Two Micellar Waters That Have Changed My Mind: Eau Thermale Avène and Bioderma

Not in that order, but still. I did not take a seat on the micellar water bandwagon, due to having tried many and finding them all to be useless. About 100 cotton pads later and maybe my mascara and eyeliner was mostly off; several more were required to remove the foundation, leaving behind a nasty stickiness.

Micellar water is, funnily enough, made of micelles, which are molecules made of oil that are suspended in water that dissolve (or are meant to dissolve) make-up, grime, and whatever else is on your face, on contact. Or, on repeated contact, as far as I was concerned. I wanted very much for this to work, though, as they are chemical-free and less harsh on the skin, but found that most were only good for cleaning my make up brushes {h/t}.

And then I got two samples of two different brands — both French, though, so that might be food for thought — and one changed my mind rather a lot, and the other changed it entirely.
EAU DE AVENE micellar
I love the Cleanance range from Eau Thermale Avène even though I don’t really need it. It’s geared towards oily skin, and mine hasn’t been since I was thirteen, but there is something about its, well, cleanness that appeals. I went through their toner for a shortcut, and I’m not a toning kinda gal, and they have a soapless cleanser that looks appealing — so I reckoned if I was going to give a micellar a second chance, it would be this one.

It’s good! It’s light and closer to water than any of the others that I’d tried at this stage, and it left my skin feeling far less tacky than previously. I liked it well enough for taking off the dreaded mascara/eye liner combo, and at €20.99 for 400mls, that seems like a good deal to me. This one does not get put on foundation brush detail for sure.

BIODERMA micellarHowever. When it comes to wiping off that make up and foundation in four-cotton-pads-or-less, the winner and reigning champion is Bioderma Sensibio H20 Micelle Solution Sensitive Skin, designed for normal/dry/sensitive pelts. This is as good as those bi-phase concoctions that remove everything in one swipe, but leave behind an oily residue; this leaves nothing behind but clean, un-irritated skin. I honestly couldn’t believe how good it was until I used it again. At €14 for 250mls, it’s a big saving over some of the more expensive, less-effective waters {the above excluded, of course} and it’s got a permanent place on my hero list, not only of 2015, but of maybe ever.

Careful though! I availed of a two-for-one of the green version of this, the Sébium H2O Purifying Cleansing Micelle Solution, and while it is as good as regards the foundation and brow make up, it’s not so good on the eyes {and it may not be not meant to be…} This is the version for those who have oily skin, so I don’t know, maybe buy one of each if you are looking for a micellar water that removes eye make up too.

There’s a blue one, Hydrabio, which sounds like a Harry Potter Spell: this is for dehydrated, sensitive skins. I haven’t tried it, but I suspect it’s just as good as the other two in terms of general, gentle, thorough cleansing.

Eh, yep, really did love this.



All this talk about cleanliness is making my face itch. Gotta go give it a good swipe now!


BIODERMA GIFTThis fab gift pouch from Bioderma contains BB Cream, some of the magical micellar water, shower gel, and face cream, for €17.50. Available at all good pharmacies, or online at

Dude Week Q&A: Peter Brennan of Ziaja

PETERFirst of all, repeat after me: zeye-ah. Wait, okay, wait: shzEYEa. Argh! The name is hard to pronounce, but the products are easy to use, and even easier on your wallet. Irish distributor, Peter Brennan recommends we rhyme Ziaja with ‘buy-a’. But with a shushy zed sound in the front. Or something. 

Even if you can’t quite get the hang of how to say it, Ziaja as a brand are comprehensive, top-to-toe brand that has the added attraction of being extremely affordable. In my personal experience, I found the Natural Grapeseed Oil Moisturising Body Butter to be as good as, and in many ways better {coverage, absorption, and cooling qualities} than many other, pricier brands I’ve tried, and for close to half the cost {€7.99!}

I chatted with Peter about how he went from swinging hammers to promoting skincare.

How did a dude get into the beauty business?
I’m a carpenter by trade, and was trained by John Sisk and SonLltd back in the days of the Celtic Tiger. I saw the construction market slowing down years before the crash and figured it was time to look at doing something different that would be buildable through the tough times ahead. I set up a small distribution company and started  buying small amounts of Ziaja products. I literally went cold calling  to pharmacies and pitching in the brand – now years on we have approximately 500 pharmacies.

At the start, when I was dealing with the buyers I was asked regularly “what did you work at before selling Ziaja?” I always said I was a carpenter! Most found it funny but interesting, and it definitely kept the conversation going, and that’s an important part of any sale. Today, I really enjoy working in the beauty industry because it changes so much — it makes it very interesting to work in.

What makes Ziaja so special? What does provide that separates it from other brands?
Ziaja  is a Polish beauty brand with a 20 year heritage of developing naturally inspired face and body care products. Launched in Ireland four years ago, I believe the brand has done well in Ireland as Irish women are very savvy about skincare, and in these cost-conscious times, we have built a loyal  customer following, women who trust the brand, love the products and  actively recommend them. Ziaja also offers a fantastic choice for a variety of skin types and conditions: with over 500 products formulated with the same high quality ingredients found in more expensive skincare labels. All the products are skin friendly, Ph-balanced and hypo-allergenic and protect the skin.

Are you a fan of the product yourself? Which ones would you use, to help my readers choose some samples for the men in their lives?
Yes, I use Ziaja products — the olive shower gel and natural argan body lotion are firm favourites! Ziaja has a range for men called Duo Concept, which was developed to address men’s specific skincare needs. I really like the Men’s Moisturising Cream SPF6 (RRP€4.79) It protects, moisturises and delivers a mattifying skin finish – that’s important for blokes.

Given that you are out and about, meeting beauty professionals, can you pinpoint any upcoming trends in skincare that readers may like50+ Jasmine anti-wrinkle serum 30ml copy to know about? Any inside knowledge?
Woman are buying intense DIY dermatology treatments to use at home, from  glycolic peels to hyaluronic acid anti-ageing treatments. Ziaja’s jasmine-based skincare range is fortified with potent anti-aging ingredients like micro-collagen and hyaluronic acid. The Jasmine Serum Anti-Wrinkle 50+ and tinted eye cream have sold out twice on shelf since launch.

There is also a lot of talk out there about micellar cleansers, which based on microscopic molecules that trap and breakdown oil, allowing it to be removed easily from the skin. Ziaja are pioneers in developing micellar water cleansers, having launched them on the market over 2 years ago. Ziaja have three micellar cleansing products: Marine Algae Spa, Rose Butter Water and Jasmine Micellar Water — they are priced at only €4.50 for 200mls.


Ziaja price range from €1.99-15.99. Shop online @