You know how you never seem to exhaust a tube of lipstick or finish an eye cream before buying a new one? Well, when you live in uber-expensive Switzerland and have been using smuggled-in American beauty products for months without stepping foot in a department store, you do.
In the days leading up to my week-long stay in Paris I found myself squeezing out the last drop of every product I owned. I was determined to eek out just enough to get me on the train to Paris, knowing that I could pillage new products at any local French pharmacie. And when I say pharmacie I mean the French equivalent of an American CVS, except… it is so much better.
You can pick up prescription medicine at a pharmacie but you can also find the absolute best in skincare and makeup. Additionally, the loveliest people work at the pharmacie to help you find exactly the right product–without pushing one brand or another. I do not know where they were trained (some sort of hybrid medical/beauty school?), but they know what they are doing.
I’ve found all of my new favorites can be purchased in the states. A run-down:
Bioderma Créaline. I have long heard how obsessed French women are with eau micellaire or cleansing water, but I had no idea why until I started using this product. At the end of the day, you soak a cotton ball in this clear, odorless liquid and sweep it all over your face–gently removing makeup and dirt. It leaves your skin super soft. I can see myself using this the rest of my life.
Clarins Multi-Active Day Cream. Although pricier in the States, this is a generous-sized jar of luxurious day cream. Paris-based Clarins developed the moisturizer as part of a line meant for someone around my age (ahem, 30) who is looking for wrinkle protection in a lightweight formula. I’m such a big fan I’m using the night cream ($62) too. Available for $52.
Avène Couvrance Fluid Foundation. I hadn’t really ventured into the realm of foundation–sticking to tinted moisturizers and BB creams–but I decided to branch out in my 30s and try some grown-up makeup. Although called a foundation, it is very light and has a near-liquid like weight. A little goes a long way and I love the natural, matte finish. Apparently this makeup line was developed for sensitive skin and is highly recommended by dermatologists. Available for $26.
Dior Skinflash Radiance Booster Pen. Another one of those products with a cult-like following, as much as I shudder to say that about a concealer…and I might be one of their newest converts. The liquid that comes out of the pen-like brush acts as a concealer by reflecting light, instead of just covering under eye circles. I find myself using a lot less of this than I did with traditional concealer. Eek! I may be ruined for life. I never thought I’d be using Dior on a regular basis… Available for $38.
For the record, I have not been paid to promote these products nor do I believe women need to wear makeup. Personally, I love discovering what beauty regimens women follow in other countries and the French have a reputation for looking effortlessly beautiful. We’ll see if it is genetics or what they are using from le pharmacie. Stay tuned…but for now, a few links:
- Frances McDormand on Aging (Yahoo News!)
- 21 Portraits of Beauty From Around the World (Elle)
- Navigating a French Pharmacy (Into The Gloss)