I learned a few things from studying abroad in Paris my junior year of college: the best baguettes are the baguettes tradition, you will sound like a douchebag if you keep starting sentences with “this one time when I studied abroad in Paris” when you get back, and every corner pharmacy store is full of beauty product treasure. Walking into a pharmacy in France is like finding a pot of refreshing, moisturizing, and well-scented gold at the end of a très chic rainbow. For a skincare-obsessive like me, it was where I spent a lot of my time and money during my six months in Paris (#blessed that it’s fairly affordable).
Luckily, you don’t need a passport to try them out for yourself. Here are my favorite French pharmacy products you can order online that will have you saying au revoir to your current skincare routine.
Scalp care is all the rage these days, but the French have been caring for their scalp for decades. This lightweight scalp treatment reinforces the scalp's natural protection and soothes irritation (like dandruff, dryness, or itchy scalp). Plus, it's is silicone-free, vegan, and pH balanced.
The French don't just have "no-makeup makeup," they actually wear no makeup. To keep skin glowing sans foundation, a good vitamin C product brightens up and corrects imperfections. This one has 10 percent pure vitamin C, neurosensine, and salicylic acid.
I don't know if you consider toothpaste to be a beauty product, but a French woman knows that good dental hygiene is a crucial part of her beauty routine. Plus, how pretty would this one look on your bathroom counter instead of the basic brand you have now?
You've heard of cleansing balms for your face, but what about a balm for your body? Thermal spring water and shea butter combine to soften the skin, safflower oil protects against oxidative stress; and notes of rose, jasmine, and bergamot are just plain fancy (and smell amazing).
Ever since first trying this facial sunscreen in Paris, I've been hooked. Not only does it protect against sun damage like a normal SPF, but it absorbs pore-clogging oil to prevent breakouts (can your SPF do that?). As if that didn't sell me already, it also has a matte finish, which means no more greasy sunscreen face.
Anti-aging is big for French women, and they do what they can to prevent wrinkles around delicate areas like the eyes. This eye cream contains antioxidants and vitamin E to protect and moisturize, dextran sulfate to minimize puffiness, and the classic thermal water to relieve irritation.
You know when you stumble upon those products that change your beauty routine? For me, finding this multi-purpose dry oil was one of those moments. It can be used on your face, body, or hair for a moisturized and soft feel that isn't greasy. Don't buy multiple oils for your body, face, and hair! You just need this one.
Before we were putting oat milk in our lattes, the French were putting oat milk in their dry shampoos. French women do effortless beauty better than anybody, and dry shampoo is a staple in achieving effortless beauty. I love this one because it's nourishing and soothing (thanks to the oat milk!), unlike most dry shampoos.
For an extra brightening boost, this formula contains 15 percent pure Vitamin C and hyaluronic acid for brighter skin that feels firmer in a few days. This serum is also really good for protecting against environmental damage from things like pollution or sun exposure.
If you live in a big city like Paris (or, you know, Chicago), odds are you're exposed to pollution on a regular basis. We're starting to be conscious of protecting our skin, but the French know that our hair and scalps need protection too. This purifying mist uses protection from antioxidants to detoxify and protect from pollution, as well as decreasing odors or irritation.
Your acne has officially met its match, and it comes in chic packaging. This topical treatment helps clear and prevent blackheads, whiteheads, clogged pores, and blemishes with a prescription-strength retinoid. Plus, it improves the skin's overall tone and texture, as if clearing it up wasn't enough.
Leave it to the French to reinvent skincare altogether. These futuristic capsules provide a daily dose of phyto-peptides, 10 percent pure vitamin C, natural origin hyaluronic acid, and Vichy mineralizing water. The future of skincare is looking efficient, powerful, and a little bit French.