It’s no secret that I’m a huge fan of French pharmaceutical products – so much that I already wrote an entire post highlighting the best cult items that I’d tried and loved.
Over the past few months, however, I’ve moved away from the items hailed in magazines as must-haves, to find the ones that best suit my skin type. The result? Clearer, brighter, healthier skin. And all without going to a dermatologue.
I’m a firm believer that there’s no one-product-fits-all type solution when it comes to skincare, and so I want to reiterate that the products recommended here are for people who share my skin type (and even then, it may not be a perfect match!). That’s to say, they are best for people with sensitive combination skin that is prone to spots, redness and dryness. They also are great for people who live in big cities who are constantly exposed to pollution. If that doesn’t sound like you, but you’re in (or coming to) Paris and want to pick up some goodies from French bastions of beauty like Citypharma, I’d recommended speaking to a pharmacist to get recommendations that best suit your skin type.
On to the recommendations!
Bioderma Créaline H2O
Okay, so I lied – there are some cult favourites that are going to pop up on this list!
This popular makeup remover from Bioderma is so popular here in Paris that they frequently sell it in multiples. I’ve even seen it in jumbo-sized bottles! For good reason – I saw a big difference in the redness and texture of my skin within days of switching to this product, having been an avid user of makeup remover wipes in the past.
The product is Bioderma’s brand of eau micellaire or micellar water, a one-step cleansing solution known for its purifying properties. It takes its name from micelles, the tiny cleansing molecules that float in the water.
While micellar water has been gradually becoming more popular across the globe in recent years, it’s had a strong following in France for decades. It removes the need for a cleanser, toner, face wash, and even water. Very effective and strong, it removes even the toughest of waterproof mascara with a single swipe, while still being incredibly gentle on the skin.
Uriage Hyseac Lotion Désincruste
While most days the micellar water is enough to give my skin a deep clean, whenever it feels particularly dirty I will dab by face with the deep pore-cleansing lotion from Uriage’s Hyseac line. Fragrance-free, hypoallergenic, non-comedogenic, and thoroughly tested on acne-prone skin, it’s tough without being irritating.
Enrichment from soothing and moisturizing thermal water balances out the micro-exfoliating AHAs/BHAs that work to unclog dirt and tighten pores. While it makes my skin tingle a bit, it ultimately leaves it feeling fresh and looking matte.
Florame Eau Florale Hamamelis
Every morning before applying my serum and every night before applying my creams, I spray a couple of pumps of Florame’s witch hazel floral water on my face. Witch hazel is renowned for its soothing properties and is a must in your sensitive skincare repertoire, no matter if you’re into natural skincare or not.
Since adding witch hazel to my skincare routine I’ve noticed a decrease in redness as well as fewer spots and an overall more even skin colour and texture. While I found this particular brand at my local pharmacy, any brand should suffice – just make sure it doesn’t contain any alcohol!
Lea Nature SO’BIO Hydra Aloe Vera Serum Hydratant
This pick was actually found at Monoprix of all places! Hypoallergenic and made specifically for sensitive and dehydrated skin, I apply this hydrating aloe vera-based serum from Lea Nature every day before putting on primer and makeup. Made only of aloe vera juice and liposomes, rose water, and bisabolol, it’s 100% organic, incredibly light, and leaves skin matte and hydrated.
Uriage Hyseac K18 Soin Désincruste
To compliment the aforementioned toner from Uriage’s Hyseac line is their K18 unclogging skincare cream. Every other night I apply this hypoallergenic cream after cleansing and toning. Made for oily to combination skin that’s prone to acne, it promises to limit blackheads, refine skin texture, and purify. Like with the toner, I don’t use it all the time, but whenever my skin is feeling particularly clogged I will introduce it into my nightly routine.
Patyka Crème Visage Arbre à Thé
While a bit pricier than the other items on this list, believe me when I say that price of the Patyka tea tree face cream is worth it. After having my skin inspected by a pharmacist at Citypharma, I was recommended this night cream due to its high concentration of tea tree oil – a must for someone like me whose skin can be incredibly sensitive, uneven, and prone to enlarged pores.
Promising to restore balance, tighten skin, shrink pores, mattify, and hydrate, I can say with confidence that it delivers. And all thanks to all-natural active ingredients such as spearmint essential oil, with hazel floral water, hazelnut oil, raspberry water, sesame oil, and the aforementioned tea tree essential oil.
Caudalie Eau de Raisin
Rounding out this list is the grape water spray by Caudelie. Travel-sized bottles cost next to nothing and are the perfect size for tucking into your purse so that you can lightly spray your face whenever it’s feeling irritated or dehydrated. Made of 100% grape water, it’s great for even the most sensitive of skin, and can be applied before or after makeup.
While this and the other items are my current must-haves, I am always open to trying new products in the name of improving and preserving my skin. As such, feel free to share any recommendations should you come across any while visiting your local pharmacie!