Au Revoirs Les Micellars! Out with the old, in the with the new…

Posted by Lipglossiping On February - 14 - 2014

Don’t panic!  I’m not really saying goodbye to the much-loved micellar craze!

Au contraire (Rodney), I haven’t found a better complement to my skincare routine in years.  For me, the micellar has replaced the oil cleansing method… my maturing, dry skin just doesn’t appreciate the amount of tap-water I have to use to emulsify the oily liquids.  I still use them occasionally because old habits die hard and I love how an oily skin massage feels.

On the whole though, my first step in makeup removal has been revolutionised by a cotton pad and a bottle of makeup-remover; Oh! I’m such a revolutionary!

my micellar waters

my micellar waters3

My post title actually refers to the fact that I’ve just welcomed two new micellar waters into my little collection!  As you can see… my backup bottle of beloved Mixa Expert has almost reached the end of its life – a brand that I haven’t been able to find outside of French supermarkets.  It was with a heavy heart that I turned to the internet for a replacement.

Thankfully, I needn’t have worried… there is indeed much life outside of Bioderma, which I’m slowly coming to realise is a little bit expensive for what it is…

I directly compared my Bioderma bottle with the Mixa Expert in a review a little while back, so if you’d like to see how a French supermarket cheapie compares to the holy grail of micellar waters, click on through – you might be surprised!

Back to my new acquisitions for a moment though!

my micellar waters1

Mustela is a brand that I’ve been familiar with for a few years but basically ignored, dismissing it as a brand for baby skincare… it was only after a late-night MakeUp Alley trawl that I discovered people were using the brand’s Physiobebe Cleansing Fluid (500ml for £12.93) meant for a post-messy clean up cleanse on babies bottoms, on their faces.

Now, as a well-behaved beauty blogger… I appreciate that products designed for baby’s bums are not necessarily suitable for lady’s faces (sudocreme, wipes, et al. Caroline Hirons is looking at you).  However, in this case… for my first step in removing the day’s makeup… I’m going against the grain!

The Physiobebe water cleanser does a sterling job at dissolving much of my makeup, mascara and all.  It takes one pump on one cotton pad to do half of my face and neck.  My only caveat with this product is that it is highly scented and you will smell like a (clean) baby’s bum when you’re done.

my micellar waters2

My other potential long-term replacement is one that you will probably have already heard about.  The B. Pure Micellar Water* (150ml for currently £2.47).  It lacks the convenience of a pump but does an equally effective job at removing the day’s grime, scoring extra points for being much easier to throw into a weekend bag and let’s not forget… being far more accessible than most, from your local Superdrug.

I feel the slightest of residues with the B. Pure but as I use my micellar waters as a first-step in my cleansing routine, this isn’t an issue for me.

Ultimately, I know I’m going to keep replenishing these until I can restock my Mixa Expert the next time I’m in France.  Both are cheap enough to allow this to happen and I will always be grateful for a super-size micellar in the bathroom and a more portable version to take on overnighters and holidays.

Are you a micellar cleansing fan?  Who makes your favourite?

* the B. Pure Micellar is a press sample

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You can say that again! Well, unless you’re me and managed a stonking D at A Level French, and then… you probably can’t say that again.  You see I was top of the class in French all the way through “big” school, got a nice shiny A* in my GCSEs and then discovered that things were about to get serious at college.

All those verbs, tenses, and other stuff that I was pretty rubbish at meant that having a good vocabulary could only get me so far.  I still (genuinely) wake from nightmares about not having done my coursework, fifteen years later!

But just because I’m not the world’s best French communicator doesn’t mean that I can’t hold my own in a Super U! Le fromage, le vin, et le pain au chocolat!  I can sweep a French supermarket faster than Dale Winton in a beauty parlour.

My last attempt at clearing the shelves whilst on holiday was particularly fruitful and I came away with plenty of goodies, one of which was this bottle of makeup remover which I picked up from Monoprix.  Mixa appears to be your standard high-street brand with a bias toward sensitive and delicate skins.  The brand has an entire range of baby products and Leila is currently working her way through their hair and body wash as I type.  The brand have been around since 1924, obviously a French staple… so I can’t help wondering why I haven’t heard of this rather fabulous makeup remover before?!

mixa makeup remover french supermarket

mixa makeup remover french supermarket2

mixa makeup remover french supermarket3

Mixa Expert Peau Sensible Eau Nettoyante Apaisante is, to all intents and purposes, a micellar cleansing water, similar to the legendary Bioderma Crealine.  Both cleansers leave no trace of their use behind, no greasiness, residue or anything left on the skin that would make you think you’d used anything other than water to cleanse.

Unlike the Bioderma, this one may not be universally suitable for everyone with sensitive skin or eyes.  It contains a perfume and has a faint rose scent… something which I love and hasn’t caused me any irritation (remember the Mixa is formulated to suit sensitive, reactive skin) but it’s an important difference to note.

As for the performance, it’s on a par with Bioderma… perhaps even better.  You see, I buy the Bioderma because I sorta assumed it was the best of the best.  But it’s quite possibly not.  Make up artists swear by the stuff, stockpile it like it’s going out of fashion… and we (as normal beauty lovers) want in on that action!  But, our needs really aren’t the same, are they?  Professional makeup artists need a product that will do a sterling job on all their models, and while its performance is in-arguably awesome, I think its merits as a suit-all cleanser override everything else.

