"I used a cult French pharmacy skin care brand for a month"
And I’m so glad I did!
By Iantha Yu
Beauty Crew Beauty Editor / June 21 2019
And I’m so glad I did!
For a brand to earn cult status, they need to have a product (or products) that are tried, tested and absolutely adored by beauty buffs. And no, I'm not just talking about a product that does what it says it'll do on the packaging; I'm referring to the product being one of the absolute best in its category.
And there is no beauty category that produces more brands of cult status than skin care. Around the globe, coffee scrubs are synonymous with Frank Body from Australia, facial essences are tied back to SK-II in Japan, and serums are linked with Sunday Riley from the US. As for micellar water? Bioderma comes to mind first; hailing from France, this powerhouse brand is incredibly coveted by makeup artists and consumers internationally, and the products are even available at pharmacies (read: convenient and affordable).
This French skin care brand actually has a thorough range of skin care products for oily, normal or sensitive skin types, and I recently was tasked to use *only* Bioderma products in my skin care routine for an entire month… which, trust me, feels like an eternity for a beauty editor.
I, of course, jumped at the chance. I put aside my regular makeup remover, cleanser, serum, moisturiser and foundation and started using Sensibio H20, Sébium Gel Moussant, Hydrabio Serum, Hydrabio Gel Cream and Photoderm BB Cream, and Hydrabio Toner. And I was super impressed with my experience as a whole. Here’s what I loved about the Bioderma products:
#1 / The textures of the products were really nice
Going into winter, I like to load up my skin care regimen with thicker products to protect my skin from the wind and prevent moisture from escaping. So, I was apprehensive when I had a play with the Hydrabio Serum and Hydrabio Gel Cream; both products had a really lightweight texture. However, much to my surprise, the products still kept my skin really hydrated, even when I used them at night.
The true hydration test came when I went away with the brand to the South of France - yep, that meant two long-haul flights, hours of stopovers, and plenty of transit time, creating the perfect storm for dry skin. I took both on the trip with me and lathered them on my face liberally and was thoroughly pleased with the results; my skin was nicely hydrated for the entirety of my trip.
What I also loved about these products was that they really smoothed my skin, making them perfect to layer under my foundation, especially the Hydrabio Gel Cream. And speaking of foundation, I became wildly obsessed with Photoderm BB Cream - it has the coverage of a regular foundation, but comes with the added benefits of camouflaging uneven skin tone and redness. The texture was also really interesting; it was runny upon first contact but dries to a balmy texture. I loved applying this with a brush in the morning, but found that it actually went on better with fingers - you can use the warmth of your hands to press the product into your skin for a really naturally-glowy look. Oh, and did I mention that it also contains SPF 50 protection?! What a bonus.
#2 / The products were kind to my skin
Blame it on stress, the change in weather, or even too much sugar and dairy (or actually, a combination of everything), but my skin wasn’t looking that great prior to my trial; I was getting little bumps and just uneven texture overall on my forehead and cheeks, and it was driving me mental. So, I decided it was worth a shot to change up my cleansing routine. Every night when I got home, I took my makeup off with Sensibio H20, and followed through with Sébium Gel Moussant (a foaming gel cleanser) as a second cleanse. Despite double cleansing, my skin didn’t tight or feel stripped of moisture; it felt absolutely normal, even as we were approaching winter! I also liked how this product was specially developed for combination and oily skin types and contained zinc sulphate and copper sulphate to prevent further blemishes from forming.
While I was away on the trip, I also had the chance to learn more about Bioderma’s cult-favourite Sensibio H20 micellar water. Did you know that there's actually a correct way to use it? You shouldn't just splash the product onto your skin and hope for the best; instead, you have to distribute a few drops onto a cotton pad then wipe it over your skin - this cotton-pad-to-skin contact actually encourages the separation of the oils from the water particles (after all, micellar water is composed of tiny oil in water droplets).
If you’re wearing waterproof or heavy-duty makeup (especially mascara), you should press the cotton pad over your makeup to allow the oils to work their magic, then lightly wipe it all away. If you’re using the micellar water on its own (that is, if you’re not using a cleanser or moisturiser afterwards), there is no need to use water to ‘wash away’ the micellar water. In fact, Bioderma Sensibio H20 is already loaded with skin care benefits to protect and nourish your complexion. Score!
During that same trip, I also had the chance to have a play with the extensive Bioderma range that's stocked in French pharmacies. I was absolutely blown away by the sheer size of the range; in Australia, we're accustomed to seeing a tight-knit range of Hydrabio, Sensibio, Atoderm and Sebium products; whereas in France, there are ranges such as Pigmentbio for hyperpigmentation and Matricium for intensive anti-ageing. They even have a range for hair called Nodé, which includes a product called Fluide - it’s a detergent-free shampoo that has the texture of water. Yep, that's right, the product doesn't foam up, so it's great to use on sensitive scalps.
#3 / It made me fall in love with toners again
I recently wrote an article about the necessity of using a toner so it only made sense that I added one to my own skin care routine! Bioderma’s Hydrabio Toner was my weapon of choice and I’m so glad that I started using one. My skin absolutely drinks it up every time I use it morning and night after cleansing, and its cost per use is minimal; you’re meant to soak a cotton pad with several drops of the liquid then swipe it across your skin to reap the benefits. After using the toner for a month, I’ve gone through less than a quarter of the bottle.
After using these Bioderma French pharmacy products for a month, I totally get what the hype is all about. The products were super easy to use and incorporate into my routine, and my skin reacted really well to them. It was a tough call picking a single favourite product - I absolutely loved the texture of the gel cream, but I also loved the story behind Sensibio H20 and the practicality of Photoderm BB Cream. Moving forward, I'd continue to use some of these Bioderma products, with an addition (or two) of other skin care products to target my other skin concerns such as pigmentation. I'd also recommend the brand to anyone that's looking to try something new, as there really is a product range for everyone. In addition to Bioderma Hydrabio (for dehydrated sensitive skin) and Sensibio (for sensitive skin), there's also the Sebium range for oily skin, Cicabio for weakened skin, and the Atoderm range for extremely dry skin.
Seeing how well some of the products worked on my skin, I’m dying to try more of Bioderma’s products. In retrospect, I really regret not picking up some more items from the French pharmacy, especially from Bioderma. I guess I'll just have to jump back on another plane to France...!
Obsessed with France? Us too. Here's a view of Paris through the eyes of another beauty editor, Katrina Lawrence.
Have you tried any Bioderma products before? What's your favourite? Let us know in your comments below.
Main image credit: Sevak Babakhani
Iantha is BEAUTYcrew's Beauty Editor, and has been part of the team since the site launched in 2016. Besides pinot noir, she has a healthy obsession with fake tan smell, wispy false lashes and CND Shellac in the shade Romantique. Her words and styling can also be found in Virgin Australia Voyeur, Women's Health, and previously in SHOP Til You Drop and Cosmopolitan.