Tag Archives: French Pharmacie

La Roche-Posay – Effaclar Duo

12 Apr

La Roche-Posay’s Effaclar line is intended for those who are prone to breakouts and/or have oily or combination skin. The line has everything from cleansers to spot treatments to moisturizers, but this product is more of a treatment serum.

The product website lists the benefits: 

Effaclar Duo has been rigorously formulated to act on the 2 major clinical signs of acne prone-skin:

  • Acne pimples: its formula dries and helps clear up acne pimples and allows skin to heal.
  • Clogged pores: its formula penetrates pores to prevent acne pimples.

I just use it under my regular moisturizer (at night, in the morning or both) whenever my skin is having a teenage flashback. Though it is a blemish treatment, and though it does contain salicylic acid, I find that it’s much more gentle than most others I’ve tried. It doesn’t cause any dry patches or skin irritation and doesn’t burn, sting or cause my skin to feel tight when applied.

This is an important point because I’ve found most blemish treatment products focus only on drying up the blemishes and removing excess (or all) oil from the skin, entirely overlooking the fact that blemished skin is usually irritated and sensitive. So you have to choose between either dealing with the blemishes and making the overall condition of the skin more angry and aggravated, or soothing sensitivity and ending up with more blemishes. I didn’t believe a product existed that addressed both issues simultaneously, but here it is!

It’s quite a thin, serum-like consistency that spreads easily and absorbs into the skin instantly. Which is great, because you can put it on under other products. The scent is lovely and subtle as well – another thing I usually can’t say about blemish treatment products.

 I’ve been using this for hormonal breakouts, and the first morning I woke up after using it, I could see visible improvement, and it seemed to help reduce the number of new breakouts with continued use. Obviously I’m not the usual target audience for blemish products, being in my early 30s, but hey, we get breakouts too and it’s great to find a product that doesn’t cause other skin problems. Two thumbs up!


From the French Pharmacie: Nuxe – Huile Prodigieuse

4 Apr

I’ve always hated the feel of oil on my skin. Seriously, can’t stand it. Every time I try to even use an overly rich moisturizer that leaves oily residue I end up washing it off within half an hour. So to say I was skeptical about the whole ‘dry oil’ concept is an undersatement.

For those of you who haven’t heard of this fascinating product, it’s an oil that contains all the nourishment and benefits of regular oil, but that is formulated to absorb quickly into the skin rather than sitting on top of it.

According to the product website:

“With its unique concentration of 6 Precious Oils (Borage, St. John’s Wort, Sweet Almond, Camellia, Hazelnet Hazelnut and Macadamia) and Vitamin E, this easily-absorbed, multi-usage Dry Oil will leave your skin soft and silky in a single step, while your hair will be left with amazing softness and shine.No preservatives.”

This oil seriously does it all. You can add a drop or two to foundation for an easier application and more radiant finish, or to your moisturizer to make it a bit richer. You can run it through damp hair to leave it shiny and soft and apply to trouble spots for some extra moisture. You can use it instead of a serum under moisturizer if your skin needs a little something extra or dab it on for some subtle fragrance. You can even throw a few drops in your bath for an extra-luxuriant soak.

The fragrance is a bit floral, but with a deeper note that carries it and stops it smelling old-ladyish. It’s definitely noticeable, but not overwhelming, so even people like myself who aren’t big on fragrance will find it pleasant, while any perfume lover will want to just stand there breathing it in.

As you can see, there are three different sizes of the oil available – and all three have a different lid. The best option is the lid that comes on the 100 mL bottle – but of course, that’s the most expensive! The 50 mL is good if you’re using it on your face – it has a tiny hole and you have to turn the product upside down to get any to come out. I usually turn it upside down on my finger or tap it on my hand to get the oil out, but it can splatter a bit if shaken and not much comes out at a time. Not fantastic. With the tiniest 10 mL travel size, you can pour some into your hand which is okay for body application, but it’s easy to get too much. You can also turn it upside down onto a finger if you want just a bit, but like with the 50 mL bottle only a tiny bit comes out and it takes forever to cover your entire face, let alone body.

You can get a tiny 10 mL trial size in the Nuxe Travel Kit (available for USD 20.64 on Feel Unique), which gives you an opportunity to try it without investing in a big bottle, and a very little goes a long way, so it’ll still last you awhile. But trust me, after you try it, you’ll want to make that investment. This stuff is like liquid gold!

