Someone had asked on a beauty forum if anyone has had experience with the My Beauty Diary Ultra Cleansing Water and I actually bought a travel-sized bottle in the summer but never opened it, until now. Naturally the question is usually “is this worth buying?” There’s a ton of cleansing waters out there like La Roche Posay, Bioderma, Avene, Simple, Vichy, etc, etc. Well I wanted to test the only two bottles of cleansing water I have against each other (and they are both Asian brands) to see if the Son & Park Beauty Water was worth its price tag of $30 or if the My Beauty Diary Ultra Cleansing Water did a fine job for it’s $18 retail price.
What is Cleansing Water?
Cleansing Water is also known as micellar water (pronounced my-cell-ler)*. The key ingredients are micelles which are oil molecules suspended in soft water. The micelles are actually attracted to dirt, oil and makeup and makes for a very gentle and mild cleanser used at the very beginning of your routine to take off makeup, during the cleansing phase in your routine. It can also be used after your normal cleanser to pick up any makeup leftover like a toner (but still follow-up with a toner so your skin can absorb all the skin goodies you’re going to feed it). More on how to insert cleansing water into your routine below.
The nitty gritty science can be explained in this great post from Lab Muffin when I wanted to know what the hell cleansing water was. It’s not JUST water! They are basically very diluted forms of soapy water that act as magnets to dirt/oil. They would ideally be at a pH between 4.5 and 5.5 in order to balance the skin’s natural pH level and because it’s so gentle, you don’t need to rinse off with your sink water at all. In fact, if you rinse off with water, it would actually disrupt your skin’s pH since water has a pH of 7.0. Cleansing water is not meant to replace a step in your routine, rather it’s an addition to your routine.
Cleansing waters have been around for about a century with a history stemming from France when women needed something gentle in place of France’s hard tap water. They only started to make a splash in the United States in recent years so let’s take a look at why some cleansing waters became Holy Grails for some women!
Where Do I Use Cleansing Water in My Skincare Routine?
There are a few ways you can insert Cleansing Water, use what you think work best for your routine as is MY first time using cleansing water too. Cleansing Water is placed in the Cleansing category but I would divide that into two parts, Makeup Removing and then Cleansing. Makeup Removing is where you simply remove the makeup/oil/dirt and Cleansing is where you provide a fresh, pH balanced canvas for the treatment/moisturization part of your routine to work better. I’ll suggest two ways to use it:
A.) Cleansing Water > Cleansing Oil > Cleanser > First Essence > Toner > Ampoule/Serum > Emulsion > Face Cream > Sleeping Mask
B.) Cleansing Oil > Cleanser > Cleansing Water > First Essence > Toner > Ampoule/Serum > Emulsion > Face Cream > Sleeping Mask
Even though in this experiment I remove makeup with cleansing water (method A.), I’ve been using method B. because I like my cleansing oil to do the heavy-duty makeup lifting (oil dissolves oil). I use a facial cleanser to wash away anything else and cleansing water to pick up the absolute remaining particles. You know what you use on your face more than I do. When I have especially waterproof makeup on, I’ll use a separate eye makeup remover then cleansing oil to dissolve those spider legs I call my lashes.
I went out with a full face of makeup and wiped half my face with the My Beauty Diary and the other half with Son & Park’s Beauty Water. I wiped until I was satisfied with what I saw on the cottons and went over it again to see if it left anything behind. As a final step, I used Missha’s Cleansing Oil on two separate cottons and wiped both sides to see if the cleansing oil picked up any last bits after three tries with the cleansing waters.
I have to say, it was a close battle. I was thinking that the Son & Park would win by a landslide but the difference looks minimal. You can see from Try 2 and 3 and the Son & Park water picked up slightly less makeup from the My Beauty Diary. From the Cleansing Oil cottons, both have about the same slight tinge of beige from my Missha Perfect M Cover BB Cream. Son & Park wins by an inch in the makeup removing category.
