• Top 21 Best Japanese Cleansing Waters (Makeup Removers) to Buy Online 2020 - Tried and True! 1
  • Top 21 Best Japanese Cleansing Waters (Makeup Removers) to Buy Online 2020 - Tried and True! 2
  • Top 21 Best Japanese Cleansing Waters (Makeup Removers) to Buy Online 2020 - Tried and True! 3
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Top 21 Best Japanese Cleansing Waters (Makeup Removers) to Buy Online 2020 - Tried and True!

Our editors searched Japanese e-commerce sites (such as @cosme, Amazon, and Rakuten) for the best cleansing water (also known as micellar water). We then chose the 21 most popular products and tested them for the following:

1. Cleansing Power
2. Hydration (that is, how hydrated your skin is after cleansing)
3. Ingredients

We made sure to take into consideration skincare benefits–exfoliation and brightening, for instance–and also talked to a cosmetic R&D specialist about options for folks with sensitive skin. What we ended up with was a definitive list of and buying guide about the best Japanese cleansing waters available online (and in drugstores).
  • Last updated: 10-24-2019
  • 2,935 views
Table of Contents

Top 21 Best Japanese Cleansing Waters to Buy Online 2019

We tried the cleansers out on swaths of makeup. We measured moisture levels. We asked an expert in cosmetic ingredients to pick out options for sensitive skin. And based on how they performed on these tests, we ranked the top 21 Japanese cleansing waters available online.
※Japanese prices for the products are given; they’ve merely been converted into USD for easy viewing.
Japaneseチャコット クレンジングウォーター
Double-CleansingUnnecessary
Eyelash ExtensionsYes
Cleansing5.0
Hydration4.0
Ingredients3.0
Overall Score5.0
2. Bioré Make up Remover Suhada Tsururun Cleansing Water 1

2. Bioré Make up Remover Suhada Tsururun Cleansing Water

$7.31

Japaneseビオレ 素肌つるるんクレンジングウォーター
Double-CleansingUnnecessary
Eyelash ExtensionsYes
Cleansing4.0
Hydration5.0
Ingredients3.0
Overall Score5.0
JapaneseNOV ACアクティブクレンジングリキッド
Double-CleansingNecessary
Eyelash ExtensionsYes
Cleansing4.0
Hydration5.0
Ingredients3.0
Overall Score5.0
JapaneseKoh Gen Do クレンジングウォーター
Double-CleansingUnnecessary
Eyelash ExtensionsYes
Cleansing4.0
Hydration4.0
Ingredients3.0
Overall Score4.0
Japanese菊正宗 Rice Made+ クレンジングローション
Double-CleansingUnnecessary
Eyelash ExtensionsYes
Cleansing5.0
Hydration2.0
Ingredients3.0
Overall Score4.0
JapaneseBEAUCLAIR クレンジングローション
Double-CleansingUnnecessary
Eyelash ExtensionsYes
Cleansing5.0
Hydration2.0
Ingredients3.0
Overall Score4.0
Japanese花印 クレンジングローション
Double-CleansingUnnecessary
Eyelash ExtensionsYes
Cleansing4.0
Hydration3.0
Ingredients4.0
Overall Score4.0
JapaneseBCLクレンジングリサーチ AHAアクアクレンジング
Double-CleansingUnnecessary
Eyelash ExtensionsYes
Cleansing3.0
Hydration5.0
Ingredients3.0
Overall Score3.0
9. Remei Thermal Water Cleansing 1

9. Remei Thermal Water Cleansing

$21.56

Japaneseリメイ ターマルウォータークレンジング
Double-CleansingUnnecessary
Eyelash ExtensionsYes
Cleansing3.0
Hydration5.0
Ingredients3.0
Overall Score3.0
Japaneseオルビス クレンジングリキッド
Double-CleansingNecessary
Eyelash ExtensionsYes
Cleansing4.0
Hydration3.0
Ingredients3.0
Overall Score3.0
Japaneseクリー ふきとり水クレンジング
Double-CleansingUnnecessary
Eyelash ExtensionsYes
Cleansing4.0
Hydration3.0
Ingredients3.0
Overall Score3.0
12. HADALABO Gokujyun Premium Micelle Cleansing 1

12. HADALABO Gokujyun Premium Micelle Cleansing

$7.84

Japanese肌ラボ 極潤プレミアム クレンジング
Double-CleansingUnnecessary
Eyelash ExtensionsYes
Cleansing3.0
Hydration4.0
Ingredients3.0
Overall Score3.0
Japaneseちふれ化粧品 クレンジング リキッド
Double-CleansingUnnecessary
Eyelash ExtensionsYes
Cleansing3.0
Hydration4.0
Ingredients3.0
Overall Score3.0
Japaneseソフティモ クレンジングリキッド ハニーマイルド
Double-CleansingUnnecessary
Eyelash ExtensionsConditional Yes
Cleansing2.0
Hydration5.0
Ingredients4.0
Overall Score5.0
Japaneseビフェスタ クレンジングローション ブライトアップ
Double-CleansingUnnecessary
Eyelash ExtensionsYes
Cleansing3.0
Hydration3.0
Ingredients3.0
Overall Score3.0
Japaneseピュアヴィヴィ クレンジングローション
Double-CleansingUnnecessary
Eyelash ExtensionsYes
Cleansing4.0
Hydration2.0
Ingredients2.0
Overall Score2.0
17. Sing Organic Fermentation Cleansing Water 1

