We all hear so much about French skin care, so on my recent trip to Europe I was pretty excited to go a little nuts in a Parisian pharmacy. And of course I was curious … is French skin care really worth the hype? To find out, I got my hands on a few of the French cult beauty products.
Nuxe Huile Prodigieuse
They say: A unique combination of 30 percent precious plant oils (Macadamia, Hazelnut, Borage,
Sweet Almond, Camellia and St. John’s Wort) and vitamin E to nourish, repair and soften your face, body and hair.
My verdict: I love that it can be used on face, hair and body – although to be honest, there is nothing new in that. I use all my oils all over if I want to. The scent is wonderful and I also appreciate that it is a dry oil, so it is not greasy on the skin. However, it’s only 30% plant oils – so I would ask, what is the rest of it? This should be an easy answer, but I cannot find the other 70% ingredient list. I don’t like being kept in the dark on ingredients, so I think this is more hype than hit for me. Take a read of the facial oils I truly love.
Nuxe Reve de Miel Hand Cream
This non-greasy cream works to nourish, repair and soothe dry or damaged hands while helping protect them from the appearance of visible signs of skin aging. The hands regain their silky softness, feeling supple and comfortable.
My verdict: The pharmacist raved about this product and my poor hands were so parched and dry that I had my hopes up, but sadly it just didn’t deliver the long term softness that I wanted. It is true that it is light and quickly absorbed though.
La Roche Posay Serozinc Spray
They say: A zinc sulfate solution to purify and soothe the skin’s surface imperfections.
My verdict: I love, love, love this product and so wish it were available in New Zealand. I mist it on the skin after cleansing and before serum, which helps my serum to go further and it really helps stop pimples in the tracks. My skin feels – and looks – clean, fresh and content after I use this. A must try for pimple prone and sensitive skin in need of calming. It can even be used to soothe babies’ bottoms.
They say: Klorane Nourishing Treatment Shampoo is formulated with fatty acid-rich mango butter to replenish moisture, close hair cuticles, and fill in hydrolipidic cracks to prevent moisture loss. Ideal for dry and damaged hair, Nourishing Treatment Shampoo restores strength, shine and vitality for hair that’s easier to manage and more enjoyable to wear.
My verdict: LOVE at first try. This product is heaven on earth for my dry, frizzy and often tangled locks. It really does make it so soft and silky and more ‘touchable’. My hair is oily at the roots, so I do find this can make it a little greasy, but the Klorane Dry Shampoo fixes that and lets me extend my wash out for another couple of days.
Embryolisse Lait-Creme Concentre
They say: This soothing, luxurious moisturizer primes and preps the skin for flawless makeup application, deeply hydrates, and removes all traces of makeup. Great for all skin types, a combination of shea butter and emollient oils reconstitutes, rejuvenates, and repairs the skin for a healthy-looking complexion. Formulated without parabens, sulfates and phthalates.
My verdict: I had read so many great reviews of this and it is apparently much loved by top makeup artists, so I was excited to try. I love the texture – it applies beautifully and absorbs well. It has a light scent, which is pleasant. And in the morning my skin feels baby soft. All seems good until you consider that it was created in 1950 … so one would expect the formulation to be a tad dated. It contains mostly water, mineral oil, thickeners, and wax, which are pretty simple and cheap ingredients. And some say mineral oil is a no-no for the skin as it can be pore clogging. That said, I did really enjoy using this and it sits beautifully under makeup. Good basic for dry to normal skin, but to be honest I would skip it and go for something with better ingredients.
They say: Biafine ACT is an herbal-based cream sold over the counter only in France, used for over 25 years as the miracle cream for minor burns and sun burns on normal or sensitive skin. BiafineACT stimulates cell regrowth and is especially good for post cosmetic or surgical treatments including microderms and peels, breast augmentation scars and more.
My verdict: I wasn’t planning on getting a boob job or burns during my trip, however I read some pretty impressive things about this cream, including that Sylvie Tellier, a former Miss France uses Biafine as a face mask almost nightly. I HAD to try it! I didn’t notice any miracle hydration benefits or post-use glow and I found the smell a little intense for use on the face. But to be fair, I didn’t experience any irritation or other downsides either. I will have to try it on a burn next time. It’s super cheap, so I say get one if you can. It will last for ages too.
Avene Micellar Water
They say: Gentle no-rinse cleanser, toner and make-up remover (3-in-1). Technologically advanced cleansing water removes impurities and make-up. It is based on a micelle principle that protects and releases cleansing agents and softening actives upon contact with skin. Alcohol, soap, and oil-free care for the face and eyes.
My verdict: I have fallen for every Avene product I have tried and this one is no exception. It is super gentle, but very effective at removing makeup and leaves my skin clean and fresh. In all honesty, I wouldn’t use this kind of product daily as I consider cleansing a pretty crucial step in my skin regimen, but for travel, the gym bag and late nights when you just want to fall into bed, this is a big yes from me.
Caudalie Beauty Elixir
They say: An innovative part-toner, part-serum that sets makeup, provides an instant burst of radiance, and tightens the appearance of pores. Formulated with grape extracts as well as toning rosemary, astringent mint, and soothing rose essential oil to prepare your skin for further treatments.
My Verdict: Hmmm I do like the scent of this, but I do not notice any skin benefits. The main ingredient is alcohol, which you can tell when you apply it as it stings my skin a bit and whatever you do watch that you keep your eyes closed for long enough for it to dry or they will sting too. I don’t really get it.