That flawless, effortless French look must take a few products right? Of course! And as far as beauty routine philosophies go, the French are more into creams and homeopathic ointments than heavy cosmetics. French pharmacies are a wondrous place. You can spot them by their green cross signs. You can actually walk in and (look up the translation of course) tell the pharmacist your ailments and they will get you medicine. Unlike American pharmacies, they aren't sitting in the back dividing pills up, the French pharmacist are at the front of the store, consulting customers on a variety of things. They know about ointments and a good deal about skin care as well. If you feel comfortable speaking to them, they have a wealth of knowledge!
On my trip to Paris, I did a little research on what I wanted to get while there. Of course, it took a trip or two in different pharmacies as we walked around town to find all I was looking for. A few of these items can be found in larger grocery stores in Paris as well. I'll note that when I can. Prices marked are the prices found in French Pharmacies, of course you can buy most of these things for a higher price online. They are also approximate!
Avene Thermal Water Facial Mist ($8)
Ok, I know this sounds insane. I was skeptical too. I mean, spraying your face with water? What can that possibly do? To my surprise, it's a refreshing, very fine mist that cools you down and calms down your skin, which is great in the Arkansas heat and humidity. I've tried other facial sprays before that were like spraying my face with a cat spray bottle. This is not like that! It's a fine mist. Also the French are obsessed with thermal water. I don't quite get what thermal water is, but it's in everything at the pharmacy.
A313 Retinol A Pommade ($14)
This little miracle cream is the new version of Avibon, a long time favorite of Gwenyth Paltrow. This cream improves the texture and appearance of aging skin. It is comparable to other Retinol-A products that have a much higher price tag in the US. It doesn't have all the other complicated ingredients, just some Vitamin and Retinol-A goodness. It's also used as a spot treatment for blemishes. For $14, you should get a few tubes to take back!
Nuxe Multi-Purpose Dry Oil ($20)
I mostly got this out of pure curiosity because it's the hottest item right now in French beauty. How can an oil be dry?! I didn't get it until I put it on. It smells like summer and gives your skin a nice glow. I like to put it on my legs to make them feel and look less dry. It's great for hands and arms too. The feel is not like traditional oil, I guess that's the dry part? It's not oily! Skin absorbs it perfectly.
Embryolisse Lait-Creme Concentre ($15)
This is an amazing primer that is just the right amount of moisturizing under make up without getting greasy or clumpy. It's also very cheap as far as make up primers go. The scent is oddly comforting too, sort of like a non-offensive fresh powder smell and I usually don't like powder smells. It's good as a night time moisturizer too.
Nuxe Lip Balm ($10)
This little pot of creamy goodness is the best thing that could happen to your lips. The texture is great, not too waxy but a real, thick balm. The scent is light enough that it doesn't over do anything and it gives a slight shine to lips.
Homeoplasmine ointment ($10)
The French are really in to homeopathic remedies and this is one of those remedies turned cult beauty product. This is kind of a miracle cream. It is a mild antiseptic so it's good for burns or acne spots. It's supposedly a secret weapon of make up artists for its matte primer effect. I don't know if I would use it as a primer, but its great for chapped or flaky skin. Definitely for chapped lips. I used it on my dry knuckles.
La Roche-Posay Effaclar BB Blur and La Roche-Posay Hydreane BB Cream ($25-28)
The Hydreane BB Cream is exactly what it sounds like, a hydrating cream with light coverage. It is great for the winter or for very dry skin. It blends nicely and has a slight scent to it (what is with all the scents? Good thing I like them all). It's especially good for sensitive skin.
The BB Blur does wonders for skin with large pores! It gives skin a soft, matte look, no moisturizing elements so it's great for summer or for oily skin. I can put this on after my Embroylisse cream primer and it looks great. The foundation also has 20 SPF so that's a nice bonus, especially for us pale gals. It has a light scent that reminds me of butter and has a whipped texture.