17. Sing Organic Fermentation Cleansing Water

$17.50

JapaneseSing オーガニック発酵クレンジングウォーター
Double-CleansingUnnecessary
Eyelash ExtensionsYes
Cleansing2.0
Hydration4.0
Ingredients2.0
Overall Score2.0
18. Takano Yuri Esthe Fact Cleansing Water 1

18. Takano Yuri Esthe Fact Cleansing Water

$35.03

Japaneseたかの友梨エステファクト クレンジングウォーター
Double-CleansingUnnecessary
Eyelash ExtensionsNo
Cleansing2.0
Hydration4.0
Ingredients2.0
Overall Score2.0
Japaneseビオニスタ クレンジングウォーター
Double-CleansingUnnecessary
Eyelash ExtensionsYes
Cleansing1.0
Hydration4.0
Ingredients3.0
Overall Score1.0
Japaneseデリズム モイストリッチ クレンジングウォーター
Double-CleansingUnnecessary
Eyelash ExtensionsYes
Cleansing1.0
Hydration4.0
Ingredients3.0
Overall Score1.0
Japaneseビフェスタ クレンジングローション モイスト
Double-CleansingUnnecessary
Eyelash ExtensionsYes
Cleansing2.0
Hydration1.0
Ingredients3.0
Overall Score1.0

How We Tested Our Products

We determined that the best water cleansers needed to be powerful enough to remove makeup (even waterproof products), yet gentle enough to keep skin hydrated. They also needed to be compatible with your skin type, whether you be oily, dry, or sensitive.
This is how we tested for those factors.

Test ①: Cleansing Power

Test ①: Cleansing Power
We applied makeup to our arms. We then dispensed the cleansers onto cotton swabs and gently massaged into our skin. We compared the state of our skin before and after cleansing and graded each product on a five-step scale.
We tested using the following cosmetics. In order to give us a better idea of the maximum efficacy of each cleanser, we purposely chose long-wearing items.

  • Waterproof Mascara

  • Eyeshadow

  • Waterproof Eyeliner

  • Lip Tint

  • Liquid Foundation

We found that thicker cleansers that massaged well into skin were most efficient. On the other hand, you shouldn’t expect too much from products that are both thin in texture and don’t contain many surfactants.

Test ②: Hydration

Test ②: Hydration
We used a moisture analyzer to measure water levels in our skin before cleansing and five minutes after cleansing. We then compared the two values and graded all our cleansers on a five-step scale.
Again, thicker cleansers proved to be the most hydrating. They reinforced our skin’s natural barrier, which keeps moisture from escaping. However, many of these same products also contained oils, which could make them unsuitable for those with eyelash extensions.

Test ③: Ingredients

Test ③: Ingredients
We asked a specialist who used to work in cosmetics R&D to analyze all the ingredients lists for us. She then graded each product on a five-step scale, with those she deemed to be safest for sensitive skin earning the highest scores.
※Keep in mind that a low score doesn’t equate to a dangerous product. It simply means that it was judged to be possibly irritating for folks with sensitive skin.
We learned that (generally speaking) the simpler the ingredients list, the better for sensitive skin. Be wary of overly watery products, however, as even the friction that comes from the rubbing of cotton swabs could be irritating. Also be on the lookout for any essential oils or botanical extracts that might be triggers.

Tips on How to Choose Japanese Cleansing Water – Buying Guide

Here are three big things to look out for.

① Do You Need a Lot of Surfactant? Depends on What Makeup You Wear

① Do You Need a Lot of Surfactant? Depends on What Makeup You Wear
More surfactant roughly equates to more cleansing power.
There’s no way to tell exactly how much of a certain ingredient is included in a cleanser, but you can guess. Remember that ingredients are always listed by quantity–from highest to lowest. Therefore, if surfactants are among the first few ingredients, you can assume that the formula’s brimming with them.
If moisturizing ingredients come first, however, then you’ve got yourself a mild cleanser. We recommend you look for something mild if you have sensitive skin, as surfactants can often prove to be irritating. Below, we’ve listed some popular non-ionic surfactants that you can look out for.

  • PEG-6 (カプリル/カプリン酸) グリセリル: PEG-6 (Caprylic/Capric) Glycerides

  • ヤシ油脂肪酸PEG-7グリセリル: PEG-7 Glyceryl Cocoate

② What Other Ingredients Do I Look out for? Depends on Your Skincare Goals

② What Other Ingredients Do I Look out for? Depends on Your Skincare Goals
Many water cleansers act not only as makeup removers but also as toners. That’s why you’ll find a lot of formulas that include skin-healthy ingredients like hyaluronic acid or ceramides.
Course, every product’s different. If you’ve got dry skin, then we recommend searching specifically for hydrating ingredients. If you’re looking to brighten complexion, then look for cleansers that double as exfoliants or peels (which serve to clear away dead skin and unblock pores).
Below are a few skincare ingredients you should get acquainted with.

