Now that’s winter is fully upon us I thought it a good time to share my finds on Parisian beauty products to keep your skin and hair hydrated and protected during these dry, chilly days (one week past the equinox — only 3 more months until spring! Not that I’m counting…). Parisian pharmacies have been raved about in person and across the web from Parisians, stylists, travelers, bloggers and even celebrities, for featuring top quality brands at affordable prices. There’s a pharmacy on nearly every corner in Paris (look for the green cross), but the largest one with the most affordable prices is rumored to be City-Pharma in the 6eme near Saint-Germain-des-Pres. My favorite spot, however, is actually the giant Monoprixe near Republique, which carries almost all of the most hyped products, and is the cheapest I’ve found by far (although they won’t stock you up on all the exciting free samples like a real pharmacy will). Each pharmacy is privately owned, so prices change from one to the other.
(Other tips for staying hydrated during these brutal winter months (besides a tropical vacation)? The Free People blog has a great post on ways to keep hydrated from the inside out here. Fresh fruit and veggie juices are recommended, and while a lot of fruits aren’t seasonal or local to France right now, you can definitely get French grapes at every epicerie and super market.)
As for my favorite French beauty products:
This first one is less about hydration, but is equally important. Bioderma Créaline H2O is a mild makeup remover and cleanser for sensitive skin. It saved my eyelashes from near destruction as my waterproof mascara was not coming off any other way. While this can be used as a cleanser, I prefer to use it for makeup removal before using the cleansers I already have. Bioderma uses cucumber to soothe the skin, and won’t dry you out while getting even the most stubborn makeup off. This can even be used as a brush cleanser — mix a drinking glass of warm water with a tablespoon or two of this cleanser, and leave your makeup brushes in for a good soak.
Oh man, where would my poor hands, lips and hair be without my Nuxe products? If you can only splurge on one thing, buy yourself the large, lifetime supply bottle of Nuxe Huile Prodigieuse. This dry oil uses vitamin E as well 6 natural essential oils, is safe for face, body and hair, and has made a world of difference on my locks; keeping them soft and supple, and helping me to detangle the hideous knots my coats and scarves have made in them by the end of the day.
The Nuxe Rêve de Miel line translates to Dreams of Honey (or Honey Dreams), which either way says everything. These products use honey, shea oil and other terrarium plants extracts to nourish, repairs, and protects skin and lips. I apply the hand cream and lip balm from the moment I wake up until I go to bed and its made a huge difference, particularly to my lips.
Eau Thermale Avéne carries a long line of mineral water products for sensitive skin designed from thermal spring water, but the one I’ve tried so far is the Eau Thermale itself. This spray is soothing for redness, dryness and/or irritation of the skin, and can be used after cleansing or throughout the day when your skin is feeling battered by the elements. I also love that they sell these in small enough bottles for me to carry on to flights, as that’s when my skin tends to freak out the most.
Another line I love is Vichy. I received two samples from this brand during my first pharmacy check out, and had to return to get them both. My skin just can’t get enough hydration in this climate; my lightweight California moisturizer just isn’t cutting it. The Vichy Aqualia Thermal in Riche provides 48 hours of hydration for sensitive skin, and their Liftactiv Yeux is an amazing eye cream that calms, moisturizes and de-puffs.
Lastly, I bought a bottle of Klorane Gentle Dry Shampoo with oat milk (shampooing sec extra-doux au lait d’avoine) a year ago when in Paris and it’s still going strong, with no sign that I’m anywhere near the end. I use this dry shampoo every morning throughout my bangs and roots, and at night brush my hair to get the oils down into the ends. I use the Nuxe dry oil whenever it starts to get dry, and this way I avoid excessive washing and the damage from blow-drying. Contrary to the myth that French women never wash their hair, my girlfriend Orphee washes hers twice daily, and has scolded me for my once-a-week plan. What products and beauty tips have you discovered?