Monday, April 27, 2015

French Skincare Haul & Review


There just seems to be something enviably chic about the French approach to everything. Stripes. Pastries. Skincare. They've got it all down. And though I'm a great lover of both stripes and pastries, I thought it was about time I see what all the French skincare hype was about. Although lots of French skincare brands are readily available in the U.S. without a trip to a Parisian pharmacie, the prices stateside are often severely inflated. Luckily, a British blogging buddy recommended Escentual.com, which just so happened to be having a 33% off sale on French pharmacy brands last month. I took advantage and picked up a few things and after a thorough test run I'm ready to share my thoughts.


There is so much hype surrounding Bioderma Micelle Solution in the beauty world. I mean, seriously, some people talk about it like it melts away all your makeup in one swipe and feels as natural as water on your face. Although most people are obsessed with the Sensibio formula, I picked up the version specifically formulated for oily skin which has a blue tint and a lovely, fresh scent.

The claims about it feeling like water on your skin are completely true! It cleans without the typical oily residue of a makeup remover. It's awesome for a cleansing touch up throughout the day, when your face is just feeling icky. With regards to removing makeup, this stuff is not going to get off waterproof mascara or heavy eye makeup. It just doesn't. And if you put a bit too much on the cotton pad it does sting your eyes. That said, I do really like the way it feels on my face and will continue to use it in combination with an eye makeup remover for stubborn mascara. Is it worth the price and struggle to find it in the US? I'd say pass, and if you really want to try a micellar water try to find the Garnier version. It's a fantastic dupe and much cheaper.

Since I was picking up the micelle solution I figured I'd test out another one of Bioderma's products for oily skin. This pore refiner was actually recommended by celebrity makeup artist Lisa Eldridge, who featured in her list of French pharmacy favorites. The product works like a primer for oily skin and also claims to improve the appearance of pores over time. I haven't really used it enough to know if it has made my pores any smaller but I have found that my makeup wears so much better with this on underneath it. My skin looks smoother longer and I feel like I'm not getting as oily throughout the day. This is definitely going to be one of my must-haves throughout the summer when my makeup seems to literally melt off my face.



Nuxe Reve de Miel Honey Lip Balm (15g)
One of my very favorite purchases from this haul! It has the oddest, thickest texture that really sinks into your lips and keeps them hydrated for HOURS. It's matte and makes the perfect primer for lipstick. I like to put this on before bed and wake up with smooth, moisturized lips. I was expecting a honey flavor/scent because of the word miel but it actually smells like oranges. It's delicious and completely fabulous! Note: My jar looks a little different from their traditional packaging as it was a limited-edition release to celebrate Nuxe's 20th anniversary.

Klorane Peony Shampoo For Irritated Scalp (200ml)
I've heard lots of great things about Klorane and their hair-care range and after looking through all their targeted shampoos I settled on one to calm my sensitive, dry scalp. It has a wonderful, floral scent which I don't usually go for in a shampoo but love in this one. It creates minimal lather but I have noticed that my scalp doesn't get as dry or itchy as quickly as it used to. That's a definite success in my book.

La Roche-Posay Effaclar Duo [+] (40ml)
Yet another incredibly hyped product in the beauty world! So many people rave about this treatment's skin-clearing power and it is definitely much more gentle than some of the spot treatments I'm used to. It both treats and moisturizes and I never have to worry about dry patches or it looking weird under makeup. The gel formula just sinks right into the skin. It took a few weeks of use for me to actually see results and this is definitely one of those products that you need to use every day, not just when you need it, if you want to see a change. I had some awful skin while on vacation just after I started using this and it really didn't make a difference but now that I've been using it for about a month I feel like my skin has become more balanced. It was so much cheaper buying it from the UK rather than the US where it retails for about $36. As of right now I don't think I'm feeling that level of love that would inspire a repurchase, so we'll have to see how I continue to get along with this.

La Roche-Posay Effaclar Mat (40ml)
My cousin Teresa actually recommended this for my oily skin and I'm so glad I listened. It's definitely the best mattifying moisturizer I've ever tried. It has a gel texture that spreads well and really packs the moisture my skin needs, without looking or feeling greasy. It sinks in quickly and has a smooth, matte finish that feels so soft. If you've got oily skin or just want a moisturizer that'll leave your skin matte and perfected, this is definitely the one to pick up.

While conducting my extensive research on which brands to try and which skincare products would work best for my skin-type there were many mentions of Avene and this little blue cleanser. It was highly recommended as a mild cleanser to balance and clear oily skin. I've got to say, gel cleansers like this haven't particularly been my favorite in the past but this one leaves my skin feeling so very clean. I think it has helped clear and balance my skin, it smells lovely and has the most ridiculously interesting packaging I've ever seen (you have to twist the cap and a tiny little hole opens in the top of the bottle through which you get the most precise amount of cleanser). This is actually a bit of a surprise love for me but one that ensures I'll probably be picking up some more Avene products in the future.

It might seem a little strange that I ordered French products from the UK, especially when you can get La Roche-Posay, Klorane, Nuxe and Avene in stores like Duane Read and Target, but in actuality, with the discounted prices from the sale, even factoring in the conversion rate from pounds to dollars, I paid about half the US price for each item! Who doesn't love a bargain like that? I just wish I had been more into beauty and skincare when I actually lived in Paris and could have taken advantage of all those pharmacy goodies. 

Do you have any french pharmacy favorites? What do you like to pick up when you're abroad? Anything else I should plan to pick up in my next french skincare haul? Let me know. 



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