6 French drugstore skincare favorites - une femme d'un certain âge

6 French drugstore “cult” beauty faves (you can buy here)

Waiting for City Pharma in Paris to open. This is THE place to shop for skincare and other drugstore items.

If all goes as planned, we’ll be spending a few days in Paris at the end of next month. 🤞 One stop I ALWAYS make is City Pharma in the 6th arrondissement. They stock an amazing selection of beauty products and the Sales Associates are very knowledgable and helpful. Not to mention, they often have the best prices in town. (Above: waiting for the store to open. I always try to get there early, as it can get VERY crowded later in the day.)

French drugstore skincare favorites

There are a few items I usually stock up on, but as it’s been over two years since our last visit, I’ve had to hunt down some sources of my favorite French drugstore beauty products online. I thought I’d share my top 6 with you.

6 French drugstore skincare favorites that you can buy here.
Gentle cleanser

This 3-in-1 “cleansing milk” is very soothing and gentle, but cleans effectively. I use this when my skin is feeling particularly dry and sensitive.


If I’m wearing makeup, I usually use this micellar water as a “pre-cleanse” step to remove it. (I’ve been looking for some more eco-friendly alternatives to cotton pads, just ordered these reusable ones to try.) Micellar water can also be used to clean makeup brushes or tools in a pinch.

Before and after makeup

This is one of those products that makeup artists seem to swear by. When the air is dry, I’ll sometimes use Embryolisse Lait-Crème Concentré as a primer before applying foundation. Even more often, I’ll pat on later in the day over makeup to restore a dewy finish.

Deep moisturiziing

Once a week or so, I’ll apply a moisturizing mask in place of my nightly moisturizer, and leave on overnight. My skin always looks fresher the next morning! I think this one is as good as many pricier brands.

For face, hair, body

This Huile Prodigieuse gets glowing (ha!) recommendations. I haven’t used it in some years, but included it here as I know many of you like it. For a while, it was readily available in the US, then it wasn’t. Now it is again, at least online. I’ll probably pick some up when we’re in Paris.

Instant refresher

I usually try to save room in my travel “liquids” bag for a small size of this facial mist. It’s great to combat dry cabin air, and also can be used to set makeup. Unlike some facial mists, it doesn’t have a noticeable fragrance.

What are your favorite drugstore beauty products?

Stay in touch.

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  1. Kari
    September 14, 2021 / 5:11 am

    Santa Fe has similar pharmacy called Pharmica. It’s next to Trader Joe’s, so the two were always a treat to visit:)

  2. Susan
    September 14, 2021 / 5:40 am

    When I was last in France (2019) I stocked up on Caudalie products. We can get them here, but they were actually a better price.

    • Sue H
      September 14, 2021 / 6:33 am

      I love Caudalie!

  3. CS
    September 14, 2021 / 6:19 am

    The Bioderma micellar water is the best. I have sensitive skin and eyes and this is the only one I can use to remove makeup without getting irritation. I order it online from Dermstore and you can even get a 3.34-ounce size that’s good for travel. There are a lot of U.S. drugstore copycats, using Bioderma’s colors so the bottles look the same, but don’t be fooled. This one gets top reviews for a good reason.

  4. Carol
    September 14, 2021 / 6:28 am

    Now that I live in Portugal, much of this is readily available at local pharmacies. As Susan said above, Caudalie at excellent prices (and some very good gift sets, which is a great way to try new products).

  5. Ainsivalavie
    September 14, 2021 / 6:47 am

    Every one of these products is easily available in Canada at Shoppers Drug Mart or Pharmaprix stores.Just an FYI for any Americans travelling here. Yes they also have the smaller bottles of Bioderma micellar water ( although Vichy’s Pureté Thermal micellar water is a far superior product but $$) Larger Shoppers Drug Mart stores have excellent selections of all of the above manufacturer’s products and more. I don’t work for them, I just wouldn’t waste valuable real estate in my luggage for products I can easily purchase at home. The price is not really that much different and Shoppers always has lots of free samples ( just ask) and if you collect Optimum points you can use them to knock the price down!

    • Susan Blakey
      September 14, 2021 / 6:51 am

      Thanks, but that’s not always the case in the US. So for those who don’t have access to Canadian pharmacies, or who don’t live somewhere near a large pharmacy chain, I’m offering some online recommendations & resources.

    • Lisa Pearce
      September 14, 2021 / 7:42 am

      I was about to say the same thing. And Shoppers has a good website for on-line ordering too! US dollars go a LONG way here in Canada too, so your prices will be great 🙂

    • Lagatta de Montréal
      September 14, 2021 / 1:02 pm

      The one closest to me (a short walk) also has excellent advisers. And they always stock dark grey brow pencils (black is too harsh at un certain âge; brown looks red on dark hair gone grey with almost black streaks). I don’t wear or use a lot of cosmetics but do have a few pet products,

      I hope you have a lovely trip and that it isn’t cancelled by a “new wave”.

    • Anon
      September 14, 2021 / 3:16 pm

      I bought the Bioderma micellar water in a big bottle at Costco. I buy Avēne and Nuxe at my neighborhood Shoppers Drug Mart. Best of all, the free Optimum card accrues points, and regular-priced items are 20% off weekly on seniors’ days, for members 55 and up.

      Americans making a trip to Canada can find great products at Shoppers, and take advantage of currency exchange rates in your favour.I don’t work there, either.

