Wishlist: French Pharmacy Beauty

Ah, French pharmacies. If I only lived next door to one. Since I don’t (and that’s probably good for my wallet), they’ve come the subject of this week’s wishlist post.

I don’t recall anymore how I ended up searching online for “French beauty products” but that’s what I did one day, and a wealth of information opened up before me. The one thing that’s common in the posts I’ve read (see below) is that French beauty isn’t so much about makeup/cosmetics, but about skincare. There’s literally dozens (hundreds?) of products targeting very specific skin concerns that you can possibly think of. There’s a cream for dehydrated skin, and then there’s a different cream for severely dehydrated skin. There are all-around products, too, and multi-taskers. And perhaps this minute attention to beautifying the skin is the secret to the French woman’s beauty.

Here are my top products to get whenever you find yourself in a French pharmacy:

1. Vichy Normaderm Triple Action 3 in 1 Cleanser (about $20): Unique combination of Salicylic acid, Glycolic acid and 25% Clay with a soothing agent. Salicylic acid works to remove impurities and excess sebum, Glycolic acid smoothes and evens the skin, while the Clay mattifies the skin for a clear complexion. ACTIVE INGREDIENT: SALICYLIC ACID 0.5% ACNE TREATMENT. INACTIVE INGREDIENTS WATER, KAOLIN, BUTYLENE GLYCOL, ZEA MAYS (CORN) STARCH, GLYCERIN, DECYL GLUCOSIDE, TITANIUM DIOXIDE, POLYETHYLENE, CHONDRUS CRISPUS (CARRAGEENAN), PEG-7 GLYCERYL COCOATE, GLYCOLIC ACID, ZINC GLUCONATE, BLUE 1 LAKE, SODIUM HYDROXIDE, SODIUM CHLORIDE, COCO-BETAINE, DIPOTASSIUM GLYCYRRHIZATE, DISODIUM EDTA, CHROMIUM OXIDE GREENS, XANTHAN GUM, FRAGRANCE

Vichy has been around since the 1930s and is considered the first French Doctor’s brand trusted by millions of women in Europe and around the world. All of their products have the 100% pure and mineral-rich active water from Vichy springs. Normaderm is their skincare line for acne-prone and oily skin. There’s been a lot of good reviews on this 3-in-1 cleanser, and I like the fact that it multitasks. I would use this in combination with the  3-in-1 Unclogging Purifying Toner and Night Chrono-Action Anti-Imperfection Care, both from the same line.

2. Serums – and I have three picks. These target skin imperfections and anti-aging concerns, promising rejuvenated skin (and my skin needs that for sure!). In no particular order:

Vichy LiftActiv Serum 10 (about $53): LiftActiv Serum 10, Vichy’s breakthrough anti-aging formula features a 10% concentration of Rhamnose, a naturally derived plant sugar proven to help boost skin rejuvenation. With just a single drop, your skin is instantly transformed; wrinkles and pores are visibly reduced. Your skin is lifted while your complexion is smoothed and more radiant. After 1 month, LiftActiv Serum 10 delivers our most dramatic improvement on the 4 main types of facial wrinkles: crow’s feet, brow line wrinkles, laugh lines and neck wrinkles. The lightweight texture melts onto skin, leaving it smoother, softer & more hydrated. LiftActiv Serum 10 is highly concentrated; delivering exceptional anti-aging results but is suitable for even the most sensitive skin. INGREDIENTS: RHAMNOSE 10%, HYALURONIC ACID, HEPES, CERAMIDES

Caudalie Vinoperfect Radiance Serum (about $79): N°1 anti-dark spot product**. This lightweight milky serum corrects and prevents dark spots, to even skin tone and increase radiance. Highly concentrated with patented Viniferine to counter acne marks, scars, and damage, for a brighter, beautiful complexion. INGREDIENTS : AQUA (WATER), BUTYLENE GLYCOL, GLYCERIN*, SQUALANE*, TOCOPHERYL ACETATE*, CETEARETH-20, PALMITOYL GRAPEVINE SHOOT EXTRACT*, GLYCERYL STEARATE SE *, BISABOLOL*, PARFUM (FRAGRANCE), CAPRYLYL GLYCOL, ACRYLATES/C10-30 ALKYL ACRYLATE CROSSPOLYMER, POTASSIUM SORBATE, XANTHAN GUM, CARBOMER, SODIUM HYDROXIDE, SODIUM PHYTATE*.* Plant origin

