French Pharmacy Essentials

by ally redmond
beauty products

The French are well-renowned for their approach to beauty. Aesthetically, they prefer to look as natural as possible, and this also goes for the products that they use. Unlike in the U.S. and other parts of the world – where Sephoras and name-brand department stores reign supreme – in France, you can find some of the most sought-after beauty products at your local pharmacy.


We’ve rounded up our favorite French pharmacy essentials to stock up on the next time you’re there!

Nuxe Huile Prodigieuse

© Nuxe

Want a product that will make you feel like a movie star? Look no further than Huile Prodigieuse by Nuxe, a French pharmacy essential that has carries an international cult following. This unique dry oil, which comes in a sleek glass spray bottle, nourishes and repairs both hair and skin, working well with all different types. We love the classic, but it also comes in special editions, like floral scented and shimmery bronze.

This year, Huile Prodigieuse celebrated its 30th anniversary – so you know it’s tried and true!

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Bioderma Créaline H20

© Bioderma

In France, beauty treatments are far less about chemicals and harsh exfoliants and more about moisturizing and pampering, and many of the best products are water based. 

Bioderma’s Créaline H20 is a super effective, water-based cleanser and makeup remover that contains no alcohol or parabens, which means it works on sensitive types and doesn’t dry out or irritate skin. The French naturally prefer this “water cleansing” to other cleansers, which strip the skin. To use this French pharmacy essential, simply dab on a cotton pad and swipe! And it even comes in travel size, so you can ensure a clean face wherever you go. 

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Avène Spray d’Eau Thermal

water spray
© Avene

Speaking of affinity for water-based beauty… you’d be hard-pressed to find a French person on the beach or in the park on a hot summer day without a can of Avène Spray d’Eau Thermal (thermal water spray).

This pharmacy essential, made with spring water, is the ultimate rehydrating tool for your face and neck. Simple, natural, effective… calm, refresh and cool down instantly with a simple spritz! There’s even a mini version available to easily slip into a handbag, pouch or pocket.

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Mademoiselle Saint Germain

A royal beauty essential! Mademoiselle Saint Germain is an eco-friendly skincare brand based out Normandy that uses all-natural, ancestral ingredients that come from from the King’s Potager (Vegetable Garden) of Versailles! 

But don’t let this deter you – the prices are accessible, and you may even find yourself clamoring over other eager shoppers to snag one of our personal favorite products sold at the French pharmacy – Le Sérum Renaissance. This sumptuous facial essence is the ideal addition to your evening routine (or for a pick-me-up any time of day).

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© Homeoplasmine

Don’t let its less-than-luxurious packaging fool you, Homeoplasmine is one of the best (and most affordable!) multi-purpose beauty products you can find in France. A heavy, gel-like moisturizer traditionally used as to soothe irritated skin, users discovered it was equally as effective for chapped lips, as well as new nursing mothers.

You can find this little pink tube in almost every medicine cabinet in France, especially come winter. Even Gwyneth Paltrow is known to use it!

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Savon de Marseille

© Savon de Marseille

Is there anything more French than a block of soap by the internationally beloved Savon de Marseille?

The brand’s soap blocks, available in a plethora of different scents, colors and sizes, are as chic and pretty to display as they are great to use – in the kitchen, the bathroom, the laundry room. They also make for thoughtful, useful souvenirs and gifts. Price-wise, there’s no better place to stock up on these than at a French pharmacy!

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Watch Next: Easy French Beauty Secrets

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