The next time you feel like injecting your skincare regime with a lease of new life, why not try ones of these French beauty brands that have cult followings all over the world.
When it comes to style and beauty, there are so many ways the French always seem to get it right. And their abundance of skincare brands is one of them. Typically in the European country, women buy their moisturisers, masks and mists from pharmacies.
And many of these key products are put the medical side of skincare at the forefront – rather than beauty, glitz and glamour – and are formed working closely dermatologists and pulling from the natural resources around them. Such dermocosmetics – products that bring together dermatology (health) and cosmetics (beauty) – are integral to the French beauty regime.
If you’re not familiar with the so-called parapharmacie products, then see our list of five brands you need to know, and the hero product to try from each.
La Roche Posay
This collection of skincare and sunscreen products have been created for 30 years alongside dermatologists with the aim to be highly effective while still being suitable for sensitive skin types; formulas are always as minimal as possible. The name is directly derived from the French Village where the spring water that serves as the base to most of their products sourced. Get to know the skincare range an start with the Cicaplast Baume B5 Soothing Repairing Balm. The multipurpose cream is a skincare wonder for dry, irritated and sensitive skins, and is baby-friendly too.
In 1995, the first three Caudalie products were launched in France – two years after founders Mathilde and Bertrand Thomas met with Professor Joseph Vercauteren of Pharmacy in Bordeaux, who revealed to them that grape seeds hold the most powerful antioxidants in the world. And the skincare products created ever since using ingredients from Mathilde’s family vineyard have only continued to grow in appeal within France and across the borders. Not one of the original three, but the product to pick up is the Caudalie Beauty Elixir. First released in 1997, it’s still a cult classic all these years later. Keep deskside and spritz on skin t0 instantly hydrate, brighten and nourish.
Over the last few years, Micellar water has been created by just about every skincare brand possible. Made up of tiny balls of cleaning oils – or micelles – that are suspended into soft water (water that contains a low number of ions) it attracts dirt and oil from the skin surface yet feels as gentle as water. Bioderma was the first to utilise the technology in 1995, and now a bottle of the SensibioH20 sells every two seconds worldwide. While this is definitely the one to add to your beauty cabinet, the entire range is designed for highly sensitive and reactionary skin types. So if this sounds you, it’s worth exploring the moisturisers and serums, too,
Founded in 1931, the pharmacy favourite still produces all its products in the same place today; Auvergne, France’s famous volcanic region. The factory is located less than three miles from Vichy’s key ingredient source – the naturally occurring mineralising water – which is rich in 15 rare minerals including calcium, potassium and manganese. Healing water has been sourced from the springs since 1969. Indulge your skin with one of Vichy’s hard-working serums such as the Vichy Mineral 89 Hyaluronic Acid Booster Serum Booster. It combines the French skincare brand’s highest concentration of Vichy Thermal Mineralizing Water with plumping Hyaluronic acid to strengthen and protect the skin.
There’s a theme to the French pharmacy skincare brands that we love… expertly sourced spring water. So much so, that the Avène Thermal Spring Water Spray is actually one of the cult products from this brand likewise named after its town of origin. But Avène’s dedication to caring for the body’s largest organ dates back to 1736 when the medical properties of the Sainte Odile spring in Avene was discovered. The located is still today a popular hydrotherapy centre. So as well as the canned version of the spring water, explore the brand by trying the Tolérance Extrême Cream. The texture is rich yet none greasy and works to moisturise and soothe the skin.