I used to spend every June in Paris. I called it my “month of inspiration.” I’d tour the museums, walk along the seine, relax with a book in the Jardin du Luxembourg, sit amongst the sculptures of Rodin and write, and, of course, shop – St. Germain, Avenue Montaigne ,and Le Marais were among my favorite destinations.
And while roaming the city on my month of discovery, I would venture into the french pharmacies and peruse the aisles for the most innovative beauty finds.
I actually just returned from a family function in Paris and, while there, I was able to make my way back into those beloved pharmacies to rediscover some of my favorite french beauty finds. Here are the french products you need to own today (click on name of product to buy it from an online retailer, or bookmark this post for your next jaunt to Paris):
1. Bioderma Crealine H20 ($26) – I am often asked to list my favorite products and this soap-free, water-free face wash and makeup remover is always a the top of the list. Recently, Style Bistro posed the question and here was my response: “I was first introduced to Bioderma Crealine H2O by a friend in Paris. It’s both a makeup remover and a face wash—but without water! Parisian women fear that water dehydrates their skin, leading to premature aging, so they are keen on using products such as this cleansing water as a soap-free, water-free alternative. While I still do wash my face—kind of obsessively—I love this product as my makeup remover. It is ideal for sensitive skin, gets everything off, including stubborn waterproof mascara, and has never made me break out! It’s quite honestly the perfect makeup remover.” This cult-classic can be found at any corner pharmacy in Paris.
2. Embryolisse Lait-Crème Concentré ($28)- I’ve raved about this in the past (read my review here), but to summarize, Embryolisse, another Parisienne cult favorite, is a staple in almost every makeup artist’s makeup bag. Why? Because it is, quite simply, the perfect moisturizer for all skin types. Gentle and packed with essential fatty acids and vitamins, Embryolisse leaves skin hydrated and glowing without any of the FDA preservatives. It’s an ideal pre-makeup prep product as foundations and powders glide on with ease, post Embryolisse.
3. Avène Cold Cream ($20)- This revered French skin care line can be found at every French pharmacy. While the brand is known for its special water – thermal springs – it’s also rigorous in the quest for creating product that target specific skin disorders including sensitive skin and eczema. The Cold Cream is a staple moisturizer, adored by the Parisienne women for its ability to moisturize even the most dry, cracked and sensitive complexions. While the cream is too thick for my skin type, many of my friends, including Alice + Olivia designer Stacey Bendet, swear by this product to keep their complexions hydrated and healthy.
4. Nuxe Huile Prodigieuse Multi-Usage Dry Oil ($29) – You can’t leave a French pharmacy without purchasing something from Nuxe and the Dry Oil is the most adored product in the line. It’s not reserved solely for your body – although it does produce a gorgeous, subtle glow on skin. Use the dry oil as the French do – on hair and face as well. It’s 98.8% all natural, preservative and silicone free so it’s suitable for almost all skin types.
5. Caudalie Beauty Elixir ($18) – Sure, you can find this brand at your local Sephora, but the Beauty Elixir originated in France. Part-toner, part-serum, this mist is chock-full of essential oils that both tighten pores and work on fine lines. And as a mist (Parisienne women love a good face mist), you can apply it pre moisturizer as a boost or after your makeup to set your face.
6. Boiron Homeoplasmine ($21) – The French equivalent to Elizabeth Arden’s 8 Hour Cream, I was first introduced to this multipurpose ointment by model Jessica Stam. It soothes, protects and moisturizes the skin without the greasy aftermath of Aquafor or 8 Hour. Think of it as a matte finish ideal to use pre-makeup application on dry patches (and lips!) to create a smooth, silky palette. It can also be used on dry hands, cracked cuticles and sunburns.
7. Klorane Dry Shampoo ($20) – By far, my favorite dry shampoo on the market — and while it’s now sold stateside, its French origin makes it a “buy-in-bulk” item from our beloved French pharmacies. Why is this dry shampoo better than all of the rest? The short answer is oat milk. The products main ingredient not only cleanses and absorbs oil but it also leaves hair smooth instead of crunchy and/ or product-heavy like so many of its competitors.
8. Decleor Aromessence Neroli Essential Serum ($68) – The French have been raving about this 100% natural serum for years, but its American following isn’t as loyal. While our marketplace is inundated with hundreds of face oils, Decleor’s Essential Serum is one of the originals and some would say, the best. Essential Serum hydrates, soothes and brightens without leaving an oily residue in its wake. As with most French beauty products, this oil is suitable for all skin types, including sensitive.
