If you consider yourself a bit of a beauty aficionado, it’s likely that you’ll have heard all about the wonderous aisles of French pharmacies, stocked to the rafters with skincare treasures. Lauded as some of the most innovative, effective and pleasurable skincare products around, for years they have been the secret of jet-setting models and backstage professionals who regularly top up their stocks when they find themselves in Paris. But not anymore – these products are now readily available in the UK, and we can all benefit from their high tech care. Hurrah!
Ready to see what all of the fuss is about? Here are the cult French products that you need to try…
1) The Must-Have Cleanser
Bioderma Sensibio H2O Micellar Water
If you’ve got to try just one new cleanser this year, make it this. Bioderma’s world-famous H2O micellar waters are the original and still the best, offering no-rinse cleansing for even the most sensitive skins. This Sensibio version (also known as Crealine in its motherland, France) is created especially for reactive skin so it really cools and soothes as it cleanses. Its non-irritating, quick as a flash cleansing has made it a true cult hit with makeup artists – you won’t find a backstage area without one.
2) The Skin Healer
Another backstage secret (you’ll find a lot of them on this list!) is this multi-purpose ointment originally created for use on cuts, grazes and abrasions. The reason this balm is so well-loved lies in its ability to quickly hydrate and smooth skin – and the best thing is, it dries to a matte finish, allowing makeup to be applied on top without a greasy feeling. If you’re prone to dry patches or have chronically chapped lips, you need this homeopathic balm, pronto.
3) The Soothing Spray
La Roche-Posay Serozinc
This healing spray is a cult product in the UK… and it’s only been available here since January! Before we launched Serozinc exclusively at Escentual earlier this year, its many dedicated fans would have to make the cross-channel trip to les pharmacies Française in order to stock up – but ask any of them and they’d tell you it’s totally worth it. Serozinc is a soothing and repairing zinc sulfate solution that is perfect for a multitude of uses, from calming nappy rash and razor burn, to mattifying oily skin. Simply spray on the soothing water at any time of day and feel the calm roll in.
4) The Does-It-All Moisturiser
Embryolisse Lait-Creme Concentre
You’ve probably heard all about this product following the Fashion Month coverage last month, because (say it with me) it’s a backstage favourite! This multi-purpose cream started its life as a repairing and protective treatment for those with burns before it was discovered that the concentrated blend of shea butter, beeswax, soy and aloe vera was fantastic for making all skin feel incredibly soft, smooth and moisturised. The rich cream can be used by the entire family for a multitude of moisturising needs, but the reason it’s loved so much backstage is because it’s brilliant as both a makeup remover and a makeup primer.
5) The Rejuvenating Shampoo
Rene Furterer Forticea
This under-the-radar shampoo from Rene Furterer has become a hit purely through word of mouth. Created for those who struggle with hair loss no matter their age or gender, this stimulating formula encourages better scalp health through light exfoliation and good nourishment. Those little beads that you see in the picture above? They’re small biospheres of essential oils that burst as you lather up the shampoo, and they help to improve blood circulation and promote a seriously fresh scalp. Shampoo isn’t the sexiest thing in the world, but healthy-looking, fuller hair most definitely is!
6) The Moisture Maker
Vichy Aqualia Thermale Serum
When your skin needs a big hit of hydration, this is the product for you. At the heart of this ultra silky serum is Activ Hyaluronine™, a concentrated blend of hyaluronic acid and lipidure that will hydrate your skin for an incredible 48 hours. 48! That’s 2 days of plump, smooth and moisturised skin that looks and feels so much more comfortable and fresh. It doesn’t matter whether you have chronic dehydration or your skin just feels parched from time to time, this lightweight serum will bring your skin back from the brink and maintain a good level of hydration. It’s a workhorse, and every skincare routine should have one.
7) The Miracle Oil
Nuxe Huile Prodigieuse Multi-Purpose Dry Oil
If you ask a cross section of skincare fans what their favourite oil is, I’d bet that this golden elixir from Nuxe tops the list. Crafted from a blend of 30% precious plant oils (sweet almond, camellia, macadamia and borage oils, to be exact) in a 98.1% natural formulation, this beautiful blend glides over skin with a lustrous feel. Its dry finish is its calling card, enveloping skin and hair in antioxidant and nourishing care without feeling the slightest bit greasy – and it imparts the most glorious summery aroma. Forget everything you know about skincare oils, because this is in a league of its own.
8) The Pick-Me-Up
Avene Soothing Moisture Mask
And to round off our list, a bestselling SOS treat that all skin types can enjoy. This creamy mask is perfect for complexions that are prone to bouts of dullness and dehydration, no matter whether they’re dry or oily. Its hypoallergenic, nourishing formula is packed full of Avene’s famously soothing spring water to intensely and durably calms the skin, while triglycerides help restore the hydrolipidic barrier and prevent further moisture loss. Slather on in a thick layer during your Sunday night pampering session, wait for 15 minutes or so to sink in, and then wipe away any excess. You’ll be ready to face Monday with a glowing complexion.
Over to you!
What are your French pharmacy can’t-live-withouts?