ($24.99 retail value)
What is a hydra-gel moisturizer?
More gel than cream, a hydra-gel moisturizer is a fantastic way to add moisture to oily skin without overwhelming it.
How / When do I use it?
This is packaged in a convenient pump bottle. That said, the pump is generous so err on the side of caution and use about half a pump to start. Then smooth it over your face (and neck if you like).
Moisturizers would usually be the last step in your skincare routine. This one does not have any SPF (unfortunately) so I would cleanse, tone, put on essence and serum, then this moisturizer, and then something with SPF. For day. I, personally, wouldn't use this one at night because it's a little too lightweight for my nighttime skincare needs.
Here's CosDNA on the subject. No huge triggers here either, just minor ones. This does contain some alcohols which might be a deal-breaker for some. Other reviewers on ChickAdvisor were complaining that this made their skin feel drier. . . alcohol can do that. If you have oilier skin, it's less of a concern though.
So what did you think, Meg?
Not bad. But I have (many) better moisturizers. . . well, better for my skin's needs. While I am not sure if I look more awake or refreshed (working full time with a 3 1/2 year old and an 8 month old. . . not going to happen), it is a nice, lightweight moisturizer.
On the positive side, this product has a lovely pump dispenser and, while it isn't a huge bottle, a little goes a long way. The moisturizer is lightweight, absorbs quickly and has very little (if any) scent. I find it is good for daytime use. While I can easily apply makeup over the top, I did find, with prolonged use, that it did seem to make my skin feel greasier by day's end - but that may just be my skin chemistry. Probably my favourite thing is the gel texture - it doesn't feel like I'm slathering a heavy, creamy moisturizer over my face which is a better feeling for oilier skin. . . if it didn't make my skin feel greasier over time, it'd be great.
On the downside, I didn't feel that this did the job any better than some of my other moisturizers. Yes, it moisturized. But it didn't seem to wake up my skin as promised (although, to be fair, I'm not sold on that as a possibility when it comes to skin cream!). And it contains alcohol which isn't necessarily a deal-breaker but isn't great either.
Ultimately, this is an average moisturizer. It does its job and I appreciate how lightweight it is. I don't feel like I'm smothering my skin when I use this product. At this price point, this is a fine choice for those with oily or combo skin. I wouldn't recommend it if you have drier skin (this is not a moisture bomb) or if you prefer skincare without alcohols.
If you are interested in trying either product, you can likely pick them up at a drugstore near you. And if you're interested in checking out ChickAdvisor, click any link - it's a bit of a rabbit hole though so be prepared to skim and surf for longer than you expect :)