La Roche-Posay Effaclar Serum (about $45): AHA-Glycolic Complex [7.5%] and LHA [0.5%] work together to provide a powerful combination of highly concentrated ingredients to accelerate exfoliation at skin’s surface, tighten pores and smooth fine lines. Tightens pores and refines skin texture. Visibly reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Recommended for Imperfection and blemish prone skin with premature aging concerns. Key Ingredients: 0.5% LHA: Provides micro-exfoliation to help unblock and tighten enlarged pores while refining the skin’s texture. 7.5% AHA-Glycolic Complex: Accelerates surface exfoliation. Helps smooth fine lines, even tone and boost skin radiance.

3. La Roche-Posay Anthelios 60 Melt-In Sunscreen Lotion (about $30): Anthelios 60 with Cell-Ox Shield™: a synergistic combination of patented high efficacy sun filters and powerful anti-oxidants to further protect your skin. This fast absorbing, sheer-finish sunscreen lotion provides SPF 60 and broad spectrum UVA/UVB protection with the breakthrough Cell-Ox Shield™, to protect your skin. For use outdoors and at the beach. The advanced UV filtering system of Anthelios 60 is a unique association of photostablized sunscreens for broad-spectrum and long-lasting^ protection, with demonstrated efficiency against UVA rays. Anthelios 60 also uses a powerful anti-oxidant complex called Senna Alata, a tropical leaf extract known to defend skin cells*. Key Ingredients: Avobenzone 3% (sunscreen), Homosalate 15% (suncreen), Octisalate 5% (sunscreen), Octocrylene 5% (sunscreen), Oxybenzone 6% (sunscreen)

Living in a tropical country – and with an unfortunate tendency to tan easily – I’m always on the lookout for products that have SPF, or a light sunscreen that can be used under makeup. This one has SPF60 and promises a sheer finish.

4. Caudalie Beauty Elixir (about $18): Inspired by Queen Isabelle of Hungary’s elixir of youth, this treatment smooths away fine lines, tightens pores and gives the complexion an instant boost of radiance. Beloved by beauty addicts, celebrities and make-up artists alike. Shake before use. Avoid the eyes. Spray onto the face before your moisturizer and at any time of the day, to refresh the skin and set make-up. INGREDIENTS : AQUA (WATER), ALCOHOL*, CITRUS AURANTIUM AMARA (BITTER ORANGE) FLOWER WATER*, PARFUM (FRAGRANCE)*, ROSMARINUS OFFICINALIS (ROSEMARY) LEAF OIL*, POTASSIUM ALUM, GLYCERIN*, MENTHA PIPERITA (PEPPERMINT) OIL*, STYRAX TONKINENSIS RESIN EXTRACT*, COMMIPHORA MYRRHA RESIN EXTRACT*, MELISSA OFFICINALIS (BALM MINT) LEAF OIL*, ROSA DAMASCENA FLOWER OIL*, VITIS VINIFERA (GRAPE) FRUIT EXTRACT*, TOCOPHEROL*, CITRAL*, LIMONENE*, LINALOOL*, CITRONELLOL*, GERANIOL*, FARNESOL*, BENZYL BENZOATE*, EUGENOL* (010/024) *Origine végétale – Plant origin

This is, basically, a mist spray, but you wouldn’t know that from the name – Beauty Elixir seems so mythically fancy! A tip from beauty guru Lisa Eldridge is to spray it into your palms, cup your hands over your nose, then breathe in the scent – a little aromatherapy for you. Then gently pat it over your skin to absorb the essential oils. This is quite pricey, though, compared to the rosewater mists that I currently use.

Do you have any French pharmacy favorites? Feel free to share!

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