    • Lauren
      September 14, 2021 / 6:01 pm

      YES! Shoppers Drug Mart has so many fabulous products and it looks as though for once Canadian readers have the advantage. I get tired of reading blog after blog after blog…..from many bloggers that only feature items that can be purchased in the USA from companies that will not ship to Canada….makes me want to quit reading blogs sometimes. There are many readers on here who are Canadian and it is nice that once in a LONG while we read about something we can actually buy. Shoppers also carries two other French brands La Roche-Posay and Filorga.

    • Lagatta de Montréal
      September 15, 2021 / 7:16 am

      Ainsi, not particularly for cosmetics, but do you shop at Simons? I find their home brands good value for the quality – I have no commerical interest in that Québec firm and have never written or translated for them.

  6. Cath
    September 14, 2021 / 7:50 am

    I am a fan of Donna Karan Cashmere Mist products…eau de toilette, deodorant, body cream.
    The deodorant is absolutely the best, keeping me feeling fresh for hours. I have had compliments
    ever since my first purchase of the eau de toilette, that the scent suits me and how light it is.
    Here in BC, I can find it at The Bay, and Shoppers Drug. I have a little travel set coming by Canada Post soon for my upcoming trip to London and the southwest of England.There are always specials for Christmas.

    Lise Watier ,a Canadian brand of cosmetics , is great for day and night skin care and lipsticks, as well as lip and eye liners.
    Jane Iredale is my brand for mineral based powder, blush and lip care, however these are available at an esthetician, or online, so not exactly a drug store find.

  7. Sally
    September 14, 2021 / 7:59 am

    Costco has been selling the Bioderma – the extra large size with the top that you just press the cleansing pad down on (can’t think of the name for that type!). I’ve been stocking up – and I’ve even seen it on sale for a great price. It’s not always there so when I find it I buy several bottles – expiration dates are super long.

  8. Linda
    September 14, 2021 / 8:24 am

    I actually have found the La Roche-Posay micellar water to be more gentle than bio Derma which I used for years. I get it at Walgreens and buy it on the senior day
    ( anyone over 60) for 20% off. They have several other French brands as well.

    • Lisa H
      September 14, 2021 / 10:00 am

      I just turned sixty, and saw that offer from Walgreens! I think it’s once a month? It makes me want to start a list, and shop once a month for the products I like to keep on hand. Might as well benefit from reaching that age milestone!

    • Elizabeth
      September 14, 2021 / 10:15 am

      Oh, I just turned 60, I will have to remember to look for “senior” discounts. Thanks for mentioning! 🙂 My skin has suddenly take a big step in the dryness direction..and am really having to change my lotions and potions.

  9. Elizabeth
    September 14, 2021 / 10:11 am

    Most of the items listed (5 out of the 6) are available in major nearby pharmacies (Shoppers Drug Mart and London Drugs).

  10. Elsie
    September 14, 2021 / 10:35 am

    I have used all of these products and while I liked them in the past, I don’t use them anymore b/c they are not cruelty free. Too bad.

    • Lagatta de Montréal
      September 15, 2021 / 2:09 pm

      Have you any good suggestions for those which are?

  11. Nancy Karpen
    September 14, 2021 / 10:53 am

    We hope to go to Europe, probably Paris, next year so I do appreciate your tips. Have a wonderful time! Meanwhile we are heading to San Francisco on Friday and then a drive down the coast to visit with my sisters in LA. We are stopping in Carmel and I appreciated your clothing tips.

  12. Alexandra Martella
    September 14, 2021 / 12:23 pm

    Was just in Portugal and made a trip to the local pharmacy to do the same type of shopping! I got three products from Avene including the facial mist which I also love using on flights.

  13. Carol Montanti
    September 14, 2021 / 6:44 pm

    I love that little pharmacie in Paris too, usually with a big security guard at the door, too funny. As a Canadian I do shop at Shoppers for those products but I find they are cheaper in France, sometimes there’s a great sale on too – and much more fun!
    We have moved our Oct 1 trip to Paris to April 2022, my husband just couldn’t get past the possibility that one of us would test positive on the required covid test to get home, and then what would we do?

    Susan, have you applied for your French health card?

    • Susan Blakey
      September 14, 2021 / 6:45 pm

      It’s on my list of things to do this week.

      • Lagatta de Montréal
        September 15, 2021 / 7:12 am

        There are many (mostly younger) people from France in my neighbourhood, and it is historically La Petite Italie, so there is a good supply of European skin and cosmetic products here, for men and women. I refuse to buy any US products that impose outrageous shipping fees atop the unfavourable currency exchange.

        Susan, can you apply for a French health card? I thought you had to be an EU citizen or permanent resident. I had an Italian health card, but I was a full-time (adult) student with a research scholarship from an Italian ministry.

        • Susan Blakey
          September 15, 2021 / 7:14 am

          The French health certification is (I believe) for non-EU visitors to provide vaccination status and is required to enter the country.

          • Lagatta de Montréal
            September 15, 2021 / 2:16 pm

            Yes, that is called the Pass or Passeport sanitaire. When I hear the term “health card”, I think it refers to the card certifying medical coverage, mostly for citizens and residents, as well as foreign students for example. The card one shows at a hospital or doctor’s office.

  14. C
    September 14, 2021 / 7:33 pm

    I love the nuxe reve miel lip balm in the jar.

  15. Cynthia
    September 15, 2021 / 7:58 am

    I recently found a few French and other European brand skincare products at TARGET!!!

  16. Barbara
    September 15, 2021 / 2:36 pm

    So jealous and at the same time so happy for you and your upcoming trip to Paris! Have some extra fun for me! Travel safe! 🙂

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