My favorite French beauty products

I recently met a talented beauty blogger based in Paris (hi Kristina!) and told her I would love to hear a few of her favorite products based in Paris. She introduced me to one of the French beauty secrets that models and actresses swear by, Bioderma micellar water (make-up remover). From that, I went off on a whirlwind of research. Here are my finds.

Citypharma in the 6th arrondissement

During my research, I kept reading over and over about French pharmacies being the heaven for skin and beauty products. This puzzled me because when I think of pharmacies, I remember my teenage pastime of buying cheap drugstore brands at CVS, which often left me with irritated or dry skin.

However, pharmacies here in Paris offer well-known make-up and skincare brands that many French women swear by: AveneCaudalieLa Roche Posay, and Nuxe to name a few. You can easily spot these stores at nearly every corner in the city, as they have huge green lighted pharmacy signs.

Caudalie is known for their organic vineyard products made of grape extract

What most people don’t know is that there are a couple of discount pharmacies hidden in Paris. (Don’t worry, I’ve listed the three I’ve found at the end of this post.) Most of you know I go completely crazy over skincare products and even more so if they’re on SALE. I got really into my beauty research late one Thursday night and discovered that one of the discount shops closed at 11pm. I dragged Tyler out and shopped until closing.

I couldn’t believe many products were 50% off and that I had spent a year in Paris already without knowing this.

Nuxe soon became one of my favorite brands, particularly the honey lip balm and hand cream. The lip balm stays on all night- I haven’t really found a competitor that comes close to this. I use the hand cream at work. Nuxe is best known for their Huile Prodigieuse, which is an all-purpose oil you can use to give your legs, arms, and hair a beautiful glowing effect. It does provide a nice shine, but both Tyler and I found the scent to be a bit… old lady-ish (sorry to those who like it!)

So there is definitely an obsession with using micellar water as make-up remover here. I’ve seen very fashionable ladies hoard cases of this stuff and many beauty bloggers swear by Bioderma’s version. My friend Laureen told me it actually irritated her eyes though, so I decided to stick to the Dr. Jart+ Micro Water I already had. When I run out, I’ll pick up a bottle of Bioderma’s famous liquid.

Two other products I kept reading about over and over in French skincare forums were Avene’s Thermal Water Spray and Embryolisse’s milk cream lotion. The spray is used to give you a fresh, dewy look that’s good after long nights or flights (Tyler broke out into laughter when I tried explaining this to him). It definitely feels refreshing, but I still get scared about spraying things onto my face so I haven’t used it much. (You should see me when I go to the optometrist and they ask to spray air into my eyes… not a good time.)

I’m convinced Glossier’s Priming Moisturizer was inspired after Embryolisse’s. I prefer the latter because it’s a bit thicker, more affordable, and smells like roses.

Of course, I had to try out some of the French mask products too 🙂 The Avene one is quite good for clearing up blemishes on my face.

Lastly, I picked up some eye products. I get dark circles (which I blame on genetics), so I’m always eager to give new solutions a try. Unfortunately, nothing beats Estee Lauder’s Advanced Night Repair Eye Cream for me.

My absolute favorite product so far has been the Klorane dry shampoo. I only wash my hair with “real” shampoo twice a week (look up the “no poo” movement; it’s a thing.) This is the best dry solution I’ve found as it doesn’t leave behind any white residue or tangle my hair. Another favorite is Vichy’s 3-in-1 Normaderm scrub cleanser and mask. I use it twice a day: in the morning, it’s my face wash and in the evening it’s my face mask.

Even though I stopped wearing most of the make-up I used to wear in the US, I was still able to find lots of neat products. I love that French women generally wear a lot less make-up. If I’m just heading to work, I’ll do my brows and mascara, and that’s it. Goodbye foundation, bronzer, and all that extra stuff!

I’ve added a trip to one of these pharmacies to my 5 days in Paris post, as I can’t imagine a trip to France without stopping by to pick up some discount beauty products!


Discount pharmacy stores in Paris (in order by favorite)

Pharmacie Monge
74 Rue Monge, 75005 Paris
+33 01 43 31 39 44
8:00-23:00 every day (except Sundays which are open ALL DAY!)

26 rue du Four, 75006 Paris
+33 01 46 33 20 81
8:30-20:00 every day (except Sundays which open at 9:00)

Pharmacie des Archives
2 Rue des Archives, 75004 Paris
+33 01 42 78 45 56
8:30-21:00 (except weekends which open at 9:00)

3 thoughts on “My favorite French beauty products

    1. Hi Paula, I actually prefer the one at Place Monge because it’s a little less crowded, has more flexible hours, and is located closer to me. Both carry pretty similar products, so it’s mainly a question of convenience 🙂 Let me know if you’ve found any amazing products that I should try!

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