The list of the things that the French do right is (in my opinion) infinite, ranging from breakfast to couture, street style to macarons, and architecture to (inevitably) beauty.
ESPECIALLY re. skincare. Mid-priced and affordable, I truly believe that the French brands have the best products and formulas if you’re attempting to up your skincare game but don’t want to break the bank. Look no further than the likes of Avene and La Roche-Posay - their formulations are no nonsense, simple, and based upon science - you’ll find no cheap fillers or attempts to cater to the latest fads here.
The main French skincare brands (Avene, Bioderma, La ROche-Posay) have extensive ranges with products for every skin type, and are peppered with cult favourites - the products which every beauty lover stocks up upon the second she hops The Channel, and begs her best friend to bring back for her after a week in the Dordogne (and truly, no romantic weekend in Paris is complete without dragging your loved one to a French pharmacy. If carrying your basket around City-Pharma for you isn’t love, then what is??).
And if a trip on the Eurostar isn’t high upon your imminent agenda then beauty’s best kept secret (at least where French skincare is concerned) can fulfil all of your demandes de pharmacie. Online beauty retailer Escentual have the best prices when it comes to stocking up on your French favourites, and currently have 1/3 off on ALL French brands. Who needs Paris??
Here are my recommendations…
La Roche-Posay Effaclar Duo+ Everyone’s favourite preventative/corrective spot-treatment. This HAS to be the most raved about product on my blog, and you’re probably all sick of hearing about it! However, if you’re new to TGG then allow me to introduce you to blemish-prone skin’s best friend. This gentle lotion not only clears up existing spots and works to fade scars and marks, but keeps blemishes at bay, minimises the appearance of pores, and reduces redness. If I could only use one skincare product, it would be this.
La Roche-Posay Effaclar A.I. The perfect accompaniment to the above, this spot-on treatment has a stronger formula which works by reducing individual blemishes as quickly and effectively as possible but without drying out the surrounding area. This mini tube lasts forever, and unlike many other similar treatments fails to become less effective as time goes by.
Caudalie Beauty Elixir* For instant refreshment and smooth glowing skin there really is no other option. I spritz this on pre and post-makeup application in order to set my makeup and keep my complexion dewy and fresh all day long. It also works a treat as a hydrating evening treatment underneath moisturiser. The perfect antidote to dull and lacklustre skin, and a luxe way to refresh on a hot summers day.
Avene Extremely Gentle Cleanser The gentlest cleanser you will ever use. This cool, soothing lotion will remove the last traces of makeup and cleanse even the most sensitive of skin without causing any irritation or redness. I would recommend this for any and every skin type as an effective but calming evening cleanser.
Avene Soothing Hydrating Serum* A moisturiser in serum form which also doubles up as a makeup base. This is one of my favourite products to use ahead of a long day as it keeps my makeup in place and prevents it from clinging to and accentuating dry patches (the only downside to Nars Sheer Glow).
Bioderma H2O Micellar Solution I’ve used many a micellar solution, and whilst the high street does have some great (and more affordable) alternatives, I still think that the original is the best. A few cotton pads socked in this miracle water is guaranteed to remove the majority of my makeup in one go (another wipe would remove every last trace but I prefer to double cleanse with something a little richer). I have incredibly sensitive eyes and find that this is the only micellar solution which doesn’t cause them to sting and tear up. It’s also the best one when it comes to removing mascara quickly and effectively - an essential in my daily skincare routine.
La Roche-Posay Physiological Cleansing Gel* I love nothing more than a gel cleanser in the AM - they're perfect for refreshing the skin and clearing away all of the built-up product from the night before, and leave the complexion clean, smooth, and ready for makeup application without a hint of oiliness or residue. However, gel cleansers are notoriously drying, so I always opt for those aimed at dry skin. This is my favourite - gentle, simple, soothing but effective. Another hero product from La Roche-Posay, and perfect if you have blemish-prone skin.
Avene Cleanance Mask Finding a really good, deep cleansing, blemish-battling mask is a hard task if you live in fear of irritating your dry or sensitive skin. But you can ALWAYS rely on Avene to perform when it comes to tackling delicate complexions, so if you're still on the hunt, allow me to introduce you to your new skincare saviour. This mask is an essential in any blemish-battling artillery, and I wish I'd discovered it sooner. It leaves my skin feeling deeply cleansed, but at the same time calm, nourished, and soothed.
Klorane Nettle Shampoo Finally, a haircare favourite which I couldn't possibly pass up on mentioning. This is my once a week detox shampoo. Guaranteed to break down product buildup, and leave my hair weightlessly soft, full of volume, and clean for days on end. I wouldn't recommend it for everyday use as it has quite a strong formula - but when it comes to bringing balance to the scalp, this performs just as brilliantly as (if not better than) its high-end competitors.
What are your French pharmacy favourites?