The French pharmacy is always on my hit list when I travel to Paris. Not to humble brag or anything, but I’ve visited Paris more times than I can remember, and I’ve learned from my many trips that your hit list pretty much determines what kind of Parisian traveller you are:
The first-time tourist: You’ll visit the Louvre, the Eiffel Tower, the Champs Élysées and the Moulin Rouge.
The Paris lover: You’ll go to Montmartre for crêpes, visit the Latin Quarter on Sunday, drink a bottle of wine along the Seine at Les Berges and take a jet lag-curing nap at Jardin du Luxembourg.
The French beauty fanatic: You’ll visit French pharmacies. And… that’s pretty much it.
On my last trip, I think I went to at least 10 pharmacies looking for these French faves and talking to French women about why they love these products. (French pharmacies are like Tim Hortons here: They’re on every corner.) But the best part of my trip was learning that these products are available here too!
Bioderma Sébium H2O Solution micellaire nettoyante Purifiante
It’s reputed to be the most popular micellar water in the world. French women love it for the way it removes makeup. I love that my skin feels healthy after using it, not tight or dry.
Find it here as Bioderma Sébium H2O Purifying Cleansing Micelle Solution
That enviable French girl hair? I’m told the secret is shampoo. A belle French local told me to try the Oat Milk. The pharmacies I went to were sold out of it, but the Almond variety is the next best thing, I was told. I’m going to try to find the Oat Milk at home though, hoping this French secret isn’t out on this side of the Atlantic.
Find it as Klorane Shampoo Oat Milk
La Roche-Posay Anthelios XL Fluide
This is the premiere product of the brand’s sunscreen line. Why? Because of the texture and how quickly and smoothly it blends into skin. French women wear it as a base for makeup.
Find it as La Roche-Posay Anthelios XL Fluide
Avène Eau Thermale & Vichy Eau Thermale Minéralelisante
I remember the first time I discovered thermal waters at the French pharmacy. I quickly picked up Evian (I was naïve and it was the first brand I recognized) and used it to cool my face. But I’ve since learned of Avène and Vichy waters, used to set makeup, boost moisture and, when spritzed before application, help boost the efficiency of serums and treatment creams.
Find them as Avène Thermal Spring Water & Vichy Mineralizing Thermal Water
Phyto Phytokératine Extrême Crème D’Exception
This, I’m told, is a cult hair product in France. It’s a styling cream to help soften dry ends. It’s made of 94% botanical and natural ingredients, including botanical keratin, sapote butter and baobab oil.
Find it as Phyto Phytokératine Extrême Exceptional Cream
A-Derma Exomega Huile nettoyante émolliente
French women are obsessed with hydrating their skin. Maybe it’s because smoking used to be en vogue and the side effects are visible on the face, so they are extra protective of their skin. They’ll keep a bottle in the shower, on their vanity, and even one stowed in their Chanel bag.
Find it as A-Derma Exomega Cleansing Oil