Stock up no more! Instead of telling your friends to haul your French beauty shopping over a 19 hour or more flight - which anyway you cannot do anymore. Your french beauty destination starts here.
Unlike Australian pharmacies, these little shops contain an array of humble yet comprehensive skin products with famous names like Elle McPherson, Khloe Kardashian and alike raving of their effectiveness. If they are good for these jet-setters, they are more than adequate for us. So what is all the fuss about French pharmacies in France? The French pharmacy is so much more than a place to pick up your prescriptions. Just follow any perfect-skinned Parisienne, as her ballet flats flit along those quaint cobbled streets — chances are she’s en route to her beloved pharmacie.
In your humble French pharmacy – which is all privately owned (might be a few exceptions but nowhere near the scale of pharmacy chains in Australia) - there are the acclaimed backstage brands Uriage, based on thermal water or Isispharma, specialised in pigmentation disorders; or if you like to saunter down the nature-friendly path, you’ll find Nuxe magic dry oils, or Caudalie grapes of beauty, or Cattier organic clays. Aisle to aisle, from top (Christophe Robin, haircare) to toe (Mavala, nailcare), lotion and potions, you will find everything to meet your beauty needs. And, if you’re also tending to your bub’s delicate skin, look no further than the dedicated baby range from Mustela. One whiff of its famous delicate scent takes you back to France!
These creams are categorised as “Dermo-cosmetics” – products specially formulated for skin concerns using modern interventions to adapt the skin in a way for to thrive in its natural environment. These formulas are approved, recommended and prescribed by dermatologists and pharmacists.
Now if you are lucky to visit one of these treasure gems and as overwhelming as it can be for a foreigner, we have compiled a list of lessons that we have learned along the way.
All French pharmacy employees are trained in Pharmacology - the minimum being- préparateur en pharmacie - to answer health problems, give advice or questions that you forgot to ask the doctor. If they ask to help you, let them, they are incredibly helpful and are well equipped with Derma-cosmetics knowledge to assist in your treatment plan.
There is very much an emphasis on natural ingredients used in beauty products sold in pharmacies. There’s nothing more beautiful than the old fashion “cold cream” formulas that we see our mothers rinse their makeup off and lather thickly at the end of the night – Embryolisse Lait Crème. Or the clear, pure water to sweep makeup and impurities off the skin – Bioderma Sensibio H2O Micellar Water. Keeping the beauty routine basic and gentle is what French women do best, because who wants to take out 3 cleansers for double cleansing?
Don’t be misguided by the simple and often medical looking packaging. The French don’t fluff around with packaging. It is what lies within the tube that matters. Remember, these products are derma-cosmetics and are formulated with the intention to treat skin concerns that dermatologist and pharmacists can recommend to their patients. With such gentle formulations, it’s no secret that Makeup Artists and models working under face past conditions, become reliant on these traditional and gentle formulas to give their skin a break to heal and recover.
French pharmacies are treasure troves of affordable homeopathic treatments. Perhaps the most famous product is Boiron’s Homeoplasmine, a healing balm to soothe any kind of irritation from insect bites to allergic reactions and sore noses in winter. Another brand you may recognised - Biafine – treating superficial burns and a god send for that Australian sun!
Don’t forget to stop by at the local patisserie to grab a bite before venturing off to your next French destination! Bon Shopping!
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