Friday, 9 November 2012

French / Paris Pharmacy Beauty Products and Paris Sephora Haul!!

Hi Cherubs!

My husband decided to surprise me on my birthday a few weeks ago with a romantic weekend to Paris! I was absolutely over the moon (not to mention shocked as this kind of thing happens very rarely these days!)

My first thought was what foods I wanted to try and my second thought went to all the amazing French Pharmacie products that I have been desperate to try.

I did my research and decided to visit City Pharma on Rue Four in St Germain du Pres as I had heard it was the best place for a huge variety of products and good value. St Germain du Pres is very pretty and also just a couple of Metro stops from where we were so it was not at all out of the way. At first when I walked in I was so overwhelmed with the amount of products and the number of people crammed in a relatively small store. But I soon got to work locating the products I had decided I wanted before-hand, and then moving on to some slightly panicked, impromptu buys. There are lots of staff on hand who speak several European languages to help you choose and who are very informative and professional. It really was an interesting experience. I could have spent days in there, not to mention hundreds of Euro but I was pretty selective and think I made some good choices. I came away with a huge bag of products which would have easily cost 3 times as much in the UK.

This is what I ended up getting:

Ducray Keracnyl Foaming Gel Wash

I bought this in my mad panic phase at City Pharma as it was on offer. I had always meant to pick something up that I could use on my body for any occasionally breakouts. Having been using this for the last 2 weeks on my back which had suffered recently with a couple of spots I have noticed an immediate difference in that they reduced in size immediately and overall the skin felt much cleaner and fresher. I absolutely love this for delivering exactly what is promised and for being kind to sensitive skin.

La Roche Posay Effaclar AI

I had heard so much about this brand and spent many a time gazing at the (almost) identical blue and white packaging in Boots, feeling ever so confused as to what to purchase. I finally took the plunge and, having consulted with the super efficient sales woman in City Pharma bought this for my oily T Zone. I mostly use this on my forehead which always breaks out every few weeks. This was a definite success! I applied this at night after cleansing my skin and the next morning my husband said he noticed my skin looked much clearer! It doesn’t dry my skin out at all.

La Roche Posay Cicaplaste Baum B5

This was bought on a bit of a whim since it seems to be one of those all purpose, wonder creams that you get lured into buying then never actually use, however, I have to say it is brilliant! It is described as a balm which always makes me think of something really rich and gummy, like Vaseline or something, but in fact it’s a white cream of average consistency. It disappears into my skin immediately with no residue and I use it only on areas of skin which are dry, tight and/or sore/irritated. I apply it at night and the next morning wake up with soothed and plumped, hydrated skin. Another great success!

Bioderma Crealine H20 Solution

I first discovered this when I lived in Dubai and absolutely adored it as a makeup cleanser. Since it ran out I didn’t re-stock as couldn’t find it in the UK. I therefore took full advantage of a double offer at City Pharma. What can I say about this? Well it has the consistency and soothing qualities of pure H2O, whilst being tough enough to completely remove even waterproof makeup. Best thing is it’s especially for sensitive skin so no irritation is experienced at all! I have to say is this is the best makeup remover I have ever used. Try it, you won’t regret it.

Bioderma Eye Contour Cream         

I picked this up because I have been looking for a trustworthy, sensitive skin eye cream which doesn’t cost the earth. Bioderma to the rescue! I am never quite sure what to expect from an eye cream, I suppose all I personally want is to be able to moisturise the under eye area without any kind of irritation or reaction. It’s going well so far!

Bioderma Moisturising Lotion for Oily Weakened Skin

Wow. I was seriously impressed when I spotted this. Now I wish I had grabbed two or three of these. It is a daily moisturising cream which is especially for oily, sensitive skin which suffers from breakouts. Simple enough but what it also claims to do is re-hydrate and strengthen oily yet dehydrated skin. I love the simplicity of a cream that I know will help with breakouts but not dry out my skin yet still keeps it soft and hydrated.

Caudalie Beauty Elixir

This was a bit of a splurge because, truly, I am not sure it does anything better than a water mist or setting spray. But it comes in beautiful packaging, has top quality essential oils blended to a soothing symphony of smells and just feels luxurious when misted onto the skin. This will be coming with me on every flight so I can freshen up, protect my skin, lightly moisturise it and (more importantly for those economy flights!) scent the air with relaxing, aromatherapy!

