Review: BioNike Defence Hydra5 Radiance illuminating moisturising cream and Defence Tolerance Essential cleansing water

So let’s talk about BioNike! For those of you who don’t know, BioNike is a very well-priced Italian brand that’s exclusive to Dis-Chem. The company prides itself on being suitable for those with sensitive skin and uses the lowest number of ingredients needed to get the job done.

While their ingredient ‘no no’ list includes all the typical ‘baddies’, things like fragrances and parabens, they take things a step further by excluding nickel, preservatives and – wait for it – gluten!

Now, to be honest, I had no idea that your skin could have an ‘ish’ with gluten. Sensitive stomachs, for sure. But skin? Learning this at the brand’s recent media day raised a lot of questions. For example, how do you know if your skin is gluten sensitive? And if you’ve got a gluten intolerant tummy, do you probably have a gluten-intolerant face? Also, is it possible to have skin that hates gluten but be a-okay with eating it? And vice versa?!

I kind of felt bad for the expert who BioNike had chat to us ‘cos myself and all the beauties ended up bombarding him with gluten q’s, not all of which he could answer. In fact, it kind of looks as if the studies around gluten and skin allergies are still kind of in their early days. On the upside tho, if you’re a total allergy baby and struggle to find things that play nicely with your face, you can rest assured that most BioNike goodies err on the side of caution. I say most and not all because their Acteen Purificante cleansing gel (face wash) contains menthol and, while I’m not an especially sensitive sort, anything minty has always made my face turn red.

But ja, to move on, I was given a few BioNike items to play with and have most enjoyed using Defence Hydra5 Radiance illuminating moisturising cream SPF 15.

Defence Hydra5 Radiance illuminating moisturising cream SPF 15.
Defence Hydra5 Radiance illuminating moisturising cream SPF 15.

I like that it comes in a tube as opposed to a jar and features an SPF. Also, even though it’s aimed at a normal/dry skin type and I’m a combo girl, it doesn’t make my face feel greasy in the least. Hydration-wise, you’re getting a good skin plumping effect thanks to a mix of 5 active water-binding hyaluronic acids while other hydrators include good old glycerine and Shea butter. Last but not least, it makes use of soft-focus powders to reflect light in a way that flatters but, to be honest, I didn’t really notice a visible ‘illuminating’ effect. In all, it’s a great ‘slap it on under your make-up and go’ kinda moisturiser and, texture-wise, it reminds me a lot of Neutrogena’s bestselling Oil-Free Moisture SPF 15 moisturiser.

Another BioNike item I like? Defence Tolerance essential cleansing water.

BioNike Defence Tolerance cleansing water.

I’m now a bietjie torn ‘cos it reminds me a helluva lot of my beloved Bioderma Sensibio H2O cleanser in that it feels just like water on your skin yet removes even the most hardcore make-up with a few swipes. Love, love, love that!

Differentiators? While BioNike’s product makes use of soothing panthenol and distilled rose-water, Sensibio’s uses cucumber extract and wrinkle-busting rhamnose. BioNike’s ‘water’ also feels ever so slightly more viscous whereas Bioderma’s is very much a ‘water’.

I’m now thinking that, should BioNike’s product turn out to cost less than Bioderma’s (I’m busy typing this without a price list on hand), I may well make the switch and that’s A Pretty Big Deal as I’m very much set in my ways. For example, it took me a zillion years to switch from buying random ‘inconsequential’ items like Lil-lets and Sunlight dish liquid on zombie autopilot mode to whatever else was on the shelf for less. In fact, I even remember the first time my hand reached out for those random ‘o.b.’ tampons and walked towards the tills. I was like ‘What! Are! You! Doing!’ ‘Turn around now!’ ‘Your vagina’s totally going to explode’. But get this; it didn’t. Yay! And I totally shouldn’t be typing this while my melatonin is kicking in…

But ja, to wrap shizz up; if you’ve got sensitive skin, please realise there’s a whole world outside of Cetaphil and Almay and that BioNike may well serve up some very nice options. Next time you’re in Dis-Chem, make a point of checking it out.

