Living in Belgium, I tend to complain that a lot of fantastic brands that are not really available here. However, I also tend to forget there are many amazing French pharmaceutical skincare products that are. All I have to do is enter a pharmacy, and I can get lost among all the reasonably-priced yet effective choices there.
If you have always been curious about French pharmaceutical products but don’t know where to start, below are my 5 top picks! Depending on your needs, you can go from there, and who knows? You might want to explore further later!
Bioderma Sensibio H2OIf I were to tell you makeup can be easily removed with water, you would probably think I’m mad. Think twice. This super gentle micellar water removes all non-waterproof makeup easily, including gel liner!
As much as I enjoy putting on makeup, at the end of the day all I want to do is take everything off so that my skin can breathe freely again. However, just thinking about having to go through the getting my face wet—massaging makeup remover all over my face—washing it off and probably getting half of my top wet process, I drag my feet.
With Bioderma Sensibio however, I can wet some cotton pads, wipe everything off, sit down and chill with cleansed and soft skin until it’s time to give it another quick wash, put on lotion and all that jazz before going to bed.
For those of you who go through a long day with makeup on, this is godsend. For beauty bloggers, it is a must-have. I can’t even remember how many times this has saved my life. 5 lip swatches in a row? Not a problem. Changing eye looks by wiping off only the eyeshadow with a Q-tip? Not a problem (that way you don’t have to redo eyeliner and mascara). It gives you a clean slate to start with, not greasy or sticky. For bonus calming benefits? Try to keep it in your fridge!
Caudalie Beauty Elixir
I have been a Caudalie fan girl for at least 8 years now, and this was the first product I ever purchased from them. People ask me all the time what’s good in this range, and I tell them: just go ahead, pick something that suits your skin type, and start from there. I have tried so many things from Caudalie, and none of them was ever a disappointment.
With the prospect of the warmer season, you might find a little bottle of their Beauty Elixir more than pleasant to have in your handbag for a midday pick-me-up. This baby contains a bit of oil, so you have to shake it up a bit before spraying it on your face. If the spritz is a little too strong, you can alternatively spray it into your palm, rub it gently between your palms, and cover your face with them. It smells minty and it’s a little cooling (it does contain alcohol. That’s why as much as I enjoy it, I wouldn’t use it every two hours), so if you live in a warm climate you might really appreciate it.
I typically use this around midday or early afternoon. First I use a blotting sheet to blot my T-zone in case it has got a little shiny, and then I use this on my face. I don’t have the impression that it makes my makeup melt off. Instead, it’s a nice wake-up call and makes your foundation stay on better.
La Roche Posay Effaclar K
I have been plagued by blackheads on my nose since the age of 12. My skin is otherwise unproblematic, but the blackheads have always been a pain. I used to clean them once every week with a peel-off sheet/mask, but of course they just grew right back so I had to keep repeating the process. Until the day La Roche Posay Effaclar K was introduced into my life…
Effaclar K is one of the products in the Effaclar line. It is acid, but in a very gentle form. It is more like a gel, and it is absorbed very fast into your skin, and it continuously exfoliates to get rid of dead skin cells. Depending on your skin type, you might or might not be able to use this all over your face twice a day. On my T-zone it’s not a problem, but on my cheeks I can only use it occasionally. Ever since I started using it, my hormone-induced monthly breakout is definitely under control, and the blackheads on my nose are definitely going away. They haven’t completely disappeared, but my nose is significantly smoother without me using any kind of improper force. I’d like to believe that if I keep sticking to Effaclar, I will eventually be able to get rid of them!
I use this after my toner. I usually follow up with a lotion at night, but young or very oily skin might have enough hydration from this alone. When I see acne forming, I dab it on thicker before bedtime, and the next morning it’s either gone or almost gone.
If you have blackheads or acne, give this a try. You’re not going to regret it!
Darphin Organic Chamomile Aromatic Care
I used to have a hard time imagining using oil, even dry oil, on my face. However, either because I’ve moved to a much colder, drier country, or because my skin is aging (eeeee), I have realized a good oil works wonders. My favorite ever? Darphin Organic Chamomile Aromatic Care.
This might seem pricey, but you only need 3 drops for your whole face. I think the packaging could use some improvement, but otherwise it is a great treat before bedtime. I put my clean palm against the bottle, flip it over three times, rub my palms together, inhale the nice chamomile fragrance, and cover my face with my palms. Immediately my skin is glowing. Not greasy, but glowing. The oil is practically absorbed in front of my very eyes. If the weather is really cold and dry, I might follow up with a lotion. If not however, I can go to bed like that.
The result? Perfect skin with all signs of fatigued erased!
It’s very soothing and gentle, and my skin adores it. I sometimes find my skin a little saggy and tired-looking at the end of the day. With the Chamomile Aromatic Care however, my skin is again plump and healthy, ready to face the day!
NUXE Rêve de Miel Lip Balm
My lips are finicky. I always cover them up with a rich lip balm before going to bed. However, it depends on their mood whether I wake up with supple and soft lips, or shrivel and dry ones. After I found this lip balm, I have systematically woken up with soft and plump lips! I don’t even need any lip treatment during daytime anymore. Just this before going to sleep, and I’m all set!
I usually dislike lip products that come in pots, but since I only use this before bedtime, I can make sure my hands are clean. I swirl my finger in the pot slowly, and after a couple of circles there is about enough. I would suggest you do it slowly. The texture of this balm is very thick, so you need some time for it to melt. Once it’s melted, it goes on your lips pretty smoothly. If it is not properly melted, you might feel tiny grains. Don’t worry, just press them together and move around a little. The grains will disappear.
Now you are ready to go to sleep and wake up with luscious soft lips the next day!
Now that I have shared my top 5 picks with you, does any of them sound tempting? Have you tried any of these or anything from these brands? What is your favorite makeup remover/dry oil/lip balm?
-Sunny, your beauty culture translator xx
Hey, everyone! My name is Sunny, and I’m the blogger behind Mostly Sunny. Born and raised in Taipei, I moved to Belgium about three and a half years ago. One day, I decided to sit down in front of my laptop and share something I love with the world, and that something turned out to be beauty! I’m also an unapologetic cat lady and the proud mama of two fur balls named Tango and Muffin._________________________________________________________________________________
Thank you so much Sunny for that post! I'm pretty much sold on every single product, now I'm utterly convinced that I need each and every item to look beautiful!