An ode to French pharmacy beauty

An ode to French pharmacy beauty

LIKE romance, pastries and cobblestone streets; pharmacy skincare is something the French do exceptionally well. For international expats and tourists, stepping foot inside one of the country’s infamous pharmacies is just as exciting as visiting Versailles or looking around the Louvre. A far cry from the neon-lit and overcrowded aisles one may be accustomed to back home, French pharmacies are filled with well-thought-out — and not to mention well-priced — skincare products worthy of any aficionado’s beauty cabinet. While some of these rarities are only available in France (like La Roche Posay’s Cicaplast B5 Spray and Lierac’s Dioptipoche Puffiness Correction Smoothing Gel), there are plenty of coveted French pharmacy skincare products you can get your hands on without having to board a flight to Paris.

What makes the French approach to skincare so unique and effective?

“The French are extremely fussy with textures. Products need to have the right consistency; the sensorial experience is as important as the active ingredient itself,” says French-born Mai Guillou, renowned aesthetic clinician and founder of Melbourne skin clinic Skin To Heart. 

She says that Europe has access to higher-quality active ingredients than elsewhere, making French skincare products incredibly effective. “There may be less actives combined within a product, but the quality is of an extremely high standard,” she explains. 

What are the basics of the French skincare routine?

“The application of a cream or serum is seen as a ritual of self-care that one enjoys within their home,” says Guillou. “It is within French culture to protect the health of the skin by caring for it from a young age every day by cleansing, toning and moisturising.”

These three fundamental steps form the basis of the French skincare routine and benefit the skin throughout the years due to constant repetition.


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