From the French Pharmacie: Boiron Homéoplasmine

27 Mar

This is a French miracle. It’s intended for skin irritations, but can be used for pretty much anything on any body part. Dry skin around the nose and mouth, chapped lips, rashes, eczema – you name it, and this little tube will come to the rescue.

The closest comparison I can come up with for this would be Elizabeth Arden 8 Hour Cream or the Australian PawPaw ointment. But this is a bit thicker, and unlike 8 Hour Cream has a very subtle scent.

I heard abut this in Make-Up Artist Magazine – it was listed as a fave in the kit of one of their featured make-up artists. Upon further research, it turns out to be a lot of artists’ and models’ fave. Mainly used for severely chapped lips – not only does it help to heal them, but it seals down any flakiness and applies matte so it won’t interfere with lipstick application.

Here’s what it looks like:

I recently discovered that they also make a lip balm stick, so I’m going to give that a try and see how it stacks up and whether it’s a bit easier to use.

The only down side that I can see is that it’s really hard to get out of
the tube because it’s so thick. But once you get some out, a little
goes a really long way and the tube is huge – and super cheap. So it’s
worth the work!

From the French Pharmacie: Embryolisse – Baume Riche

25 Mar

I originally got this because I’m in the middle of an intense love
affair with Embryolisse Lait-Crème Concentré (read my full review of it here)
and I thought hey, maybe this is good too. The original is fantastic as
a day cream that also acts as a primer and can be worn under
foundation. It’s non-oily, gentle for sensitive skin and absorbs

I have used Lait-Crème Concentré at night, and
while it did a fine job, it wasn’t enough for winter or for dehydrated
skin. So I thought maybe this one would fit the bill. I was totally
right. It’s very similar to Lait-Crème Concentré, but has a thicker,
richer consistency and slightly stronger scent (though still pleasant).

From the Embryolisse website:

“When dry skin sends out an SOS, this cold cream is the answer. Ultra-concentrated in essential, moisturising, lipid-replenishing natural nutrients (olive extract, shea butter, white beeswax), it acts as a balm to nourish and repair, protect and soothe the most irritated and driest skins. Restored and reinforced, skin is supple, soft and radiant with a new feeling of well-being and comfort. The very rich and nourishing texture is like a cocoon that protects sensitive skin from external aggressions.”

It can be used on the face (just avoid eye area) and body, wherever you need a bit of relief from dryness. 

I wouldn’t use it as a day cream, but as a night cream it’s fantastic. You can see a sheen on the skin after applying and feel that it’s there, but it’s not greasy or overly oily and it absorbs well by morning. I think it’s great for those who suffer from seasonal dryness or minor skin irritations, and it will also help with skin that feels “tight” after washing.

It’s not cheap – but it’s not the most expensive product in its class out there either. A little goes a long way, and because it’s ultra-rich, you probably won’t need to use it every day so it should last for awhile. In my opinion it’s worth the price tag as a balm to use occasionally when problems arise, or a few times a week during colder months. If you’re a fan of Lait-Crème Concentré as a day cream, give this one a whirl at night!

From the French Pharmacie: Nuxe – Lotion Tonique Douce

24 Mar

I have a confession to make. It’s been years since I used a toner. At least two. Probably three. I did in high school when I needed something more astringent to help manage adolescent skin issues, and I did a few years back when I got a free bottle with a couple of Marcelle products. But since then… I just haven’t bothered. I think mainly it’s because I started using the MAC makeup removing wipes that do an amazing job of taking off all traces of makeup – and I always wash my face as well. So I feel like between the two, everything that needs to be done is done.

I’ve been feeling quite a bit of dryness this winter – I think partly because it’s been colder, and partly because let’s face it, I’m not a spring chicken anymore. That in combination with my recent skincare obsession led me to decide to try this one. 

I like that it has a pop-top applicator lid rather than just a screw-top or snap-top like most of  the other toners I’ve used. This makes it easier to place the cotton pad and up-end for product, and to control how much comes out.

The product itself is lovely. It pretty much just smells like roses, which I like when not too strong. I also feel like rose is quite a soothing ingredient – particularly to pale skin like mine. On Feel Unique (which is where I bought mine) it says of the “star ingredients”:

“NUXE Lotion Tonique Douce Gentle Toning Lotion completes make-up removal (Ultra Soft Surfactants from Coconut derivative) without drying out the skin (Hyaluronic acid of natural origin). Skin is smooth (Witch Hazel Water), soothed and softened (Floral Water from Damascena Rose Petals, Allantoin).”

