The French are legendary for their all-natural approach to beauty and using simple products generally found in local pharmacies. Beauty mavens, here are 11 of the best French beauty products to stock up on from the pharmacies whilst you're in Paris.
But if your next trip isn't for a while, we've found the best places to buy these French beauty products online.
11 cult French beauty products
This one ranks highly with makeup artists and French beauty fans.
A mulit-purpose cleanser and makeup remover, Bioderma's Créaline is alcohol and paraben-free making it great for most skin types. Use morning and night with a cotton pad (no rinsing) to remove excess dirt. However, this isn’t effective on waterproof mascara as it’s not oil-based.
The French are advocats of doing this rather than water cleansing, as you strip the skin’s oils less. Depending on your liquids allowances you can usually get good deals on double packs of 500ml bottles. Also comes in a perfect travel size format.
€2.60 for 100ml.
Nuke’s reputation is somewhat global now. The huile prodigeuse is a great all-rounder, smoothing hair, body and face (although it’s quite rich). A holiday essential due its multitasking nature, and comes in shimmery editions for bronzed legs.
€24.90 for 100ml.
Lauded by the likes of Gwyneth Paltrow, Homeoplasmine is traditonally used as an intensive moisturiser for irritated skin (notably sore nipples during breastfeeding).
It’s been adopted into a great lip soother, ideal for smoothing out those winter flakes. Like Vaseline, but better.
€3.77 per 100g.
Klorane offers a natural and lighter version of other dry shampoos. Made from oat milk, a couple of sprays will soak up dirty roots and add volume to your coiff. You’ll smell as fresh as a newborn baby afterwards. A tinted version is available for darker hair colours.
€6.95 for 150g.
The original Biafine is a household staple for burns, and the same skin-calming expertise goes into their range of skincare products.
Cicbiafine is a multi-purpose reparing cream which works wonders to calm irritations and dry out cracks. There's also Sensibiafine is for face, with rich and extra-rich versions ideal for winter.
From €5.49 for 50ml.
You’ll find few exfoliants and harsh chemicals in French pharamacies. Moisture is king and the best French beauty products are water based. Avène’s Spray d'Eau Thermal is a water spray for rehydrating the face and neck.
All you in summer. There's also mini versions which are great for your bag or to stay hydrated on planes.
€6,74 for 300ml.
Caudalie’s anti-oxident serum is a powerful youth boost. Rich in hyaluronic acid, vitamin C and olive oils this is an overnight anti-wrinkle treatment that’s a snip of the price of Estée Lauder et al.
Smoother on the face and neck before bedtime and awake with added shine.
€29.60 for 30ml.
OK this looks a bit Post-War but there’s a reason Rogé Cavailles hasn’t needed to revamp its packaging. These French beauty products have been tried and tested over the years.
Smoothing even the driest skin, this bath and shower oil has definitely inherited the brand’s know-how (they started selling in 1855 on Boulevard Haussman).
From €9.90 for 250 ml.
When French beauty products achieve cult status amongst Frenchies themselves, you know it's good. Embroylisse's Lait-Crème Concentré is lauded as the best base in town, whether you're going au naturel or wearing makeup on top.
This rich cream deeply penetrates the skin, making it great for nourishing driest areas. It can also be used as a face mask.
€15.50 for 75 ml.
A little pricer than others in our hit-list, Filorga is hailed as the anti-aging cream. Time-Filler is a potent blend of collagen and hydrochloric acid acting together to 'fill' in facial links.
Using this botox-effect cream a few nights a week is proven to give more radiant skin.
From €59.90 for 50 ml.
Find them in these French pharmacies
City Pharma is a Parisian institution. Be warned, the crowds get VERY busy here - you'll most likely be in snake fashion throughout the shop. Try avoid Saturdays... However, the choice here is second to none. All the best brands and a great homeopathic range.
Where: Rue du Four, 75006 Paris
When: Mon-Fri, 8.30am - 8pm; Sat 9am - 8pm.
How: Metro Mabillon, Saint Germain des Prés
Found on boulevard Saint Michel, Pharmacie Bader is a veritable supermarket of beauty and wellbeing products. Spread over 2 floors, with over 21,000 items in stock, the choice is almost overwhelming.
Where: 10-12 Boulevard Saint Michel, 75006 Paris
When: Daily from 8.30am to 9pm.
How: Metro Saint Michel, Cluny La Sorbonne
Aiming to offer the best of Parisian beauty products at the best prices, Pharmacie Monge is a Holy Grail for beauty mavens. Their range of brands is staggering, you'll spend plenty of time trying to decide what you really, really need. The shop is also open until 11pm.
Where: 74, rue Monge 75005 Paris
When: Mon-Sat, 8am - 11pm; Sun, 8.30am - 8pm.
How: Metro Place Monge
More of an old school style pharmacie, they stock tried-and-tested products including an impressive herbal section.
Questions? The staff are extremely knowledgeable and will give you exactly what you need, no gimics.
Where: 2 Place André Malraux, 75001 Paris
When: Mon-Sat, 9.30am - 8.30pm. Closed Sunday.
How: Metro Pyramdies, Louvre-Rivoli