Love, love


26 thoughts on “Review: BioNike Defence Hydra5 Radiance illuminating moisturising cream and Defence Tolerance Essential cleansing water

  1. I so, so hope this brand delivers on its promise(s)… I developed a bout of ‘shark skin’ about 6 months ago, which a dermatologist diagnosed as rosacea. He advised me to use Bioderma, with Rosex gel prescribed as well. I was a bit perplexed as to why I needed to use an antibiotic when my skin appeared more inflamed than infected. Long story short, the ‘shark skin’ (rough to the touch and very pink) condition has spread from just my cheeks to now include my forehead, temples and sides of neck. In desperation I googled my symptoms and found out about the Bionike Defence Rosys Intensive Drops. I bought the cleansing water, the drops and their Defence Rosys Rich Cream yesterday and hope to see an improvement in my skin texture and color soon. Otherwise I might have to join a circus as The Shark Skin Lady.

  2. Glad to see this post. I went to Dischem in search of face sunscreen searching in my usual Bioderma area and the assistant showed me the BioNike products. I was a bit skeptical as she seemed to be selling it quite hard but ended up purchasing their sunscreen. So far so good, happy to have found a cheaper alternative.

    1. I also have Rosacea and my dermatologist recommended bioderma. I used it for a few years but ended up trying laser treatment in July this year. Never again. Very painful and I’m still slightly swollen 3 months later. My sister works in the pharmaceutical industry and recommended I find a product without parabens (a preservative that mimics estrogen). I then discovered bionike and it works well. I use Dermalex first, then bionike, then eucerin sun cream. It seems to be a good combination. If you do have rosacea, it is imperative you use sun cream every day, even if you are not leaving the house!

  3. I went on a facial to Dis-chem and they recommended I use Bionike Acteen range, I have been using it for almost 6 months but no difference on my skin, instead I have more breakouts as compared to when I was just using normal products. After so many months they decided to change my products, now I am Using the Defence Hydra5 Radience for almost a month and still not working. I am just waiting for these products to get finished and stop using Bionike products cause clearly they over promised but are failing dismally to deliver.

    1. Shame man! Don’t listen to those Dis-Chem ladies. They’re trained to show you Bionike and little else and prey on the fact that you don’t know what you need. Ultimately, you need to empower yourself by learning what ingredients are best for acne-prone skin, things like salicylic acid etc, and that they need to be in a good concentration – not just added into the mix as an afterthought. Also, its best to shop for ingredients, not brands or ranges. There’s nothing stopping you from using different products from different brands. The ‘use this whole line or your face will explode’ mentality makes me so angry. So, best you pop on over here and read up on what acne-prone skin really needs and then start looking for it yourself

    2. hy
      I had the same issue as well and some times its how you apply the product on your face. most of the ladies at dischem don’t know how to explain and guide you. but then few of them know. But for me I also didn’t see any results went back then found a lady who explained it clearly and it works like wonders. i really really love it.

    3. I used Bionike for dark spots and had rashes all over my face and neck. Very disappointed I stopped using the product immediately after 3 applications. What a waste

  4. I was give a sample for this product was looking for the product for my face as its so sensitive and was not using any cream or face wash before, asking for an advice from the beautician at Dischem in Brynston she justed i try the product for a week samples thereof. The first night iused the night cream my face felt so refreshed and in the morning the day cream didnt experienced any ich my face was moistured and glowing and fresh no more itchiness.

  5. I recently bought these Bionike products (Face wash, toner, Hyra Mat cream for morning). From the 1st day of using them i started getting a rash on my face. I am really disappointed as i thought it’s for sensitive skin.

    Don’t know what to do now

    1. Hi Thandi! I’m very sorry to hear that. Perhaps get in touch with a dermatologist who can perhaps help you figure out what caused the reaction and steer you on a course to something that won’t make you react. Otherwise, consider trying Eucerin or Cetaphil. Both of those brands have great options for people with sensitive skin.

    2. Hi Thandi. I just switched to the same Bionike range a week ago and it’s been disastrous. I sweated every after use and developed a bad rash. Let me know what you switched to.


  6. Just hope these products work as i have just been persuaded to fork out some R600
    for Bionike for improved results on my dark patches from a 4 year old preggies. I hope this work and is results driven otherwise social media exist for a reason.

