On The Beauty Beat: The French Pharmacie

Beauty products from the French drugstore. Details at une femme d'un certain age.

Home and unpacked…it’s a good feeling!

Skincare Shopping At The French Pharmacie

Here’s my “haul” from CityPharma in Paris. It’s like a regular French parapharmacie on steroids, and with discounted prices. Go early before the crowds, and take advantage of the knowledgeable staff on the floor. I came home with some new-to-me products recommended by the saleswoman who was helping us out.

  • Darphin Soleil Plaisir SPF 50. I asked for a recommendation for a facial sunscreen with high SPF that would work well under a tinted moisturizer or foundation. This was her #1 recommendation. The texture is very nice, and it doesn’t “pill” or feel greasy.
  • Ahava “Time To Revitalize” Extreme Eye Firming Cream. When she noticed the eye cream already in my shopping basket (one I’ve used off and on for years), she said “that’s not the right one for you,” and steered me toward a couple of options. She mentioned that this one has anti-oxidants and caffeine to reduce puffiness, and that it lifts and firms. Will be trying this in the morning. It’s paraben-free.
  • Ahava “Time To Revitalize” Extreme Night Treatment. Since I was on a roll with the sunscreen and eye cream, I decided to ask her about products to help firm my neck. She recommended two, and this one was the less expensive option. She told me to use it on face and neck at night, as a serum. Also paraben-free.
  • Vichy 3-in-1 Cleanser. This is actually something I’ve used and loved for years. It’s a gentle cleanser that you can even use around the eyes. I replenish when I’m in France because it’s cheaper there.
  • Konjac Sponge. Josephine recommended this, and it’s new to me. It’s supposed to be an extremely gentle tool for cleansing and exfoliating the skin. I’ll be trying it out tonight.

Your turn: favorite drugstore beauty product, or something new you’ve tried lately that you love?

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  1. Great that you are finding Paraben free products! I’m using Monica Potter’s Facial Oil under my makeup or over my makeup, and at night before I retire. This product is amazing and my skin is so much softer and looks brighter too. I like the Vichy products as well, they are a lot of bang for the buck!

  2. The hair product you recommended about a month ago- a got2b product, has been great! I have very heavy, but fine hair and it gives me some lift and texture – LOVE IT!

    I use elemis products – am looking for something for sun spots – I grew up a beach girl in San Diego and have a few sun spots that nothing seems to minimize! Any advice there?

  3. I swear by Avène products, available only at the pharmacy. Very good for sensitive skin (I started using it when I had a reaction to another brand and my doctor suggested switching to Avène). And not too expensive. They have a micellar lotion that’s great for makeup removal.
    To Kellee: Avène also has a “D-Pigment” lotion that’s supposed to lessen spots. It has good reviews online; I haven’t tried it myself.

  4. CityPharma is my happy place–the corner of Rue du Four and Rue Bonaparte. My absolute favored product that I’ve purchased there is orange blossom water and I use it as a toner. I’m running low so it’s time to return!! But, I mix higher end beauty and skin care products with drugstore. My favorite drug store skin care product here in the US is Equate’s dupe for old-school Oil of Olay. It’s a great moisturizer. And my favorite drug store beauty item is Essence cosmetics Forbidden Volume mascara. It’s amazing!!!!

  5. I love the Vichy 3-in-1 cleanser as well. I can’t use most eye-make-up removers, but his one works for me. And it’s gentle all over my face on my sensitive skin. I also use the Roche Posay day cream (Hydra-something) with spf in the summer for cycling etc. These products are sold in drugstores here in Canada… but I’m wondering is they are available in the States now?

  6. Big fan of L’Oreal Double Extend Mascara- it’s a tube forming formula and it never ever ever smears or makes raccoon eyes. It is a primer on one end and a mascara on the other. It makes such thick long lashes that every time I am at the Dermatologist, they ask where I am getting my Latisse Rx from, since they do not see it on my record. I have to swear I am not using that , my lashes are all due to the L’Oreal mascara.
    The best part? It comes off with warm water and any cleanser. Just gently slip off the tubes and they go right down the sink.

