A FRENCHY GUIDE TO FRENCH PHARMACY
I sometimes struggle to comprehend all the hype around French Pharmacies, but if they are what Boots is to the UK, and what Sephora is to the USA, then I have to say I understand it a little bit more. Something I definitely don’t understand, however, is why the same skincare always pop up on lists, not so much on blogs, but on magazines, especially considering how wide and diverse the offer actually is. So naturally, driving away from the cult items whilst making the shopping experience less overwhelming than it is for strangers is my goal today.
I think the first reflex for strangers is to find the biggest French Pharmacy possible, these are usually my favourites, but only because I grew up visiting them, if I didn’t, I will be completely lost because too spoilt for choice. There is nothing wrong with visiting small ones to begin with, where the choice is divided between old school yet trusty brands such as Avène, Bioderma, La Roche-Posay, Biafine and even sometimes Nuxe. And because their first job is to sell medicine, their skincare is usually more affordable -Paris, however, is another story-.
SKIN NEEDS OVER CULT STATUS
My love for French Pharmacy skincare comes from the variety of it all, but also the fact that, within this huge amount of products, nothing is truly bad. In that sense, a product doesn’t have to be famous and highly written about to be good and efficient. Forget about fancy, lengthy claims, French Pharmacy skincare is more about answering a specific skin issue or a specific skin need with a realistic outcome in mind. Most of the time, moreover, the brands have a specific range devoted to that issue, a full skincare routine can therefore be purchased without really leaving one specific counter. The one counter, one brand setting, in general, is all about trusting what naturally caught the eye within the brand’s colour theme or overall aesthetic, something I personally highly believe in.
SKINCARE … & CO
Whilst I do think that leaving a French Pharmacy without skincare is, well, pretty much impossible, I wouldn’t advise to overlook the fragrance, makeup and hair care offer either. Sisley makeup and fragrance ranges are pretty much as impressive as their skincare one whilst the little Mavala nail polishes -often located next to the tills- are amongst my favourites, especially when it comes to finding unique, yet very wearable colours. Roger & Gallet makes simple, one scent fragrances go hand in hand with sophistication. Finally, brands such as Phyto and Klorane respect the hair whilst beautifying it!