Embryolisse Eau de Beaute Rosamelis

Ok. So I bought another hydrating, freshening, essential oil scented facial mist. This time by Embryolisse (who make awesome luscious moisturisers). This one has a gentle floral scent which is not at all sickening, it literally smells like fresh cut flowers! I bought it because it was so cheap (I believe it was 5 Euros) and I loved the smell, and just because I wanted it! So sue me..

Nuxe Baume Reve de Miel

Apparently one of these is sold every few seconds around the world. I wanted to see what all the hype is, especially as I already have found my Kiehls holy grail lip balm. I have to say it tastes yummy, feels luscious on the lips and lasts. But Kiehls already does this for me, so the reason I actually think it could be a contender is that it is matte, rather than shiny! I don’t always want slippery, shiny lipbalm, especially if I am applying it in preparation for a boldly coloured lip, so it is pretty awesome to get a matte finish. It’s fairly rare in lipbalms too. One definite downside is the packaging – very pretty but soooo impractical and unhygienic as it comes in a glass jar with screw top lid.

La Roche Posay Hydraphase Intense Mask
I actually haven’t tried this yet, but definitely want to test it out and compare to my also recently purchased NARS aqua gel hydrator. As usual from La Roche Posay I am expecting something fairly miraculous. A face mask that is plumping, hydrating, soothing and doesn’t irritate my skin or break me out. Not too much to ask, is it??

NARS Aqua Gel Hydrator

I adore NARS and, in my humble opinion, simply don’t own enough of their products (mostly because they are super pricey!). I was introduced to their skin care line by my wedding day makeup artist. The first thing I loved was the hydrating freshening lotion – I don’t think they make this anymore but I just love how clean and revitalised my skin feels, not to mention it totally eliminates dry patches! Anyway I am not here to review that! I tried this mask as I was looking for something nourishing that I could leave on my skin but also that was invisible and that I didn’t have to wash off. I applied it exactly as I was told to by the sales assistant. So you basically take a dollop of it, and massage into the face. At first it turns slippery, then once the initial slipperiness disappears it has sunk into the skin and is “activated”. It is not to be worn as a moisturiser but only as an overnight mask. So I did the honours and the next morning was pleasantly surprised to find this simple looking, white cream/gel which disappeared into my skin had a completely rejuvenating effect! My skin in the morning seemed plumper, fresher and very hydrated. I would love to use this every day but was warned not to by the sales assistant, and anyway, its way too expensive to do that!

Avene Cleanance Gel Wash

I had discovered this a couple of years ago in Boots and again, absolutely loved it. It is just a simple foaming face wash. It magically erases all traces of makeup (even waterproof mascara) and leaves my skin with that really clean feeling and best of all, it rinses properly away so you have no residue left. Just clean skin. I also don’t feel that my skin feels super dry or tight like with most cleansers. Of course as it is Avene it is great for sensitive skin too.

Bioderma Sebium Exfoliating Gel

I got this simply because I wanted the full set so to speak! So far, so scrubby! Does what it says on the tin. Given the La Roche Posay Effaclar AI, I don’t use this more than once a week and then only on my T Zone.


I also popped into the vast Sephora on the Champs Elysses and picked up just 3, yes 3! items which were all very inexpensive – the Sephora lash amplifier tool, the Sephora French manicure stickers and a travel size Frederik Fekkai glossing cream. I haven’t tried any of these products yet but I am looking forward to it!

In conclusion, French Pharmacies are heads and shoulders above UK pharmacies (with the possible exception of large Boots stores) in terms of variety, customer service and sheer quality of average priced products. The vast majority of the above items were substantially cheaper that buying the same items online here in the UK. For those that have access to the popular French products like Avene, La Roche Posay, vichy etc do try them as I think you will be very pleasantly surprised at the quality. Boots currently have a 3 for 2 offer on Avene, Vichy and La Roche so have a root around.

On a side note I absolutely LOVED Paris! I had the most amazing time, it is a place that can be seriously underrated in the UK, but if you do your research and follow the French rules for etiquette and, most importantly, at least attempt to speak French, you will experience true hospitality and kindness, and some of the best food in the world!

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