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French Skincare, Part 1{Essentials}

After dragging my feet for over a year, I finally got a post up about my trip to Paris!  You can find it here, and hear me gush about how magical it was, but that’s unsurprising, considering it’s Paris, right?!  Anyway – the trip was great, but I saved one of my favorite things for its own special post…French skincare products!!  If you’re into makeup and skincare goodies, you’ve likely heard about the beautiful thing that is the French pharmacie and – let me tell you – the hype is all true.  I’ve been reading beauty magazines {and now beauty blogs} since I was twelve and they’re always interviewing models who say things like, ‘Whenever I’m in Paris, I stock up on such-and-such…’  For those of you who might not have had a subscription to Allure magazine in seventh grade {paid for with babysitting money}, a French pharmacie has a pharmacist who dispenses medicine {‘over the counter’ is really just that:  you have to go to the counter and share your symptoms, and the pharmacist will select something for you….YIKES!} and some particular pharmacies just focus on the drug dispensing, but most also have a whole lotta beauty and skincare products – and it’s FABULOUS!  

When it comes to things like skin care, the French really know what they’re doing, and these products really work.  With a general philosophy that values healthy skin {this is a country that has a ‘skin hospital,’ after all…the Avène Dermatological Hydrotherapy Center…and many of the best products have a medical origin, like Avène’s products with the natural spring water}, the first step is always good skin, and a typical Parisienne will put a high priority on keeping their skin healthy and treating any issues first rather than covering them up. French products tend to use better ingredients that are more science-based and – focusing on simplicity – they generally use fewer things you don’t want in your skincare products, like fragrances, colors, and parabens.  

I knew that during my trip I wanted to experience the amazingness that is the pharmacie for myself, and I built it into our tight itinerary.  The pharmacies are really easy to find – they’re on pretty much every other block or so, and you just have to look for the green ‘plus’ neon sign.  I only had about twenty minutes in the shop, but that proved to be enough time for me to snag about a third-of-a-suitcase of products for myself and for Christmas gifts {gift-giving was super fun last year!}.  Being inside these shops with literally floor to ceiling French skincare products is like a dream, and I wish I could have spent three times as much time, carefully looking over all the products and options – and next trip, I certainly will – but the silver lining of it is that, now that I’ve seen what they carry, I know that some of the bigger French brands are easily available in the US {like Avène and La Roche-Posay, formerly Nuxe – I’m heartbroken that they’re no longer selling to in the US, but there seem to be a few ways around that!  And it’s yet another reason to get back to Paris even sooner!}, so we can stock up right here at home.

Krista Brackin Photography

So, here are my favorite skincare goodies that I brought back from Paris, all of which I have since finished and repurchased, which pretty much never happens.  

Klorane Dry Shampoo With Oat Milk and Shampoo/Conditioner with Mango Butter.  This dry shampoo is the gold standard of ALL the dry shampoos.  I have used, and liked, other brands, but nothing else compares to Klorane’s fine mist, even distribution, light scent, and staying power {you don’t want to know how long I’ve been able to go with unwashed hair!}.  I promise you – you’ll love it.  Get one for your purse and one for home.  And the mango shampoo and conditioner for when you do – eventually – need to actually wash your hair is so so good!  You don’t need to use a lot of product and you only need to wash once, and the conditioner is super thick, so you just use a bit on your ends.  It also has the absolute BEST scent of any shampoo I’ve ever used – it smells like mango sorbet, and not at all hair product-y.  {I clearly love the mango version, but Klorane has a whole bunch of options for pretty much every hair-care concern, and I’m sure they’re equally as lovely.}

Nuxe Rêve de Miel Ultra Nourishing Lip Balm.  [Friends, get all this Nuxe stuff while you can!  I found these websites still currently selling Nuxe to the US, but who knows how long that will last, and you can still find some of these on Amazon, as well.] I’ve actually used about four pots of this since my trip to Paris.  I’m admittedly a little heavy-handed with the lip balm, and a little bit goes a long way, but I put it on before I got to sleep, and it’s pretty much become a ritual – I don’t feel ‘ready for bed’ unless I have this on.  The texture is like a creamy honey {that sounds weird, but you’ll know what I mean when you try it}, the light scent is heavenly, and it’s super-moisturizing – which is great for the winter months when the air is really dry.

Nuxe Rêve de Miel Lip Moisturizing Stick.  I keep this in my desk and in my purse, and use this throughout the day.  It smells great, just like the balm, but it’s much lighter.

Nuxe Rêve de Miel Ultra Comforting Face Cream {Day}.  Even though this cream is labeled for ‘day,’ it’s really thick and doesn’t have an SPF, so I use it at night during the summer {it’s not as heavy as the actual ‘night’ version of the product.}  It’s really moisturizing, but gentle on my sensitive skin, not too heavy, and – like most of these other products, I would buy this for the scent {light, not perfume-y} alone!

Nuxe Rêve de Miel Hand and Nail Cream.  This is a product that, I think, has a pretty heavy, distinct scent, but because I first put it on in our Paris apartment, it instantly takes me back, and I love it!  As far as efficacy, this hand cream isn’t too thick or greasy {like, you can actually operate a doorknob or use a pen within a few minutes of its application}, but it’s still really moisturizing, and it seems to do particularly well on dry cuticles {sometimes I just put a dab around each nail}.

Homeoplasmine.  This is the one product that I really liked {and everyone says is a must-have}, but I wouldn’t buy again.  First of all – I’m still working on the first tube {a little goes a long way}, and other than the matte texture, it’s essentially glorified Aquaphor.  Which, is useful, but if you’re looking to buy a petroleum jelly-based product {which I’m really not} you’d be better off just buying Aquaphor or this Calendula cream made by the same company as Homeoplasmine – I think it’s probably a similar formulation, because both are much cheaper and I know Aquaphor works pretty much just as well, though its a little heavier.  I might be missing something – I know ‘makeup artists swear by this…’ but I don’t know…let me know if you have any inside info!

You might have noticed that this is ‘Part 1…’  Yup!  I have another group of French skincare products that I picked up on a different trip that I’m dying to share!  More about that next week…  And you also might have noticed a perfume bottle in the one pic – that perfume deserves a post all to itself – coming up next!!  

Tell me, are there any French skincare products that you love?  I’d love to hear your favs!

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