Saturday, March 9, 2013

French Pharmacie: The Secret to French Beauty, Part 1

French pharmacies are a dream destination for any beauty fanatic. They're full of swoon-worthy skincare products that you were swear were the fanciest and most expensive out there - but they're not. Some of them are downright cheap.

Before you ask, no, I haven't just returned from a trip to Paris (more's the pity), but I've been tracking down French pharmacie skincare lines in local stores and online over the years and have tried most of the big cult favourites. So I thought I'd share them with you guys and maybe introduce a few of you to the wonders of French skincare!

1.  Avibon
Avibon is a "pommade" containing vitamin A and retinol. It's basically a topical ointment. Used for skin irritation and as an intense moisturizer. This one has become pretty well-known since appearing on Gwyneth Paltrow's blog in her French pharmacie post. (Full review here.)

2. Nuxe -  Melting Cleansing Gel
I haven't used this yet, but according to the tube, it "cleanses, removes make-up and gently clarifies." I mainly bought it because it has an amazing, subtle rose scent.

3. Nuxe - Rêve de Miel Hand and Nail Cream
An intense hand cream for really dry skin. It has honey, sunflower, "precious oils," and vitamin E. It's pretty light in texture and absorbs quickly.

4. Embryolisse - Lait-Crème Concentré
This cream is a cult fave with makeup artists the world over. It's a particular fave of the ladies at Pixiwoo - nearly every video they make mentions it since they use it as their base and moisturizer. It has a similar texture to cold cream, a light, pleasant scent and can be used as a day cream, night cream, makeup base and cold cream. (Full review here.)

5. Biafine
Biafine was originally developed in a hospital setting to be used on burns and post-surgically to aid in healing. Apparently it's now a staple in most french homes for use on minor injuries, burns and as a beauty aid - moisturizer and night mask. The tube is HUGE (it doesn't say on the tube or box the volume of product, but I'd guess near 200ml) so it should last you awhile! (Full review here.)

6. BiafineACT
Very similar to the original Biafine, this one is available over the counter in the US (whereas Biafine requires a prescription). Can be used to soothe sunburns as well as abrasions and skin irritations. Like the original it can be used to sooth sensitive skin and help relieve redness and irritation. They both also aid in reducing scarring. (Full review here.)

7. Bioderma - Atoderm Lip Balm
I actually bought this ages ago when I first discovered that a local pharmacy was carrying the Bioderma line. It's a really basic lip balm for dry and chapped lips.

8. Nuxe - Rêve de Miel Lip Balm
This lip balm comes in a huge jar and has a lovely scent. One of the main reasons this one's pretty popular is that it goes on matte, so it's great if you don't like the glossy look, want to wear it under matte lipstick - even if you're a guy! Lasts for ages, too. (Full review here.)

9. Amilab - Baume Lèvres Réhydratant Régénérateur, Calmant
This is probably similar to Burt's Bees in terms of use and price point, but I like it so much better. It's softer and goes on without tugging the skin. Very creamy, not at all waxy and smells like creamsicles. (Full review here.)

10. Nuxe - Rêve de Miel Lip Moisturizing Stick

Not quite as good as the jar, but more portable, so it's great for throwing in a purse to use throughout the day. (Full review here.)

11. Homeoplasmine
Another makeup artist fave, this cream is used for severely dry or chapped skin pretty much anywhere, but is most often used on the lips. Makeup artists and models love it because it instantly relieves any chapped, flaky skin making lips smooth for lipstick application. Pretty cheap and comes in a huge tube that will last forever. (Full review here.)

These are really brief overviews of each product and what it does, but I will be doing full reviews of the products one at a time as I use them more!

What are your French pharmacie faves? Share in the comments!


  1. would you mind sharing which online french pharmacies that you purchase from?

    1. Hi Katherine - It can be quite difficult to find some of these brands in North America. Most I tracked down on EBay (but be careful to review seller ratings and comments before buying), some I found on and I did discover that Shopper's Drug Mart carries brands like Nuxe and Bioderma. It all depends where you are and what you're looking for! Hope that helps!


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