Sunday, 7 April 2013

A Review of Bioderma Sebium Micellar Water: The Good and The Bad

My road to product discovery is often borne out of a client's request for a particular item. And that is how I discovered Bioderma Sebium Micellar Cleanser. Special thanks Kat for the heads up on Bioderma!

What is it?
It's a toner-like cleanser and makeup remover specifically made for oily skin. The word "micellar" is the key. It simply means that the solution is made up of tiny suspensions called micelles, made up of cleansing oils, suspended in water. The droplets of oil are so small that they form a uniform phase at least to the naked eye.
That is the key why Bioderma's Micellar cleansers are so efficient at cleansing the skin and yet they still do not leave that greasy afterfeel one often gets from using cleansing oils. And unlike normal cleansers, the Micellar Water is alcohol-free, so there is no drying effect.

I think of the Bioderma Cleansing Water as a hybrid of cleansing oil and an alcohol-free cleanser with the gentle qualities of a toner. Makes sense? :)

How to Use
Place a few drops on a cotton pad, use on face. Done!



There are actually two variants of Bioderma Micellar Water. The Sensibio (the red one) is fragrance-free and is formulated for sensitive and/or normal skin. The Sebium (the green one) has a slight flowery fragrance and is formulated with additional sebum (oil!) removing properties for acne-prone and oily skin.

I use the Sebium variant since my skin tends to be oily nowadays.

Where it's Made
It is made by Bioderma, a French dermatologic company based in Lyon, France. They develop dermatologic products for dermatologists and skin centers. Sensibio and Sebium are their brand lines which can be bought in Pharmacies and Parapharmacies all over Europe. It's like their drugstore brand, in the same price range as other European drugstore brands such as Avene, La Roche Posay and Vichy, which are all French drugstore brands widely available in Europe.

Bioderma products are not cheap. The 500 ml bottle of Sensibio or Sebium Water, TLC Shop sells for 1300.00 retail. The trial size 100 ml bottle is sold for 400.00 retail. I get these directly from the pharmacy. I am hoping that these are at least 2-3€ cheaper in Lyon, because if they are, I will hoard bottles of Bioderma in mid-June on my weekend trip to Lyon, France.

However, I noticed that it only takes 2-3 drops of the solution to cleanse the face. So the small 100 ml bottle that I use on my trips is still half full. If one can afford to spend a little bit more for the convenience of using only one product for cleansing, then it's a good product to splurge on.

My Thoughts

Does it clean as it promises? Yes and No. It was the only facial cleansing product I brought with me to Granada and I was happy that at the end of each long, walking filled day, all I needed to do to clean my face was put a few drops of Bioderma on a cotton pad and rub it on. No cleanser and water necessary. It is a perfect item to include to one's travel kit. When I feel I placed more gunk on my face (i.e. used foundation and blush and primer), I cleanse twice, that is, two cotton pads of Bioderma to ensure all gunk is removed.
One thing though, it cannot remove waterproof eye makeup, so if you are using waterproof mascara, use a dedicated eye makeup remover for that.

Do I use it every day? No, I use it when I have trips and when I am too tired (or too lazy) to wash my face after a day at the office. In a week, I use it about 2-3x. The rest of the week, I use my normal facial cleanser. Bioderma is not cheap so I only use it when I need its convenience.

Pimple Breakout Rating
I did not cause me any breakouts and I do feel that it does have a good balancing effect for oily skin: i.e. less oil. However, some people find the subtle floral scent too much and prefer to use the fragrance-free Sensibio.

To summarize,

The Good
Great cleansing power, non-oily, very convenient. It does what it says which is to cleanse and balance out the greasiness of oily skin.

The Bad
It's not cheap, not widely available (though you can preorder from TLC, and there are incoming on hand stocks in the April box) and not effective for removing waterproof makeup.


  1. interesting blog. It would be great if you can provide more details about it. Thanks you

    Makeup Removing Cleanser

  2. Great review! Thanks for being honest.
    ~Pauline @Kallony

  3. Hi Pauline, thanks for visiting!


I'd love to hear from you!