Battle Of The Bioderma Micellar Waters: Which One Should You Use?

by Gio

bioderma micellar waters

I may have jumped on the micellar waters bandwagon pretty late, but now there’s no getting me off it. I love them because they don’t need to be washed off, so they’re perfect for lazy girls like me who want to keep their skincare routine as short (but effective!) as possible in the morning, and are ideal for travelling, too.

Since we last talked micellar waters (by the way, check out this post if you’re curious to know how they work), my collection has rapidly grown and now includes the entire range from Bioderma.

What, you thought Bioderma only made Sensibio? Nope, they also make Hydrabio for dry skin, and Sebium for oily skin. And, surpringly, they aren’t all identical. Bioderma didn’t put the same formula in different bottles and just changed the labels, like most brands do.

Sure, there are lots of similarities between them, but there are also some small differences that make each one more suitable for a different skin type and need. So, which one should you use?

bioderma sensibio

Bioderma Sensibio H2O

Let’s start with the original, much-loved Bioderma Sensibio H2O. After the first use, I could already see why this one is so popular. It removes both dirt, impurities, and even makeup quickly and easily. Sure, it struggles with waterproof makeup, so if you’re wearing waterproof mascara, you’d better take your cleansing oil out and use that instead.

But, most micellar waters do a lousy jobs at removing any kind of makeup, so I was quite impressed this one gets at least half the job done. Even better, my skin never feels dry or tight afterwards.

Its secret? A mild surfactant (PEG-6 Caprylic/Capric Glycerides) that cleanses gently, and a bunch of sugars, such as mannitol, xylitol and rhamnose, that attract, and bind, water to the skin, ensuring it doesn’t get dried out.

Plus, it’s fragrance-free, so suitable for everyone, even the most sensitive of skin that tends to react badly to anything. I use it whenever my skin gets sensitive (a more and more common occurrence in recent months *sighs*) and it never lets me down.

bioderma hydrabio

Bioderma Hydrabio H2O

Formulated for dry skin, Hydrabio contains the same cleansing agent (PEG-6 Caprylic/Capric Glyceride) as Sensibio, so it cleanses skin and removes makeup (as long as it isn’t waterproof) just as well.

But, there’s a difference. This one includes one more humectant: glycerin. That means it can attract even more water to the skin, leaving it that bit more hydrated after cleansing than Sensibio. If you have dry skin, that’s great news.

I only wish they hadn’t included a fragrance. Subtle and floral, it’s pleasant enough. But, with fragrances, there’s always the risk they may irritated someone’s skin. I’m relieved to report it didn’t cause any problems for mine.

bioderma sebium

Bioderma Sebium H2O

Created for oily skin, Sebium promises to balance oil production and cleanse skin. The latter is something it does very well. It contains the same ingredients – surfactants and sugary humectants – as the other two, so it behaves pretty much the same.

But, what about balancing oil production? Well, there isn’t anything that can do that. But, there are two ingredients, exclusive to this formula, that can help oily skin. One is zinc gluconate, which has anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties that help soothe breakout-prone skin.

The other is the copper sulfate, which could help with wound healing. Copper sulfate is also the trickester that gives Sebium its blue colour. Of course, the concentrations is very low, or it would be a much darker shade of blue!

Oh, by the way, this one is fragranced, too. Again, it didn’t irritate my skin, but it’s something to consider if yours is super sensitive.


Which one should you choose?

For micellar waters, both Sensibio, Hydrabio, and Sebium have incredible cleansing properties. If you prefer a more hydrating cleanser, Hydrabio is definitely the one to go for. Sebium, on the other hand, is a better option for trouble, pimple-prone skin. If you aren’t sure, just stick with the original. Sensibio is the gentlest, and suitable for all skin types. You can’t go wrong with it.

