FEMMENORDIC

Bioderma vs Garnier Micellar Water 2022 (The Definitive Guide)

By Calum Torrington

10 January 2022

We’re positive you’ve seen or at the very least heard of Bioderma’s and Garnier’s cult-favourite micellar water. But how do they compare? And which is best for you?

Most Bioderma vs Garnier reviews we've found online briefly glance over the standard version of the micellar water and then call it a day, completely neglecting the fact that there are several alternatives by the same brands that are absolutely worth comparing, too. To rectify this, we've compiled a set of 4 comparisons (one for each main skin type and purpose) to help you better decide which is best for you and your skin!

Skip to "Micellar Water" section

> For normal/sensitive skin

> For oily/combination skin

> For dry/dehydrated skin

Skip to "Makeup Wipes" section

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Bioderma vs Garnier Micellar Water

Micellar water is made up of tiny surfactant molecules (i.e. soap) suspended in soft water. These molecules attract impurities (such as makeup), drawing them away from the skin without interfering with your skin’s natural oils and moisture barrier. Not only does this make micellar water less likely to dry out or irritate normal skin, it makes for an ideal alternative to cleansing for those with sensitive skin.

Best micellar water for normal/sensitive skin

There’s arguably no two better choices of micellar water for normal to sensitive skin than the Garnier SkinActive Micellar Cleansing Water and the Bioderma Sensibio H2O Micellar Water; two absolute cult-favourites with hundreds of thousands of rave reviews between them. There are a couple of considerations to take into account before deciding which is best, though.

First and foremost: price disparity. Bioderma’s comes in at almost double the price per fluid ounce compared to Garnier’s. The onus then, in our opinion, lies with the Bioderma Micellar Water to demonstrate that it offers in the order of double the efficacy or value.

Garnier hasn’t really posted any efficacy results, nor do they go into detail regarding their active ingredients, so we’ve done some digging of our own and here’s what we could find. There are 7 ingredients in the formula, the main ones being water (obviously), followed by glycerin (a moisturizing agent), hexylene glycol (a cleansing and moisturizing agent), disodium cocoamphodiacetate (a mild foaming agent), and poloxamer 184 (the magic ingredient that forms the micelles). Nothing out of the ordinary there, but also nothing too special to write home about other than the fact that it is certainly free of nasties such as parabens, sulfates, alcohol, silicone, and allergens.

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Bioderma on the other hand are much more transparent with regards to efficacy and ingredients, which is a massive +1 in our books. Their careful selection of ingredients (in line with the NAOS approach to skincare) respects the skin’s biological balance, ensuring perfect tolerance for even the most sensitive skin. Formulated with a pH of around 5.5 - which happens to be around the same acidity as pure rainwater - and a complex of 3 biomimetic soothing sugars, Bioderma’s Sensibio H2O Micellar Water soothes and prevents inflammation. Their posted efficacy results from clinical trials are as follows: 99% of makeup is removed, 99% of pollutant particles are removed, and 78% of heavy metals are cleansed all after a single use.

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When we tried them out for ourselves, we definitely found Bioderma’s to be more effective. While the Garnier Micellar Water did the job in the end, it just felt like we kept having to apply more and more, and it really struggled with darker eye makeup. Gentleness-wise, we saw no adverse effects from either product.

So, save or spend then? All in all, our preference lies with Bioderma despite the slightly higher price point. The Garnier Micellar Water is great value for its price, but we just felt that the Bioderma Sensibio H2O Micellar Water did everything better, and I’ll certainly be purchasing it again when I run out.

Sensibio H2O Micellar Water by Bioderma, a specific cleansing and make-up removing micellar water for sensitive skin.

Sensibio H2O Micellar Water by Bioderma

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Our rating: ★★★★★

Price: $$$$

A specific cleansing and make-up removing micellar water for sensitive skin.

What makes it special? Made up of micelles with excellent cleansing and make-up removing properties, Sensibio H2O deeply cleanses the face in the morning and evening, thus preventing pollutants likely to exacerbate skin sensitivity from penetrating the skin. The micellar technology developed by Laboratoire Bioderma is inspired by the cellular lipids found in the skin. In perfect harmony with the skin, it preserves the natural protective film.

Which skin types? Perfect for normal to sensitive skin types.

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SkinActive Micellar Cleansing Water by Garnier, Garnier's best-selling pink cap micellar water.

