Review: Bioderma Hydrabio Legere Light Cream

WHAT: We’ve now had a decade or more of experiencing beauty brands going more hi-tech with their skincare ingredients and claims of how a product works. So it’s a relief to see French brand Bioderma go back to something we can all understand: Our skin needs water.

That’s not to say the Hydrabio range is simple – it’s based on Nobel-prize-winning research on aquaporins, channels that move water around our cells. The theory is that everyone’s skin needs water, and that water needs to stay in our skin and circulate to all cells.

Hydrabio does it with ingredients such as vitamin B3, apple seed and seaweed extracts that reportedly rebuild aquaporins, and glycerine, which is said to prevent evaporation from the surface of skin. The result? Skin is said to become better able to absorb, hold on to and circulate water, so it’s more hydrated and less dry, both on the surface and deep down. Apparently that means no more dullness or greyness, and farewell to flaking, tightness, itching and scaliness.

Bioderma Hydrabio Legere Light Cream, $39.90 is available at selected Guardian and Nishino outlets.

REVIEW: French brands like Bioderma don’t get as much love as they deserve. It’s hard to say why – perhaps because they don’t fall neatly into the drugstore-or-counter-brand system we’re all familiar with. They’re available at drugstores, but they’re pricier than most products. They’re well researched and highly effective, but they don’t come in swanky packaging.

It’s a shame to skip them though – as beauty experts from Sali Hughes to Lisa Eldridge (she did a whole video ode to French pharmacies) will attest. Why? Because they’re pretty reasonably priced, unshowy, and they really really work.

The Bioderma Hydrabio Legere Light Cream should do especially well in Singapore as our hot and humid climate means people loathe heavy and rich creams, but still need hydration.

I’m amazed at the lightness of the cream, which actually has more of a lotion texture. I was skeptical that it can do the work of my cocooning and buttery balms, but it’s surprisingly effective. My skin is both dry (it lacks oil, so feels tight) and dehydrated (it’s missing water, so tends to be flaky).

It looks dramatically better the morning after I first apply the Bioderma Hydrabio Legere Light Cream at night, and even after I spend a day in the chilly Vancouver wind, my skin looks and feels moist and supple.

There’s no SPF protection in this cream. To me, that’s a good thing because you can use it both day and night without overloading your skin, but you’ll definitely need a separate sunscreen as well.

I’m looking forward to trying the rest of the Hydrabio range. And I’d encourage anyone to venture in the no-man’s-land of French pharmacy brands. You might not get a bargain, nor a beribboned box, but you’ll find a treasure trove of effective skincare that simply does what it’s supposed to.

Rating: 5/5