My Favourite Cleansers: Cetaphil and Hydrabio H20

Finding Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser the year before last was somewhat of a lifesaver. I have combination skin but it can feel very dry and sensitive.Rinse-off cleansers usually  irritate my eyes and leave my skin dry however applying Cetaphil is a pleasure. Designed for sensitive and dry skin, it is soap free, fragrance free and non-comedogenic (won’t clog pores). It may be far from glamorous but I love it.

It doesn’t foam on the skin but effectively removes all traces of make-up without stripping the skin. I can even massage it into my lashes to get rid of mascara and it doesn’t bother my eyes in the slightest. My skin is left feeling clean and calm instead of tight and stressed. An added bonus is that I can buy a big bottle for just under a tenner at my local high street chemist (drugstore).


I came pretty late to French pharmacy brands but I’ve been playing catch up for the last few years. If I’m not washing my face in the bath or shower, I use Bioderma’s Sensibio H20 – Micelle Solution to take off eye make-up and then Hydrabio H20 – Micelle Solution for the rest of the face because it’s more hydrating. Although both are alcohol-free and suitable for sensitive skin, Hydrabio H20 contains Aquagenium, a patented biological complex that locks in moisture on the surface of the skin.

Oh how I heart micellar waters. Creams and lotions always felt so icky on my skin, it’s great to banish them for good. As Lisa Eldridge recently wrote, it’s one case where a beauty trend has trickled up instead of down, with luxury brands bringing out their own – much more expensive – versions. I’m sticking to my tried and tested budget option though and am grateful Escentual has made Bioderma easily available to us in the UK.



Do you have any favourite cleansers to share?







Filed under Beauty Review

14 responses to “My Favourite Cleansers: Cetaphil and Hydrabio H20

  1. Lady Jane Grey

    I’m a sort of a cleanser junkie, the reason might be that my dry skin can be rather difficult. I love cleansing balms, which I can massage in for minutes and then take off with a hot cloth – it’s a ritual for me after a long stressy day (though I hate those with fatty residue). Eve Lom’s morning cleanser is a pleasure, or Omorovicza’s melting cleanser. Or Biologique Recherche’s VIP O2.
    I’ve never understood the micellar water thing – I have the feeling that they don’t clean my skin and I need to use something additional to clean completely. Also, I have the feeling that they leave a sticky residue on my skin, which I have to wash off anyway. I always have one at home for the quick wipe (right now it’s the one from Biologique Recherche) – mostly after a no make-up day, but I always do a splash of water after.


    • I love that you’ve made cleansing a ritual that enables you to de-stress at the end of the day. You are literally cleansing yourself of those daily stresses. I do keep wondering about hot cloth cleansing as people who do it seem to be devoted to it.

      How interesting that you feel micellar waters leave a sticky residue on your skin because I love them because I feel they don’t!

      Thanks for sharing your favourites. I do want something that gives a deep cleanse now and again.


  2. By a curious coincidence, I had an unused free sample of the Cetaphil cleanser knocking about(!) so got stuck in this morning to test it out. I wasn’t quite sure how it worked so I dabbed it on and washed it off with a hot cloth (another devotee of hot cloths here, usually in conjunction with Liz Earle cleanser, also Clinique Take the Day Off), and it was gentle as billed. The only surprising thing was when I went to put on my Olay serum my skin stung, which hasn’t happened with the other cleansers. I will try it again though – maybe I had left some residue or not enough of a gap before applying the serum.

    I have recently discovered Toleriane Cleanser by La Roche-Posay, following a bout of dermatitis and that is the gentlest thing I have ever used. Not bad at make up removal either. I have used micellar waters – all are inferior to Bioderma and some sting like crazy and I even threw one out! – I just wish it was available in regular shops. I know what LJG means about feeling tacky afterwards – I also don’t feel quite ‘clean’ after taking my make up off with a micellar water of any kind. Nivea is the best of the high street contenders imho.


    • Thanks for testing and reporting back. V. I’m shocked that your skin stung when you applied the serum. I honestly can’t understand that so please let me know what happens next time. You really shouldn’t need to worry about removing it fastidiously or leaving a gap, as it’s supposed to be so gentle.

      I used the cleanser by La Roche-Posay before Cetphil and thought it was very good.

      You are supposed to dry your face after using the Bioderma micellar waters but I can’t say I bother.


  3. cookie queen

    I use L’Occitane make up removing oil and the MAC wipes. Then rinse with hot water. 😀


  4. I think I’ve previously linked from one of your cosmetics posts to my favorite cleansers from Shiseido. Since I do not like changes, I found those that, as I think, work and stick to those. Though now I’m curious to try Cetaphil: I think I had a sample of their face cream with SPF (from a doctor’s office!) but I used it on my hands since I never leave my house without a sunscreen on my face but from time to time find myself searching for something to use on my hands – and that’s where those samples come… handy 🙂


    • Yes, I remember the Shiseido cleansers work for you.

      Cetaphil has been a real game-changer for me. I always chopped and changed before but I’m sticking with this. I’m not surprised you got a sample from the brand at a doctor’s office as it’s recommended for skin conditions like eczema.

      I’ve started to get into the habit of using hand cream at night but it’s easy to forget.


      • I have hand cream tubes everywhere – in the drawer in the office, on the wet bar in the living room, on my night stand and so on. But it’s not to remind me but rather to be accessible whenever I need it.


        • Good idea. I think I need to get a hand cream dispenser and put it in the bathroom so each time I wash my hands, I automatically put hand cream on after I dry them.


  5. Hi Tara, I like micellar water as well I have a couple and also enjoy the hot cloth, when I have time. Another thing I do is cheap moisturisers on the top of my hands, so I can start a new moisturiser and don’t feel guilty for throwing it out. I love trying different products!!


    • That’s a great idea to use up moisturiser as a hand cream. I also hate wasting products I don’t want to use for the intended purpose any more.


  6. Annette

    Ponds cold cream is my favourite cleanser, along with Toleriane by La Roche Posay. I always use a cloth to rinse and freshen up and also use a mild exfoliator a couple of times a week. Day and night serums and creams (No 7 protect and perfect) and La Roche Posay 50+ sunscreen. Works brilliantly for me and though it’s tempting to spend on more high end products, I honestly don’t think they can do better. (Rather spend on perfume!)


    • So many people swear by Ponds, Annette. I think even Kylie uses it 🙂

      I love La Roche Posay and totally agree about preferring to spend my money on perfume rather than premium beauty brands that don’t deliver more anyway.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.