I find that it is soothing, cools the skin instantly, has no residue or stickiness and leaves my skin feeling extra-refreshed. I also feel like it helps add a bit more moisture to be sealed in when I apply my night moisturizer. Definitely what you want. It’s alcohol-free, so great for dry and/or sensitive skin.

I definitely recommend adding this to your daily skincare routine!

From the French Pharmacie: Biafine

19 Mar

Biafine is a French legend. For one thing, it’s one of the ubiquitous products that everyone has in France – like rubbing alcohol or polysporin here. French families apparently ALL have this in their homes to use on bumps,
bruises, burns, chapped skin and lips, rashes, scars and sunburns. But it does have some beauty uses as well.

There isn’t currently an English Biafine website, so everything I know about it I learned on blogs and by trying to translate from the website in my (quite rusty) French. But here’s what I found out.

Biafine was originally developed for use in a hospital setting – on burn victims and those recovering after cosmetic surgery. It is used to aid with healing damaged skin – it helps to eliminate dead skin cells while boosting the cells that help to heal collagen and promote healthier skin. (It is not recommended for use on bleeding or infected wounds or rashes caused by allergies, however.)

There are two versions of this – and I ended up ordering them both because for the life of me, I couldn’t figure out what the difference was. On their website the ingredients are identical. But, for some reason, in the US Biafine (original) requires a prescription while BiafineACT is available over the counter.

So, when they arrived, I eagerly tore into both of them to see if I could figure out what the heck was up. And I discovered…that they are exactly the same. The original Biafine looks like this:

BiafineACT looks like this:

They smell the same, feel the same and seem to do exactly the same thing. From what I can tell, the only difference is the packaging – aside from looking different, on Biafine it says (roughly translated) that it’s for skin irritation due to radiation treatment, first and second degree burns and any other non-infected wound.

BiafineACT, on the other hand, is for the treatment of superficial burns, broken skin (I think), localized sunburns and non-infected wounds.

Honestly I’m pretty confused, so I’m going to go with it’s the same stuff, but one is packaged with listed uses that seem more minor so that they’ll sell it to you without a scrip in the States.

The tubes are huge, nearly 200 mL, and cost less than $30, so it’s a great deal and will last you forever.

Now, so far this cream probably sounds very functional and more like it belongs in a first aid kit than on a chic Parisian’s bathroom counter. But wait. There’s more. Apparently this can also be used as a facial mask to help moisturize the skin and even skintone, according to one of the blog reviews I read. Which would make sense since it’s essentially for helping the skin heal and regenerate. At the very least I’m anticipating getting a lot of use out of the burn-healing – I’m pale so I sunburn like a mofo!

I’m a huge fan of multi-taskers, particularly ones that are so cheap! I have a feeling this is going to be a bathroom (and pantry) staple from now on.

**If you want to get a bit more medical info (in English) you can check here or here– though I don’t know who runs the sites or how accurate the info is, so please be sure to talk to a pharmacist or other medical professional if you have any concerns about using this on your skin!

French Pharmacie: The Secret to French Beauty, Part 2

16 Mar

Time for part 2 of French pharmacie products! I’ve got some more must-haves  to tell you guys about, but first, if you haven’t read part 1 yet, go here.

The more I’ve been making French pharmacie products part of my daily skin routine, the more happy I’ve been with my skin. While each product varies in terms of effectiveness and my enjoyment in using it, overall I’ve had more success with French skincare than anything I have purchased in the past at Canadian pharmacies.

There are a few general things that really stand out about them. First of all, they seem to universally be non-irritating. I’m pale and pink to begin with, so my skin definitely isn’t hardy. It doesn’t like things that are too oily (it’ll break out), too harsh (it’ll develop dry patches) or that have too much perfume (I’ve been known to have the odd allergic reaction and rash). So far I haven’t had any of these problems with a single one of the French products I’ve tried.

Secondly, the textures. Oh, mon dieu! The creams are luxurious, the cleansers are smooth and the toners are refreshing and cooling. They each leave my skin feeling like a million bucks. Which brings me to my final point – the scents. See, here you can kind of tell the drug store vs. high end products. Drug store products have an over-abundance of fake fruity and sweet perfumes that I can’t stand – or (if they’re for an actual skin problem) they smell distinctly medicinal. Not so with French products. Everything – from the cleansers to the hand creams to the burn creams to the intense ointments – have lovely, delicate scents. They all smell expensive – even if they cost the equivalent of ten bucks.

I’m  falling more and more in love with France every time I wash my face! Here’s a few more things for you to try so you can too!

