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 “MyBeautyDiary-CleansingWater_stockis 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.

The Experiment!

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.

MyBeautyDairy_SonandPark_Cleansing Water Battle (1)
Cleansing Water Battle Results in Makeup Removal

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
Mineral Oil None None
Parabens None Yes: Methylparaben,  Butylparaben, Ethylparaben, Isobutylparaben, Propylparaben.
Fragrance None None

pH Level

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.

MyBeautyDairy_SonandPark_Cleansing Water Battle pH results
This is perhaps the deciding factor for my recommendation. High pH, OUT!


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.

MyBeautyDairy Ultra Cleansing Water pH Level 6-6.5
Just misses the 5.5 pH mark. MBD is in between a 6.0 – 6.5

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)

MyBeautyDairy_SonandPark_Cleansing Water Battle (8)
Don’t quit your day job in sheet masks.

MyBeautyDairy_SonandPark_Cleansing Water Battle (7)

MyBeautyDairy_SonandPark_Cleansing Water Battle (6)

MyBeautyDairy_SonandPark_Cleansing Water Battle (5)





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.

Son and Park Beauty Water ph results
The next Holy Water after SK II’s First Essence. pH level of 5.0!

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.

Son and Park Beauty Water stockpile pic - THE PRECIOUS!
Already have a stockpile of MY PRECIOUS. Obsessed much?

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)

Comment Below!

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.

  • I actually don’t usually use cleansing water. This is another beauty procedure that I really want to explore because until your post, I did not know what cleansing water was. Thank you for this thorough post. I really love how you included the information about ph. This is so important. I really don’t want to miss the next Peach and Lily sample sale or the next Seoulcialite Box so that I can try out different Korean brands. I also love the table comparison. Would you be willing to do a post about the products that you use your ph testing kit for and your procedure for testing them? Also, are you going to Generation beauty in NYC?

    • Hi! Thanks for the compliments! That’s so sweet of you! I got my pH testing strips only this summer and have yet to use these “like an expert” (for example, using it for cleansers that require the addition of water to make it lather). But as soon as I feel comfortable in writing a post on pH testing, I’ll definitely write a thorough one!

      I didn’t buy a ticket to Gen Beauty and wish I could go! I found out about it too late! Will you be going?

  • I generally use Clinique or Sephora makeup remover..of the oily and creamy kind for my first step. But that just leaves more oil residue I realize.

    • It’s not bad to use either of those products as makeup removers but you should definitely double-cleanse to make sure all traces of sweat, pollution, spf and sebum are removed to make the rest of your products absorb better into your skin. Those makeup removers shouldn’t replace proper cleansing so as long as you are washing away leftover debris with a pH balanced cleanser, you’re on the right track. (There’s something so satisfying in seeing extra dirt left on the cotton pad from my Beauty Waterrrr).

  • I’d been curious about the MBD. I’m going to take it off my to-buy list. I already have a slightly alkaline + cheap cleansing water in the Simple.

    About the Son & Park Beauty Water, I’m so happy it worked out for you and boyfie! I’m so tempted by it, but I know that my skin doesn’t like papaya enzymes and it for sure hates alcohol denat. that high on the ingredients list. It kind of kills me inside because that packaging and the brand just SPEAK to me.

    I wanted to add that I really like how you call out fragrance, and preservatives in your chart. I do hope people don’t shy away from the Son & Park based on the parabens though, as they are used in such tiny amounts and are often necessary to make sure products stay untainted and unspoiled for a longer time, esp with such a huge bottle.

    Anyways loved this detailed post and creative test between the two waters. Thank you!!

    • What pH does the Simple one measure at? I’m wondering if Bioderma is pH balanced now too! Not all cleansing waters are the same.

  • I’ve been dying to try the Son & Park Beauty Water ever since it popped up on SokoGlam. Sad to have missed the Peach & Lily sample sail but will definitely be picking this up from SG asap! Great review CC <3

  • oh, I love MBD cleansing water – it is my holy grail! I guess my skin can take it! son & park – can’t use – allergic to rose. I didn’t understand why son & park has so many ingredients but after reading your review, I now know why – it is more than just a cleansing water.

