Thursday, November 8, 2012

French Pharmacy Favourites

Shopping at local grocery stores and pharmacies are huge to-dos whenever I am abroad. In Paris, I went totally nutso at the latter.

Some say that French beauty products are superior than what we get state-side. Whateverrr - I think it's absolutely romantic to slather on beauty potions that have names you can't pronounce. 

Having said that, I am very much impressed with the efficacy of the following products. While some of these are rather difficult to obtain outside of France, I am impressed at how readily found a lot of them are in the USA, albeit at a premium. Where available, I have included links to (currently on F&F 20% off) and (perpetually on 20% off). 

Bioderma Crealine H2O Micellar Solution: This was the BEST buy of the trip. As someone who NEVER leaves the house without long-wearing liquid eyeliner, I have struggled to find a cleanser that is effective at removing makeup yet gentle on my eyes. This soap-free cleansing water is a wonder product - while it looks and feels just like water, it takes off every bit of gunk I put on my eyes. While not necessary, I prefer to rinse my face off with water after use.

Nuxe Huile Prodigieuse: I first came across the shimmer version on an previous trip to Paris. I love using this multi-purpose oil on my body before a night out or after a long soak in the bath. It gives my limbs a nice sheen. I also sometimes use it on the ends of my hair. I know it can also be used on the face so I bought a non-shimmer version on this past trip for that reason. (Side note: I had high hopes of piling the shimmer version on my face to finish off my Snooki look for Halloween. Alas, I looked more golden goddess, less oompa-loompa. Good result overall, not so much for Halloween). It is a bit pricey but a little bit goes a long way. In NYC, you can also pick this up at Duane Reade.

Nuxe 3 roses exfoliator and gel cleanser: These were again items I discovered on my previous trip which I loved. I had a mild freak out when I initially couldn't locate them but then realised Nuxe updated its packaging. They smell of roses so lovely but not overpoweringly so. I use both of them interchangeably in the shower with my ClarisonicThe old variation of this range can be found here

Biafine ACT: This hydrating cream is a first time buy. While it is meant to sooth and treat burns and skin irritations, I've used it as a deep moisturising mask, leaving it on for an hour before rinsing off or when I've needed a stronger boost, I leave it on overnight, especially on days following prescription retinol use. I have shocking skin in the winter (even my skin knows it is a summer baby!), Biafine as well as Avibon (below) are proving to be lifesavers this season.  

Cica Biafine Hand Cream: This hand cream version has been a lifesaver to my 80-year-old-looking hands! (The only other cream I have found effective and long-lasting is Jack Black Industrial Strength Hand Healer). The small packaging makes it handbag-friendly.

Avibon: A milder alternative to prescription Retinol with a vaseline-like texture. The first time, I slathered the jelly all over my face and went to bed really shiny and sticky. My bedfellow stayed on the far end of the bed all night but at least I woke up with amazing baby-smooth skin! Subsequently I learnt that the trick is to rub a dime-sized dollop between my hands to warm it until it becomes like a more spreadable face oil. Your face will be less sticky but alas still shiny. Trust me - it's worth it. In any case I hear it also works as a blemish fighter - a claim I have yet to prove. 

La Roche-Posay: this brand is really as amazing as is lauded. I love the immense range of products that caters for every skin type and every skin ailment - you name it, they've got it. The choice buys this trip were moisturisers with SPF. I found the Hydraphase Intensive UV a great day cream under makeup as it easily absorbed and didn't leave an ash-y appearance. Even the boy liked this for it's non-shiny result. I also purchased the Anthelios SPF 60 Light Sunscreen which I hope to use all over when I am back in sunny Asia later this month. The main draw of this one - ultra-light texture with high SPF.

Embryollisse Lait Creme Concentre - It's not called 24-hour miracle cream without reason. A mainstay amongst beauty editors and makeup artists, I like that it's not as heavy as Biafine - making it appropriate for warmer days or for those with less dry skin. I use this as a under-makeup night moisturiser. 

Other great buys: Nuxe Rive de Miel Ultra-Nourishing Lip Balm (rich honey-based lip balm), Avène Eau Thermale Water Spray (soothing face spray that helps set makeup), Anything Caudalie, but especially the Merlot Friction Scrub (a yummy body scrub that tickles the oenophile in me!). On that note, Sephora is also offering 20% off to VIBs for the next few days (use CELEBRATE at checkout).
Paris tip: While local pharmacies carry most, if not all of these products, visit City Pharma (26 Rue du Four, 75006) for best selection and prices.
Have you tried any of these? Do you have any other French beauty products you love?


  1. I've gotta look up that Biafine, I am always on the lookout for a rich moisturizer for the winter months that really works without being too greasy and have tried almost everything! Thanks!

  2. very useful post.Even I like the drugstore product :)

    Bong's Belleza