I put the two cleansers to a side-by-side test.

Mixa-vs-Bioderma

Both cleansers actually did a brilliant job at removing a combination of cream eyeshadow, mascara (non-waterproof), and tight-lined eyeliner… but to my eye, one fared slightly better than the other… just a wee bit… can you see a difference between the two eyes?

Mixa-vs-Bioderma2

As you view the picture, I used Bioderma Crealine on the right eye (my left), and the Mixa Expert Peau Sensible Eau Nettoyante Apaisante on the left eye (my right).  I think that the Mixa outperformed the Bioderma at removing the eyeliner from the lash-line.

Neither product caused any irritation to my eye and neither left any residue behind.

The clincher for me is the fact that the Mixa Expert Peau Sensible Eau Nettoyante Apaisante costs around 4.50 € for 200ml (but comes in duo packs for 6.50 €) whereas the Bioderma Crealine costs 8.00 € for 250ml or 12.00 € for 500ml.  Of course, you have to think about availability and the fact that Bioderma is now readily available in the UK makes this a less appealing swap.  However, I’ve already instructed my parents to stock up on the Mixa for me when they return from France in the Autumn.

Who needs boxes of cheap wine when I can get them to bring back bottle upon bottle of makeup-remover? Err…

Mixa Expert Peau Sensible Eau Nettoyante Apaisante… bloody brilliant if you can get your hands on it!

My French Pharmacy/Supermarket Haul (skincare and more!)

Posted by Lipglossiping On April - 2 - 2013

I spent every Summer in France as a teenager, so it was lovely to be able to rediscover some of my old haunts, particularly down the aisles of the nearest Super U.  My first stop wasn’t for skincare, but haircare.  My obsession with Dop shampoos has been a long-lasting inexpensive love affair which my poor Mother has to tend to every-time she returns to France in the Summer with a shopping list longer than her own!

French Buys_01

This time around I decided to treat my dry hair to some of their more moisturising shampoos in the shape of their Argan-oil and Shea Butter-enriched formulas.  Ignore the 2-in-1 labels, I never actually use these without a separate conditioner.  The bottle on the left is their original formula, I find that all of these shampoos are less stripping than many of their UK counterparts, plus the 400ml bottles last forever!  I paid around £1.40 per bottle.

French Buys_02

For conditioning, I picked up two Le Petit Marseillais products, one enriched with Shea and Argan, and one with Shea and Honey.  Both have been made for dry, frizzy hair-types and cost around £2 / £3.50 respectively.  All of the above I bought at Super U, our local French supermarket.

French Buys_03

Next, I moved on to the pharmacies.  Outside of Paris, there’s less choice in the brands available and they tend to vary from pharmacy to pharmacy.  Our local supermarket has it’s own rather wonderful para-pharmacy attached so I didn’t have to venture too far but I still couldn’t get my hands on any Embryolisse (I wasn’t surprised, I’ve never been able to in the past outside of major cities), or more disappointingly, Avibon – of which I was told they are currently experiencing a nationwide shortage!

I did, however, manage to pick up a tube of Homeplasmine which Mr. L uses on his lips when they’re cracked.  It’s a great alternative for anyone who dislikes the feeling of balms as it doesn’t feel remotely claggy or heavy with more of a matte texture.  It’s also great for sore, post-sniffles noses, and cuts and bruises and is priced at around £3.75 for a small tube.  My final pharmaceutical purchase was for Leila and is something I always get Mum to pick up for me in lieu of Calpol!  Doliprane is France’s generic kid’s paracetamol and dosage is measured by the child’s weight rather than their age, making it far more effective (in my opinion) at bringing down fevers.  It costs around £2 a bottle.

French Buys_04

I bullied myself into trying some new skincare products, desperate though I was to stock up on the old faithfuls.  I’m quite proud of myself that I didn’t come back with more than this!  My skin is still pretty dry and the change of water/travelling has made it quite finickity.  You may notice a bit of a Zinc theme running through my choices, blame my Dad… he’s a bit of a skincare tart (thanks to his eczema not vanity!) and led me in the direction of these tantalising treats.  What a great Dad I have!

I opted for a full set of skincare from makeup removal to cleansing, toning and moisturising.  I’m currently undergoing another round of IPL for facial hair removal, so tailoring my choices for irritated skin seemed like a good idea.

I went for: Uriage Anti Irritation Cleansing Gel (approx. £7.50), Bioderma Atoderm PO Zinc Ultra Soothing Creme (just under £10.00), a supermarket cheapie micellaire for eye-makeup removal in the shape of Mixa Eau Nettoyante Apaisante (£3.00), and La Roche Posay’s Serozinc which I’m hoping will provide additional cooling/calming after my lasering (£5.00).

French Buys_05

As if I could forget the chocolate (or the wine, but that’s a whole other post!)

The French seem to have a greater appreciation for salty caramel chocolate than we do in the UK.  Crunchy, smooth, chewy, silky… all textures are catered for… I reined myself in a little but could have returned with far more than what you see above!

What do you think of my buys?  Anything you’d like to try for yourself?

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