The French pharmacy is truly a magical place. Why? Not only do these pharmacies carry all the typical medications to cure what ails you, but they’re also the holy grail of beauty products. These modest little shops contain a treasure trove of creams, serums, scents, soaps, and other do-all miracle items. I remember my first visit to a French pharmacy. Women dressed in white lab coats guided me through their world, shared their skincare secrets, and filled my shopping basket with all sorts of goodies. I’ve been obsessed ever since.
It’s true that part of the allure of these products is simply that they’re, well, “French.” However, you really can find so many unique, high-quality beauty buys in these pharmacies. Here’s a list of my favorite French pharmacy products.
Favorite French Pharmacy Products
Biafine ACT Cream. This product is meant to treat superficial burns and heal skin. However, a lot of French pharmacy fans praise it for other uses as well. It’s a great substitute for Neosporin, does wonders for sunburn, and can be used to treat scars and post-surgery skin. I’ve even used the versatile cream as a nighttime face mask for extra hydration. Get it here.
Fragrances by Guerlain. Guerlain is a classic French brand with numerous makeup and skincare products. But, I just can’t get enough of their fragrances. True—you can find most of their luxurious perfumes in your local Sephora, but I believe they have even more delicious options abroad. My favorite scent? Aqua Allegoria Flora Nymphea, which I wore on my honeymoon. However, you may have to go to Marionnaud (a French beauty store with pharmacy products) over the regular pharmacy for this designer brand. Get it here.
Le Petit Marseillais, Soin Lèvres Nourrissant. I absolutely love the brand Le Petit Marseillais. They make a wide range of soaps, shower gels, and body lotions at affordable prices. Their products are basic, but come in sweet scents and contain great ingredients. One of my personal favorite products has to be their lip balm with Argan oil, which smells like a heavenly mix of milk and honey. I always buy a few packs in France to bring home with me.
Embryolisse, Lait-Crème Concentrè or the 24-Hour Miracle Cream. This cream is a cult favorite among makeup artists, models, and general beauty product junkies. I originally gave this cream a shot because of the hype, but now I always stock up on a couple of bottles when I make the trip to France. I like to use it as my moisturizer whenever my skin is feeling parched. Its simple, yet effective formula keeps my face hydrated and fresh. Get it here.
Nuxe, Huile Prodigieuse. This dry oil is a true multitasking product and a well-known beauty staple. Made with plant oils and vitamin E, this wonderful mixture really seeps into the skin without leaving behind a greasy residue. I apply it to my face, body, and hair. It smells so amazing that Nuxe recently launched a perfume in the signature scent. Other Nuxe products I love include the Bio-Beauté line’s smoothing and 24-hour moisturizing emulsion cream, the Crème Prodigieuse line’s anti-fatigue moisturizing cream, and the Merveillance line’s lifting eye cream. Get it here.
Caudalie, Eau de Beauté or Beauty Elixir. This fine mist made from essential oils and plant ingredients works as a toner or serum. I use it after cleansing my face or spritz it on in the afternoon for a refreshing pick-me-up. The elixir gives off a pleasant tingling sensation and soothes the skin. Once a French pharmacy staple, Caudalie is a hugely popular beauty brand and is now available worldwide. Get it here.
Le Petit Olivier, Pure huile d’Argan. I can’t go a day without a little Argan oil. I rub a little into my palms and then gently pat my face. I find that it provides the perfect amount of moisture and leaves my skin looking radiant. Plus, it’s a natural product. On one of my trips to France, I was thrilled to find this brand of oil at an affordable price (about €12!). Le Petit Olivier is a great brand with a lot of natural products like serums, balms, and creams infused with organic oils. The company even has their own olive grove in the south of France.
Avibon. No French pharmacy beauty buy list would be complete without Avibon, right? Avibon is a thick vitamin A pomade with Retinol Palmitate. It’s said to work wonders on wrinkles as a nighttime mask. I’ve found that it does smooth out my complexion and plumps my skin. And it smells like roses! Unfortunately the product has been discontinued. But thankfully, I have found an alternative. Look out for my upcoming post featuring my favorite Polish pharmacy buys to find out!
Thanks to the power of the internet, a lot of these foreign products are now wildly available for purchase anywhere. But if you’re so lucky to find yourself in Paris, be sure to make a pit stop into one of the bigger pharmacies. Like the Louvre or the Eiffel Tower, they’re a sight to see.