9. Avibon Vitamin A Cream ($50-$250) – Widely considered the over-the-counter French Retin-A, this cream is full of vitamin A, one of the most effective anti-aging ingredients, but it’s also the perfect antidote to acne, too. Stock up on this stuff, ladies, it’s quite difficult to find stateside (and when you do find it, it’s extremely costly. Click on the product link to purchase it for the lowest price I could find in the U.S.). Besides being a favorite amongst its native women, Gwyneth Paltrow is also a fan. Says the actress: “Avibon is hard to find outside of France, but it’s one of my very favorites. It’s full of Vitamin A, which is wonderful for the skin, getting rid of blemishes, tough dry spots and preventing wrinkles (they say). I know an older movie star who uses this every night and she has the most amazing skin!” Note: This product is rather thick so use it like your would Retin-A – a little goes a long way.
10. Oenobiol Tanning Skin-Prep Pills – I’ve never actually tried the “tanning pill” but my American friend living in Paris constantly raves about it. And when I saw her skin – the perfect golden brown bronzy hue – I understood why she is a fan. While the pills are extremely popular in Paris, they don’t yet exist in the United States. In fact, I can’t find a single place to buy them online… so this is a product you’ll have to cross the Atlantic to purchase. What does a tanning pill do? The way my “American in Paris” describes it, you take them before, during and after sun exposure (great to use while on Holiday). Apparently, it preps the skin for the sun (some Frenchies go as far as to say that it protects against sun damage, although I highly doubt that), brings out the natural golden color in your skin, and prolongs the life of your tan. Not to mention the shade of bronze that the pills manage to produce – a perfect golden hue.
Vitamin C is a favored beauty ingredient because it achieves three very important complexion goals: It lightens, tighten, and brightens the complexion. Ideal for a myriad of skincare issues including sun damage, acne scaring, collagen depletion, and aging concerns, vitamin C is like a cure-all for the face (just like it is for the immune system).
Even if you have been blessed with the genetic lottery and boast a flawless complexion, a vitamin C serum should still be a part of your daily skincare regimen because of its ant-aging and preventative abilities. After all, even the most porcelain of complexions can benefit from an extra bit of brightening – and tightening – right? In fact, vitamin C gives everyone better skin, seriously.
When using a vitamin C serum, apply post wash and pre moisturizer. Let it soak into the skin for a couple of minutes before moving on with your routine (brush your teeth or floss to kill time). While you can use vitamin C AM and PM, I recommend starting with a PM application to build a tolerance, as some skin types may feel a burning or stinging sensation, followed by some mild redness. Generally speaking, this reaction will go away after a few applications. I apply morning and night and I always make sure to wear SPF during the day, post vitamin C, as potent serums increase sun sensitivity. So, if you’re planning to spend the day baking in the sun, skip out on the vit C.
While Vitamin C is usually most potent in a serum or powder, it can also be found in brightening moisturizers, enzyme peels, and face washes.
Here are a few fabulous vitamin C serums and products to try today:
1. Obagi Professional-C Serum 10% ($82) – This deeply penetrating serum comes in three strengths – 10%, 15%, and 20% (definitely start with the 10%; it’s potent and results are practically instantaneous). One of my favorite vit C serums of late, this stuff does it all – lighten, tightens, and brightens – without irritating skin or depleting it of moisture. In fact, it leaves the complexion dewy and luminous.
2. Natura Bisse C+C Vitamin Cream ($115) – The end-all-be-all for drier skin types concerned with aging, this vitamin C-packed cream helps to restore skin elasticity, tone, and firmness while adding serious moisture.
3. Murad Intensive C Radiance Peel ($55) – One of my longtime favorite at-home peels, this stuff really cleans out clogged pores and sloughs away dead skin while leaving the complexion soft, smooth, and beautifully bright and radiant.
4. Drunk Elephant C-Firma Day Serum ($88) – Firms and brightens skin, and reverses photo aging, this potent serum is packed with antioxidants and nutrients to nourish, lighten, and brighten skin, while deeply hydrating.