  7. I recently stopped using clinic as the 3 step anti blemish actually made me break out further. In desperation I took a walk to dischem, approached a skincare consultant and asked for help. She then introduced me to bionike acteen, bionike defence hydra5 opthydra as well as bionike triderm. Now my skin has never been problematic. I tend to break out on my cheek area which also happens to be the dry area on my face. My acne was inflamed really badly today… I used acteen twice today and already I see a difference… a major one- my acne has calmed down significantly… BUT- a new broom always sweeps clean… we will see if it really does work in a week…

  8. I’ve been using bionike acteen range for approx 4 months now and all I’ve experienced is alot of regular breakouts. The attendant who sold me the item assured me that my skin will get worse before it gets better but im not sure when or if that will happen. Due to the breakouts i also have a lot of marks that i now have to spend even more money on trying to lighten. Switching back to Cetaphill which although may not aim at acne treatment, atleast doesnt worsen the situation.

  9. I’ve had a very long and stressing journey with my 8 year old daughter who haseczema/psoriasis and today I have learnt about “xerotix skin” & now I know she suffers from thay too :). Tofay while going through what else i can try at Dischem, the sales assistant suggested i try the Proxera body emulsion and the shower cream. I don’t want to get another repeat script for the classique cream and persevate cream mic as her skin is used to it now and is not as effective in stopping the itching.

    1. Shame man, I’m sorry to hear it. I think the best thing you could do is take her to a dermatologist. They can recommend the best products for her and while it’ll be an initial outlay, it’ll save you in the long run from a hit and miss experience with random things. I wouldn’t consider BioNike the best brand for very troubled skin.

  10. Hi! Wil bionike help my skin with dark spots and marks due to pimples as well as helpstop break out? I feel bad to even leave the house so have to always use a foundation and concealer…my thyroids have been removed and am on medication, so will bionike help me…I have been reading a lot on bionike, what do u think is the best range for me, I have oily skin , mostly on forehead and cheeks.

    1. Hi Michelle! I’m not sure. I’m not a huge BioNike fan for when it comes to anti-ageing or correction. They tend to steer clear of using the potent actives necessary to do the job as they’re so focused on not irritating sensitive skin. In this I’d suggest you chat to a dermatologist if the problem’s a big one. Otherwise, go to a Sorbet store and ask the therapists to recommend products from Environ. They have products that have lots of AHAs in them that can help you chemically exfoliate those dark marks away. Best of luck!

  11. After switching over to Bionike Rosys(which did not really calm my skin down or reduce redness) I finally ended up at a dermatologist, who is not in favour of Bionike at all. He diagnosed me with Rosacea and prescribed the following: Epizone E ointment to use as a facewash, Physiogel cream, Eucerin 50 sun fluid mattifying face and Dalacin T as needed for acne. Also currently on an antibiotic and a probiotic. I was surprised that these products didn’t cost an arm and a leg since the bionike worked out quite expensive. Seeing him again in a week or so and hopefully all this redness will have cleared up.

  12. Hi, I brought the Two-Phase Lotion-Eye Make-Up Remover, the Mouse Detergente, the Crema Urea 10% and the Defense Rosys, but are very disappointed in the product.. I have sensitive eyes and very dry skin, also mentioned that to the saleslady.
    The eye make-up remover and the cleanser gives me eye infection and the cleanser makes my skin feels very dry.
    Sorry not impressed.

  13. Hi all,
    has anyone tried the bionike acteen quick pen? It’s like a spot treatment where you place it on your pimples and I was told that apparently the next day the pimple should be gone.
    It was suggested by one of the dischem ladies but I’m hesitant to try it after reading a bunch of not so good reviews about bionike products.
    If there are any ones that you can recommend from other brands- that would be very nice as well

    Please help.

  14. Just got introduced to Bionike Defense Hydra5. I am not going to lie my skin has never jumped for joy like it did when I applied this product. A bit of background I just finished Roaccutane. And a lady at dischem told me about this as I was on search for Eczema products lovelysode effect of Roacc. Now I use day and night moisturizers thinking that was good enough for my skin. Clearly it wasn’t.

    I suppose if your skin isn’t dehydrated then you wouldn’t notice, honestly I have never tried ANY face product to have such an instant result. I think its brilliant. And to add I think this article even though 4 years old was brilliant. Very funny and 100% true.

  15. Not enought product fot very dry aging skin i told the lady its not working but when you go into dischem first thing they sell to you!! So money down the drain again!!

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