French Beauty Tips: 12 French Pharmacy Items We Can't Do Without and that will keep your complexion blemish-free like this blonde woman's with blue eyes with a wire cat-ear hand band.

Making Magique

Having grown up on CVS and Walgreens, the French pharmacy was a revelation to me. Anyone who has ever been lured by the glowing green cross knows that pharmacies in France shill more than medicine and bath staples. They’re cosmetic wonderlands that offer some of the most ingenious—not to mention luxurious—products around.

French Beauty Tips: 12 French Pharmacy Items you'll want for your dressing table, unlike this one with only a hand-held mirror and hairbrush (left). A bathroom with fancy brass objects and a vase with light blue feathers (right).

Making Magique

For a long time, a trip to France meant loading up on these goods and then painstakingly rationing them in between visits, but of late, they’ve begun to invade new markets. In New York, at least, you can now find brands like La Roche-Posay, Vichy, Klorane and Avène right in Duane Reade. Duane Reade!

French Beauty Tips: 12 French Pharmacy Items from hair products to lip balm like this moisturizing stick.


Disillusioning? A bit. But convenient? Heck yes. Here are some life-enhancing French exports that are well worth a try.

1. Bioderma Crealine H20. Ask any beauty expert around and they will agree: this is the makeup remover. It goes on like water—totally lightweight and non-greasy—and wipes away every last trace of makeup.

French Beauty Tips: 12 French Pharmacy beauty products like face moisturizer.


2. Caudalie Vinoperfect Radiance Serum. Oenophiles love Caudalie, which uses grapevine extract in many of its products. An editor I know swears by this serum, which gives skin a smooth, glowing finish.

3. Vichy ProEVEN Daily Eye Corrector. Late night? Depuff your eyes with this lightweight cream. Infused with caffeine, it’s like a little hit of espresso to the face.

French Beauty Tips: 12 French Pharmacy beauty products from top French brands like Vichy.

Carin Olsson

4. Nuxe Huile Prodigieuse. This golden oil from eco-friendly brand Nuxe is one of those does-it-all staples. A blend of six natural oils, it can be combined with moisturizer, slicked directly onto skin, applied to the ends of hair as a finishing product, or used as a deep-conditioning treatment. A serious renaissance product, to say the least.

French Beauty Tips: 12 French Pharmacy beauty products you'll need to keep your skin looking in top condition, like this woman who's looking into a compact mirror.

2 dogs

5. La Roche-Posay Effaclar Serum. Gritty exfoliators sometimes scare me because I feel like I’m sanding off the surface of my face, but this quick-absorbing formula uses glycolic acid to gently turn over cells.

6. Roger & Gallet Rose Body Lotion. A great example of how even the most basic French pharmacy product can feel ultra-luxurious. And is there anything classier than rose? Everyone from your little sister to your grandmother can wear it well.

French Beauty Tips: 12 French Pharmacy beauty products you'll need to keep your skin in top condition, like this moisturizer for your body.

Carin Olsson

7. Klorane Dry Shampoo with Oat Milk. Dry shampoos are everywhere now, but the first time I heard about them was when my friend in Paris basically banished showering in favor of Klorane’s spray-on formula. It’s great when you don’t have time to shampoo, or when you want that tousled, oh-I-just-woke-up- this-way look.

French Beauty Tips: 12 French Pharmacy beauty products you'll need to keep your skin looking in top condition, like this woman's skin with short hair and full makeup.


9. Caudalie Beauty Elixir. I mist this beauty elixir onto my face and hands whenever I need a little pick-me-up at work. Infused with rose, orange blossom, mint and rosemary, it makes my cubicle smell like a spa. Hope my neighbors don’t mind.

10. La Roche-Posay Anthelios Melt-in Sunscreen. I despise wearing sunscreen, but La Roche-Posay’s silky, lightweight formulas actually feel like you’re treating yourself, rather than just loading your skin up with glop.

French Beauty Tips: 12 French Pharmacy beauty products from top French brands like Avène.

Carin Olsson

11. Avène Thermal Spring Water. It seems like every fancy French brand has a secret thermal spring where they derive their magic ingredients. Avène is no exception, but a spritz of their thermal water to the face is indeed quite refreshing after a late night or a long flight.

12. Vichy Liftactiv Serum 10. New to the market, this wrinkle-reducer uses Rhamnose (a naturally-derived plant sugar) to give skin an overall boost—smoothing, hydrating, brightening, all that good stuff.

Related links:

  • Lisa Eldridge, a successful make-up artist, tells us about her favorites from the French pharmacies
  • BBC Travel has also discovered this trend and shares which brands they think you shouldn’t leave Paris without
  • During fashion weeks in Paris, also visits the Parisian pharmacies to load up on some beauty products

Written by Tory Hoen for the HiP Paris Blog. Looking for a fabulous vacation rental in Paris, London, Provence, or Tuscany? Check out Haven in Paris.


Tory Hoen

Tory Henwood Hoen has been published by New York Magazine, Vogue, Condé Nast Traveler, Bon Appétit, Fortune, and others. She was Creative Director of Brand at M.M.LaFleur, where she founded the brand’s digital magazine, The M Dash. Her debut novel, The Arc, is available in bookshops near you and online.


  1. Hi,
    Im going to Paris this summer and Im wondering what makeup brands you can get in Paris. I live in America and I really want some different makeup brand products.


    1. Dear Eve,

      Here are some of our absolute favorite French beauty products:

      We hope you have a fabulous trip!


  2. Klorane is my life saver in travels! Most of the goodies are familiar to me, but I have never come across Caudalie before. Hmm…Definitely have to look for it the nearby pharmacy 🙂

  3. I was honestly amazed by the things I found in Parisian pharmacies! I find it hard to believe the pharmacies in any other country can be as good….

  4. LOVE the Bioderma. My husband’s family uses it religiously and now I barely use water on face unless I’m in the shower. Great product!

  5. I’m curious if any major US salon brands (Redken, Joico, Nexxus, etc.) can be found in Paris. My friend and I are planning a 2 week trip and trying to avoid checking bags. We both have pretty picky hair and doubt the 3.5 ounces we can bring on the plane will last the whole visit. Thanks for any advice you can give!

  6. My friend living in New York (she’s estetician) never buys these french pharmacy cosmetics in USA since very often they have completely different ingredients or proportion of ingredients. I recommend you a pharmacy in St Germain des Pres, just next to the metro station St Germain, where they have the best prices in Paris I think and very wide range of brands, not only Vichy, etc.

  7. Great tips! Thanks for sharing! I’ll definitely visit the pharmacy later today. I’ve been using Bioderma makeup remover for a couple of years and I love it. Can’t wait to try some of these other products as well.

  8. All are amazing! I was happy to see that most of the products are products that I already use. A year ago I moved to Paris and came across Gwyneth Paltrow’s blog GOOP
    and a lot of the items are exactly the same!! I was wondering if you have also stumbled across her blog or it is simply a coincidence because the product are that awesome 🙂
    Thank you for your post

  9. i just moved to paris and i’m loving this list! i visit the pharmacy almost daily just to i know what to buy! merci!

  10. What a great list. I’m bookmarking it so I can purchase them. Not sure where I’ll find them in the USA and online. But I certainly will try.

  11. Wonderful post. Just what I need for my upcoming trip to Paris. I’ve heard bits and pieces about these products but your post is so comprehensive! Thanks 🙂


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