Happy Monday, today I want to kick the week off with a review of a product I’ve had stashed away for a short while. This is the Superdrug Optimum PhytoHydrate Anti-Dehydration Birch Water, which has recently replaced my previous micellar water. As the brand name suggests, this is a Superdrug exclusive, and can be found at full price for £4.99. At this price point, this is quite affordable compared to some other micellar waters on the market, although it’s only 200ml as opposed to some brands that sell 400ml bottles which can make slightly higher prices more worth while. However, a lot of the brands that do this aren’t cruelty-free brands, so some of these options aren’t available if you pursue a cruelty-free cosmetic experience as well.
This was a purchase I made preempting my previous micellar water being used up, so I bought this when I had already gone cruelty-free. Superdrug’s own-brands have been mostly a pleasant experience for me, although I do have some specific products of theirs that don’t quite work for me. Knowing this, I picked this up curious how this product would perform during the ‘winter’ times. However, the UK has had an extremely mild winter this year, so right now, my review is going to be a bit more generalised, although I will edit in an update if we do see some more conventionally winter weather in the next couple of months.
So the claims, on the front of the bottle you can see that it claims to:
The latter two are what I expect from basically any micellar water, as the cleansing aspect is what micellar waters should be doing, and revitalising as a positive side effect of the product. The hydrating aspect is what intrigued me as I don’t find most micellar waters to be ‘hydrating’ per se, but usually not dehydrating or tightening. So my mind was mixed between “interesting…” and “let’s see about that.”
There are more claims on the back, which unfortunately I couldn’t photograph because of the slim shape of the bottle. So I apologise for the large block of text in its place:
“Who is this range for?
The Superdrug Optimum PhytoHydrate range consists of specially formulated products that immediately comfort and replenish the skin’s moisture levels, helping to improve the signs of ageing caused by dehydration.
What is PhytoHydrate Micellar Tonic?
PhytoHydrate contains moisture-intensive Nordic Birch Water sustainably tapped from Silver Birch Trees. Birch Water is recognised as a pure, potent anti-ageing ingredient by Nordic women. It leaves skin noticeably cleansed, pampered and with a radiant appearance.
What are the benefits?
This Micellar Tonic Water with moisture intensive Birch Water is perfect even for the most sensitive skin, providing very gentle cleansing and purification. It leaves skin feeling smooth, comforted and revitalised.
Birch Water is proven to have a moisturising and toning effect, helping to boost skin’s vitality for a comforted, supple and radiant complexion.
Pro-Vitamin B5 is renowned for its moisturising and conditioning effect on the skin.”
There’s a lot of information here so I’m going to talk about the parts that stood out to me. First of all, the emphasis on “moisture-intensive” throughout their description for this product really made me keep more of an eye out on how moisturising it is for my skin. Another is the emphasis on being suitable for sensitive skin, which alongside having oily skin, my skin does also fall into this category. So I will be reviewing this micellar water with these two things in mind together, since I find they should complement each other nicely and have a positive effect on the skin.
So I use this as my makeup remover as I am currently enjoying using micellar waters as a mess-free method for removing makeup. I’ve been really curious about products like Banila Co Clean It Zero Cleansing Balm and other balm-type formulas, but they look like a messy process and I prefer to confine as much of my skincare routine to my vanity rather than the bathroom.
One factor I’m a little bit upset about in my brief use of this product, is how quickly I’m working through the bottle. I’ve been using it for roughly three weeks, and I’m just shy of a quarter of the way through the bottle. This rate should slow down as I’ve pulled in a new eye makeup remover product which I’ll review in the future, so as of around 4-5 days ago, this is now only used to wash my base products off, so I’ve extended it’s lifespan in my routine significantly.
As far as the formula goes, I find it has a fresh birch-scent, which seems to be a combination of the birch water itself, and the existence of Parfum that sits about halfway on the ingredient list. As someone sensitive to fragrances, this initially caught me off guard and was uncomfortable when used near my eyes, but when used only on my face to wash away concealer, blush etc, it’s much less noticeable and no longer an irritation. If you have sensitivities to fragrance as well, I encourage you to take this into consideration, and use your knowledge of your personal sensitivities to make as informed decision as possible.
My experiences have been a bit mixed otherwise: at first, the claim that it was moisturising seemed like a huge lie. My skin frequently felt tight and not hydrated after using it at first, but in the past week, I’ve found that’s become less frequent and the tight-feeling no longer happens. I’m not sure what factor has made this change, but I do think using this product for around a month is a good idea if you do purchase it, to see how your skin truly reacts. While I can’t say with certainty, I suspect that the combination of my skin being stressed from traveling, my disrupted routine and changing products a little bit the past month provoked my skin to be a bit more sensitive and reactive, and it’s in the past week that I’m seeing my skin settle down again as my routine is becoming more regular, my skincare routine is becoming more consistent again, and my health is in a slightly better place.
During the phase I did use this on my eyes, it was slightly too much for my eyes, and left them feeling a bit tight and sore, so if you’re prone to having particularly sensitive eyelids, bear this in mind. However, if your skin isn’t sensitive, this micellar water does a brilliant job removing the waterproof eye makeup I wear. I tested this on my waterproof eyeliner pencil which is usually stubborn to remove, but it did come off with relative ease when using this product. I don’t do this anymore because of my skin’s reaction, but I wanted to make sure I didn’t forget to mention this.
On the rest of the face though, that tightening feeling is much less impactful and lately doesn’t happen, but I think it’s worth noting since the emphasis on ‘hydrating’ and being ‘moisture-intensive’ doesn’t feel true for me. I’m curious what this is like for non-sensitive skin types though, although they claim it’s suitable for sensitive skin types. I can’t use this as a micellar water and night toner in one sort of step: I always need to use another toning step after, but I don’t mind this as it keeps my night time skincare routine as consistent as possible. My skin seems happiest when I keep things consistent and abide by a routine, so for me this isn’t really a con, but if you’re looking to limit your skincare steps, I can understand why this is a con for you.
Overall, this is a product I feel sort of ‘meh’ about. It’s not a bad product, but my initial difficulties have dampened my experience with it a little bit. I think it’s worth a look at without a doubt if you don’t have sensitive skin or you’re not bothered by fragrances, as it does do its job very well. But I do place a higher priority on how my nose and skin react to smells because scents that upset me not only upset my skin, but can upset my stomach – often causing nausea. This specific product didn’t give me nausea but it made me anxious when I first started using the product. Knowing myself, I know I’ll always be nervous that it might make me nauseous, but that’s something I hold myself accountable for and not the product. It’s just a specific aspect of my mental health that I know well about myself and I don’t think it’s fair to blame the product. However, I think it’s worth mentioning otherwise I think it’s withholding a part of my thinking that might make my review seem more negative than can otherwise be justified. I think with time my opinion will learn more positive though and I want to mention that before I end this review.
Thank you so much for reading my post today, it really means a lot to me to receive your support. I hope you are happy and healthy, and I’ll speak to you again soon.