French women (and men) are famed for their good looks and while good breeding down the centuries might have had a hand in this, the country’s multi-billion-euro beauty industry is probably the one to thank. Below are 10 products to get you looking like a Parisian.
Biotherm is one of France’s most renowned beauty brands and its range of luxury, natural skincare products are now available around the world. The company, which was founded in 1952, is now part of the L’Oreal group and has its headquarters in Monaco. The brand’s key ingredient has long been thermal plankton, the properties of which help rejuvenate skin and keep it healthy. Some of the most popular items among French consumers are the solar creams and body milks (lait corporel), which don’t come cheap but make a huge difference.
Vichy is another of France’s most recognizable brands, and it too uses thermal water as well as other natural active ingredients in its products, which work by retaining moisture and vital nutrients in the skin. The brand has a diverse range of products, for women and men, and is known for its high quality and value for money. A big part of the Vichy beauty philosophy is correctly diagnosing problems before launching into treatments. One of its superstar products is the Normaderm range for imperfection-prone skin, a three-in-one cleanser that works as a cream, scrub, and mask.
Nuxe is an ultra-natural brand that seeks to harness the properties of plants and plant extracts, such as rose petals and oils, for a healthy skincare regime. With a large range of high-end products, Nuxe is a must-have for every girl on the go in Paris and beyond. By far its most successful product is the Huile prodiguese, a multi-purpose dry oil that can be used on the face, body, and hair and which smells fantastic. Other great buys include their anti-aging and after-sun creams, which French pharmacies tend only to stock during the spring and summer.
On a 100-acre organic farm in La Gacilly, Brittany, Yves-Rocher researchers have been hard at work creating a range of high-end cosmetics that respect the environment. You can be 100% assured of the brand’s eco-credentials as it is certified by Ecocert and is a carrier of a Cosmebio label. Bestselling products include foundations and youth-intensifying serums. Yves-Rocher is also renowned for its generous promotional giveaways, which can include free beauty treatments when you purchase online.
Originally conceived as a line of medical prescription treatments and created by dermatologists, Bioderma’s products have an excellent reputation for getting the job done. The Bioderma Sensibio H2O Micellar Water is a cleanser beloved by both models and make-up artists, as it is wonderfully gentle and soothing. This is the perfect product for those with sensitive or allergy-prone skin.
La Roche-Posay products come with a recommendation from more than 25,000 dermatologists, which isn’t bad at all. In France, they are almost treated more as a source of medication than as simple beauty treatments. Common problems that they address include hair loss and skin irritation from shaving as well as sensitive skin in general. The Cicaplast Baume B5 is an all-in-one cream that works wonders on all skin types for curing rashes caused by dermatitis and other afflictions. It’s so gentle that it can even be used on babies. The sunscreen range is also one of the best around.
Founded in 1993 by the owners of a vineyard in Bordeaux, Caudalie utilizes the active ingredients found in grapes (including the fruit, their vines, roots, leaves, and sebum) as well as natural mineral water. All the products include zero paraffin, parabens, phthalates, mineral oils, or synthetic artificial colorings. These potentially harmful ingredients have been replaced with things like fair-trade shea butter and orange and lemon plant waters. One of their best products is the lip conditioner, which is a pinch at €4.50 ($5.58; £3.93).
There isn’t a pharmacy in France that doesn’t stock Avène products, all of which are derived from the brand’s own thermal spring, where the water is tested every day to ensure its purity. Part of the skincare range tackles problems like atopic dermatitis, psoriasis, eczema, and burns and Avène also offer services like body wrapping, hydro heliotherapy, and underwater massages. However, the standout product is the Eau Thermale Avène Spring Water Spray, a misting spray that has the power to rejuvenate oily, dry, or irritated skin overnight. The range of anti-allergen makeup is also a favorite.
Klorane doesn’t have quite the same range of products as the other brands on this list but its focus with its natural shampoos, conditioners, dry shampoos, and makeup removers is on quality, not quantity. Key ingredients include plant extracts such as nettle, oat, mango, citrus, peony, pomegranate, almond, and chamomile. The dry shampoo is a particular favorite, which uses oat milk to soften the hair. Karl Lagerfeld is apparently a huge fan. Other popular buys include the chamomile shampoo, which helps bring out those all-important sun streaks.
Melvita products are 100% organic and are free from preservatives, emollients, surfactants, and antiperspirants. Customer testing of its anti-aging products showed that 96% of women studied said their lines had smoothed out, 91% said their skin felt moisturized, and 86% said their skin felt tauter. Another excellent product to treat yourself to is the Nectar Bright Brightening Exfoliation Mask, which has a true illuminating effect.