Bioderma Hydrabio H2O Ingredients
Aqua, Glycerin, PEG-6 Caprylic/Capric Glycerides, Polysorbate 20, Mannitol, Xylitol, Rhamnose, Fructooligosaccharides, Niacinamide, Cucumis Sativus (Cucumber) Fruit Extract, Pyrus Malus (Apple) Fruit Extract, PEG-40 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Propylene Glycol, Hexyldecanol, Disodium EDTA, Sodium Hydroxide, Citric Acid, Cetrimonium Bromide, Fragrance.
Bioderma Sebium H2O Ingredients
Aqua, PEG-6 Caprylic/Capric Glycerides, Sodium Citrate, Zinc Gluconate, Copper Sulfate, Gingko Biloba Leaf Extract, Mannitol, Xylitol, Rhamnose, Fructooligosaccharides, Propylene Glycol, Citric Acid, Disodium EDTA, Cetrimonium Bromide, Fragrance.
Bioderma Sensibio H2O Ingredients
Aqua, PEG-6 Caprylic/Capric Glycerides, Fructooligosaccharides, Mannitol, Xylitol, Rhamnose, Cucumis Sativus (Cucumber) Fruit Extract, Propylene Glycol, Cetrimonium Bromide, Disodium EDTA.


Pros: They all cleanse and remove non-waterproof makeup well without drying out skin; Sensibio is fragrance free, so suitable even for the most sensitive of skin; Hydrabio is more hydrating than its siblings; Sebium has anti-inflammatory properties that can help oily, pimple-prone skin.

Cons: They can’t remove waterproof makeup.

Summary: Bioderma Micellar Waters do their jobs well but gently, removing dirt, impurities and non-waterproof makeup from skin without drying it out. While Sensibio is suitable for all skin types, the extra hydration Hydrabio provides makes it a better option for dry skin, while the anti-inflammatory properties of Sebium are more suitable for oily, breakout-prone skin.

Price & Availability: 100 ml, $6,95: 250 ml, $12.95: 500 ml $19,95 at Beautylish

Rating: 4/5

PR Sample. Affiliate link.

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Laurie March 11, 2016 - 3:29 am

I use the Sebium on my combination skin with good results. But I haven’t noticed a scent, though. Maybe it’s formulated differently in different markets?

Gio March 11, 2016 - 3:44 pm

Laurie, mine was from the US. But, the scent is very subtle. You can’t smell it once on the skin.

Langit Amaravati September 29, 2016 - 6:11 am

Hi, Gio. I am Langit from Indonesia. Everytime I will buy skincare or makeup, I always read your blog first to find the best choice. I start to use Bioderma Hydrabio and glad to know that you write about this.

I need your advice, actually. Is it okay if I use it everyday like I use milk cleanser? Thank you.

Gio September 29, 2016 - 11:21 pm

Hi Langit, glad you find my blog helpful. 🙂

That depends. If you use it in the mornings only, yes. But in the evening, it’s just not strong enough to remove makeup and sunscreen.

Hope this helps.

Melinda June 30, 2018 - 3:47 am

Hi Gio, thanks for your useful write-ups! I have combination skin and started out with sebium at first but switched to hydrabio soon after as I found sebium a tad drying for me. Love hydrabio and have been using it for quite a while. I actually have been using it exclusively for end of day suncreen and light make up removal so was surprised to hear from you that it’s not strong enough to do so! I usually pour it on cotton pads and wipe 2-3 times till I don’t see any more residue. Would it be better if I paired it with another cleanser after?

Also, while I love hydrabio, it is quite expensive. with a number of other new brands entering the micellar water market, am wondering if there are any other brands that are just as effective as bioderma but at a more affordable price point? Have been looking at the ones from garnier and l’oreal and wondering if you have any thoughts on them (or any of the others). Thank you!

Gio July 6, 2018 - 7:56 pm

Melinda, cleansers, including micellar waters, are very basic formulas that all use the same bunch of ingredients. But none of them can cleanse as well as they claim. Sp, yes, you can switch to Garner or L’oreal but it’s still best to use another cleanser with it.


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