5. Joanna Vargas Vitamin C Face Wash ($65) – Celebrity facialist Joanna Vargas has concocted an extremely gentle yet effective wash full of vitamin C to leave skin clean, smooth, and brightened, while hyaluronic acid offers lightweight moisture to plump and revitalize the complexion. Pure cleansing perfection.
*Make your own DIY Lightening and Brightening Lemon Toner here. Face-changing!
True story: I moved to LA two and a half years ago to find refuge from the debilitating cold of NYC winter, only to have my skin and hair left more dehydrated and weak than ever before. LA’s climate is so painfully dry that the ends of my hair literally break off. There’s something awful in the water here, too, but we’ll save that for a different post. I trimmed the split ends yet still found no solace from the dry climate.
That’s when I decided to go on a hunt for the best dry hair helpers on the market. I need oils, masks, lotions, and potions. Anything that can salvage my lifeless, dead, split ends. Here are the products that I found – and use – to keep my hair in shiny, healthy, and happy shape.
Philip B Rejuvenating Oil ($30) – Meant for dry hair and scalp, this is a treatment oil that will take dead, dehydrated strands and give them a surge of moisture. I don’t use it on my scalp because I naturally produce a fair amount of oil, but I keep it on my ends once a week for at least an hour before washing out. Love, love, love how healthy my hair looks and feels after a treatment.
Phyto 7 Daily Hydrating Botanical Cream ($28) – Think of this as a moisturizer… for your hair. Daily use has breathed new life into my otherwise lifeless strands. It also makes combing and blow drying a much easier task. One of my favorite products on the market, seriously.
Neuma NeuSmooth Revitalizing Masque ($40)- This hair mask is heavy stuff — and the results are soft, shiny, manageable, and rehydrated hair. I use it as a daily conditioner (that’s how dry my ends are!), applying to ends and leaving it on for 1-2 minutes, but as a weekly treatment product, give it a good ten minutes to penetrate through the hair shaft.
Arcona Essential Nutrients Silk Leave-In Conditioner ($20) – For those days when the tangles get the best of your hair, this leave-in conditioner will nourish, detangle and moisturize. The formula of vitamins, silk protein and Panthenol can be sprayed onto dry scalps too.
Sachajuan Intensive Hair Oil ($45) – A serum of moisturizing oils that tames frizzies and fly-aways without looking greasy. This formula of argan, buckthorn, and sunflower oils can also be used as a leave-in treatment to penetrate the hair cuticles for ultra soft, shiny, and manageable hair. Apply on wet or dry hair. Leave on or wash off. I reapply throughout the day for the occasional pick-me-up.
Alterna Caviar Repair Split Ends Mend ($35) – A daily restorative treatment that literally mends split ends by 93% from the first application. Apply to dry or damp ends and allow to air dry or use hot tools for healthier, glossier, smoother hair.
Summer beckons us to take things down a notch – from our clothing to our hair to our makeup. A face full of makeup in sweltering heat and humidity is – quite literally – a recipe for disaster. But the sun also dries out our skin (and hair, but more on the latter in another post), so we must remember to keep our lips hydrated. And if we’re able to douse a little color in there, well, a hint of tint never hurt anyone… even in summertime. In fact, a tinted balm will moisturize and shine, but without the added weight and stickiness of gloss or the dryness of a matte or stain.
Here are 6 tinted lip balms to own today:
1. Clinique Chubby Stick Moisturizing Lip Colour Balm ($17) – Each of these 16 colors will have your lips singing all season long, but Fuller Fig, a sheer pinky beige, is, quite possibly the perfect pinkish nude for summer (not to mention that Tina Fey is a fan).
3. Burt’s Bees Tinted Lip Balm ($7) – Again, all 9 of the sheer tinted balms are amazing for day and night, but Red Dahlia, a crimson-cranberry is our summer go-to for a hint of tinted drama (and moisture).
4. Nivea Kiss Of Care & Color Sheer in Sheer Pink ($5) – For those that like a little petal pink on their summer pout, look no further than Nivea’s coveted tinted balms, redesigned with sleek new packaging. At $5 a pop, buy all four colors and switch off from day to day.
5. Benefit Cosmetics Hydrating Tinted Lip Balm in Benebalm ($18) – This sheer candy red gives your summer lips that beautiful faded red glow, with all of the hydration that your mouth can take.
