Micellar water reviews: Garnier, Bioderma Hydrabio & Sensibio, Marcelle 3 in 1

Friday, May 27, 2016

Micellar water review comparison bioderma garnier marcelle bubble

For those of you who don’t already know, micellar waters are water-like makeup removing solutions. They use hydrophilic/hydrophobic “micelles” to break down makeup with the power of an oil while still having the texture of water, and they’re… kind of fantastic.

Ever since trying the Marcelle 3 in 1 (formerly the Marcelle Essentials Cleansing Water), I’ve been smitten with micellar waters. They’re an awesome way to gently remove makeup with no silicones and no oily residue, and while they break down makeup as well as many bi-phase makeup removers, they don’t set tubing mascaras the way an oil will.

Nowadays, there are a ton of micellar waters on the market – so here’s a comparison of four of the best.

Bioderma Sensibio micellar water review

4. Bioderma Sensibio Make-up Removing Micelle Solution ($26.95 CAD/500ml) 

Sensibio is the mother of all micellar solutions. Invented in 1995, Sensibio/Créaline just celebrated its 20th anniversary – and one bottle is still sold every 3 seconds worldwide.

The Sensibio range is fragrance-free and designed for sensitive skin, and the micellar solution replaces your make-up remover and toner. But, as much as I love Sensibio, I think that 20 years of competition and new technologies can make a better product.

The packaging: Bioderma’s packaging is a classic, but the lids are very fragile and snap off if you open the circular top from the wrong angle. Bioderma is available in the widest range of sizes (100 ml to 1L, depending on your country.)

The product: While gentle and fragrance-free, I find that Sensibio is a little drying, especially in the eye area. Sensibio is the least effective makeup remover of these 4.

The price: $26 CAD per 500 ml

Marcelle 3 in 1 micellar water review

3. Marcelle 3 in 1 Micellar Solution ($19.95 CAD/300 ml) 

The Marcelle 3 in 1 Micellar Solution was my first cleansing oil, so it has a special place in my heart. It’s Canadian, it’s fragrance-free, and it comes in awesome packaging. 

The packaging: The best of the bunch! The 3 in 1 comes in a sturdy flip-top push dispenser. However, it only comes in the one size, and there is no open-cap version available for q-tip dipping.

The product: More effective than Sensibio, but slightly more astringent.

The price: $33.25 CAD/500 ml

Garnier Micellar Water SkinActive review

2. Garnier SkinActive Micellar Water ($8.97/400 ml)

Garnier’s SkinActive micellar waters (also available in blue/waterproof) are the newest micellar waters on the block, and I’ve gotta give it to ’em: they’re really not bad!

The packaging: Sturdy lid & slim bottle. However, the SkinActive line is a blatant ripoff of Bioderma, which is a big turn-off for me.

The product: The SkinActive Micellar Water is more effective than Bioderma Sensibio and less drying than Marcelle’s. It feels slightly more “soapy” than either of the two.

The price: $11.21 CAD/500 ml

Bioderma Hydrabio micellar water review

1. Bioderma Hydrabio Moisturizing Micelle Solution ($24.90/500 ml)

Hydrabio is Bioderma’s newest micellar water, and it is by far my favourite of the line. It’s optimized for dehydrated/dry, sensitive skin, and for my fragile, dry skin, it is the most gentle of the bunch. 

It’s very fragranced, however (it smells kind of moisturize-y floral), so it’s best for sensitive-fragile skin, not sensitive-“allergies galore!” skin.

The packaging: Fragile lid & wide volume range (see above).

The product: The most gentle AND the most effective of these four. It’s a little more “slippery” feeling, but it completely melts away even my waterproof gel eyeliners. (This is the #1 micellar water in Canada!)

The price: $24.90/500 ml

Bioderma sensibio vs hydrabio sensitive skin review comparison

The verdict?

While I would prefer it without the fragrance, I find Bioderma’s Hydrabio micellar water to be both the most gentle and the most effective micellar water in drugstores right now. However, all four of them are honestly very good – good enough that you should never have to return to non-micellar makeup removers ever again!

There are still a handful of micellar waters that I have yet to try, though, and I would love to hear your thoughts on them. Hit me up in the comments to rave about your favourite micellar water!! 