    I will never give up my MBD 😀

  • Thank you for such a detailed and insightful post! Really answered all my queries and even educated me about the importance of pH balance! Thanks again!

    • Thanks so much for the comment! I don’t know what I’m doing right (or wrong) if I don’t get feedback so thanks for just taking the time to let me know! I rarely declare that something is “holy grail” for me so this really means that it’s a star product in my pov. Hope to see you come back to the blog!

  • CC

    Hello! First time reading your blog, due to high interest in the Beauty Water. I’m definitely going to buy this, it seems perfect, even the parabens in it, haha!

    I don’t know why America sells it for $30, when the original price in Korea is 25000 won which equals to about $20.. Therefore it actually isn’t double the price than MBD, which should be worth mentioning, since there is a lot that would travel to Korea to buy skincare directly “from the source” instead 🙂

    This is the case with many brands in US, for example, Whamisa: the Real Kelp Mask original price is 7-9000 won, which is only 5-7 dollars, when Glow Recipe sells it for $13.

    Now I understand it has to be more expensive due to shipping and other criterias, but here in Sweden, Whamisa retails for almost exactly the same price as the original one and it isn’t fake. Kinda annoying and at the very least, annoying.

    • CC

      *at the very least, weird

    • Wow you’re so lucky that Swedish prices are quite close to the Korean Won! Yea lots of items are marked up here in the States because most items are distributed rather than sold straight from the companies themselves and even then, there’s still markup because well, there are consumers who are willing to pay it. There are actually a few more distributors coming onto the scene and are now selling Beauty Water as well for $25 (at, but I’m not sure of they are shipping to Sweden) so there’s hope for competitive pricing! Hope u come back to the blog again!

  • Always wondered about Micellar water. Thanks for this super thorough review! Awesome! I tend to have sensitive, normal to dry skin and was wondering if the Son & Park version would work for me… guess there’s only one way to find out? ;D

    • Thanks! I try to add in the details without dragging on in a post for too long (hopefully). Yes, until you know what may be causing the breakout or irritations, you won’t know until you patch test!

  • Thanks for reviewing these products! Are you still loving the Beauty Water? I have been thinking of purchasing a bottle to use as a pre- and post-gym cleanser, but I have oily, acne-prone skin, so I’m not sure how I will take to it!

    • Haha! I actually just posted a love pic to the Beauty Water on my instagram! It’s definitely still my staple for taking off makeup and grime especially in the corners and folds of my eyes because it’s so gentle. The acne triggers from CosDNA are quite low, ranging from 1-2, but there may be other ingredients that could cause a breakout as you won’t know until you patch test. The pH level is fine for acne-prone skin and the micelles would suck all that oil out of pores (so satisfying) but we won’t know for sure like you said until you get it!

      • Thanks so much for your response! Haha, I need to follow you on Instagram. I created an account just to follow beauty bloggers, and it has caused a series of dangerous hauls…There are just too many amazing things out there. This Beauty Water will be my last purchase for at least the next two months 😛 !

  • Nabilah

    Hi, thank you for your very good and detailed explanation. Makes me wanna buy it quickly. As per mentioned, last steps for face routine was sleeping mask? Is it can apply sleeping mask after put cream? Or put sleeping mask right after cleansing and toner without put face cream?

    • Hi! Thanks for the lovely comment and question! Sleeping Masks are usually the last step you put on after everything else. You can also just skip the face cream (after cleansing and toner) and just use a sleeping mask if you feel it works really well for you. The sleeping mask is supposed to seal everything in and let your products soak in and penetrate so it makes the most sense to wear your serum, essences and creams all BEFORE the sleeping mask.

  • My Beauty Diary products are just hitting Korea (aside from sheet masks, they’ve had those a while now) and I’ve been really tempted by this water. However maybe I’ll have to shun it and go with Son & Park, or do you have anything better that you’ve found since doing this review?

    • BEAUTY WATER. BEAUTY WATER. This is truly my HG, I have NOT found another bae since writing this review!

  • Pingback: Review: Son & Park Beauty Water + Honesty in Blogging()

  • Pingback: Review: Son & Park Beauty Gel – What is This Really? – CECI BEAUTY THERAPY()