Must-Have French Beauty Products

In a previous post, I mentioned that French pharmacies are like beauty stores, offering high quality products that are equivalent to Canadian department store products. What I didn’t mention was that French products are often less than half the price you pay in North America. (Score!)

The pharmacy actually started out as a place for me to practice my French because the beauty fairies are always ready for a consultation. Okay, they are not actually called that, but I think of them as such – always dressed in pink lab coats, zipping through the crowds to give recommendations and advice. They will usually ask about your skin type and your current skincare routine (which used to feel like a oral French test, but not anymore! 🙂 ). Over time, the pharmacy has become a place where I explore and uncover the secrets to flawless French skin, one product at a time…

NUXE Rêve de Miel Lip Balm

NUXE reve de miel

NUXE is huge in France. Most famous for its multipurpose dry oil Huile Prodigieuse, this brand is known for using natural ingredients. My favourite NUXE product is the honey dream lip balm. It’s a great lip balm for repairing my lips, especially since wearing lipstick is a ‘must’ when going out in France.

80% of the ingredients are natural, with honey and vitamin E as the star ingredients. The texture is pretty thick so I use it as a night treatment instead. Waking up with soft, supple lips is the best thing in the world! I chuckled when I read the packaging: it’s been tested in the extreme conditions in Canada. Winter, I’m ready for you!

Bioderma Créaline H2O Makeup Remover

Bioderma Crealine H2O

One day, there was a promotion on these cleansers at the pharmacy and literally everyone in the check out line was holding at least one bottle. I was running out of my old makeup remover so I picked up a small bottle to try. Since then, it has become an essential item during my night cleansing routine.

This gentle cleanser removes face and eye makeup very well, leaving my face feeling clean but not stripped. It’s fragrance-free, oil-free, and rinse-free (I still rinse out of habit though). This is one product that I’ll definitely need to fill my suitcases with before leaving France.

Embryolisse Lait-Crème Concentré

embryolisse lait creme concentre

Created by a Paris hospital dermatologist specializing in skin diseases, Lait-Crème Concentré has been a long-time favourite among makeup artists and models – not surprising since it can be used as a primer, a moisturizer and makeup remover. The consistency of the cream is a little thicker than your average cream and it comes slightly scented but not overpowering.

I don’t use it in the summer because I find the cream too rich for my skin. In the winter however, this is a lifesaver. It’s ultra moisturizing but doesn’t feel heavy on your face. I remember using it for the very first time and excitedly called out for my husband Marc to ‘Come touch my face’ because it felt like a baby’s bottom. I guess the embryo in the name is appropriate…(and in case you’re wondering – No, it does not contain embryos.)

Caudalie Vinoperfect Radiance Serum

Caudalie VInoperfect

Caudalie was founded at a French vineyard where the creators were inspired by the natural antioxidant powers of grape vines. This serum is formulated with grapevine extracts to lighten dark spots, even skin tone and fade acne scars. I love the texture, it is lightweight and does not feel or look oily.

Fortunately, I don’t have acne scars from my teenage years (yay!), but I can’t help but notice that my skin tone doesn’t look as even as it used to be. Going to the beach every other day was also making my freckles darker. After using this serum for a few weeks, I’ve already noticed that my face looks brighter and more radiant. No wonder people wear less makeup here.

La Roche-Posay Thermal Water Spray

Thermal Water La Roch Posay

One day, I came home with a thermal water spray by La Roche-Posay. Marc immediately laughed at me for buying “water in a can”.

Mais non, I said. It’s much more than just water in a can! Thermal water is from springs and contains minerals and antioxidants. The mineral contents and levels vary depending on the source, which probably explains why I found Avène’s thermal water more drying compared to La Roche-Posay.

I can understand why French people love their thermal water sprays. The fine mist refreshes you instantly on a hot day, not to mention it helps set makeup and can even relieve itchy mosquito bites. I mostly use it as a toner after cleansing, making sure that I dab off the excess.

As for Marc, he got a taste of the benefits and begs for a spray here and there. Since he made fun of me first, I get to make fun of him on the Internet! 😉

Have you tried any of these products? Leave a comment! I’d love to hear your thoughts or if you have any other recommendations for me to try.

Thanks for reading et à la prochaine!



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4 years ago

I love Bioderma! I’ve used a water spray from MAC but it felt too ‘chemical’ so I’d love to give a more natural one a try. I’ve also been reading about serums lately and plan to add that to my routine. Great post! 🙂

4 years ago

Loved this post! I am so going to look for that bioderma makeup remover and the Nuxe lip balm sounds dreamy! Great post.