Favourite French beauty products

Most times I visit France, I get charged overweight on my return flight. I blame French pharmacies’ incredible selection of affordable and effective beauty products for this! It’s like a sweet shop for women.

Here’s a list of my personal beauty favourites from France. While some of the products are currently available in Norway (and other countries), they tend to no longer be afforable once they cross the French border. I haven’t included links to online shops, as the whole point here is to buy them in France…

Bioderma Solution Micellaire Cleanser
Having used Lancome Bifacil religiously for over 10 years, I felt compelled to try Bioderma when even my makeup guru Lisa Eldridge raved about it on her blog.

It is the most effective makeup remover I have ever tried! No need to shake the bottle. Simply apply to cotton wool, place on eyes and let work for a few seconds, then wipe off. Since the product is quite reasonably priced, there is no need to be stingy with it, so use enough product to leave your eyes panda-free and your skin squeaky clean. This product is responsible for most of my overweight charges, since a half-liter bottle weighs about a kilo. Multiply by three.

Jumbo-sized cotton pads
I first came across these gigantic pads only last month, and I was immediately hooked. They are large enough to clean off both your eye makeup and your face with the same pad. The pads are cheaper to buy in a supermarket or other type of chain store rather than the pharmacy. I got mine at Monoprix.

Avene Eau Thermale – Thermal Spring Water
I have this spray can in all sizes – small for my purse, medium for my desk and large for my morning and evening beauty routine. It has replaced my Dermalogica face mist, as this just feels purer and more refreshing. I use it whenever I want to cool down and refreshen my face (great for planes and trains) and before I apply face cream. The product is about half the price in France compared to Norway and comes in a range of different sizes.

Caudelie Eau de Beauté
This product has received rave reviews in magazines and on blogs, so I wanted to try it out. It smells really herby and fresh, but at a higher price, I save this for special occasions and use the Avene during the week.

Lierac Concentré Bi-phase Anti-imperfections
This is a really effective pimple killer recommended to me by staff in my favourite Antibes pharmacy. The content of the bottle is a gooey white substance with a clear liquid on top. Do NOT shake the bottle. Simply dip a q-tip to the bottom of the bottle so the tip is covered with the white substance. Apply to spots before going to bed at night and let the killer do its magic while you sleep. No, it’s not a good look for date night, but use the night before to appear pimple free on the big night! The bottle lasts for months.

Yves Rocher Olive Oil Hand Soap and Hand Lotion
While Yves Rocher has a range of high street stores in France, it’s only available at higher prices via mail order in Norway.

My mum first got me these two products for Christmas two or three years ago and I have used them ever since (normally I ask her to buy me some from the YR catalogue). The soap smells divine and is really gentle on your hands. Should you hands dry out, though, the hand cream has a light texture and is quickly absobed into your skin.

While in France last month, I saw that these products are also available with a lavender scent. I’ll ask my mum to order those next!

Nuxe Body Oil – Regular and with Shimmer
This oil smells just gorgeous and leaves your skin silky smooth. Highly addictive! I apply this organic oil to my body after a shower, but you can also use it on your hair. A bottle costs about 40 % more in Norway than in France, so stock up!

The little bottle in the photo above is a sample of the same oil, only with shimmer added. I haven’t tried this yet, but have heard that it looks really nice on tanned legs. As if I’ll ever get that while living in Bergen!

Nuxe Prodigieux Perfume
Since I love the scent of the Nuxe oil (above) so much, I also got the perfume. It’s a natural product, like Nuxe’s entire line, so the scent is very light. I’m so happy I got hold of a sample-sized bottle the last time I was in France – now I can bring it with me on holiday!

Nuxe Baume Lèvres – Tinted Lip Balm
This lip balm was a treat on my last trip to Antibes and I’m equally excited every time I apply it! It smells divine and leaves my lips silky soft with a very pretty tint. The product comes in four different colours, and I’ve got the Framboise (raspberry), which smells and has the colour of said berries.

Klorane Dry Shampoo
I didn’t much care for dry shampoo until I tried this brand. Now I use this on those days that I don’t wash my hair, to give it lift and volume. Spray on to the roots of your hair, wait a few minutes and brush through. Finish off with hair spray. Instant volume and freshness!

Elmex Sensitive Tooth Paste
I never thought I would be recommending a tooth paste, but here we go: I came across a blogger who recommended this tooth paste, and while the product apparently is German, it’s readily available at a very reasonable price in French pharmacies. If you love anis or liquorice, this product is for you. After one single brushing I was hooked! The liquorice taste is just yummy and makes brushing my teeth more of a treat than a chore. A little product goes a long way and the paste doesn’t produce much foam, which I like.

Beware that Elmex also does a stronger whitening tooth paste which has the same tube design, but is labelled differently. Don’t get these confused, as the stronger blend can only be use once a week.

Caudelie Soin Des Lévres – Lip Balm
The original Caudelie lip balm is my abosolute favourite lip balm. Like all of Caudelie’s products, it is based on grape extracts, has a very light scent of vanilla and really nourishes your lips.

They have also introduced a second scent; a herby citrus scent that comes in a white stick with purple writing. I truly hope that they are going to carry both scents and that my favourite vanilla will not be discontinued!

Another great lip balm is Nuxe stick lip balm, which tends to come in a pack of two. Great product at a great value!

Please let me know if you have any questions about the products I have recommended. It might be helpful to know that I have sensitive facial skin prone to breakouts and a head of plentiful, but fine hair.

  • Macaroons, wine, pharmacies, Louvre, the underground cemeteries, Notre Dame, Montematre, rue St Honore. The list of reasons is endless…

    Where are you from and where do you live? And do you also have a blog?

    – Anett

  • I can’t believe I am going on six years living in Europe and have never gone to Paris. Now I have another reason to go (as if the macarons weren’t reason enough).

  • Yes, if only to stock up on beauty prdoucts! Their pharmacies are like beauty heaven and I spend hours in there if you add up all my separate visits… If you are lucky enough to find a sales assistant who speaks good English, she’ll recommend product for you and provide you with plenty of free samples!

    If in Paris, the store to go to is City Pharma – it’s choka block full with products, has great offers and really helpful staff: http://www.yelp.com/biz/city-pharma-paris

  • I feel like a trip to France needs to be in my future!