French Pharmacy Favourites: Everyday Essentials

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 Talking Beauty

A selection of tried and tested pharmacy essentials that even the French keep up their sleeves



1)    The can can: Avène’s Thermal Spring Water

Let’s be frank here, fancy water in a can: does it really work and does it live up to the hype? Indeed it can! If like me, you have sensitive, irritable skin, this thermal water spray is like a silky elixir. Simple to use, spray it on, it’s so refreshing and it’s an instant wake up. I use it morning and evening after cleansing and it’s really soothing and gentle.  I’ve replaced an expensive toner for this spray and I honestly can say my skin feels and looks better for it.  It’s become a firm feature in my French beauty arsenal.

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2) The colder big sister

Keeping it in the Avène family, I would like to introduce another tried and tested essential, Avène’s body cold cream lotion. I have tried quite a few of the hypoallergenic moisturisers for sensitive skin but I always come back to this one.  For everyday it’s great. I love its light texture and scent. The water in Paris tends to leave my skin really dry and this cream really beats the dryness without irritating my skin. Again it’s a fair price for a good quality everyday essential. Always in my top-drawer.

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 3) To dry or not to dry

Before I moved to Paris, I would never have dreamed of using a dry shampoo, the idea kind of revolted me, I guess I feel if my hair’s not clean, I am not clean. After reading and hearing great things about Klorane dry shampoo, I wanted to try it for myself. It’s really easy to use. You spray it on and leave it for a few minutes. At first try, I wasn’t convinced, my hair was completely grey, and an older looking version of myself was staring back at me in the mirror. Weird. However, when I brushed my hair through, despite my initial reservations, I was seriously impressed with the results. Nice hair, nice texture, ‘wow, this really works well!’. I have very thick long hair and it takes ages to dry, so this product really is a hair-dry time saver and my Kerastase is lasting longer.

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4) I’ve got you under my skin

Not the most glamorous of products to talk about, but I had to include this in my pharmacy essentials. It happens to everyone, the day before a special event or meeting, even when your skin has been great for months, years, what pops up in the night? Yes, spot the big one! I’ve tried everything over the years, (Environ, Dermalogica, lotions and potions) but nothing has worked for me quite as well like Dakin. It’s a basic buy over the counter antiseptic lotion. You mix it with a little warm water and dab on. As it’s antiseptic lotion, I have found it also works for small cuts and wounds. It’s a handy one to have around.

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5) Embryolisse

The great thing about Embryolisse is that it can be used as a moisturizer for body and face, a cleanser, and a face-mask. I tend to use it as a face-mask when my face is feeling a bit dry. It’s hypoallergenic so suits my sensitive skin and can be used on all skin types. It’s a nice one to use after a day in the sun too. It’s a great all round moisturizer and I like the traditional packaging too.

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6) Divine Oil

I am a big fan of oils, Clarins body oils are my all time luxury treat but are quite costly if you use them every day! So this month, I am looking for a cost friendly alternative and I am trying Divine Oil by Claudalie (€15). It’s an oil you can use on your hair, your face and body. It’s absolutely gorgeous, it has a spray dispenser, so it goes on nice and evenly. It has a lovely light texture and as the name suggests, it smells divine! It also gives your skin a nice supple glow. It doesn’t quite have the Clairins effect but a nice luxury for everyday. There’s a divine body scrub to go with, which is on my wish list. I also love the design of the bottle.

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7) Marvelous Marvis

I discovered this little beauty marvel at the Babylone Pharmacy on Rue Babylone. Attracted first to the cool classic packaging and second to the range of flavours: ginger mint; jasmine mint; acquatic mint; amarelle liquorice; cinnamon mint, when did toothpaste get so cool? I am currently trying the whitening mint – a creamy texture, with a minty sensation, I am hoping for pearly whites! I must say, it turns a simple daily gesture into a moment of cool and it looks chic in your bathroom or travel bag. It’s simply marvelous, Marvis!

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How about you, what are your favourite French pharmacy essentials?


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  1. Thanks to reading this and buying Avène I am slowly getting my facial skin back to normal after an allergic reaction to some facial wipes. The products are very soothing.

  2. I love Embryolisse cream, and stock up every time I am in France. We are back there in three weeks and I cannot wait to try the Marvis . I love the packaging! Thanks for the tip.

  3. Je ne connais pas Marvis et n’ai pas encore réussi à trouver la marque Embryolisse en parapharmacie. Pour le shampooing sec, j’utilise plutôt la version de Klorane à l’ortie (ou un Batiste mais ce n’est pas français!).

    Récemment j’ai découvert une très bonne crème hydratante pour ma peau super intolérante et déshydratée, Roc hydra+ riche.
    Pour le reste, j’ai souvent la tentation d’essayer de nouveaux produits donc il n’y a pas beaucoup de produits que je rachète d’une fois sur l’autre.

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