A French skincare brand that’s long been a celebrity favourite reaches our shores.
The minimalist packaging might not be exciting, but French skincare brand Bioderma is so successful that models, make-up artists and beauty editors make their way to French pharmacies when they’re in Paris just to stock up on it.
“The cosmetics and skincare industry is highly regulated in France,” says David Leow, co-founder of Fusion Cosmetics, the company responsible for bringing Bioderma into Malaysia. “As a result, dermal cosmetics – products that are based on research and endorsed by dermatologists – are very popular in France. Not only are these products very affordable and widely available at pharmacies, they’re also highly effective.”
Bioderma, named as such because the company’s principle – “biology at the service of dermatology” – was founded in France in 1977 by Jean-Noël Thorel, who declared that “when skin suffers, we should use its natural biology to teach it to react, rather than treat it.” Put simply, Thorel believed that products are best when they respect the skin and complement its natural mechanisms.
When it was launched, Bioderma’s first product – the world’s first non-detergent shampoo called Node – provided the perfect solution for people who disliked washing their hair due to the drying effects of shampoos at the time. Thanks to its unique formula, Node was able to simultaneously cleanse their hair and restore its hydrolipidic film.
Today, Bioderma prides itself on its scientific know-how, collaborating with dermatologists and biologists from three dedicated laboratories in France. By using only active ingredients that are already present in one’s complexion, Bioderma is able to produce over 50 international patents, including the highly coveted Sensibio H20.
“It’s our superstar product, with one being sold every three seconds around the world since it was launched in 1995. A lot of women are amazed by what it can do,” says Leow, who demonstrated his point by using Sensibio H20 on a model, removing all traces of heavy-duty make-up, which included “BB cream, foundation and eyeliner so thick it can rival ICI deluxe”, and impurities on her face in just under a few minutes.
The magic, it seems, is in the (micellar) water. Micellar waters first gained momentum in Paris when it was introduced by the company. It’s known as the holy grail of light, effective cleansing sans water. Just one swipe is said to leave skin squeaky clean, moisturised and prepped for serum and moisturiser.
How does it work? The liquid crystals, known as micelles, are actually tiny molecules containing water inside. Micellar water combines the freshness of water with the technical properties of oil. When gently applied to a surface – say, the skin – its spheres split open, drawing make-up (including waterproof mascara), sebum and impurities from the skin without stripping off moisture. And since micelles adhere naturally to cotton, there is no need to rinse with water!
Ordinary make-up remover, on the other hand, dissolves cosmetic pigments instead of absorbing them. As a result, wiping it off requires more work, quite often double cleansing, thereby posing a significant challenge for sensitive skin.
Unfortunately, the runway success of Sensibio H20 has spawned a lot of imitation products, which don’t do the job as well. Bioderma’s micellar water uses fatty acid ester – an ingredient which has a composition closely resembling that of the skin – as well as highly purified water, making it gentle and well-tolerated. It’s also formulated for oily or acne-prone skin (Sebium H20) and dehydrated skin (Hydrabio H20).
The brand also carries a full range of highly-effective moisturisers, serums and body creams designed according to different skin types for those searching for a complete skincareregimen. Available under three different lines, colour coded according to the type of skin concern addressed, there’s red for Sensibio (normal to sensitive skin), blue for Atoderm (very dry to dry skin) and green for Sebium (acne-prone skin).
The Sensibio and Atoderm range contain DAF complex, a patent made from golden seaweed extract that offers a natural preservative system and increase skin’s tolerability. In addition, Sensibio products also contain a Rosactiv patent to reduce the appearance of both temporary and permanent redness, and preventrecurrance. There’s also the Fluidactiv patent, which biologically limits the thickening of sebum and regulates its quality under the Sebium range.
Another beauty staple is the Bronz Complex, which was launched in 2009 under Bioderma’s Photoderm range that biologically stimulates skin’s natural self-defences against the sun.
Figures why Bioderma is a celebrity favourite.
Bioderma is available at selected Guardian stores and Isetan, Suria KLCC at RM39.90 onwards.