A Very Scientific Experiment: I Washed My Face with Bottled Water for a Week

Rachel Krause
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French model Aymeline Valade: Not a fan of tap water.(Melodie Jeng/Getty Images)

French model Aymeline Valade: Not a fan of tap water.
(Melodie Jeng/Getty Images)

I’m devoutly anti-tap water, and I promise that the reality of that statement is not half as ridiculous as it sounds. If you’re well versed in the countless “French beauty secrets” with which the Internet runneth over, then this nugget of wisdom may already sound familiar: It is a sin to even think about putting tap water on your face.

This is not because tap water is for peons but because there’s a ton of stuff that comes out of the faucet—including chlorine, fluoride, heavy metals, and minerals—that’s drying, irritating, and potentially damaging to your skin. It’s that simple. Hard water, like you’ll find in Paris, is especially bad.

On a whim, and also because it was cold in my bathroom and I hate splashing water on my face, I swapped it out for micellar waters and cream cleansers I could wipe off with a cotton pad, sparing myself the whole hovering-over-the-sink situation entirely. Within a week, my “imperfections” up and vanished. The tiny red bumps scattered over my cheeks disappeared, my pores looked smaller, my skin felt smoother, and everything just looked better. I didn’t immediately recognize that this sudden improvement could be directly related to avoiding water, so I decided to do some A/B testing—and once I started using it again, everything went to shit within days. I quit the tap immediately.

French author and illustrator Garance Doré: Also not a fan.(Wendell Teodoro/WireImage/Getty Images)

French author and illustrator Garance Doré: Also not a fan.
(Wendell Teodoro/WireImage/Getty Images)

My skin looks better than it has in years, but sometimes I miss washing my face, and that feeling you get when all your makeup swirls down the drain and you’re just so damn clean, freshly scrubbed like a soap commercial. I exfoliate in the shower about once a week, but otherwise, nope. With that in mind, I started thinking about how I could get that fresh-faced … face without subjecting myself to breakouts and irritation for the rest of my days. Then I thought of Gucci Mane—particularly, his track that goes, “I use Cristal for Listerine / I brush my teeth with purp codeine / I wash my face with bottled water.” Duh. I, too, would wash my face with bottled water.

Because my skin panics almost instantly when it comes in contact with water, I figured that a week would be enough time to determine whether or not the bottled version, like its tap counterpart, would send my complexion into a state of rage. I ordered a 24-pack of 330 ml bottles of Evian (only $21!), since it’s from the French Alps, and the random site I bought it from said that it can be “found on the tables, in the homes, and in the offices of the most distinctive people worldwide.” What about their bathrooms?

For seven days, morning and night, I washed my face with Evian and Glossier Milky Jelly Cleanser. And what do you know? Everything was totally copacetic, confirming that it’s mineral-rich tap water that will ruin your life (and also save it, in case of drought). A success! Gucci is onto something, and of course, a host of pretty young (French) things and influencers are, too—and Cameron Diaz, I guess? My skin was so clear, perhaps even clearer than when I was just giving it the micellar water-and-moisturizer treatment. (Which I’ve since returned to. It’s just really easy.)

French actress Roxane Mesquida: Still not a fan.

French actress Roxane Mesquida: Still not a fan.
(Ian Gavan/Getty Images)

If you’d feel ridiculous adopting the Evian ritual, you’re not wrong. I still don’t think washing your face with bottled water is as insane as it sounds in theory, but it’s definitely both expensive and wasteful. I have so many mini bottles of Evian in my house right now, and it’s actually my least favorite of all the waters available for drinking. Way too soft on the mouthfeel.

That said, terrible skin from terrible tap water is a very real concern, so instead of stocking your fridge with two dozen bottles of a water you forgot you hate, spring for a water filtration system. They’re a bit more of an investment than said water, and they’re not exactly glamorous, but hey, priorities.

whirlpool water filtration A Very Scientific Experiment: I Washed My Face with Bottled Water for a Week

Whirlpool Under Sink Complete Filtration System, $146

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Krystal Pure KR10 Reverse Osmosis Under Sink Water Filtration System, $235

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T3 Source Showerhead Filter, $130

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