Discover the pharmacy products that keep French women looking their very best
Have you ever wondered what beauty secrets French women hold that keep them looking so effortlessly chic?
Well it’s hardly a secret any more, French Pharmacy skincare products are how our Gallic cousins keep their complexions in top condition. With an array of well-priced and effective skincare available on their local high street, savvy French consumers will choose a smart pharmacy buy over prettily packaged yet ineffective rivals every time.
From targeted skincare products to treat conditions like eczema to multi-purpose oils that protect skin and hair against the winter elements, French pharmacy beauty buys offer solutions to a range of beauty needs.
Click through our round-up of the little-known French Pharmacy beauty heroes, now available to all thanks to the power of the internet.
Sanoflore is one of those brands that feels like it should be a lot pricier than it is. Aside from looking the part (serious dressing table appeal here) every product is certified organic with delicious 100% natural origin scents and sustainable production, which the brand has been doing long before it was 'cool'.
The latest launch worth a look is this beautiful Regard Hypnotica Eye Cream, £26, which aims to perk up and smooth tired eyes with brightening silk tree extract, de-puffing adenosine and protective cornflower hydrosol. It slips on and spreads nicely, without overloading the thin skin around the eyes or causing any irritation (and I am the queen of irritated, weeping peepers) The scent is lovely without being overpowering, I've started keeping mine in the fridge for particularly puffy mornings and it feels like heaven.
Vichy is probably one of the best-known French Pharmacy brands on these shores, and no wonder - this brand is high-tech, innovative but extremely democratic when it comes to price. There's plenty to love in their range but Minéral 89 is my current favourite, a quenching, slippery serum made with 89% Vichy Mineralizing Water (essentially souped up H2O, choc-full of beneficial natural minerals) and Hyaluronic Acid, the best hydrating and plumping ingredient going. It has a nice unsticky texture, absorbs quickly but sticks around in a comforting cushiony way.
Cleverly, the brand recently tested Minéral 89 on 263 long haul flight attendants, 100% of whom said they were happy with the product, while 91% said they would recommend it to their colleagues or other tired travellers. Sold! I'll have this dinky 30ml in my carry-on next time I travel.
A versatile and effective multitasker, Embryolisse Lait-Crème Concentré's rich and creamy lotion can be used as a primer, make-up remover or intensive moisturiser. Yasmin Le Bon's a fan, which means we are too, no wonder it sells a bottle every 60 seconds globally.
Alcohol-free and ultra mild, Bioderma Sensibio H2O Micelle Solution is the go-to make up remover backstage at fashion week with good reason, it dissolves every scrap of build-up and can be used over and over again without ever irritating the skin. The secret's in the micelle molecules, which gently draw dirt and grime away from the skin.
Until recently La Roche Posay Serozinc spray wasn't available in the UK, so the only way to get hold of it was to hot foot it to France and fill your case with the stuff, much to your other half's delight, I'm sure. These days, it's readily available online and in good old boots so finally we can all see what the fuss is about.
This contains just three ingredients; Soothing LRP thermal water, Zinc Sulfate, a known anti-inflammatory that cools and calms breakouts and sodium chloride, to clear up excess oil. Mist it on oily or breakout prone areas for instant cooling relief and long term prevention.
If there's one thing we love more than French skincare, it's bespoke French skincare. New brand, CODAGE Paris has just launched in the UK and is offering a tailored serum to suit your complexion. Founded by brother and sister team, Julien & Amandine Azencott, their approach is based on traditional French phamacy products, which aim to target individual concerns with specified properties and dosages.
A celebrity favourite, Klorane's Gentle Dry Shampoo with Oat Milk is kinder to hair than your regular high street branded dry shampoo. Made up of oatmilk extract, corn and rice starch, this naturally powerful dry shampoo thoroughly cleanses and soaks up excess oil without excessively drying the scalp out as so many do. Klorane's range of targeted shampoos and conditioners are also well worth a look as a good value range of nourishing and natural products.
If you suffer from eczema or easily irritated and sore skin, a specialised zinc cream - generally only available in French pharmacies - is for you. Our pick is the Bioderma Atoderm PO Zinc Creme, which is gentle enough to use on babies as well as your own face and body. This targeted moisturiser is highly anti-inflammatory so prevent irritation, redness and related skin conditions. Fragrance-free Bioderma Atoderm PO Zinc Creme is rich yet sinks quickly into skin, leading it prepped and ready for make-up application.
This Homeplasmine ointment cream is something of a 'do-all' buy that's viewed as a healing product in France. If you do have an insect bite or irritation, it's great for soothing the skin - it's great on dry chapped hands or sunburn too, in fact you can dab it pretty much anywhere for a calming cocoon like effect.
Multi-purpose oils are something of a godsend - especially in the warmer months when our skin needs that extra hydration hit but nobody wants the faff of using 12 different products. Nuxe oil is a true cult classic with good reason, it can be used to smooth and add shine to hair or nourish skin anywhere. The best time to apply is straight after the bath or shower when your skin's still slightly damp to trap all that lovely moisture in .Or, try spritzing it onto a hairbrush to add shine to particularly parched hair.