I am always testing new techniques or looking for alternatives in my skincare routine to cut down on my skin dryness. My longest standing skincare modification has been replacing a traditional cleanser in my AM routine with micellar water. My face definitely thanks me for having one less harsh wash with tap water per day. My long-standing micellar water favorite has been the cult classic, Bioderma; though I like to test new micellar waters on occasion!
A’True [Short for A True Lady, A True Moment] is a South Korean brand with a niche market. They combine old-world French ingredients with modern Korean cosmetic formulation to produce skincare fit for European Royalty of the Renaissance. The brand has a contract with the oldest French black tea producer, an ingredient that serves as the base for their cosmetics instead of water. Another feature of A’True products that does not get mentioned as often are the natural ingredients, many accompanied with organic & sustainable certifications.
While some of the ingredients may be European, the brand vision is definitely an Eastern & pre-teen interoperation of royalty. The pink packaging, the princess themes & the price mark-ups can be a turnoff. Despite my disfavor of everything cutesy, A’True has managed to become one of my top favorite Korean brands based upon their corporate mission alone. A’True is completely cruelty-free, they do not even export to mainland China where animal testing is mandatory. The brand is outspoken against sexism & racism, particularly the latter is not something I come across frequently in non-USA brands. Their products have a fully sustainable life-cycle from their ingredient harvesting to manufacturing to product packaging.
This is likely the better question: What is micellar water?
It is an enhanced water formulated with cleansing molecules, effectively acting as a cleanser & make-up remover. It is a great alternative cleanser for anyone with dry or sensitive skin issues, also for lazy days when you do not feel like double cleansing in the evening.
The follow-up question: How does this witchcraft water work?
This type of product will not be effective by manual hand application. You will need either a cotton pad or cloth & apply the product to that surface before wiping your face. I know this is not the most sustainable type of product & I am the Queen Sustainability Shitlord, but micellar waters are just that good that I indulge in some wasteful behavior.
My personal question: Is there a difference between micellar & cleansing waters?
I noticed when I discussed this type of product with other skincare addicts, many had a different attitude towards cleansing & micellar waters as if they were completely different product types. So I decided to do some research into it to see if there any differences & short answer: Nope, absolutely none.
This type of product can be used to replace any AM or PM cleansing routine, it can be effective enough to replace double cleansing with the right product. I personally use this as my daily AM cleanser or after a sweaty workout. I have very dry skin with some mild sensitivities & I find traditional cleansing twice a day to be too much for my skin. I noticed I am much less prone to flakiness & dryness since I have switched to cleansing waters for one of my daily routines.
The texture of all cleansing waters is basically the same. The intent of cleansing water is supposed to be water-but-better. It is extremely fluid & difficult to control without use of a cotton pad. It is also a clear liquid, only the packaging of this particular product is pink.
While the smell is mild & dissipates quickly, it is definitely floral with hints of citrus. It smells more fresh than matronly perfume that typically accompanies highly fragrant skincare.
The packaging is functional, which is the most important aspect to me. The plastic is very durable & never leaked so it would travel with ease. The bottle has a hinged cap with a pinhead sized opening so not too much product is dispensed.
While the A’True aesthetic is not nearly as outlandish as Etude House, the packaging is still feminine & pink without being gaudy. Definitely not my style.
This is one of those products that I wanted to dislike in the same way I want to dislike the Hourglass Veil Mineral Makeup Primer: I consider the price too expensive for the type of product, but the product is ridiculously good.
The ingredient list is excellent. A’True is a sustainable & transparent company. Another major feat is this cleansing water is 1 of only 2 micellar waters that do not bother my eyes.
This cleansing water is good at its job, it can remove nearly all of my makeup. I am not someone that studies the ingredient lists of my makeup closely so I rely on skincare to keep my face healthy & makeup is my warpaint. I wear a lot of waterproof, or stubborn to remove, makeup & I rely on double cleansing methods for my PM routine so I am always impressed when a single cleanser can remove even the majority of my makeup.
Pictured below, the image on the right is after just 2 swipes of A’True Sweet Song Cleansing Water. I only cleansed half my hand because I wanted this to be a comparison image. It was not very difficult to remove all the makeup, though it did involve mild skin tugging & faint traces of my liquid lipstick were never completely removed by the A’True cleansing water.
As I mentioned earlier in this post, I only use micellar water in my AM routine so is not a major issue.
The real question: Has A’True Sweet Song converted me from my Holy Grail, Bioderma Sensibo?
Definitely not. There is one feature I really do not like about the A’True cleansing water. The Bioderma leaves my face feeling clean & fresh, A’True leaves a slight film on top of my skin. Since A’True has tea with tannins as the base of the product, it leaves me feeling like I still have something on my face. I know the ingredients are good, I just wish it left my skin feeling clean instead of weighed down.
There are 1 mild acne trigger & no irritants according to CosDNA.
|*Camellia Sinensis Leaf Water(87%), PEG-6 Caprylic/Capric Glycerides, Glycerin, 1,2-Hexanediol, Panthenol, Salix nigra (Willow) Bark Extract, Vaccinium Myrtillus Fruit Extract, Saccharum Officinarum (Sugar Cane) Extract, **Verbena Officinalis Leaf Extract(17.2458mg), Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Orange) Fruit Extract, Citrus Limon (Lemon) Fruit Extract, Butylene Glycol, Acer Saccharum (Sugar Maple) Extract, **Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Orange) Flower Extract(2.613mg), Water, Disodium EDTA, Fragrance|
Plot Twist: The “Black Tea” Cleansing Water base is actually green tea! Definitely not mad about it though. It is a potent antioxidant that calms inflammation, prevents collagen breakdown & reduces UV damage.
It can be derived from lipids or synthetically produced, but it is a naturally occurring substance that helps repair the outer skin barrier. This ingredients works to soften skin so other hydrating ingredients can more easily penetrate the skin.
Bilberry – Antioxidant with anti-inflammatory benefits [Study is from current country residence, hey-o!]
Willow Bark – Most commonly known as a form of salicylic acid, or BHA, with anti-inflammatories
Sugar Cane – AHA may be derived from this, extremely limited research indicates it may be used as an anti-inflammatory
Rosemary – Antioxidant, though strong scent may cause skin or irritations
Sugar Maple – Limited modern studies exist, but was traditionally used on cuts so this theoretically has anti-bacterial & anti-inflammatory properties
*This product contains a number of citrus extracts, which may be irritating to anyone with sensitivities
Product Price: $36.97 USD / 10.1oz = $3.66 USD per Ounce
When I moved from North America to Europe, I had to purge a lot of skincare & I had a “Treat Yo” Self” mini skincare shopping spree once I was settled in as a reward for only having like 12 mental breakdowns before the move. This item was included in the “Treat Yo’ Self” Spree because regular, sane Jessica would laugh at this price for a cleansing water. Even my fancy, high-end French brand of cleansing water after import taxes in the USA was half of this price.
Cleansing water at least stays on your face so the price is slightly more justifiable than a wash-off cleanser, but this type of product is likely to evaporate on your skin.
The A’True cleansing water is easily accessible online in the USA & EU. I do find myself going through more of this product than I usually do with other cleansing waters so it will not last as long, based upon my current use I would estimate a bottle will last me around 3 – 4 months with daily use.
Rating: 3.5 / 5
I want to love this product more than I actually do. The ingredient list has some peaks of interest & it is 1 of only 2 cleansing waters I have tried that doesn’t bother my sensitive eyes, but the performance does not leave my face feeling clean & I am not completely impressed with the entirety of the ingredient list. I do think A’True is a great company & I love supporting them, but I wouldn’t repurchase this specific product.