Price, pH Level and Ingredient Comparison
I’m using the retail prices at my local kbeauty store. Although I bought the 100ml travel size for the My Beauty Diary ($4.99), I’ll use the full-size price since I’m comparing the price to the full-size Son & Park. Son & Park is almost twice the cost of the My Beauty Diary per ml! My Beauty wins in being more affordable but not in pH level…
|My Beauty Diary||Son & Park|
|Price||$18 USD||$30 USD|
|Size||400 ml / 13.3 fl. oz.||340 ml|
|Price per Unit||4.5 cents per ml||8.82 cents per ml|
|pH Level||6.0 – 6.5 (slightly more alkaline)||5.0 (pH balanced)|
|Alcohol||None||Alcohol Denat. and Benzyl Alcohol|
|Parabens||None||Yes: Methylparaben, Butylparaben, Ethylparaben, Isobutylparaben, Propylparaben.|
I was surprised to see that the My Beauty Diary has a higher pH! It has the lime green color from the 6.0 but the bright blue from the 7.0 level. I’ll call it 6.0 – 6.5 but you can see from my pictures that the Son & Park wins in the pH level category again. You’ll see that the Son & Park is placed squarely as a 5.0 in pH but My Beauty Diary is in between a 6.0 and 7.0 – so 6.5 if you will? The skin is naturally at a 4.5 – 5.5 pH level so it’s best to not disturb that natural pH level of your skin. Anything higher than a 5.5 can irritate the skin barrier greatly depending on your skin type.
My Beauty Diary advertises that it is 4-Free of Parabens, Mineral Oil, Alcohol, and Fragrance and while Son & Park does not have any mineral oil or added fragrance, it certainly does have parabens and two types of alcohol in it. If you’re allergic to alcohol, unfortunately do not use Son & Park. I personally don’t have anything against parabens but those who do, Son & Park has five listed (see full ingredients list below). It’s hard to say which really “wins” in the ingredients category because while Son & Park has a ton of botanical ingredients, you need parabens to act as preservatives to prevent molding and bacteria from forming. My Beauty Diary has a much shorter list but with beneficial ingredients as well including broccoli extract, soy amino acids, aloe extract, allantoin, and yeast extracts. I suppose the winner of this category will go to who the user is what that individual skin type is like.
My Beauty Diary Ultra Cleansing Water
I was looking further into this new Ultra Cleansing line from My Beauty Diary and they slightly rebranded it from “Ultra Cleansing Water” to “Micellar Cleansing Water” just to be clear in their marketing that it indeed has micelles in it. This launched earlier this year and lots of folks are eager to try something else besides sheet masks from the popular Taiwanese company.
Unfortunately I will NOT recommend the cleansing water to anyone who cares that the pH level in their products should be 4.5 – 5.5 or if they have serious acne. The bacteria in acne-prone sistas breed ideally in environments with a pH from 6.0 – 6.5 (bacteria breeds on all levels of pH but slightly more when it’s 6.0 – 6.5).
The bottle says that it is gentle enough for all skin types but with a pH of 6.0-6.5 it will disrupt your skin’s natural pH level by just a bit past the ideal 5.5 pH. Even though appeared on Taiwan’s 女人我最大 (Beauty Queen) TV program (similar to Korea’s Get it Beauty), I won’t encourage the hype. The pH is not high enough for me to trash the product, but it just misses the mark on getting the perfect low-pH.
