7 Favorite French Serums

by Maddy Piggott
Caudalie Dark Spot Serum
Photo by © Lindsay Silberman

France is a treasure trove of cultural wonders. With its renowned museums and impeccable gardens, there is much to explore. Yet, beyond these masterpieces, lies another local attraction that is nearly as visited and enshrined: the French pharmacy.

French skincare products have become beloved by beauty enthusiasts for good reason. What makes French skincare stand out is its simplicity and effectiveness. Whether the goal is to reduce fine lines or boost radiance, the French prefer a gentle approach, opting for ingredients that promote skin health and resilience over strong topical treatments which may cause irritation. (Find out more about how to adopt a French skincare routine here).


This holds particularly true for French serums—a vital step in your skincare routine that targets your specific needs, whether that’s hydration, brightening, or firming. Despite their potent formulations, French serums are designed to be gentle, making them suitable even for sensitive skin. 

Let’s take a look at some of our favorite French serums and why they’re cult classics!

Lâncome: Advanced Génifique Youth Activating Concentrate

For targeting fine lines, wrinkles and skin elasticity


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Lancôme, a pioneer in the beauty industry, is revered for its commitment to excellence and luxurious formulations. Their Advanced Génifique Radiance Boosting Face Serum uses Bifidus Prebiotic to cultivate a healthy skin microbiome, Vitamin C for its brightening and antioxidant benefits, and Hyaluronic acid for optimal hydration.

Lightweight and silky in texture, this serum can be used morning and/or evening, followed by a moisturizer, for long-term skin health and radiance. Discover our 7 favorite French moisturizers here.

Caudalie: Vinoperfect Brightening Dark Spot Serum

For an even complexion


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Launched in 1995, Caudalie is one of France’s more modern skincare brands. Yet, today, it has become a staple in French bathrooms, renowned for its eco-conscious and luxurious offerings. Crafted for all skin types, this serum addresses concerns ranging from dark spots and dullness to uneven texture, making it a versatile addition to any skincare routine. Its patented Vine Sap Viniferine — an antioxidant extracted from grape vines — works to even skin complexion, while its milky texture provides a cushion of hydration.

Furthermore, it boasts a formula free from parabens, sulfates, and synthetic fragrances, ensuring both safety and sustainability. Serving as a gentle alternative to vitamin C, it is particularly good choice for those with sensitive skin.

Vichy: Minéral 89 Fortifying & Hydrating Daily Skin Booster

For soothing skin dehydration and restoring natural moisture


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Vichy’s Minéral 89 Hyaluronic Acid Face Serum is a fast-absorbing gel designed to quench dehydrated skin. Especially perfect for the summer months, the oil-free formula contains only 11 ingredients — importantly, mineral-rich Vichy Volcanic Water, which boosts the skin’s resilience against aging factors like UV rays, pollution, and stress, while visibly plumping and hydrating your skin.

Suitable for all skin types, this serum can be applied daily or as needed. Apply to a damp face before other serums and follow with a moisturizer.

Estée Lauder: Nutritious Booster Drops

For troubled skin


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For skin that’s feeling less than its best — grumpy, dull, or breaking out — Estée Lauder’s Nutritious Booster Drops are a bathroom shelf staple. Turning to the power of skin barrier strengthening ingredients, this ultra-light serum is infused with responsibly sourced sweet kelp, red algae ferment, and concentrated coconut water ferment to fight oiliness, minimize pores, reduce visible redness, and hydrate deeply for a plump complexion. 

Suitable for oily, normal, and combination skin of any age, apply morning and evening.

Typology: 9 Ingredient Face Soothing Serum

For sensitive or irritated skin


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Discover Typology, a new French brand committed to minimalist skincare solutions tailored to diverse skin needs. Amongst the many serums on offer, their 9-Ingredient Soothing Face Serum, designed to moisturize, soothe, and reduce redness, has become a particular favorite. Its light, non-greasy texture suits all skin typologies, even the most sensitive. With just nine essential ingredients, including beta-glucan for hydration and plant glycerin for moisture retention, this serum offers simplicity without compromise.

La Roche-Posay: Retinol B3 Serum

For night-time rejuvenation


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For a French serum that is both affordable and effective, our choice is La Roche-Posay’s Retinol B3 Face Serum. Targeting fine lines and wrinkles this oil-free serum is designed to hydrate and resurface the skin, with a blend of pure retinol and gradual-release retinol, ensuring efficacy and tolerability. Infused with vitamin B3, it also soothes the skin while glycerin ensures deep hydration — a plus, since retinol can cause dryness.

Dermatologist-tested and suitable for sensitive skin and eyes, look forward to glowing skin overnight!

Chanel: Revitalizing Serum Mist

For an anti-pollution fix on the go


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For those seeking a touch of luxury, we love Chanel’s Serum Mist — an anti-pollution serum-in-mist designed to be used under or over makeup for a refreshing burst of hydration and protection on the go. Infused with Chanel’s signature skincare ingredient: red camellia flower, this mist targets the first signs of aging while supporting skin vitality and protecting against environmental aggressors, leaving behind a radiant complexion.

Tested on all skin types, including sensitive, Chanel’s Serum Mist is a sophisticated addition to any skincare ritual.

Read next: 7 Favorite French Moisturizers

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