June 16, 2015

The French Pharmacy: My Picks

Today I am deviating a little from all things food and travel to give you my French pharmacy picks. For many years I’ve read that French pharmacies are the best place on Earth to buy beauty products. They carry entire lines of French-made skin care that can’t be found stateside. These jars of lotions and potions are touted to be as terrifically effective as Le Mer (which I’ve only sampled because I can’t afford a whole jar), but can be purchased at drugstore prices.  Before we went to Paris I researched favorite products on Goop, Design Mom, and the The New York Times so I could build a good shopping list. Once we arrived the three of us hit Citypharma Du Four to pick up some of our own. Here are my top product picks:

Shopping & Eating in Paris | The Naptime Chef

Citypharma Du Four: There are pharmacies all over Paris and most of them carry these products. However, Citypharma is known for having the best prices and selection. It is also a mob scene that requires sharp elbows and a quick hand for nabbing bottles before they end up in someone else’s basket. They have a strict no photography policy so I didn’t even try to take a sneaky picture with my iPhone. There are security guards everywhere! It is right across from Café de Flore and is not to be missed. However, if you do, just look for a pharmacie with an electric green cross anywhere in the city and you should be able to find all of these products.

French Pharmacy | The Naptime Chef

Sanoflore Véritable Eau Florale Bleuet Messicole Bio: This organic cornflower water is mostly intended for tired eyes but I’ve found that it works well for many applications. So far I’ve used it to refresh sunburnt skin, treat my own swollen eyelid, and soothe a small sunburn on the back of my neck. This line also has toners made from other flowers known for their natural healing properties, like rose and lavender. It is highly concentrated so one bottle should last for a few months.

French Pharmacie | The Naptime Chef

Biafine: This plant-based cream started as a burn and rash treatment but people use it for all sorts of moisturizing needs. Recently I used it to treat my daughter’s skinned knee and soothe a little burn on my hand from the oven. I also used it on my dry elbows and chapped lips. It effectively treated everything and has earned a permanent spot in my first aid kit. Note: This cream is very thick and a little bit goes a long way.

The French Pharmacy | The Naptime Chef

Cica Biafine Hand Cream: I don’t usually wax poetic about hand creams but this was an instant favorite. It is light yet effective and doesn’t require constant application. My hands are frequently dry since I wash them so much between cooking and my son’s messy toddlerhood. This cream perks them right back up without making them oily or slippery in the least.

The French Pharmarcy | The Naptime Chef

Bioderma Créaline H20: There is a reason this is rumored to be the go-to make-up remover for make-up artists everywhere. It is really, truly the best make-up remover I’ve ever used. Soak a cotton pad with it and even the most stubborn waterproof mascara comes off in one swipe. It is as light as water and doesn’t sting or dry out skin at all. This is going to be a staple in my medicine cabinet for years to come.

French Pharmacy | The Naptime Chef

Nuxe Huile Prodigeuse: This product probably has the biggest cult following on this list. I read about it everywhere! I don’t usually use body oils but this one is different. Put it on right after you get out of the shower and it instantly blends into your skin making it smooth and supple. The scent is light and breezy and can double as a light perfume if you desire. Citypharma Du Four prices these bottles in bulk, which helps keep the cost down!

The French Pharmacy | The Naptime Chef

Nuxe Bio Beauté Tinted Repairing Lip Balm with Peach Pulp: This gorgeous lip balm smells like peaches and instantly makes your lips luxuriously soft. Not to mention it smells and tastes like fresh peaches! The rosy peach tint is flattering on many skin tones and is just right for summer on the east coast. I bought three tubes and can already tell I’ll have to beg someone to bring more back for me within a year. Note: I read that the Nuxe Bio Beauté line can be harder to find and might only be available in select pharmacies.

French Pharmacie | The Naptime Chef

Embryolisse Filadérme Creme: I learned about this line from Goop but picked this specific product based in Gabrielle’s recommendation. You guys, this is a keeper. I’ve spent many, many years looking for the best moisturizer for my combination skin and this is the best I’ve found. I even love it more than my Kiehl’s Rosa Artica! A light application is perfect for morning, or you can do a heavier layer before you go to bed for some overnight skin rehydrating. It works well under make-up and doesn’t feel slick or goopy in the heat. I love, love, love it.

Note: One thing I noticed on all of these products is that they say “sans paraben” on the packaging. I haven’t read all the research in detail but I generally stay away from products with parabens whenever possible and was so pleased to see this is commonplace among French beauty brands.

p.s.: 10 Things to See in Paris with Kids, Shopping & Eating in Paris with Kids