The days of calling myself a Parisienne are long gone – I wear a pink coat and bright eyeshadow so my French friends have disowned me – but I have kept one very important ‘geste beauté’ (or beauty ritual) going: buying skincare products from French pharmacies. As I plough my way further into my 30s, skincare is increasingly becoming my main focus. What’s the point of pretty makeup if the canvas underneath is a mess? So following on from my last parapharmacy foray (reviewed here) this is the next beauty haul, as I continue to search for the perfect skincare routine.
A BB Cream was not on my shopping list for this French pharmacy trip. I hadn’t intended to even look at BB creams. But before I knew it here I was in front of La Roche-Posay’s product display, my hand picking up the tester on auto-pilot and squirting a blob of formula onto the back of my hand, tips of fingers smoothing it over. It’s only then that my brain engaged with the result: moisturising, light, even coverage. The light shade (there are 2 shades to choose from) was a little pale for my hand but would be perfect for my face, and it boasts SPF 20. And voilà, within minutes La Roche-Posay’s BB Cream found its way in my shopping basket. When I applied it the next day it didn’t disappoint: creamy, light, hydrating and unifying. The last BB cream I had worn was Clarins’ BB Skin Perfecting Cream and it is as comfortable to wear as that one, but with slightly less coverage. And at £15.00 from Feelunique (or less if you can get it in France) it’s half the price. Without a doubt the best impulse purchase of the day.
I had never come across this brand before but to me it perfectly embodies what a French pharmacy has to offer: clean clinical packaging that lets the product do the talking, with clear promises that deliver. No fuss, just great results at a reasonable price. The tube won’t enhance a bathroom shelfie but who cares when the result is exactly what I was searching for. Customer loyalty is hard to achieve for beauty brands and I am no exception in always looking out for the next best thing: more hydrating, more nourishing, more more more. This face cream is aimed at sensitive dry skin, and although this is the rich version (there is a lighter one too) it doesn’t feel thick and pore-blocking – just the perfect level of hydration to keep your skin supple and soothed for the whole day. SensiBiafine may not be available in the UK for now, but you can find it online at around £11.00 for 50ml.
This 125ml micellar water came free with the purchase of the face cream and as I’m a sucker for a PWP (beauty industry code for Product with Purchase) and I love the simplicity of a micellar water (I have a lazy streak) it was a deciding factor in the purchase of SensiBiafine. Applied on a cotton pad, the micellar water feels refreshing against tired skin and easily swiped off every last bit of make up including lashings of mascara and Bourjois’ long wearing Kohl & Contour eye pencil (reviewed here). Hypoallergenic, paraben-free and formulated specially for sensitive skin, I use SensiBiafine’s micellar water either as a makeup remover, followed by serum and moisturiser, or more like a toner after a cream or gel cleanser for a deeper clean.
The sheet mask obsession shows no sign of abating and I can see why. Of all the K-beauty trends, this one is probably the most Western-friendly one to adopt. Whitening products when a tan is still a signifier of good health? No thanks. Snail mucus in your skincare? Been there done that before Korean beauty made it to these shores (the Dr Organic range is actually pretty good) and the reactions I got went from shocked to grossed out. But sheet masks… apart from the Hannibal Lecter face what’s not to like ? They saturate your skin with hydration to make your face feel like it’s just had a facial, and all for £3.00 from the comfort of your own sofa. When I visited Seoul a few years ago I came home laden with skincare products but still I wish I had been able to fit more in my suitcase, especially The Face Shop’s sheet masks which are so good value. Garnier’s aptly named Moisture Bomb sheet mask definitely delivers a drenching hit of moisture, but I’ve yet to come across one that doesn’t. The sheet adheres well to the face and I’m able to adjust the fit quite easily, the only surprise was how small the mouth slit is, designed for the tiniest rosebud mouth. As this mask is infused with calming lavender essential oil I decided to apply it in the evening and keep it on longer than the recommended 15 minutes, going up to half an hour. Once removed I massaged the excess serum into my skin and was left feeling pleasantly sticky and super hydrated.
Do you include French pharmacy brands in your skincare routine? Leave a comment below to let me know.