Wednesday, 23 March 2016

Micellar Water Showdown: Bioderma versus Garnier

Most of the time I can't think of anything more boring than makeup remover. Possibly only golf or Friday afternoon videoconferences surpass it for lack of interest that I possess. I want removing my makeup to be mindless, cheap, and if someone could magically refill the container in my medicine cabinet while I'm sleeping, even better. For a few years now, I've been using Bioderma Sensibio H20 Micelle Solution. It's neither cheap nor magically refilling, but it is easy and I don't have to wash it off afterward, making the cleansing part of my nightly routine as fuss-free as it possibly can while still cleaning my face. And because I live in Canada, I can buy Bioderma at the drugstore. Sorry, Americans. Ready availability of French pharmacy brands is our reward for reduced availability and higher cost of living. 

Over the last year, the drugstore has been stepping up with micellar waters. Simple, Garnier...and I've seen at least one store brand one. I tried Simple's last spring, but was not impressed: it's not meant to be used on the eye area, which is basically the whole reason I use micellar water, to get off my mascara. I also found it to require more scrubbing than Bioderma. So I scratched that one off my list. The one that I've heard the most buzz about is the Garnier one, but it didn't get to Canada until a couple of months ago. I picked up a bottle while out running errands with some family. The display at Walmart was pristine, until I came along and took a bottle. It was $8.97 for 400ml, versus the $26.95 regular price for 500ml of Bioderma. Garnier is clearly a winner when it comes to charming my cheap little heart. 


Micellar water is fun to shake. However, the bubbles in the Garnier are because I knocked it over before this.

Garnier also is pretty clearly trying to woo the Bioderma devotees with its matching tops - pink for regular, blue for sensitive skin. Just like Bioderma! Imagine that. I don't know about you, but it always makes me feel a bit ethically icky when I can see where one brand blatantly rips off another one and they aren't owned by the same parent. Not like Bioderma owns pink and blue, but it just makes me pause. 

I've used the Garnier for about two months now, and while I initially began with high hopes for it, I've shelved it for the time being, and will probably use it up while removing swatches. I liked it. Over continued use, my skin did not, having a higher incidence of breakouts and dryness. I stopped using the Garnier about ten days ago, and my skin has cleared up again, with the dry patches totally gone. The only thing that I changed about my skincare routine during this entire period was swapping out the Bioderma for the Garnier, so I feel pretty confident in saying that the Garnier is the culprit.

Ingredients for Garnier Micellar Water (pink top): Water, hexylene glycol, glycerin, BHT, disodium cocoamphodiacetate,disodium EDTA, poloxamer 184, polyaminopropyl biguanide

Ingredients for Bioderma Sensibio: Water (Aqua), PEG-6 Caprylic/Capric Glycerides, Propylene Glycol, Cucumis Sativus (Cucumber) Fruit Extract, Mannitol, Xylitol, Rhamnose, Fructooligosaccharides, Disodium EDTA, Cetrimonium Bromide.

I only posted the ingredients list to a) show that they aren't the same and b) talk about the issue of the polyaminopropyl biguanide in the Garnier - an ingredient which was banned in Denmark for being a potential carcinogen. I'm not a chemist and do not pretend to have any great understanding of polyaminopropyl biguanide, but I do know that it's an ingredient in the contact lens solution I've been using since 2005 (Boston Simplus, but it's in a lot of contact lens solutions so if you wear them, you're probably rubbing this all over your eyes too) and there is limited evidence on it being harmful in the small concentrations that one might be exposed to via cosmetics and contact lens solutions. The recommendation that was released in December basically says more studies are needed (access to the full test will require your freindly neighbourhod library. but the abstract spoils the ending). And the Material Safety Data Sheet for the pure polyaminopropyl biguanide doesn't indicate that it's a big deal. Obviously, in cosmetics, contact lens solutions, soap, etc., it's heavily diluted. Take what you will from those.

So final thoughts: Garnier, you tried, and for the most part, almost did it, except for the part where my skin totally hated you. My wallet was rooting for you. Bioderma, you win. Again. Dammit. 

Fortunately I still have $95 of Shoppers Optimum points, so I should be able to keep getting it for free for another year or so. 

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