All products featured on Allure are independently selected by our editors. However, when you buy something through our retail links, we may earn an affiliate commission.Truth be told: I almost never use micellar waters. For the uninitiated, micellar water is a combination of purified water; hydrating ingredients, such as glycerin; and low concentrations of extremely mild surfactants, according to cosmetic chemist Joseph Cincotta. The molecules in the surfactants form micelles, which adhere to your cotton round or pad and attract dirt and oil as you sweep it across your face.Despite being convenient, no-rinse, and typically gentle, micellar waters and cleansing wipes are unfortunately too harsh for my sensitive eye area. Oftentimes, I experience redness, irritation, and crusty, dried-up outer corners. Yeah, it’s not ideal.Because of this, I recently visited a dermatologist pre-COVID-19 outbreak, and she prescribed me a cream that helped a little, but I noticed that my eyes would only get irritated after using micellar water and cleansing wipes to remove my eye makeup. Those no-rinse formulas, in combination with the harsh tugging of the skin (whether with a cotton pad or the wipe itself) I need to remove mascara and waterproof liner, is why I stick to a double-cleansing routine. Both my oil and water-based cleansers (I’m currently using Tatcha’s Pure One Step Camellia Cleansing Oil and KraveBeauty’s Matcha Hemp Hydrating Cleanser) are super gentle and melt away my makeup without any tugging.Courtesy of Sarah Han for Allure
All this to say, I was quite surprised after trying out Drunk Elephant’s newest launch, the E-Rase Milki Micellar Water — and actually liking it. Whereas a lot of micellar waters stop at glycerin, E-Rase Milki’s slightly thicker, milky texture is derived from a blend of moisturizing ceramides, plant oils (marula, baobab, and wild melon seed), and vitamin E. This nourishing cocktail left my skin feeling soothed and soft after I gently swiped the micellar water across my face on a cotton round. And moreover, the formula created a more luxurious experience I don’t typically associate with micellar waters.But the real test is whether or not it irritates my eyes. I applied some basic eye shadow, gel eyeliner, and mascara and hesitantly swiped away, expecting my eyes to start burning at any moment — but it never happened. I had to use two cotton pads, but E-Rase Milki cleanly removed all of my mascara. And I was very delighted I wouldn’t have to put myself on an eye makeup ban for the next five days due to sensitivity. I then decided to test the efficiency on liquid eyeliner — in this case, Tarte’s Double Take Eyeliner — and it worked really well, as you can see. It took both sides of a cotton round, but I can live with that.Courtesy of Sarah Han for Allure
It’s formulated with gentle surfactants and emollients and rings in at a pH of 5, which ranks just below our skin’s natural pH of 5.5. When skin deviates from that number, “harmful bacteria could grow, triggering inflammation and skin conditions, such as acne, eczema, and rosacea,” Rachel Nazarian, a board-certified dermatologist based in New York City, previously told Allure. Many other brands don’t disclose their pH levels, so I suspect — and this is just a hunch — some of the micellar waters I’ve had bad experiences with have either too high or too low pHs.Since I’m not wearing as much makeup during work from home life, sometimes just sunscreen, E-Rase Milki is a lovely first-step cleanser. While it did a great job removing all of my Supergoop Glowscreen, a tinted sunscreen, I’d personally follow up with a gentle foaming cleanser. But, in the future, if I feel lazy, I’d be OK with just using this one product as my sole cleansing step.Courtesy of Sarah Han for Allure
To sum it up, if I didn’t have access to my usual double-cleansing products, I’d trust Drunk Elephant’s E-Rase Milki Micellar Water to remove all of my makeup and sunscreen — and gently do so. But for most occasions, I’m happy with it as a first cleansing step. My eyes are, too.You can buy Drunk Elephant’s E-Rase Milki Micellar Water for $28 at sephora.com* or drunkelephant.com now.*It’s a Sephora app exclusive for today only, and officially launches on sephora.com on July 2.Now read more on makeup removers and cleansers:Now watch our editor in chief’s entire nightime routine:Follow Sarah Han on Instagram and Twitter.