Ingredients: water, PEG-6 caprylic/capric glycerides, propylene glycol, dipropylene glycol, phenoxyethnol, propanediol, chlorphenesin, saccharide isomerate, bioflavonoids brassica oleracea ilalica (broccoli) extract, aloe barbadensis leaf extract, allantoin, yeast extract, soy amino acids, iodopropynyl butycarbamate (CosDNA analysis)
Son & Park Beauty Water
I bought this – dare I say – Holy Grail product from Peach and Lily NYC Sample Sale in August and I’m LOVING it so far. This will soon be available at Peach and Lily but it’s available NOW (as well their Beauty Gel) in Soko Glam! There was a sneak peek at new arrivals in the Peach and Lily sample sale and knew I had to get some of this “Holy Water” – which is what prompted me to look deeply into cleansing waters in general. The Son & Park brand is also the love child from two acclaimed makeup artists in Korea. The duo were the first to bring in BB Cream to create the dewy and radiant look. Beauty Water was made for model clients and now it’s accessible for anyone who can afford it.
What drew me is that it’s much more than cleansing water, it’s a multi-tasker that also exfoliates and puts hydration back into your skin. I use this as my exfoliating toner after oil cleansing and facial cleansing since its multi-functional. It has willow bark and papaya extracts (natural exfoliators and anti-inflammatory) that will lift away dead skin cells to reveal radiant skin. AND it’s topped off with a lovely miracle pH level of 5! Although it’s twice as expensive as the My Beauty Water, you’re getting back your money’s worth in skin benefits.
My skin tingles after I use the Beauty Water because of the natural chemical exfoliation from the willow bark and papaya extracts. I even got my boyfriend to start using the Beauty Water (oily and acne-prone) and even he said that the Beauty Water made a difference in healing his pimple scars after Day 3! YAY! For my skin type (normal to dry), the Son & Park’s Beauty Water is my winner and worth the extra money.
Ingredients: Water, Rose Damascena Flower Water, Citrus Aurantium Dulcis Orange Fruit Extract, Hamamelis Virginiana Water, Butylene Glycol, Propanediol PEG-7 Caprylic/Capric Glycerides, Alcohol Denat., Xylitol, Phenoxyethanol, Decyl Glucoside, PEG-40 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, PPG-26-Buteth-26, Sodium Chloride, Sodium Citrate, Citric Acid, Citrus Aurantium Bergamia (Bergamot) Fruit Oil, Olea Europaea (Olive) Fruit Oil, Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Orange) Peel, Citrus Granolis Grapefruit Peel oil, Lavandula Angustifolia (Lavender) Oil, Cedrus Atlantica Bark Oil, Pelargonium Graveolens Flower Oil, Lavandula Angustifolia (Lavender) Water, Carica Papaya (Papaya) Fruit Water, Copaifera Officinalis (Balsam Copaiba) Resin, Jasminum Officinale (Jasmine), Illicium Verum (Anise) Fruit/Seed Oil, Sodium Lactate, Sodium PCA, Artemisia Absinthium Extract, Rose Flower Oil, Propylene Glycol, Thuja Occidentalis Leaf Extract, Ferula Galbaniflua (Galbanum) Resin Oil, Malic Acid Sucrose Urea, Tartaric Acid, Origanum Majorana Leaf Extract, Lavandula Angustifolia (Lavender) Flower/Leaf/Stem Extract, Melissa Officinalis Leaf Extract, Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Leaf Extract, Salix Nigra (Willow) Bark Extract, Pelargonium Graveolens Extract, Mentha Rotundifolia Leaf Extract, Origanum Vulgare Leaf Extract, Eucalyptus Globulus Leaf Extract, Melaleuca Alternifolia (Tea Tree) Leaf Extract, Mentha Piperita (Peppermint) Leaf Extract, Thymus Vulgaris (Thyme) Leaf Extract, Mentha Spicata Flower/Leaf/Stem Extract, Benzyl Alcohol, Chlorphenesin, Methylparaben, Dehydroacetic Acid, Butylparaben, Ethylparaben, Isobutylparaben, Propylparaben. (CosDNA analysis)
Did the results surprise you? In what way? Which would you want to try or would you want to get a European brand instead? How long have you been cleansing water yourself? Do tell!
*Edit 2/6/16: Pronunciation has been corrected. I had the incorrect pronunciation at the time of publishing.