1.  Caudalie – Beauty Grows Here Hand and Lip Set
Caudalie is one of the French brands that has traversed the Atlantic via Sephora to become widely (if expensively) available in North America.This set includes a mini tube of Hand and Nail Cream and a full sized Lip Conditioner stick, both aimed at banishing winter dryness and delicately vineyard-scented.

2. Bioderma – Sensibio H2O
Yes, this is that make-up remover. The one you’ve heard about from YouTube makeup artists and read about in backstage runway confidentials. It’s a very gentle yet effective make-up remover, cleanser and toner. This is popular with makeup artists because it won’t irritate sensitive skin, it’ll take off all make-up, and it’s gentle enough to use multiple times for models who need their make-up re-applied frequently for shows or shoots. It’s a bit pricey ($25 CAD, or thereabouts) but a little does go a long way.

3. Nuxe – Lotion Tonique Douce (Gentle Toning Lotion)
I decided, after years of not bothering, that it was time to re-insert a toner into my skincare routine. This is a really gentle one that comes in a pop-top dispenser. Just apply a little bit to a cotton pad and gently wipe cleansed face with it to remove all traces of make-up and re-hydrate skin before applying moisturizer.

4. Roger & Gallet – Crème Sublime Bois d’Orange Mains et Ongles (Hand and Nail Cream)
Roger & Gallet are a brand best known for creating enchanting scents. This is a hand and nail cream to help with dry skin and rough cuticles. The scent is a deep, heady one with a hint of rich citrus. I’m terrible at describing smells, so if you get a chance to smell this in person….

5. Cytol NAT Centella – Crème Dermatologique
Another therapeutic fave, Cytol Nat is for irritated, sensitive or burned skin. You can use it on everything from rashes to eczema to sunburns to post-shave (or wax) sensitive skin to soothe and moisturize. It’s got a slightly stronger scent than a lot of the other ones. A tiny bit stronger than I’d prefer, but still not unpleasant.

6. La Roche-Posay – Cicaplast Baume B5
Similar to Cytol NAT and Biafine, this cream is for skin irritations. According to the package, it is for: “Dry skin irritations in adults, children and babies (chapping, rough patches…). Cutaneous heating sensations in adults. Can be applied to body, face and lips. Optimal tolerance, suitable for sensitive skin.” Aw, such cute English. Anyway, this is a super-delicate cream for… well, pretty much everything and everyone. It’s fragrance-free, too, so if you are someone who can’t handle any scents in your products, take this one over Cytol NAT.

7. Bioderma – Atoderm Ultra-Rich Foaming Gel
I like most of the Bioderma Atoderm line – gentle, scent-free products that are great for sensitive skin. This is no exception. It’s a blue transparent gel that bubbles up a little bit and cleans skin gently. It’s what I consider to be a basic cleanser – not for any particular skin-type or problem, just a good overall wash.

8. Embryolisse – Baume Riche
So remember my rave review of Embryolisse’s Lait-Crème Concentré? I am absolutely in love with the stuff. I’ve used it for morning and night, but because it’s winter and because I’m pale and sensitive, I decided I could do with a richer cream for night-time. Enter Baume Riche (or Rich Balm for you English folk). It’s exactly what I wanted it to be – identical to Lait-Crème Concentré in every way except richer and a bit thicker. A dream for night-time dry skin.

9. Nuxe – Aroma-Perfection Gel Nettoyant Purifiant (Purifying Cleansing Gel)
A clarifying face wash for combination and oily skin that’s gentle enough to use daily on sensitive skin. I don’t have oily skin, but in the summer I do get oilier areas, and occasionally I want something that cuts through the oil on my skin a bit more than my regular sensitive/dry skin washes. This is lovely – smells great and works well.

10. Nuxe – Huile Prodigieuse

Okay, so I have a confession to make. Until I started researching French skincare, I’d never even heard of dry oil. This started popping up in more and more of the blog posts I was reading on the subject though, so I got curious. Turns out it’s pretty interesting stuff. I’ve always hated the feeling of oil on my skin – even for massages. I avoid bath oils, oily creams and anything else that leaves a layer on the skin. But this stuff soaks in nearly immediately leaving only a hint of sheen on the skin, and because it’s a liquid instead of a cream it actually feels lighter than a moisturizer. It can also be used for the face, body and hair, making it a multi-purpose gem. Smells lovely, too!

Individual reviews and details on these (and many others!) still to come, so stay tuned!

What are your French pharmacie faves? Share in the comments!