If you follow me on Instagram, you probably know that I took my first international flight last week in over two years. And, while life in Poland and Germany is nowhere near back to normal, Lisbon Airport seemed to be in full pre-pandemic mode and provided lots of shopping surprises during my 4 hour layover. After a quick recharge over a glass of local green wine (vinho verde is amazing you guys), I scouted the terminal for some beauty finds. Sadly, the Tom Ford counter in Duty Free no longer carries my all time favorite Illuminating Highlighting Pen in Dusk Bisque, but I did discover a local pharmacy with brands and products not readily available in the States. Almost 250 euro later, I am excited to share my finds.
La Roche Posay Cicaplast Gel B5
The Cicaplast B5 Baume formula is pretty ubiquitous in the US, but thanks to an introduction from another skincare enthusiast on Instagram, I now know about the gel version. Pre-Covid, this would have been immediately added to my Canadian shopping list but since Trudeau won’t be opening the borders anytime soon, I was ecstatic to see it at the Lisbon airport pharmacy. In contrast to the ‘baume,’ which I found cosmetically somewhat inelegant, (heavy, did not absorb quickly) the gel variant feels very lightweight and sinks into the skin in mere seconds. The formula is packed with skin conditioning Vitamin B5, Tiger Grass Extract, Vitamin E as well as minerals such as Zinc, Copper, and Magnesium. This won’t become my everyday moisturizer but I’ll reach for it when I’m in need of an SOS soothing treatment post-peel or whenever I need to address irritation or redness effectively and quickly. Thrilled with this purchase.
Endocare-C Ferulic Edafence Serum
Yes, I am still fully committed to my SkinCeuticals Silymarin CF serum but something about this Endocare find was calling my name loud and clear from that pharmacy shelf. This anti-pollution regenerative treatment is fueled by 10% Vitamin C (3-O Ethyl Ascorbic Acid) and .5% Ferulic Acid but also 1% Deschampsia Antarctica Extract, which is one of just two plants that thrive and bloom in the harsh climate of Antarctica. Other ingredient highlights include Snail Secretion, Sodium Hyaluronate, and Arginine. The Endocare-C Ferulic serum is silky and lightweight. It feels slightly oily at first but absorbs quickly with no greasy feel nor slip, and has a very mild aroma often referred to as ‘hot dog water’ (how we describe C Ferulic treatments). I can’t speak for any results just yet but l’m very excited to incorporate this one into my AM routine. Paid 78.50€ (30ml)
Endocare Tensage Ampoules
I’m a complete Endocare newbie but was advised to pick up their Vitamin C ampoules. Clearly, I grabbed the wrong box (Endocare offers a pretty wide variety). These super fresh and super hygienic, single use ampoules are packed with the brand’s proprietary blend of growth factors, peptides, and brightening agents to regenerate aging, sun-damaged skin. At first glance, the ampoules look only half filled but the brand assures us that each ampoule will deliver three applications, so I’ll be stretching my 10 vial set to a month long treatment. Suitable for either AM or PM use, these layer well under my moisturizers and I’ve even added them to my routine at night. The texture is quite rich yet the liquid absorbs quickly. Use each ampoule sparingly — a few drops is all you need. Paid 38.05€ (10 ampoules)
ISDIN Foot Gel Oil
There is no better foot care product that repairs, exfoliates, and moisturizes as well as this ISDIN formula. If your feet feel dry, look ashy, or cracked, and scaly, pick up a tube of this miracle immediately. The formula contains 10% Urea aka dry skin savior, Lactic Acid to help smoothen rough heels just in time for flip flop season. Moisturizing agents such as Shea Butter Extract and Sodium Hyaluronate help deliver impressive results overnight but apply this gem consecutively over three nights with socks on before going to bed and I predict you’ll be spending way less on pedicures. I’m obsessed and stock up every chance I get out of fear it may get reformulated or discontinued. Luckily, ISDIN has an impressive Amazon store (sadly not all SKUs sold overseas are available) where you can snag a tube. $33 (75ml) amazon.com (ugh, it costs half that in Europe)
ISDIN Age Repair Color Fusion Water SPF 50
Full disclosure: I love ISDIN tinted sunscreens A LOT. With that said, there is no way the brand’s ‘universal tint’ will work for every skin type. Not even on most skin types, especially fair. The Eryfotona formula is my usual go-to but after discovering Water Fusion on holiday a couple of years ago, I was stunned by its lightweight texture. Sadly, the latter is not sold in the US. The Age Repair Color Fusion Water feels like the best of both worlds (tint and airy liquid texture) with a side of anti-aging peptides, antioxidants, and Plankton Extract. Yes, there is a scent—something European pharmacy staples are quite known for— but since added fragrance never bothers my skin, I don’t mind. Love the semi-radiant finish that also manages to keep my complexion shine free. Paid 38.85€ (50ml)
ISDIN Pediatrics Fusion Fluid Mineral Baby SPF 50
This is probably the best option if you want a 100% mineral, fragrance-free sunscreen that will work on all skin types, including those of you with sensitive skin. All while feeling rather high end. Yes, it’s for babies but my forty year old skin does not know the difference and neither will yours. If you do pick it up, I have one word of warning: immediately after application, this silky lightweight formula appears white on the skin. Give it a few minutes to ‘set’ and you’ll notice that while the dry touch finish may have a subtle hint of glare to it, it’s pretty traceless. It also feels like it will be super water resistant so I’ll be adding this one to my poolside bag. Lost the receipt but I think this one was around 20 Euro for a 50ml bottle.
ISDIN Lip Balm SPF 50
I actually grabbed this together with the Pediatrics SPF at a train station in Berlin. Side note: the 24h pharmacy on the top floor is the ultimate self-care mecca. Now onto some more truths — while the face sunscreen is pretty great, the lip balm is just okay. The swivel stick applicator is user friendly but the solid texture feels almost waxy. There is also a pronounced taste of sunscreen that is impossible to avoid when talking… All in all, this is a decent product but I’m probably too obsessed with the iS Clinical Liprotect SPF 35, unfortunately significantly more expensive. I have not seen the ISDIN lip balm Stateside and wouldn’t recommend you invest time to hunt it down. This one’s a miss.
Avène Cleanance Expert Emulsion
This is the only Avène product I’ve repurchased multiple times. I’ve tried to figure out the individual ingredients but have concluded most are the brand’s trademarked blends like Diolnyl™ and X-Pressin™ that are meant to clear complexions prone to congestion, blackheads, and breakouts. That’s me in a nutshell but especially when I travel or during the warmer months. I seriously cannot imagine my travel kit without a tube of this lightweight lotion, which is not only refreshing but keeps my skin perfectly balanced, hydrated, and radiant. If you’re looking for a lotion-like moisturizer that will prevent and correct any potential imperfections, I highly recommend you give it a try. It’s readily available Stateside so this purchase was strictly triggered by a want. Sometimes, backups need backups. $26 (1.3 oz) lovelyskin.com