The French are renowned for their high regard for natural beauty. At the foundation of this value are French pharmacies, where they purchase all the products they use to keep their hair, skin, and body in enviously good condition. Oui, a Parisienne is not born with that perfectly messy hair and flawless visage – she buys it in bottles, and you can, too!
French pharmacies can be very daunting for tourists or newcomers to Paris. It’s not a case of being hard to find – there are more pharmacies than food shops in the French capital, with at least one on every street – but rather the volume of products and lack of English labels.
If you can speak French, all you have to do is speak with any of the helpful pharmacists and they’ll direct you to the perfect products for you. However, if you can’t (or are simply too shy to!), there are a number of cult products that I’ve tried over time that you can’t go wrong buying.
Klorane Shampooing Sec à l’Extrait d’Avoine
Klorane’s dry shampoo with oat milk is a favourite of Parisian it-girls like Jeanne Damas, keeping their hair perfectly imperfect. Use it between washes to give your hair volume and volume and eliminate oil. Thanks to its softening ingredients, the spray doesn’t leave any residue – in fact, you barely feel like it’s there! It’s worlds away from dry shampoos that you purchase at your typical drugstore and definitely worth the extra few euros.
Nuxe Huile Prodigieuse
I’ve already praised Nuxe’s multipurpose dry oil at length in its own article, but it’s still worth a quick write-up. The Huile Prodigieuse is a concentration of six precious oils and works together to soften skin, improve texture, rebuild collagen, and deliver essential vitamins. You can use it on your body, face, and hair. It also comes in a shimmery version (Or) that’s perfect for summer. While the price can be a bit hard to swallow for a small bottle of oil, it lasts for absolute ages and is incredibly versatile.
Avène Antirougeurs Calm Masque Apaisant Réparateur
Thanks to enrichment from thermal water from Avène, this repair mask immediately soothes and calms the skin. It improves skin microcirculation, contains moisturizing ingredients that keeps skin soft and supple, and reduces redness. The velvety cream goes on like a dream and after a mere 10 minutes you’ll see a noticeable reduction in redness and feel a cooling sensation.
This repair mask (Avène’s whole anti-redness line, really) is a god-send for anyone who struggles with redness. It’s the only thing that’s ever worked for my sensitive skin, which is prone to flare-ups whenever it’s the slightest bit agitated. I use it on days when I’m red around the nose and cheeks, or after I’ve had some sort of procedure done, such as a facial.
Uriage Brume d’Eau Ultra-Hydratante Anti-Pollution SPF30
It’s no secret that Paris is a city with a high level of pollution. I noticed it beginning to affect my skin after only a few weeks of living here. The remedy? This hydrating thermal spray by Uriage. In addition to hydrating the skin, the dry mist protects with its UV filter, anti-pollution shield, and SPF 30.
To use, you simply hold back 20cm and spray all over your face and neck. I like to apply it once in the morning to set my makeup, and then toss it in my handbag to re-apply whenever my skin is feeling parched throughout the day.
Bioderma Hydrabio Tonique
This moisturizing toning lotion by Bioderma is my holy grail of toners. The Bioderma Hydrabio Tonique is made specially for dehydrated, sensitive skin, it has an allergen-free fragrance and is hypoallergenic. I apply it every morning and evening with a cotton pad and it leaves my skin feeling fresh, hydrated, and radiant all day and night.
Caudalie Vinoperfect Crème Nuit Peau Neuve
When I asked a French pharmacist for the best cream for pore tightening and moisturizing, I was handed this one by Caudalie. The cream is gently exfoliating and works overnight to visibly reduce lines and pore size, brighten skin, detoxify, and even texture. It claims that its formula works over time to minimize dark spots and imperfections, refine skin texture, and visibly tighten pores.
I’ve long struggled with finding a cream that actually tightens my pores, and this is the only one that’s ever worked for me. After only a few uses I noticed a significant difference. My skin looked cleaner, more luminous, and my pores were actually smaller. I now consider myself a lifelong user!