I Tried 22 Cult-Favorite French Beauty Products For You
I wish you could have seen my face the first time my friend Dee took me to City-Pharma. The place was packed… like, men and women reaching over one another to grab baskets and baskets of soaps, lotions, shampoos, and mysterious creams. City-Pharm is one of the biggest pharmacies in Paris, located in the popular neighborhood, St. Germaine. While the experience was too chaotic to browse products at my leisure, I was able to get a much broader understanding of why skincare lovers far and wide consider the French an authority in skincare. Even the most affordable brands are made with quality ingredients and fewer chemicals, in fantastic consistencies and lovely scents (most of the time, barely noticeable).
While I absolutely love my American products and continue to use them, I thought I would bring home the most talked about cult favorites and give you my own review. I’ve included the products I feel are worth purchasing, and by no means do you need ALL of these products to add a little French flair into your routine.
And, lucky for you… you don’t have to visit France to get your hands on them– everything here is available for purchase online!
For those of us who don’t have enough time for a daily mask, this Overnight Detox Oil flushes out pollutants and toxins accumulated throughout your day. Made with 100% organic essential oils, give your skin the nourishment it needs. I love how light this oil is and it doesn’t have much of a fragrance. I mix it with A313 (reviewed below) for an overnight one-two-punch.
Both restorative and nourishing, just a dab of this super rich and luxurious Darphin Eye Cream goes a long way. Made with botanicals and potent natural ingredients, it’s perfect for softening pronounced wrinkles and crows feet. If you happen to be in France, snag it while you’re there. It’s half the price! I don’t know if I could justify the spend again but man, it’s moisturizing and lifting.
I’ve used a lot of facial mists in my day but this toning mist by Caudalíe is different from the rest. Its’ herbaceous-rosemary smell and tightening formula help restore radiance in all skin types, the perfect base for priming makeup. Plus, it’s known to reduce redness and dullness! If you love facial sprays, this one is the motherload of facial sprays! I use it during the day and at night. Also, I’ve found Caudalie products are more expensive in the USA, so buy them in France if you can.
This Instant Detox Mask by Caudalíe is the perfect solution for anyone looking for a deep facial cleanser. The mask feels cool going on, leaving your skin feeling tight but not dry. With a suggested application time of 5-10 minutes, the mask is an easy addition to your beauty routine, even if you aren’t one to fuss with complicated treatments!
I actually didn’t bring this home but my friend Dee was adamant about tracking this down and bringing this dry shampoo home for herself! It’s one of Klorane’s most popular products because it hydrates without weighing down your hair or making it feel overly conditioned. Lots of beauty bloggers agree it’s an amazing product! Now I’m wishing I had got my own bottle.
Multi-use emulsion cream is super popular across France, so I figured I’d give it a go. Biafine’s non-toxic, unscented version can be used as a daily moisturizer for sensitive skin, or to treat ailments such as minor cuts, burns, sores, and inflammation. I also liked the label.
Known as Vichy’s most powerful anti-blemish moisturizer, this Anti-Acne Treatment helps hydrate skin for a radiant, beautiful glow. I’ve never used an anti-acne treatment that wasn’t drying or smelled… chemically. I don’t use it every day, just before my period, when I know I’ll be dealing with at least one blemish.
These Eye Therapy Patches by Talika are a supposed life-saver for late nights and rough weeks; an instant facelift that awakens your skin after just 15 minutes. If only I had these in college! These are pricy, but if you are sleep deprived (me), it is really nice to have a solution for at least looking put together after the kids have been up all night! And it comes with a case you can refill. Chic.
Given the popularity of Embryolisse’s Lait-Creme, I wanted to see if their Filaderme Cream (thicker option) would be as good! So far, I’ve found this cream to be a better fit for the winter months. Significantly more moisturizing than the Lait-Creme, the Filaderme Cream takes a bit longer to soak into the skin. In my opinion, worth it for those living in a colder climate or experiencing dryness. Two thumbs up from someone with dry skin!
