The French Pharmacie Haul
While on my Italian adventure, I took an impromptu trip to Corsica for a week of camping on the southeastern coast of the island. I was so absorbed in the beautiful beach landscapes and bright blue ocean (rightly so) that it didn't even occur to me that I was technically in France, the land of Biafine and Bioderma. Luckily, I agreed to tag along when my cousin needed to pop by the local pharmacy and all my French beauty dreams came true! I was on a time limit and didn't have my list of all the French products I've been wanting to try, so I had to grab the essentials and hope for the best. Here's what I was able to snag....
So. Much. Bioderma. Despite it being one of those famed French products, I still had never tried the Bioderma micellar water...so I got all three versions: Sébum, Hydrabio, and Sensibio. So what's the difference between them? Sébum is for combination/oily skin and formulated with zinc, a great ingredient for soothing inflammation and blemishes. Hydrabio is designed for dehydrated skin with apple extract for a brightening dose of Vitamin C and rapeseed extract for antioxidants and Vitamin E. Sensibio, the little fella in the red top, is that holy grail makeup artist favorite made for sensitive skin with ultra soothing cucumber extract. Despite all being micellar waters, Sébum is marked as a "purifying cleansing solution" whereas the other two are labeled "makeup removing micelle solutions". Sébum definitely has the most astringent power of the three, so I've been using it post cleanse as a toner of sorts, whereas I use the other two pre-cleanse as makeup removers. Since I found myself out of cleanser, I also grabbed the Hydrabio Mousse Cleansing Moisturizing Foam, which the packaging describes as a "Chantilly cream textured" hydrating cleanser. Such a good description - this stuff looks and feels like whipped cream. It's really thick and rich, leaves my skin feeling nice and clean, and is super fun to use. It's not as hydrating as I'd like it to be, but it kept my skin looking good in a pinch!
This fab body wash from Le Petite Marseillais - a classic Marseille soap made of extra hydrating sweet almond oil - is probably my favorite thing that I brought home. Full credit to Nonna for finding this one; she'd been using it all summer in Corsica and loved it so much she bought me one too. What a gem! It's very possible that this is formulated for kids, but hey, soap is soap. It has that classic clean but warm soapy scent, and is so gentle and not the least bit drying. I will definitely grab a few more of these next time I am in France. Of course, I also had to get a tube of Boiron Homeoplasmine. With such a cult following, how could I not buy it? This intensely hydrating salve is so rich that it feels like a protective shield on the skin, and you can use it anywhere you are dry or irritated. I am loving it as a lip balm and nighttime under eye treatment. Overall, this one is well worth the hype. I was also really excited to find La Roche Posay Serozinc, a product I often see used by many of the British beauty girls. It is essentially the classic La Roche Posay thermal spring water mixed with zinc sulfate, again, a great ingredient for healing irritated or blemished skin. Why is that such a great combo? You get the cleansing and astringent benefits of the zinc while the spring water keeps you hydrated. Though it's marketed as a toner, this is also good for soothing skin irritations like razor burn - good for guys too! - and was a real savior when my skin went haywire with the changing seasons.
By now you know I will try anything to help my hair grow, and for years I have heard French women credit their healthy locks to Oenobiol Capillaire Revitalisant. This particular supplement is full of Oenobiol's proprietary hydrating Alpha-Reductol oil blend, B vitamins and biotin, and is recommended for hair that is devitalized and lackluster. I certainly notice my hair gets a bit flatter as we go from summer to fall, so I am excited to see if this helps give it a little extra oomph. They do recommend that you take it between the changing seasons, so I've just started it and will keep you posted on how it goes! I also grabbed a few bits from Phyto, one of my favorite French brands. Yes, you can easily find these in the States, but they are about half the price in France, so I stocked up while I could! Of course I picked up my favorite Phyto Phytopolléine Botanical Scalp Treatment (read all about it here), but I also tried Phyto Secret De Nuit, a hydrating and regenerating cream to put on hair before bed, and was really pleased with how it kept my hair soft despite all the sea and sun. It's made with macadamia oil and ceramides to hydrate and repair along with black grape and black orchid extracts for antioxdants and smells really lovely. You can apply it before bed as a nighttime treatment, but I have also used it on towel-dried hair before blow drying with great results. I can already see this being a must-have come winter.
All in all, these products were well worth the extra weight in my suitcase. There are so many more French cult beauty buys that I'm dying to try, but I guess that just means I'll have to start planning another trip soon! What are your favorite French products? I'd love to hear what you'd buy on a trip to France in the comments below!
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