Bastille Day Bests: Must-Have French Beauty Products
To celebrate Bastille Day (this Saturday), I thought I’d put together a list of my current favorite french beauty finds. My first round-up, 10 French Pharmacy Beauty Finds, was written several years ago after a trip to Paris, and many of the products on that list I still covet and adore. As luck would have it, I just returned from another jaunt to Paris where I was fortunate enough to peruse the beautiful aisles of those magnificent french pharmacies. But this go-around, I noticed that (most) everything they sell in France is actually available online. How lucky are we?! So here’s an updated round-up of must-have french beauty products, and the links to purchase from the comfort of your own home. Stock up.
1. Caudalie Resveratrol Lift Hyaluronic Acid Eye Lifting Balm ($62) – French pharmacies are chock-full of Caudalie products. I recently discovered this eye balm, and I love it. It’s lightweight but moisturizing, and it doesn’t cause milia around my eye area. It plumps fine lines and acts as the perfect base to foundation/ under-eye concealer.
2. Klorane Dry Shampoo with Oat Milk ($20) – I’ve tried a lot of dry shampoos (it’s a desert island must-have product for me), and this one is my favorite — there, I said it. It absorbs an oily scalp while still allowing you to move your hands through your hair. It’s not crunchy or hard and it gives just the right amount of volume. Of note, I bought a bottle while in Paris, and it was $10 (so if you’re planning a trip, might as well purchase while there).
3. BioRecept Neobio Elixir ($68) – I’m a big fan of the Biorecept range, and Anne, the founder, is a fountain of knowledge (read my interview with her here). This is one of my favorite products because it’s ideal for oily, combination, acne-prone skin (raises hand), but it also targets aging (raises hand again). It’s a serum-moisturizer that hydrates, plumps, lightly exfoliates (thanks to AHA), gently unclogs pores, and leaves the complexion bright and glowing. It’s more than just your average moisturizer: it’s like a moisturizer on steroids, with medicinal properties that heal and repair.
4. Darphin Stimulskin Plus Multi-Corrective Divine Serumask ($180) – I covered this product at length here, but to recap, this serum-mask hybrid will make any tired, dull complexion look brighter, healthier, and more youthful. It hydrates, lifts, firms, and plumps fine lines: it’s literally like a youth tonic disguised as a face mask.
5. Bioderma Sensibio H2O ($15) – I’ve used this product for years — first discovered it in Paris over a decade ago (waaaay before you could buy it in the states), and it is honestly one of my top five, can’t-live-without beauty must-haves. I use it as a makeup remover (essentially as a first cleanse); it removes everything, including waterproof mascara, without any sort of irritation. One of the original micellar cleansing waters, this product can actually be a water-free cleanser (that’s how the French women fancy it). They have many formulations – from hydrating to oily – but the sensitive skin one continues to be my go-to.
6. Bioderma Sebium Mat Control ($20) – A more recent Bioderma discovery, the Mat Control moisturizer is an absolute saving grace product in the dead of summer. The formula entirely curbs shine while still hydrating, and it leaves the complexion smooth like silk, all without any irritating, acne-causing ingredients. In fact, zinc and salicylic acid, fight existing breakouts and protect against new ones. So far, I’m very pleased with this moisturizer (and you can’t beat the price!).
7. La Roche-Posay Lipikar Daily Repair Moisturizing Lotion ($18) – Another brand that lines the aisles of french pharmacies, this lotion is so gentle and hydrating, you can even use it for hyper-sensitive skin or those prone to eczema. I am constantly applying lotion to my body — my hands, elbows, knees, feet. I hate the feeling of dry skin. This lotion — which can be used on the face as well, although I just use it for my body — seriously moisturizes without the bells and whistles of fragrances. Instead, it’s formula contains soothing and moisturizing ingredients like shea butter and glycerin, that get the job done, sans any irritation.
8. Avene Thermal Spring Water ($19) – Face mists are so characteristically french: many buildings in Paris have no air conditioning (I mean zero), and when there’s a heatwave like there was last week when I was there, it’s absolutely brutal. But carry a face mist for on-the-go freshening and it’s a little less awful. The Avene Spring Water is one of the originals: all-natural, soothing, hydrating, refreshing, and suitable for all skin types, even sensitive. Keep yours next to your bed and spritz before falling asleep and right when I wake up; it’s like an at-home mini spa experience and a great way to end and start the day.
9/10. Biologique Recherche Lotion P50 Original 1970 + Lotion P50 PIGM 400 – It’s true what they say about Lotion P50: it really is like a facial in a bottle, and no french beauty product list would be complete without this product. It is face-changing, seriously. I have been alternating between the Original and the new formula PIGM 400, which targets pigmentation issues (will be writing a full review on this in a later post), and I can honestly say, it has changed my complexion. Neither formula is over-drying or irritating, although I don’t suggest using if you have dry or sensitive skin. Also, follow the directions and work up to twice a day properly! The biggest benefit is that these toner/lotion/potions balance out your skin’s PH, which is vital for maintaining a healthy complexion. So they hydrate and exfoliate simultaneously, and offer the perfect precursor for opening up your pores and allowing additional products to penetrate deeper into the epidermis.
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Have a favorite french beauty find not on this list? Let us know in the comments below.