Another healing balm recommended by French beauty bloggers, this Soothing Repairing Balm can be used on babies and is another great tool to keep in mind when dealing with skin issues where hydration and healing are needed. What I liked most about this is how dense the cream is without being difficult to spread. A good alternative for someone who needs those “all purpose” balms but hates the greasy feeling. Something to note: I did try the product on Bennett and she started to break out.
Widely considered the best French-made all-purpose moisturizer, you can shop Embryolisse in most Target’s and I can verify it lives up to the hype. The cream goes on lightly but leaves your skin feeling hydrated all day. I like this one for mornings because it doesn’t make your makeup feel like its going to fall off! I’ve used this product for years now and I like to buy it in the travel size because I keep my skincare routine simple when on the road. No one needs the extra baggage!!
If lack of moisture is your #1 skin issue, this Bioderma Serum is great for locking in moisture before applying your day and night cream. Designed to be used daily morning and night, it protects against outside elements like pollution and cold weather. After using this for a couple weeks I would say I’m sold on this serum!! It’s not the only one I would use, but it is the one I would use daily for keeping skin moisturized (my number one issue).
The French version of Vaseline, Homeoplasmine works wonders on chapped lips and dry skin. Plus it’s paraben-free! Something to try if you’re wanting to explore different soothing balms. This one came highly recommended and I found it to be with trying but it’s really all about personal preference when it comes to what you use from chapped lips. I like a little bit of scent for my lips!
This Spring Water Spray is great for calming irritated skin, a light mist that makes you feel like you’re hitting the refresh button during the day. I would recommend trying it in the travel size before getting a big bottle because it’s an added step in your daily skin routine for many of us. This is one of those products I thought wouldn’t live up to the hype but it did. I prefer my facial mists to have a scent because I use them to reset and regain focus throughout the day. But this one is worth a try!
Although it was on the more expensive side, I snagged this Compensating Cream in Paris because I wanted something ultra-rich that would deeply hydrate without leaving my skin feeling greasy. I liked it but felt it did the job just as well as the Nuxe and Embryolysse.
A highly recommended lip treatment beloved by the French, everyone loves Caudalíe’s Lip Conditioner. I’ve been a huge fan of the Aveda Lip Treatment and have nearly gone through my entire tube, so I opted to try this as a substitute for the remainder of the winter. Stay tuned!
After watching an entire crowd of people snag this at the store, I figured I better grab one myself. Turns out, it’s popular for a reason. Of all the face creams I’ve tried, this one feels the most nourishing. I saw an improvement in the elasticity and tone of my skin after just one night! A great choice for those of us who are starting to see fine lines appear.
Every blog post I read about French pharmacy products references this Bioderma Cleanser! I was so confused as to why I would need to rub my face with makeup remover but I’ve now learned it’s an important part of the French beauty routine. I’m glad I added it because once I wash my face with a cleanser AND use this solution, my face feels so much cleaner and the products I use seem to soak in faster and work more effectively. If there is one thing to consider from this guide, this is it.
The most similar product to Avibon on the market, A313 works great on wrinkles, enlarged pores, and sensitive skin. Be sure to only apply at night, for the Vitamin A may cause photosensitivity. Winter is also not the best time to try this treatment if you have super sensitive skin! Be sure to understand how to use Retin-A creams before purchasing.
Deeply hydrate your skin for a fresh dewy look with this Hyaluronic Acid Cream. For a great overnight repair mask, apply a thick layer before bed. I am OBSESSED with this cream. It has made the biggest impact when I need to reduce the look of fine lines and get a smooth application of makeup! Just make sure you do a little bit of research into if Hyaluronic Acid is right for your skin, and use with care.
A product you don’t see in the US! This bottle of oil goes on SUPER light but has a heavy scent. I really like it but I’m sure it isn’t for everyone. I like to spritz it on after the shower and then follow up with my go-to Eucerin body lotion. It has a heavy scent so it might not be for everyone. It’s kind of a powdery, floral smell that kind of reminds me of the fancy soaps my grandmother had in their powder room when I was growing up.
This all-natural healing balm offers great healing properties. I like it for cracked lips and super dry patches, as well as for cuticles and rough elbows. I am OBSESSED with using this on my lips! It has a great consistency and subtle sweet scent.
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