Bifesta Sebum Cleansing Lotion: an awesome drugstore makeup remover

I raved about the Bioderma Crealine H20 Micellar Solution late last year, a French makeup remover that feels exactly like water. It's a great product but it's only sold in limited quantities here. Bioderma is also expensive for those who are used to drugstore makeup removers, which begs the question: what's an equally good, or (dare we hope) better alternative that's easy to find locally?

Friends, meet the Bifesta Cleansing Lotion (P419), a Japanese water-based makeup remover that's exactly like Bioderma. I believe that this brand was called Mandom before, but the whole line is now repackaged, reformulated, and renamed.

It comes in four handy variants for different skin types: Moist (dry and sensitive skin), Sebum (combination-oily), Brightup (dull and flaky), and Agecare (mature). I've been using the Bifesta Sebum Cleansing Lotion so it's the one I will review for now!

First things first: I love this stuff. This feels like you're just applying water to remove makeup. It's fairly simple to use, just squirt a full pump per cotton pad, wipe off the gunk on your face, repeat until 100% clean, and rinse. You can actually just leave your face like that and proceed to moisturizing if you wish. Bifesta cleans so well, that is can be both your facial wash and toner in one fell swoop!

Well, I still like to use my Kiehl's facial wash though. It's a habit, and it helps clear up blackheads as they come. Whether you use a soapy cleanser after Bifesta is entirely up to you. I just want you to know it can be an option not to.

I am also happy to report that I didn't break out from this. :) It also doesn't sting my eyes which is a non-negotiable for me in any cleansing product.

Bifesta can take off water-resistant mascara/eyeliner (with up to a 30secs of soaking per eye), heavy foundation, and  lipstick, although it draws the line at waterproof mascara. It's still just water-based, after all. I don't often use waterproof mascara anyway so I don't mind this limitation.

Now, the downsides: you have to use A LOT of liquid to remove regular makeup, and much more if you're wearing a full face with all the frills. I usually use three to four pads, each loaded and soaked with a generous amount of the makeup remover. I've already consumed a quarter of the 300ml bottle in just three weeks, and even then I use it max of three times per week. The label in the back says that it's only good for a month to 1.5 months of use.


If you've tried high-end makeup removers like Shu Uemura, Clinique, Lancome, Estee Lauder, etc., this is a rather short lifespan. If you compute, a one year supply of Bifesta will cost you P5,028, whereas a full bottle of the Shu Uemura cleansing oil worth P5,000-ish will take two years to finish (even more actually). But these products are apples and lemons, okay. Get what suits your skin and lifestyle best.

I've observed that the Sebum variant is quite drying (on my cheeks especially since I'm combi) so I always moisturize generously after using it. Is my skin less oily as the product promises? Not really. It's still the same combination-oily creature that it has always been. :P Can't expect a makeup remover to solve that!

The Brightup Cleansing Lotion is next on my list to try! Will use it after I'm out of Sebum. ;)

I'm not expecting a perfect product for P419 - nor should you hehe - but for the price, the Bifesta Cleansing Lotion works pretty well. It takes off makeup without irritating the skin and eyes and is easily available in drugstores. I would highly recommend it to anyone who needs it. Just make sure to get the right variant for your skin! :)

Thoughts? What's your current makeup remover?

You can find Bifesta in Rustan’s Supermaket, Shopwise, PCX, The Landmark and Watsons.