6. Fresh Sugar Lip Treatment Sunscreen SPF 15 in Plum ($23) – If you’re a lover of berry shades, look no further than Fresh’s cult-classic. While every color is divine, Plum is this beauty writer’s absolute favorite. A creamy berry hue that glides on with pure hydration and a healthy dose of plum sheen.
*TIP: While the consistency is sheen and the formula is malleable, use these tinted balms as cream blushes, too. Just dab onto apples of cheeks and gently blend for a dewy, glowing burst of sheer color.
Strobing. Highlighting. Illuminating. Three words that are basically interchangeable when it comes to makeup’s favorite bottled illuminators and the effects they offer a complexion. To use, apply on its own for a natural, lit-from-within radiance over the entire face, mixed with your favorite foundation for an all-over glow, pre-foundation as a shimmering primer that’ll give you the most subtle sheen and turn that lackluster complexion into the picture of health, or spotted over foundation on certain areas of the face that you’re looking to highlight, or attract attention to, such as cheekbones, brow bone, center of forehead, cupid’s bow, bridge of nose, and even décolletage, arms, and legs.
Here’s the thing about liquid highlighters today: There are so many uses, so many benefits, and so many formulas, there’s a perfect one for every face. Finding that dewy effect has never been easier!
A few of our favorite illuminators below:
1. Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector in Moonstone ($41) – Yellow-based luminizer that offers subtle highlighting and natural radiance to the skin, under, over, or solo. (Available in five finishes)
2. Dr. Jart Every Sun Day UV Illuminating Sunscreen SPF 36 ($34) – White-to-clear shimmer that gives skin good glow while doubling as a sunscreen to protect your precious face for UV rays.
3. Nars Illuminator in Hot Sand ($30) – Gold-based illuminator that can be applied to highlight features or mixed in with foundation for an all-over-glow. (Comes in four shades)
4. Charlotte Tilbury Wonder Glow ($55) – Neutral with a bit of pinkish gold undertones that can be used under foundation, spotted onto features over foundation, or all alone for a spotlight effect.
5. Honest Beauty Everything Primer Luminous Base ($27) – Gold-to-clear shimmer, best used as a primer pre-foundation application (but works heavenly on its own to give that lit-from-within glow to the entire face).
6. Burberry Fresh Glow Luminous Fluid Base in No. 1 Nude Radiance ($48) – Pink-based luminizer; the original glow-in-a-bottle and still the best for fair complexions. (Comes in two shades)
Lip paint seems to be on the lips of every fashionista as of late. Not just painted on their pouts, but also spewing out of their mouths. After all, Kylie Jenner’s Lip Kits have redefined the desire for stay-all-day lip wear. But these new iterations are much more pigmented than the tried-and-true stains of yesteryear: The lip paint is a hybrid of a stain and a matte lipstick, sometimes even a gloss, except they miraculously stay put for hours (hence the “stain” element). And since Kylie’s Lip Kits seem to sell out faster than the coveted Mansur Gavriel bucket bags (which are randomly in stock right now so hurry!), here are the next best things for stains with a color punch that promise not to budge (even after a little lip lockin’).
Here, some of our favorite lip paints in a variety of finishes:
1. Yves Saint Laurent Vernis À Lèvres Glossy Stain ($36) – A glossy finish that somehow doesn’t budge.
COLOR PICK: Rouge Vintage is a universal berry shade that gives a hint of natural hue to lips.
2. Tarte Tarteist Creamy Matte Lip Paint ($20) – As the name suggests, this is a creamy matte finish the dresses the lips in high pigment without dressing your glass.
COLOR PICK: Be, a deep crimson red, and Fomo, the perfect mauve for a neutral pout with a hint of pink.
3. Laura Mercier Paint Wash Liquid Lip Colour ($28) – A bold demo-matte finish.
COLOR PICK: Golden Peach is a universally flattering peach-nude with coral undertones. Sheer but bold (if you get our drift).
4. Milk Makeup Lip Color ($22) – A matte finish, like paint, it goes on strong and stays on long.
COLOR PICK: Gnarly is a fuchsia shade that is rather wearable and surprisingly flattering for medium to deep skin tones.
5. Revlon ColorStay Ultimate Liquid Lip ($9) – Like Kylie’s metallic paints, this formula has some shimmer… and last for up to 24-hours (so they claim).
COLOR PICK: Iconic Iris, a metal-y mauve, and #1 Nude, a shimmering bronze-nude.