  7. Nothing NEW on my LIST just the same OLD FAITHFUL’s!
    How many times have you been to PARIS in the last THREE YEARS?I COUNT 4!!!!
    IS THAT correct or MORE?!!
    Love how you met up with different BLOGGERS!
    Nothing MORE FUN in my opinion!

  8. I love Klorane’s dry shampoo-so inexpensive at CityPharma. Brought home some home last month along with licorice-flavored Marvis toothpaste, also not expensive at CP. My dermatologist recommends CerVe and Cetaphil moisturizers and cleansing products and I have switched from cosmetic brands to these and find them wonderful and gentle on my skin, not to mention, much less expensive!

  9. Try Ahava’s hand cream with SPF. It also reduces dark spots.
    I love Cerave moisturizer for the body, but notice it has parabens. Do you know of a good body moisturizer without them?

  10. I use CeraVe moisturizer for dry skin. Eucerin creme for dry heels. Garnier Micellar water to clean my face. DHS Zinc Shampoo for occasional bouts with dandruff. A&D Ointment on my cuticles.

  11. I use Sudden Change Firming Serum for puffiness under the eye. In 3 minutes, you see the difference. I also use Essence Eyebrow Gel Mascara, and I use a natural sea sponge to cleanse and exfoliate the face.

  12. Nuxe, Bioderma, Laroche-Posay, Avène, Bio-Beauté par Nuxe, Darphin, Vichy and pretty much all the French Pharmacie products are available throughout Canada at Shoppers Drugs or Pharma Prix in Québec. My nephew’s wife makes regular runs from Philly to Montréal or Ottawa to stock up. Of course the prices aren’t as good as in France but the USD goes further north of the border.

  13. I tend to stick with some old faithfuls – Korres Pomegranate Cream Gel, huge fan of Lancôme Defincils mascara, use Clarins Double Serum at night. Recently purchased a Konjac purifying sponge – yet to use.

  14. My newest addition (I stick w/ tried & true Dr. Hauschka for the most part) is Highland Fashionista recommended Andalou Naturals Vitamin C Beauty Balm w/ SPF 30. I took it with me to Greece and used it as my every day sun screen and loved it. It blends right in w/ my skin and so I wear it happily.

    I worry about what happens with those mascara tubules. Are they biodegradable?

  15. Have really enjoyed following your trip to Paris , Susan. I use a lot of French products and here are some favourites. For face during the day, a light moisture cream , La Roche-Posay Hydraphase UV 24HR Rehydrating Fill-in care SPF 30 Lotion. Really love Neutrogena Ultra Gentle daily cleaner for my face/neck because I have dry sensitive skin. For my extremely dry hands, especially in winter, La Roche-Posay Cicaplast Mains. Love the CereVe line, too. My special treat is Clarins Super Restorative Tinted Cream SPF 20. I buy all of these products at local drug stores.

  16. My husband bought me a gift set of Nuxe products including the Huile Prodigieuse® which was wonderful. It smells wonderful and makes my skin feel great. The only size I see on Amazon is this gift set – can someone sent me a link that I can add to my Christmas wish list?

    1. I use prescription Retin-A, so tend to avoid other products with Retinol, as it would be overkill. But many RoC products have retinol, as do many products in some of the higher-end skincare lines. I know many women really like RoC and achieve good results with it.

  17. I always buy Bioderma, Nuxe oil, Vichy tinted Idealia BB creme, Embryolisse cream for night and Phytomer shampoo for silver hair at CP. I will put some of the products you mentioned on my shopping list for the next time…always fun to try something different. You can also use Embryolisse in the morning but I use Origins serum and Origins Zinzing as a moisturizer…smells wonderful.