Life dream #3 – to run my own Parisian pharmacy.
It’s a well known, scientifically proven fact that the best skincare known to mankind can all be found in French pharmacies. They have all the best shit in there, stacked high and wide in a setting that sees staff situated behind a counter doing important medical stuff, I’m sure, so they can’t ask you if you need help or pressurise you, A.K.A. department-store-assistant-syndrome. Whilst on a recent whistle-stop trip to Paris I frequented three pharmacies in as many days, just to make sure I wasn’t missing out on anything. So here are the products that have made me swear eternal allegiance to French skincare.
1) Lierac Paris Masque Pureté €19.90
This purifying face mask comes in the form of a lightweight mousse that needs to be applied to dry skin. It’s an excellent reviver for dull or problem skin as it works to provide deep down purity, mattified skin and tightened pores. Upon application you can feel it instantly working, with a tingling sensation that lasts for a couple of minutes. The instructions advise leaving the product on for ten minutes, but I was feeling sorry for myself the other day so left it on for an hour, and whadayaknow? My skin looked and felt mighty fine afterwards.
2) Bioderma Créaline Eau Dermatologique approx. €3
I have no record of how much this water in a can was, but €3 seems like a fair guess. This is just a light, hydrating mist to use on irritated skin or just when your face needs some extra hydration. Spritz after cleansing and again after applying moisturiser as an additional refreshing step in your skincare regime.
3) Bioderma Créaline H2O Solution Micellaire €11
This no-fuss makeup remover is often hailed as the product to stock up on whilst in France. I must now verify that the preceding statement is in fact 100% true. This stuff is so good I can only assume that it’s actually holy water. Saturate a cotton pad with this and swipe your makeup off in an instant. It’s fragrance free and neutral pH. Essentially, it’s water but way better.
4) Bioderma Sébium Hydra €9.20
I got a bit enthusiastic with the Bioderma products, but they really are a skincare revelation. This is a moisturiser designed for gross oily skin types like myself. It regulates excess skin oil without scrimping on keeping skin soothed and silky at the same time. The only drawback of this product is that it’s only 40ml. I’ll be restocking. Roger that.
5) Vichy Purete Thermal Exfoliant Creme €11
I always exfoliate before applying a face mask because I read somewhere once that it helps the face mask to get deeper into pores and thus work a whole lot better. So I’m combining this with product une this month. This exfoliator combines a rich and creamy texture with a generous douse of skin smoothing beads and, as with all Vichy skincare it’s paraben free, plus there’s some antioxidant vitamin E in there too. So, overall, totally beneficial to one’s face.
6) Sanofi Aventis Avibon €7.90
No, I did not buy this because Gwyneth "Goop" Paltrow recommends it on her unobtainable-lifestyle blog/bible. I read about this unassuming tube of magic in a summer beauty supplement with Elle magazine earlier this year. They raved about it as an anti-ageing miracle worker due to it being made up of such a high level of Vitamin A. This rich skin balm in fact contains, yes, an outrageous amount of vitamin A, which you’re sure not going to find in such an excessively potent form anywhere else, lanolin and vaseline. Whether it works on wrinkles, I can neither confirm nor deny, but I can reliably inform you that it does work well on spots, acne scars and general fed-up skin that needs a wakeup call. This stuff is pretty thick, so I layer it on as a night time ablution and it works wonders by morning with its skin healing properties. F.Y.I. You’ll need to ask for this from a member a staff as they keep it behind the counter. Sneaky.