SkinActive Micellar Cleansing Water by Garnier

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Our rating: ★★★★★

Price: $$$$

Garnier's best-selling pink cap micellar water.

What makes it special? Micellar Cleansing Water gently lifts make-up and dirt from the skin to leave it free of impurities and residue to reveal skin's natural glow. The gentle cleansing formula glides over skin and effectively removes make-up without the need to rub or strain delicate sensitive skin.

Which skin types? For all skin types, especially sensitive skin.

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Best micellar water for oily/combination skin

Signified by their signature green caps (as opposed to the pink caps of the standard versions), Garnier and Bioderma also offer micellar water products that are perfect for those with oilier skin types: the aptly named Garnier SkinActive Micellar Cleansing Water for Oily Skin and the Bioderma Sebium H2O Micellar Water.

Of course, there are strong parallels between this comparison and the first comparison, so we’re going to gloss over the main points from that and skip straight to the product-specific differences.

Again, the official Garnier site doesn’t glean an awful lot of information on its formula, so we’ve done some more of our own research. The only differences we could find relative to the standard version are the inclusion of alcohol denat (an astringent) and myrtrimonium bromide (a cosmetic biocide). Now, I don’t want to sound like too much of a skeptic, but as far as benefits for oily skin go, they’re fairly limited. While alcohol denat can be used to de-grease skin, it’s really one of those no-no ingredients that you ought to avoid due to its irritating nature.

The Bioderma Sebium H2O on the other hand is enriched with truly beneficial oil-diminishing ingredients: zinc gluconate and copper sulphate. They purify and limit sebaceous secretion with total respect for even the most sensitive skin. Just as with the standard version, this micellar water also boasts some impressive efficacy results, immediately eliminating 93% of microparticles with a single use, with 95% of people in clinical trials commenting positively on its gentleness and skin purification.

For us, it’s not even a close choice, the Bioderma Sebium H2O Micellar Water is our clear favourite. If the price difference is a deal breaker for you, though, honestly you will be better off using the pink cap (standard) Garnier SkinActive Micellar Water rather than the one supposedly specifically for oily skin.

Sebium H2O Micellar Water by Bioderma, a dermatological cleansing, purifying, and makeup-removing micellar water.

Sebium H2O Micellar Water by Bioderma

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Our rating: ★★★★★

Price: $$$$

A dermatological cleansing, purifying, and makeup-removing micellar water.

What makes it special? Sébium H2O is a specific make-up removing micellar water for combination to oily skin that mimics the natural composition of the skin for perfect make-up removal and total respect for even the most sensitive skin. Enriched with purifying agents, zinc gluconate and copper sulphate, Sébium H2O purifies the skin and limits sebaceous secretion. The patent natural complex raises the skin's tolerance threshold.

Which skin types? Oily to combination (sensitive) skin types.

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SkinActive Micellar Cleansing Water for Oily Skin by Garnier, an all-in-one cleansing water for combination skin that soothes and removes all makeup.

SkinActive Micellar Cleansing Water for Oily Skin by Garnier

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Our rating: ★★★★

Price: $$$$

An all-in-one cleansing water for combination skin that soothes and removes all makeup.

What makes it special? Garnier Micellar Cleansing Water gently lifts make-up and dirt from the skin to leave it free of impurities and residue to reveal skin's natural glow. It mattifies oily skin thanks to the inclusion of denatured alcohol, but this same ingredient unfortunately makes it unsuitable for sensitive skin.

Which skin types? Oily to combination skin types. Avoid if you have sensitive skin.

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Best micellar water for hydration

Micellar water’s natural state as, well, water… makes it ideal for injecting your skin with an extra boost of hydration when you feel you need it. Garnier and Bioderma each offer variants of their cult-favourite micellar water specifically for this purpose: the Garnier SkinActive Micellar Cleansing Water with Rose Water, and the Bioderma Hydrabio H2O Micellar Water.

Garnier’s formula isn’t all that different from the standard pink cap version, other than the use of rose water rather than spring water. Rose water is a natural hydrator, providing moisture where your skin needs it most, and furthermore it is fantastic for all skin types. Rose water is known for being gentle, which makes it great for sensitive skin. It also balances the skin’s natural oils, making it a great fit for oily skin, and of course, as a natural hydrator it makes it ideal for normal to dry skin types. We definitely see this one as an upgrade over the base version!

