One thing I’ve been more exposed to since moving to Paris seven years ago—besides good wine, baguettes and French men—is great skincare and overall more respect for it. I’ve always looked after my skin, but that’s because my mother instilled in me the importance of a good beauty routine from a young age, and my knowledge came from her.
Because my mother always had luxury skincare products, I thought that good skincare equalled expensive. She’d even forgo other items just so she could buy a costly night cream. But in France, there’s a reason why pharmacy products have become so renowned. It’s because they really are that good for affordable prices.
I’m generally of the mindset that you get what you pay for, but in France, you just have to walk off the street into any pharmacy to find a range of products that are reasonably priced, such as Avène, La Roche-Posay, Caudalie and Vichy. A few of my current favourite products are the beauty essentials created by newish kid on the block Oh My Cream, which includes a daily SPF moisturiser and serum.
If there’s one product that almost all my Parisian friends have in their beauty cabinet, it’s micellar water by Bioderma. It’s a French beauty icon, used (as I found out) by skincare experts and makeup artists alike. It’s their secret weapon. I had never even heard of micellar water until I moved to Paris, but now, I use it almost every day. It’s hardworking but incredibly gentle on your skin (mine is very sensitive) because it doesn’t contain any alcohol. In fact, it feels like you are only applying water and doesn’t leave your skin feeling tight or oily, which so many cleaning products and makeup removers do. Use it to remove makeup or as a gentle toner after cleansing to remove any excess dirt and oil.
There is another reason why French women have such great skin (in my opinion): They drink a lot of good red wine. Red wine is full of antioxidants that are anti-inflammatory, restore cells and help your skin produce collagen—all knowledge that one of France’s most prominent skincare brands, Caudalie, was founded on and the reason it is so successful. Caudalie has used these elements by utilising grape extracts in its skincare range. Try Vineactiv Glow Activating Anti-Wrinkle Serum and the Dark Spot Correcting Glycolic Night Cream.
I’ve found that the same generally goes for beauty and skincare in France as it does with fashion. Less is more. While there are a lot of brilliant brands and products on the market, the point is not to pile them all on your face at once. Keep your skincare routine simple.
Really, it doesn’t get any better than sticking to three easy steps: cleanse, tone and moisturise. But then again, the French can keep things simple in the skincare department because they don’t generally wear a lot of makeup that can clog up pores and dry their skin out. Of course, I add in eye cream, do a mask and exfoliate every other week, but the base is simple, and my skin is better and healthier for it.
This story was published at an earlier time and has since been updated.
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