Additional photos & more »

Silicone-free at the drugstore | Garnier Fructis Pure Clean Clear 2 in 1 Shampoo review, photos

Friday, March 23, 2012

The product: Garnier Fructis Pure Clean Clear 2 in 1 Shampoo

As those of you who have gone ‘cone-free will know, finding silicone-free haircare for under $20 apiece can be… well, difficult, to say the least. More often than not, formulas (particularly conditioners and styling products) will rely on silicones to give hair that smooth, slippery feeling, and the ‘cone-free ones come with price tags around $50 (plus hours of your time on the silicone-free hunt) for the duo.

On top of all that, I’ve been itching for a 2 in 1 for those I’d-rather-be-sleeping mornings – so, finding out that Garnier just put out a new Pure Clean shampoo + conditioner? It was a bit like waking up (very groggily) from a good dream.

The clear, slightly greenish formula (a lot of that super-green colour is from the plastic, not the product) contains no silicones, parabens, or dyes, and comes packaged in a 50% recycled material PET plastic container – which is the most recyclable form there is, for those of you who (like me) would rather research polish than plastic. I’m not huge on the drugstore fresh! scent, but at just over $5 for a 384ml bottle, I can’t really complain.

As for how a clear 2 in 1 is for the long term? I’m not sure yet, but things have been going pretty well so far. The clear, super-sudsy formula has had me a bit on edge, though, so I figured I might as well have a look at what’s inside – a lot of conditioning agents will make products go milky or opaque, but maybe Garnier’s found the magic formula to keep things clear and conditioned.

Let’s talk ingredients…

Keep reading »

The BB Breakdown | Marcelle vs. Garnier BB Cream Comparison (photos, swatches)

Thursday, February 16, 2012

At long last – I’ve finally gotten my act together! As promised, here are full-face swatches (honestly, though, what are those called?! I hardly think they can be referred to as “swatches” at this point) of Marcelle and Garnier’s BB creams.

So, without further adieu…

Bare, freshly-cleansed skin!

Marcelle BB Cream Beauty Balm in Light to Medium

For my skintone, Marcelle’s Light to Medium was a good match – darker than I am, but not by too much. I really liked the neutral tone of the product, which did a great job of cancelling out both redness and sallowness, resulting in an overall illusion of evenness and “perfect skin.” (The satin finish is great, too, which also adds to the illusion.)

I was particularly impressed with the way it tackled my undereye circles and the redness I have in my eye area – I probably wouldn’t leave the house without concealer, just on principle, but I’d feel comfortable having forgotten to conceal if I was wearing this.

Wearing Marcelle’s BB Cream (both images)

Left: bare skin / Right: wearing Marcelle’s BB Cream

The weird little box in the left corner is a colour sampling of my skintone – the left side being bare, and the right, with BB cream. For consistency, I grabbed the colours from the same spot on my cheek in both photos. (Freckle-mapping for the win!)

As you can tell from the colour swatches, Marcelle’s BB adds depth of tone to my skin, and has a clever mix of yellow/greyish pigments to neutralize redness.

Garnier BB Cream Miracle Skin Perfector in Medium/Dark

I was less impressed with Garnier’s product, but I wanted to share photos for a very specific reason – I think it would be great as a Prtty Peaushun-like product (but, y’know, for your face.) As mentioned in the review, I was sent Medium/Dark, which really isn’t a match for me. However, it turned out to be great for faking a darker skintone, with results that are still very “real skin.”

As a BB cream in and of itself, though, I was less impressed – I found it left me overly dewy, a bit sticky, and while it did a good job of adding warmth, it failed to counteract redness.

Wearing Garnier’s BB Cream

Left: bare skin / Right: wearing Garnier’s BB Cream

A breakdown (with scribbles!) »

For a glow, but nothing more | Garnier Skin Renew Miracle Skin Perfector B.B. Cream review, swatches, comparisons

Monday, February 13, 2012

The product: Garnier Skin Renew Miracle Skin Perfector BB Cream SPF 15 in Medium/Dark

The look: Garnier’s BB Cream is more sheer than I had expected, and more dewy. You know how I mentioned that the Marcelle BB Cream is really… I don’t know; BB-Cream-ish? I feel like Garnier’s isn’t – I can’t tell how it differentiates from a basic tinted moisturizer, in coverage or in finish.