The Bioderma Hydrabio H2O Micellar Water is also not all too different from the standard Sensibio version. The main difference is the inclusion of their patented “Aquagenium” complex which retrains the skin to activate its natural moisturizing capacities by stimulating the production of aquaporins (water channels in the skin).

Unlike Garnier, Bioderma has posted efficacy results, showcasing a +25% hydration boost after 8 hours. Despite this, we actually prefer the Garnier Micellar Water with Rose Water on a purely anecdotal basis: the glow and brightening effect you get from it is simply other worldly. Also, the rose scent is seriously addicting; I have to admit I’m guilty of occasionally pouring some extra on my hands so that I get to enjoy the fragrance for longer.

SkinActive Micellar Cleansing Water with Rose Water by Garnier, Garnier's cult-favourite micellar water infused with rose water.

SkinActive Micellar Cleansing Water with Rose Water by Garnier

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Our rating: ★★★★★

Price: $$$$

Garnier's cult-favourite micellar water infused with rose water.

What makes it special? If you are looking for an effective, gentle and easy to use cleanser and makeup remover that can also reveal your skin’s glow, try Garnier Micellar Rose Water Cleanse & Glow. In just one step, remove make-up, impurities & dirt while brightening dull and sensitive skin. It is highly enriched with rose water, which is known for its brightening and hydrating properties, as well as its irresistable fragrance, making it an absolute *must-have*.

Which skin types? All skin types, especially sensitive, dry, or dehydrated skin types.

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Hydrabio H2O Micellar Water by Bioderma, a hydrating, moisturizing micellar water.

Hydrabio H2O Micellar Water by Bioderma

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Our rating: ★★★★★

Price: $$$$

A hydrating, moisturizing micellar water.

What makes it special? Hydrabio H2O is the 1st and only dermatological micellar water perfectly compatible with the skin. Its fatty acid esters, the constituent elements of micelles, are similar to the phospholipids of the skin cell membranes and naturally help rebuild the skin's hydrolipidic film. Thus, Hydrabio H2O guarantees unrivalled tolerance and comfort for optimum make-up removing efficacy.

Which skin types? All skin types, especially dry or dehydrated skin types.

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Bioderma vs Garnier Makeup Wipes

And to round off this set of comparisons, we have the Garnier SkinActive Micellar Cleansing Wipes and the Bioderma Sensibio H2O Makeup Wipes. No special explanation is required here, other than pointing out that the towelettes are pre-doused with their respective brands’ micellar water for ease of use.

As you can probably imagine, our conclusion strongly resembles that of our first comparison in that we prefer Bioderma’s makeup wipes over Garnier’s for the same reasons as before. That said, Garnier offers an incredibly good value product here that we would have no problems opting for if for some reason Bioderma’s ran out of stock.

Sensibio H2O Makeup Wipes by Bioderma, micellar water infused makeup wipes.

Sensibio H2O Makeup Wipes by Bioderma

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Our rating: ★★★★★

Price: $$$$

Micellar water infused makeup wipes.

What makes it special? The Sensibio H2O dermatological wipes are enriched with an active micellar solution perfectly compatible with the skin: its fatty acid esters, the constituent elements of micelles, are similar to the phospholipids of the skin cell membranes and naturally help rebuild the skin's hydrolipidic film. Thus, Sensibio H2O dermatological wipes guarantee a perfect cleansing and/or make-up removal for sensitive skin and eyes with an excellent tolerance and comfort. Enhanced with soothing ingredients, Allantoïne, Sensibio H2O dermatological wipes prevent the skin from feeling the irritation often caused by cleansing.

Which skin types? All skin types, even the most sensitive.

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SkinActive Micellar Cleansing Wipes by Garnier, micellar water infused makeup wipes..

SkinActive Micellar Cleansing Wipes by Garnier

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Our rating: ★★★★★

Price: $$$$

Micellar water infused makeup wipes.

What makes it special? Garnier Micellar Extra-Gentle Cleansing Wipes contain thin silk fibres in a thick, soft wipe. Soaked with Micellar water, they are specially formulated for make-up removal on sensitive skin. Like a magnet, the cleansing agents capture impurities and lift away dirt from the skin. No need to rub to efficiently remove make-up. The result: In a single step, your make-up is removed and your skin feels refreshed and soothed.

Which skin types? All skin types, especially sensitive.

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