The best French pharmacy beauty products to stock up on when in France
Life has been a little overly busy with finalising my move from Switzerland to Norway and taking a last family trip to France in between. So we must apologise for the lack of content these past few days. Hope you're doing well! Here it is excitement at its max and enjoying spending few days in Paris with the beau and family.
On the topic now. Before repacking my bags for the final mov , I went for a (heavyyy) French pharmacy shopping trip and literally bought without counting, telling myself that the cause was worth it- we were talking skin under harsh Nordic weather aggression and that I couldn't quite possibly find these existencial products there anyways (I do know though that I can find some of them there- true- but prices do NOT compare). So all and all I tricked myself believing I was doing my wallet a favour on the long term. Hmm. The lies we tell ourselves. But anyways. Some of these products have been part of my routine for years and are icons of our French beauty culture, others are newbies I was just curious to try out. It id worth mentioning that throughout the shopping trip, I was counselled by an actual pharmacist who recommended relevant formulas, routine steps and gave me great tips on how to mix active agents and what not to do with my skin. So if you find yourself going to France in the near future or if you have been wanting to try some of these products from your home country, here is a review on what you should buy and how you should be using it.
- full routine order should be: wash, micellar water, thermal water spray or essence, serum, eye cream, face cream. Keep masking twice a week, scrubbing once.
- when kept in the fridge, the active agents of your products get more efficient.
- for the love of God use a separate fresh towel for your face, that you change every two days.
- yes a full routine is great, but can get lengthy and pricey, so keep it to wash, serum and cream if anything you want something you know you'll want to do and keep on doing consistently. You know yourself :)
- Don't massage serum and creams, just put the product on your skin and gently swipe across the product from the inside of your face (nose) to your right (ears) to add a gentle draining effect and avoid the product to penetrate on your fingers.
Now I thought I'd present them in the order of the routine.
Cleansing gel: Avène Cleanance
I always get Avene's. I tried to get away from it. Kiehl's does a very good one and I obviously told you about my obsession for Cetaphyl too here - but truly Avene has been doing the trick for the last 10 years. You can't get more French than that with this little number. 10 euros CHEAPER than in Switzerland. Unknown in Oslo. I told myself bag away lady!
Micellar water: Bioderma Sensibio H2o
The ultimate classic. Sure you can buy it pretty much anywhere in the world by now, the queen of all micellar waters, king of all French beauty products it still remains way cheaper to buy in France. You often get 2 for 1 if you choose your pharmacy well. Buy it. Use it. Swear by it. Spread the love.If you haven't used it yet or don't use a micellar water at all, then please try it. The cleansing gel only removes around 60% of makeup and dirt and pollution. The micellar does the rest while hydrating. Don't think. Take 2.
Thermal spray: Avene Eau thermale
Why use one? Because it is the purest type of water. Essential to hydrate and soothe and balance your skin’s ph. Ideal all year around and especially in summer. Extra tip: keep it in the fridge for a nice glaçon effect. Hmm why not, pack it away.
Essence: SVR Hydraliane
This one is a new one. Maman recommended it to me and I must say, it is quite the revolutionary thing. Use it after your wash and micellar water or spray, and before your serum. Filled with replumping hyaluronic acid this essence has a delicious gooey dewy texture. Just dab it unto your skin with your fingers or with cotton pads, whatever floats your boat. Yes essences are probably the least essential part of a good skincare routine, but I tell you, this one will leave you so plump and visibly radiant that you will want to adopt it. When in Franceeee. Bag it!
Serum: Filorga Hydra-Hyal
Next step is a good serum. My skin is dehydrated not dry, so it doesn't need moisture but water, so I chose an acid hyalunoric formula. 4 little dops on your T-zone and cheeks and swipe across from your nose to your cheeks. Don’t tap too much with your fingers, don’t massage or the product will penetrate on your fingers as opposed to your face. Tried it these last 2 days and it is just fabulous. I feel just plump and full like a fat pink baby. Not sure my analogy works, but you see right? Right?
Eye-cream: Armencelle Organic
Next step in a healthy bright 9 to 9 skincare routine is a good eye cream. You only need a tiny amount to dab on the bone right under your eye. The skin around the eyes is super thin and delicate and can easily puff up if you add too much product or if the formula you select is too heavy. This particular one is a complete trial. Great prixe point (around 12-15euros), organic and ecocert, the perfume is light, texture soft and gely which I really like. Bag it Evodieee
Face cream: Filorga Time-Filler Mat
So by now you have washed, you micelled, you essenced, you serumed, you eye creamed, it is time to pamper your face. I did splurge a little bit on that one and because I'm starting to show lines on my forehead – guess I have too many expressions- the lady recommended me a ‘filler’ formula. A lot of hydration with this one, gorged with acid hyaluronic and a mat formula to tone down my shine. Been using this for two days, and believe me not, I can see my skin changing. It is a little more plump, the color is even (less redness) and it just feels more flexible and softer. Price around 50euros but if you are in the habit of buying Sisley or Estee Lauder, this is a huge bargain. Plus – this is soooo French, no one will have it! Take it.
Pimples treatment: Effaclar Duo+
Like any one of us, I get zits half way through my cycle and can get a little shiny on my T-zone, so I added it to my basket. This star product is around 5 euros cheaper than in Zurich, London or Oslo – so might be worth buying it in France while you’re at it! It works wonders on the skin. Some apply it all over, but my skin gets way too sensitive for that so I try to keep it local to the imperfactions. It lasts fairly long and really starts working on application numero uno. Still filled with hydration (La Roche Posay’s trademark) it won’t leave you peeling or aching with cartony skin.
Face mask: Embryolisse Hydra
A good mask is essential. I spoke here about my obsession with Origins and we told you here that you could use the Embryolisse concentré as a mask, but they have NOW created their own version of a hydration mask. Tried it yesterday and even had a nap with it and oh boy that felt like a treat. Only in France. Must. Buy.
Body treatment: Uriage Xemose
I used to skip that step altogether. Wrong. Even if doesn't mean every single day, add a rich or hydrating body moisturiser to your routine. I personally chose a creamy formula because my legs can go super dry but a lotion does the trick too if you are more into that like this little baby. This is a large pot, but as im moving to Norway, I know this will do me until Christmas. .
Hand treatment: AHAVA leave-on deadsea
Essential in my life. Ahava really does the best of the best, the creme de la creme (I amuse myself at times). Quite literally. This one is fairly rich and greasy, so maybe not the best idea if you work on your laptop or if you are going out. But perfect after a shower or after a thorough gym session or right before bed. Truly transforming.
Deodorant: Nuxe Body Long lasting
Because organic and natural deodorant are not only nice for the planet, they are key in preventing armful things around your breast.
Oil: Nuxe Huile Prodigieuse Or
And at last, this magical product. I dont really use it on my face because I always go for the gold edition which doesn't quite work like the original, but got the best tip ever from Karen Elson (yes the top model), (no not to me personally), (yes here is the link). Mix a tiny drop with your moisturiser and apply it on your decollete and on the top of your cheek bones to créate a soft bronzy glow. Great on WET hair. Not dry, unless your into a solid hangover day look.
Now, no more googling, here is an honest and solid list of products you will want to adopt and save money on. Have a try and let us know, and even better, give us your tips!