A for Avène, B for Bioderma, C for Caudalie… Picked up on a pattern yet? While I cannot speak French to save my life, I know my ABCs of French pharmacy. Clean but far from sterile, these chic ‘drugstores’ carry some of the most celebrated skin, hair and body formulas. And while most of the iconic staples such as Bioderma Sensibio H2O or Klorane Dry Shampoo are now readily available Stateside, pharmacie shelves remain full of treasures waiting to be discovered. Here are some of mine from a quick visit last month.
Mag 2 24H
The first time I learned about a liquid vial form of this supplements in an interview Gucci Westman did with into the gloss. I still don’t know if I were supposed to drink them or rub onto my face. One trip, I accidently picked up the tablets and while I’m not sure my complexion looks any different, they are the best hangover prevention I have found to date. Take a couple caps BEFORE going out and have fun. The combination of Magnesium (300mg) and Vitamin-B6 (2mg) fights muscle fatigue and mild anxiety but taken once a day, it gives me an incredible boost of energy and clears my head immediately. Relationship status: never without.
French Vaseline pretty much but tres more practical as it contains soothing and healing Calendula Flower Extract. The slim tube travels well, its pointy tip dispenses a perfect amount of product and the texture is significantly less greasy than other salve type formulas. Slightly similar to the all-purpose balm competition, Homeoplasmine manages to stand out as almost elegant and definitely the most user friendly option. Not easy to find Stateside AT ALL. There it HERE?
In addition to fantastic body care products, Avène has a full on men’s range outside of the US. And it’s amazing. My current favorite: the Shaving Foam. Fueled by the brand’s signature soothing and skin softening Eau Thermale, this Glycerin loaded formula feels comforting and moisturizing as it delivers an ultra close shave. Whipped to perfection and accented with a clean, crisp aroma, this Euro exclusive is worth adding to your list of things to look for while in Paris.
Since the now ubiquitous Sensibio H2O cleansing water is available from every online retailer, I no longer hoard bottles of this fantastic cleansing solution while in Europe. The BIODERMA range of skincare, however, remains full of surprises overseas. My most recent find, the Hydrabio Serum Moisturizing Concentrate, is a lightweight treatment formula packed with Niacinamide, Rhamnose, Seaweed Extract among others. Healing, firming and brightening, it revives dehydrated skin to its plump best. Love it. Stock up on the Hydrabio Eau de soin SPF 30 PA++. It’s the first ever sunscreen water mist and it’s fabulous. Imagine, UV protection in a luxurious and refreshing spritz. It finally exists.
La Roche-Posay Serozinc
This one is hard to find except in Paris. If your skin can be temperamental or if it irritates easily, there is nothing better than Serozinc to soothe even the most aggravated complexion. Fantastic for those with oily, acneic or congested skin, the zinc sulfate solution also works wonders on skin prone to razor burn. Use it as a toner or mist it over your makeup throughout the day. This unique formula has finally been approved in the States but it is still pretty difficult to score. I keep a spare around at all times to never run out.
Embryolisse Lait-Crème Concentré
Favored backstage and on location by industry professionals over the years, this French pharmacy moisturizer doubles as makeup primer and hydrating mask. It’s actually pretty flawless, especially if you have dry skin. Not terribly sophisticated but elegant nevertheless, it is a godsend on cold, windy days or during travel. Yes, you can now find it Stateside but if you’re in Paris, it’s cheaper there. Don’t judge it by the ingredient deck alone. Featuring one of the most impressive textures, it glides on and wears beautifully without clogging your pores.
What are your French farmacie favorites? I’ve been reading recommendations from Gwyneth, beauty editors and foreign bloggers over the years but there is something satisfying about your very own find. Would love to hear about yours!