Looking for the best French pharmacy beauty products?
As a beauty lover, visiting the French pharmacies was one of the things I was looking forward to the most during my recent trip to Paris with my husband Matt. With my empty basket in hand, I stared with at the endless rows of French skincare, hair care, and makeup, picking up anything that looked remotely interesting to me or that I recognized on the many “French pharmacy must-have” lists I read leading up to my trip.
French pharmacy products have amassed a huge following over the past few years here in the US. For years, French pharmacies were treasure troves of highly affordable, yet efficient skincare products adored by locals, models, and makeup artists, that you could only purchase there.
But good news! You don’t have to fly all the way to Paris to enjoy French pharmacy beauty. Many French pharmacy beauty brands are now sold here in the US. (Although, if you do have a trip to Paris planned, save some space in your suitcase because these brands and products are much cheaper at the French pharmacies.)
French pharmacy beauty brands aren’t like the drugstores ones you see here in the US – these products contain high quality ingredients, often made with non-toxic ingredients, and great for all skin types, especially those with sensitive skin.
Best French Pharmacy Beauty Products
I read articles, watched YouTube videos, asked friends, and even consulted a beauty editor to find and try the best French pharmacy beauty products that I’m sharing in this post. (Be sure to also watch the video below for my top 8 French pharmacy beauty products!)
Bioderma Sensibio H2O Micellar Water
Perhaps one of the most well-known French pharmacy beauty products is Bioderma Sensibio H2O Micellar Water. Use this as a makeup remover to gently wipe off mascara, foundation, and any pollution from the day.
I love this micellar water as an eye makeup remover, but when I’m wearing heavier face makeup, I use it all over as the first step in my double cleanse routine. This way, my face wash can penetrate better into my skin.
In France the label reads Crealine, but in the US you’ll see it as Sensibio. Either way, look for the bottle with the pink cap.
Avene Cleanance Cleansing Gel
Although Avene Cleanance Cleansing Gel is made for blemish-prone skin, my combination skin loves it. This foaming gel gently cleanses skin without over-stripping it. I instantly noticed that my skin stayed much more hydrated with this cleanser than with other foaming cleansers.
FUN FACT: All Avene products are made with pure thermal water from thermal springs in the town of Avene. This water is known to be anti-inflammatory and helps reduce redness and irritation.
Caudalie Beauty Elixir
In fact, Caudalie popped up many times during my research on the best French pharmacy skincare brands and products.
Caudalie Beauty Elixir is my favorite product from the brand. It’s a refreshing face mist that helps moisturizers hydrate better, preps skin for makeup, and acts as a pick-me-up on tired skin.
Although it took me a little while to get used to the scent (a blend of rosemary, mint, and rose), it’s now an essential step in my skincare routine before applying moisturizer. And now that I’m used to it, the fragrance reminds me of a spa day.
A313 Vitamin A Pommade
If you’re even a little familiar with French pharmacy beauty brands, you have probably heard of A313’s predecessor, now discontinued Avibon.
A313 is a topical, over-the-counter Vitamin A treatment for your skin. This Vaseline-like formula works to moisturize patches on dry skin, but the real appeal of A313 is that it is a retinoid. Retinoids are known to help reduce everything from fine lines to dark spots to blemishes. They are Vitamin A derivatives and found in almost every single anti-aging skincare product on the market today.
With any kind of skincare treatment, consistent use is necessary. Results usually take about 30 days to show (since that’s also the average skin cell turnover rate).
Embroylisse Lait-Creme Concentre
Embroylisse Lait-Creme Concentre is a do-it-all moisturizer with shea butter, beeswax, and aloe vera. It’s a moisturizer that also serves as a makeup primer (making it a cult favorite amongst makeup artists) but it can be used as an after-sun soothing product and aftershave care, too.
Founded by a dermatologist in 1950, this French pharmacy moisturizer has truly stood the test of time and its popularity still holds today.
I’ve been using this day and night ever since it opened it, and it’s become a staple in my basic skincare routine. Although this is a little thicker than other moisturizers, it’s super emollient and spreads easily on the skin.
If you want a fragrance-free option, get the Embroylisse Lait-Creme Concentre Sensitive version.
Nuxe Reve de Miel Lip Balm
For chapped lips, try Nuxe Reve de Miel Lip Balm. I have naturally dry lips, and so I am always on the hunt for good lip products.
Due to its beeswax base, this isn’t going to feel as gooey or buttery as Carmex or Laneige’s Lip Sleeping Mask. But it works. I have been putting this on at night to add a protective layer on my lips, and they feel softer the morning.
There’s also a fabulous and subtle grapefruit smell to it, despite the fact that reve de miel translates to honey dream.
Nuxe Huile Prodigieuse Or
Nuxe Huile Prodigieuse is a multi-use dry oil for the body and hair. Don’t let the word oil scare you; this is a lightweight formula that immediately sinks into the skin for a hydrated, non-greasy feel. I’m realizing that I actually prefer the feel of dry oil to the tackiness left behind from body moisturizers.
During the summer, the brand releases Nuxe Huile Prodigieuse Or, which is the same formula as the original dry oil, but with shimmery minerals over an overall, beautiful bronze sheen.
Klorane Dry Shampoo with Oat Milk
As a self-proclaimed dry shampoo fanatic, I’m embarrassed that I hadn’t tried Klorane Dry Shampoo with Oat Milk sooner.
This dry shampoo replaced my former one. It refreshes hair between washes, doesn’t leave a ton of buildup, and adds a bump of volume. And as someone with dark hair, I particularly love that it doesn’t leave a white residue.
Although the scent is hard to explain, it’s super light, and something about the oat milk makes it almost soothing. Is that possible in a fragrance?
I get the hype. This might be my favorite French pharmacy beauty product.
There are a few other French pharmacy beauty products I absolutely love that you can currently only get in France. So, if you’re headed there any time soon, be sure to put these on your must-have list:
Avene Couvrance Concealer Stick
This concealer stick comes in three colors to combat common skincare concerns: redness, dark circles, and pigmentation.
Avene Couvrance Fluid Correcting Foundation
This is such a nice, lightweight foundation. I’m going to have to book a trip to France when this gets close to running out. It feels nice on your skin and provides a natural finish.
This healing formula works on ultra-dry skin, burns, irritations, and wounds. I put this on the blisters that I developed while breaking in my new vacation sandals, and it really helped with irritation and overall discomfort.
Europe has a different standard for sun protection. Since they regulate sunscreens as cosmetics, there are additional ingredients that provide different filters, thus providing better protection against certain UVA rays than US sunscreens (even US broad-spectrum products).
Voila – there’s my full list of the best French pharmacy beauty products! See any of your favorite on here, or want to add to the list? Leave a comment below.