a little bit of everything and a whole lot of film

18 Mar 2018

French Skincare Favourites


Let me begin by saying that I have never set foot in France (yet) but I don't let that fact deter me from falling in love with French pharmacy (and a few supermarket) products. Currently, I follow a regimen that is part French and part Korean specifically tailored to my skin type - oily, dehydrated and very much prone to cystic acne, but for now I am going to focus on my French favourites. Don't worry, the Korean faves are coming next.

I have always been very particular about skincare, having worked in the beauty industry since 2009 but only now have I been thoroughly invested in researching and reading up on ingredients, benefits, brand ethos, history and proven claims - case in point, I used to use this clarifying lotion that was quite popular awhile ago with Filipinas wanting that clear, glassy skin. Having had oily but dehydrated skin since time immemorial, I believed that the tight, tingly feel I had after using said lotion was due to the fact that it was wiping off all of my icky oil. Wrong. Apparently two of its main ingredients were unresearched, non-approved amounts of tretinoin and hydroquinone which without a dermatologist's prescription and proper advise was, mildly put, very dangerous. It completely stripped my skin of its topmost layer that my face stung when touched. Goodbye, epidermis.

Another and perhaps, more important reason why I am a little obsessive when it comes to skincare at the moment is that I am now 36 years old. I am convinced that all that sunworshipping in my younger years will finally catch up with me not too long from now and I like to think that when that day comes, I will be fully armed and ready for battle.

1. Clarins Lotus Face Treatment Oil and UV Plus Anti Pollution Broad Spectrum sunscreen SPF 50 - Clarins has a very notable way of product application: warm a few drops of product between palms and press gently onto skin (this applies to almost all of their products by the way). The Lotus treatment oil is one I've been repurchasing for years now. A melange of hazel, geranium, chamomile, rosemary and lotus oils, this one packs quite a punch. I only use this at night and I wake up luminous and glowy. As for the sunscreen, I must admit, I got it it purely because Jeanne Damas swore by it and now I do too.

2. Bioderma Sensibio Riche and Sensibio H2O - I've written about this terrific twosome in my post about French It girl extraordinaire, Jeanne Damas. Once again, shamelessly copped from her routine and luckily for me, works wonders for my skin type. I prefer the Riche version of the moisturiser as opposed to the Light one even when I have oily skin because I feel that the Light version does absolutely nothing for me.

3. Embryolisse Lait-Crème Concentrè - Not too long ago, these were difficult to come by here in Dubai and I had to hoard them on trips to Europe. Now, they are staples in local pharmacies which are nowadays, thankfully, overflowing with French beauty products. There is no French skincare review or haul or blogpost that you will come across that does NOT mention this cult favourite and for good reason - Embryolisse provides simple, straight to the point, no fuss moisturisation. The ingredients are basic, nothing fancy but it just works. Bonus points for also being a great makeup primer; tried, tested and loved by makeup artists the world over.

4. Caudalie Beauty Elixir - I've written about this, here. Hefty price tag aside, this one is not necessarily a must have but more of a nice to have. 

5. Nuxe Huile Prodigeuse and Rêve de Miel - As you can probably now tell, I am a big fan of oils. I slather myself with Huile Prodigeuse on the daily. Being a dry oil, it's absorbed almost instantaneously which means no embarrassing oil stains on clothing. Also, five stars for that luxurious, just got back from Monte Carlo scent. Now, you're probably thinking that it was also Jeanne who turned me onto that little pot of gold that is Rêve de Miel as it also happens to be her favourite but no. I first found this in Sligo, of all places. The November cold was doing my lips in and I happened to wander into this charming little pharmacy just off the main street, looking for a remedy. The pharmacist recommended Rêve de Miel and I never looked back. That was 5 years ago.

6. Homeoplasmine - I was confused about this product at first, it didn't do much for my lips as a humectant. It was marketed as the French Vaseline - an all rounder. May it be known that I am a chronic klutz: cuts, bruises, cat scratches, what have you and eureka - Homeplasmine has kept me scar free.

7. Avene Cleanance Cleansing Gel and Eau Thermale face mist - Following a bout of fantastically severe acne a few years ago and a strict regimen involving high doses of benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid, I found Cleanance to be gentle and yet effective in keeping my oiliness at bay. Amongst its many uses, I also use Eau Thermale as a wetting agent for when I do aspirin masks. Practical and luxurious.

8. La Roche Posay Serozinc and Effaclar Duo - A few of the big guns in my acne arsenal, Serozinc contains Zinc Sulfate that targets the more problematic areas of the face and is also refreshing to use (but please make sure to close the eyes whilst spraying). Containing both salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide, Effaclar Duo is a powerhouse in curing and preventing flareups, whilst providing micro exfoliating benefits.

9. Bien-Être Eau de Cologne Naturelle - I have a penchant for baby colognes and this citrusy French supermarket staple, is one of my favourites. 

10. Tartine et Chocolat eau de toilette - Keeping in line with the baby cologne theme, Tartine et Chocolat is soft, clean and fresh - just like a baby's bum.

Disclaimer: I am not a skincare expert. The information I have shared is what I have found to work for my skin type. Also, some product links are affiliate. Thank you so much.

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