  • ヒアルロン酸: Hyaluronic Acid

  • BG: Butylene Glycol

  • グリセリン: Glycerin

  • コラーゲン: Collagen

  • セラミド: Ceramides


  • AHA (乳酸・リンゴ酸) : AHA (Lactic Acid, Malic Acid)

  • パパイン酵素: Papain Enzyme

  • ビタミンC誘導体: Vitamin C Derivatives

③ Is There Anything I Need to Avoid? Depends on Your Skin Type

③ Is There Anything I Need to Avoid? Depends on Your Skin Type
Make sure nothing’s going to be too harsh for your skin. There are cleansers with fragrances or ones that contain a whole bunch of botanic extracts. While these ingredients aren’t intrinsically bad, know that formulas that feature multiple botanic extracts can sometimes be irritating when applied to sensitive skin.
Then there are cleansers that are free of preservatives, including parabens. These seem gentle at first glance, but can also include antibacterials like propylene glycol (PG) and 1,2-hexanediol in high concentrations. Products that have these chemicals at the top of their ingredients lists can also prove irritating for certain skin types.
If you have sensitive skin, we heavily recommend conducting a patch test before applying anything to your face.

For Those That Don’t Already Know: What is Cleansing Water?

If you’ve never used cleansing water before, here are a few things you should know.

It’s a Makeup Remover, but with More Features

It’s a Makeup Remover, but with More Features
Cleansing water is a type of cleanser that’s usually watery in texture (go figure) and often comes in a plastic or glass bottle. You apply them as you would apply toner, by wetting a cotton swab and using that to wipe off your makeup.
There are five main types of cleansers in Japan; oil’s said to be the strongest, followed by liquid, gel, cream, then milk. Cleansing water is a subset of liquid cleansers. Many (but not all) are free of oils, which makes them safe for eyelash extensions.
Nowadays, you can find products that don’t need to be followed by a face wash or options that double as toners and serums. These are wildly popular among the new, time-starved generation.

Are Surfactants Safe?

Are Surfactants Safe?
Water cleansers aren’t all water; they wouldn’t work if they were. Most rely on surfactants to provide cleansing power.
Some worry that surfactants are too harmful to use in skincare, but they’re not all bad. Most surfactants present in water cleansers are known as “non-ionic surfactants.” They aid in the emulsification and dissolving of cosmetic products and are considered to be mild and safe.

How to Use Cleansing Water and Be Kind to Your Skin

You’re stuck with the skin you’ve got, so treat it well.

Switch out Your Cotton Pad when You Switch to a New Part of Your Face

Switch out Your Cotton Pad when You Switch to a New Part of Your Face
Remove the makeup around your left eye. Flip the cotton pad over and use the clean side to remove the makeup around your right eye. Then reach for a new cotton pad.
It seems like a waste, but if you’re really set on preserving the state of your skin, make sure that whatever you put to your face is pristine. Try to reuse cotton pads, and all you’re doing is rubbing that gunk back into your skin.
Also, make sure that your cotton pads are soaked through. Any dry patches will rub at your skin, which can irritate and wear it down in the long run.

Use Q-Tips for Any Stubborn Bits

Use Q-Tips for Any Stubborn Bits
Cotton pads and a good cleanser can rid your lids of heavy makeup in a matter of seconds–or most of it. For your lash line, we recommend using a Q-Tip.
Wet the cotton tips with your cleanser, then wipe off any makeup along your lash line by rotating it like a pig on a spit. This will keep you from swiping the same dirty surface back and forth across your skin.

Wipe off Any Sticky Residue

Wipe off Any Sticky Residue
Generally speaking, water cleansers don’t need to be followed by face wash. But if you’re worried about any surfactants that may be left over or you just don’t like the feel of residue on your skin, then feel free to rinse off with warm water. Or you could use toner to wipe off your face.
Water cleansers are mild by nature, but because you’re also rubbing at your skin with a cotton pad, the act of cleansing itself can be harsh. If you just switched over to water cleansing and have sensitive skin, pay close attention the first few weeks and look out for any signs of irritation.
You could also start off by alternating between your old and new cleanser, gradually switching over.

Finish up the Rest of Your J-Beauty Skincare Routine with These Products

Finish up the Rest of Your J-Beauty Skincare Routine with These Products
Cleansing’s only the start of your skincare routine. Cleansers are often followed by face wash (optional, but recommended if you have oily skin), then toner, serum, lotion, and cream. Learn more about all these products below.

Summary

We rounded up members from our editing department, purchased the 21 most popular Japanese cleansing waters, and tested them all.
Water cleansers can be powerful or mild, thick or thin, double as exfoliants, toners, or face wash. Take some time to figure out where your priorities lie, and you’re sure to find a cleanser that doesn’t disappoint.
Original by Rio Sasaki; Translation by Jasmine Li

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