Thursday, March 14, 2013

From the French Pharmacie: Avibon Pommade

Over the course of my French pharmacie essentials research, I came across this on several blogs, most noticably Gwyneth Paltrow's blog, Goop. She did a post about her favourite French pharmacie products, and this was one of them. According to her, it's an anti-aging miracle used every night by an "older movie star" who has amazing skin.

It's got retinol and a really high dose of vitamin A, so it's good for healing blemishes (and preventing new ones), as well as helping to reduce fine lines. According to some of the blog reviews I read, it's hard to get a product with this much vitamin A in it without a prescription in North America, and the prescription products are pretty pricey. This is available over the counter in France, and it's also dirt cheap.

The product itself is a thick ointment - think vaseline, but thicker. Here's what it looks like:

Because of the consistency, it's difficult to spread on the skin. I recommend taking a few dabs, smearing them on a the cheeks and forehead, and leaving them for a few seconds before spreading. This allows the product to warm and soften to avoid pulling at the skin and to get a thinner layer. You can also rub it between your fingers to warm it, but I feel like this wastes a bunch of product, so I prefer the direct-to-face method. Put it on right before bed and by morning it will be entirely absorbed. Because of the retinol and vitamin A, it can be used on combination and oily skin and won't cause breakouts.

I've only used this a couple of times so far, but it does seem to help skin appear healthy and hydrated - I actually went foundation-free for the first time in ages the day after using it for the first time!

There are a couple of down sides. One is the scent - it's strong and floral, almost grandmothery. It fades a bit as you wear it, but still, not my favourite. The floral scent is also masking a more medicinal one - I only notice it when applying near my nose, but it's not too pleasant. It's also a bit sticky on the skin for awhile after applying, so if you have pets (long-haired cats in particular) it's kind of a magnet for stray fur. Not the best experience, hence my recommendation to put it on right before bed!

Despite the thick consistency, it's actually not as uncomfortable to wear as you might think. Once warmed to skin temperature it spreads easily and thinly, so while it's a thick product, the layer you end up with on the skin isn't. This also means a little goes a very long way. I hate anything heavy or oily on my skin, but despite some initial discomfort, the feeling of this on the skin really isn't that bad. And if it's good enough for Gwyneth...

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