Every time I go to Paris, stocking up on my favorite beauty products tops my to-do list. While many French brands are available in the States, there are better prices and variety for both basic and high-end goods in France. I’m also sure to grab some for friends, since good hair and skin is the best souvenir you could ask for in my book.
What’s all the French-beauty fuss about anyway? Beyond the elusive allure of all things French, the products tend to have fewer problematic ingredients since the EU regulates cosmetics more than the U.S. FDA. Everyone has their cult favorites, but after checking in with savvy locals, we’ve come up with the ultimate list of their picks and mine.
Say Au Revoir to Wrinkles, Under-Eye Bags, and Sun Damage
Bioderma Créaline H2O: French women are all about effortless beauty, and that applies to washing their faces, too. This gentle micellar water removes makeup while respecting the skin’s hydrolipidic film. Simply apply it to a cotton pad and wipe away makeup and dirt.
Institut Esthederm Lait Démaquillant Désensibilisant: This delicate cleansing milk is another gentle alternative to a harsh wash—something you’ll never find in a Parisian woman’s vanity.
La Roche-Posay Toleriane Double Repair Moisturizer UV, SPF 30: This sunscreen is oil free and has a high concentration of soothing thermal spring water. You can use it as your daily moisturizer, too, which makes it perfect for those who want a no-fuss routine.
Caudalie Vinopure Sérum Infusion Anti-Imperfections: Since Parisian women typically keep their face makeup minimal, it’s important to have their natural skin looking as good as possible. Caudalie products incorporate the antioxidant powers of grapevines, and this serum promises to minimize pores and reduce blackheads specifically. It also works as a spot treatment when you’re having a breakout, and includes rose water and essential oils.
Embryolisse Lait-Crème Concentré: French women and makeup artists everywhere love this rich cream that leaves your skin noticeably hydrated after just one use. It also works well as a primer for skin before applying makeup.
Patyka Crème Antioxydante Lissante Texture Fine: This French natural beauty brand makes products meant to protect urban skin from stress and pollution, two things many Parisian women know about. This antioxidant smoothing cream promises to neutralize free radicals, provide intense hydration, and reduce the signs of fine lines and wrinkles. Voilà!
Avene Sprau d’Eau Thermale: It might just be water, but beauty professionals and amateurs alike swear by this as a tool for refreshing and soothing irritated skin. Give yourself a spritz before you leave the house or in the middle of a long day for a French-girl pick-me-up.
A313 Vitamin A Pommade: Vitamin A, or retinol, is probably the best ingredient to address acne and signs of aging, like fine lines. This pharmacy-grade pommade will melt into your skin and noticeably improve your complexion. It’s the closest thing to Avibon, the much-loved but discontinued French vitamin A pomade, and quickly becoming a cult favorite in Paris. Because vitamin A can increase sun sensitivity, be sure to use it at night and to always apply sunscreen the following day.
La Roche-Posay Cicaplast Baume B5: A miracle cream that can be used to soothe hands, face, body, and lips—parfait! My french pediatrician also recommended I use this baume on my newborn as a diaper cream. Who knew?
Klorane Patchs Lissants Défatigants: When you need to fake it until you make it, these cornflower-based under-eye patches will wake up your tired eyes. Consider it a Parisian woman’s secret weapon.
Nuxe Baume Lèvres au Miel Ultra-Nourrissant et Réparateur: Parisian women know that a good lip balm is the key to any laid-back beauty look. Honey bees are the secret ingredient to this lip lifesaver. It contains honey, as well as propolis, a rare power ingredient found in beehives.
Give Your Hair that Je Ne Sais Quoi Look
Christophe Robin Crème Lavante au Citron: The French women I know appreciate gentle products, and this detergent-free cleansing mask will help keep your hair radiant and nourished. Added bonus: Christophe Robin is the stylist known for giving Catherine Deneuve her famous look.
Klorane Shampooing Détoxifiant à la Pulpe de Cédrat: The hard water in Paris completely destroys my hair and leaves it feeling greasy and dirty even right after I wash it. So I was elated when a friend recommended this clarifying shampoo. It completely transformed my hair, and you only have to use it a couple times a week.
Nuxe Huile Prodigieuse Hule Sèche Multi-Fonctions: You can use this nourishing oil on your face, body, or hair, making it a go-to for easy Parisian beauty. For a deep condition, spray some oil onto your dry hair and wrap with a warm towel. Leave on for 15 minutes before washing.
Klorane Spray Démêlant Sans Rinçage au Lait d’Avoine: This leave-in detangling spray is great for mom and kids alike. Klorane also makes an oat milk dry shampoo that will help you achieve that laid-back, French-girl look.
- You can also get natural cosmetics at the vegan concept store, Aujourd’hui Demain.
- City Pharma is also a great place to shop for discounted French beauty products.
- Check out our favorite place to buy ‘clean’ beauty products in Paris.
Written by Annie Gabillet for HiP Paris. Looking to travel? Check out Haven In for a fabulous vacation rental in Paris, France or Italy. Looking to rent long-term or buy in France or Italy? Ask us! We can connect you to our trusted providers for amazing service and rates.