If you have quite good skin to begin with that just needs a small “pick me up,” this may be an option – but don’t expect it to give your skin any more than a bit of a boost. I think I would have been a lot happier with this if it had been marketed as a sheer, luminizing base rather than a BB Cream or “Miracle Skin Perfector,” because it’s just that: it imparts a warm, dewy finish, but with very little coverage.

Garnier Skin Renew BB Cream in Medium/Dark on NW15ish skin

The shade: I was sent Medium/Dark, which is a massive error in logic that I’m not even going to begin to approach. I had a bit of fun with it, though – sometimes it’s nice to fake out a different skintone for a little while, and it blended in really well, probably because it’s so sheer. I’m fairly certain that Garnier’s Medium/Dark is darker than Marcelle’s Medium to Dark, so if you’re still searching for a drugstore BB cream but you’re on the darker end of the spectrum, this might be a shade option you’ll want to check out.

While I can’t speak for the lighter shade, I found the undertones of this one to run a bit pink – not so much that Asian skintones will find it completely unwearable but enough that it’s noticeable; it adds a bit of warmth by way of red undertones, rather than orange ones.

The ingredients:

Active: Octinoxate 4% | Other: Water, Isononyl Isononanoate, Isoxadecane, Glycerin, Alcohol Denat, Peg-20 Methyl Glucose Sesquistearate, Methyl Glucose Sesquistearate , Cetyl Palmitate, Nylon-12, Cyclohexasiloxane, Propylene Glycol, Hydrogenated Polyisobutene, Stearyl Alcohol, Magnesium Aluminum Silicate, Phenoxyethanol, Fragrance, Caprylyl Glycol, Lithium Magnesium Sodium Silicate, Disodium EDTA, Linalool, Benzyl Salicylate, Limonene, Caffeine, Ascorbyl Glucoside, Benzyl Alcohol, Geraniol, Cellulose Acetate Butyrate, Polyphosphorylcholine Glycol Acrylate, Citral, Ammonium Polyacryloyldimethyl Taurate, Polyvinyl Alcohol, Sodium Chloride, Butylene Glycol, Sodium Hyaluronate. ± Titanium Dioxide, Iron Oxides

Try it if

  • You have normal to slightly dry skin that’s just looking a bit lackluster,
  • You want a sheer base product to give a bit of a warm glow,
  • You’re looking for a drugstore BB cream with a bit (but not a lot) of SPF, or
  • You want to “fake out” a slightly darker skintone for an editorial look, rather than out & about in public.

Skip it if

  • You’re looking for something that will disguise large pores, uneven colouring (eg. redness, blotchiness, or sun spots), or blemishes.
  • You can’t stand scented products – I think this scent is brilliant, to be honest, but much too strong in execution.
  • Heavy products drive you crazy (I can feel this when I’m wearing it, even after I give it plenty of time to sink in.)
  • You have dry patches, oily patches, or dehydrated patches – I’d say this is best suited to people who are fairly content with their skin to begin with.

Swatched L-R: MAC NW25, Garnier Med/Dark B.B. Cream, MAC NW30, MAC NC30, Garnier B.B., MAC NC35.

All MAC shades are Studio Finish SPF 15 concealers.

The verdict?

Garnier describes their BB Cream as an “all-in-one every day moisturizer [… a] light, velvety-smooth lotion.” And, honestly, I’m going to have to say that it’s none of the above. It always irks me when a product isn’t bad, but doesn’t do as it should – because as a blogger, what am I supposed to rate it by, then?

If you’re looking for a B.B. Cream that will provide a sheer, dewy, luminizing base, then I would say this is worth checking out. However, if you’re on the market for more coverage, something scent- or silicone-free, or that truly “flawless” finish, this isn’t the product for you.

Garnier’s Skin Renew Miracle Skin Perfector B.B. Cream (quite the name!) retails at a SRP of $19.99 CAD, though you can get a $3 off coupon at their site, here. Full-face comparison photos later this week, if I can find time ;)

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