French Pharmacy Haul: Winners & Losers 2014

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The Complete Haul

No trip to Paris would be complete without the mandatory French pharmacy trip. 4 years years ago I bought my first tube of Embryolisse Lait-Creme Concentre cream after reading all the BBloggers and make up artists hype and mourned the empty tube 3 months later. I was so excited to be going back to France as this was my first trip since I had started beauty blogging. Much fun to be had and money to be spent.

The problem I have with a lot of British skincare brands is that they have a tendency to overload their products with ingredients that aren’t necessary to the cause; fragrance, oils, butters or alcohol…. French skin care is simple, stripped back formulas that work, often with no scent or frills, just results. Below I have listed out my French Pharmacy purchases and their reviews by dividing them into Winners and Losers categories.

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Toner, Repair, Exfoliator, Cleanser



Nuxe Huile Prodigieuse

Let’s kick off the winning category with a rather luxurious product. Nuxe Huile Prodigieuse Multi-Purpose Dry Oil is a beautifully light elixir which has the most moreish and delicious scent made from 6 precious plant oils (borage, St Johnswort, sweet almond, camellia, hazelnut, macadamia) it is a truly indulgent bouquet. Every waft and my head swims with visions of a beautiful and glamorous French woman sat at her vanity in the throes of readying herself for a night out in Paris. Its multi-usage covers hair, hands, stretch marks and can be worn as a perfume too. It is also loaded with vitamin E to help repair skin. I use it on my hands, elbows, legs on a short dress kinda night out, and through the ends of hair to leave a trail of gorgeousness in your wake. I will be getting the bottle with the spritzer next time. Pick up a bottle next time you are in France and it will remind you of your holiday forever.


Biafine Emulsion cream was first brought to my attention by fellow beauty blogger Amelia Liana of Liana Beauty. Like Amelia, I burn easily in the sun and have ruined a weekend or two away nursing red, angry skin. This product works to calm, soothe and repair sunburn and burns. It;s AMAZING! I used this on the back of my hand after cycling up the Champs-Élysées one day and my burn was soothed and gone by the next day. A holiday/summer essential! Thanks Amelia!

Avene Gentle Purifying Scrub

I am not a massive fan on mechanical exfoliators and usually reply on naturally derived acid cleansers for a chemical exfoliation. However, sometimes your face does need a bit of extra muscle to help slough off the dead skin cells to allow for some re-gen. I would recommend this Gentle Purifying Scrub by Avene. It has a gel like texture with small non-abrasive sand and gel balls to help with the physical exfoliation. I love the scent, it is so fresh and pure, so French.

Avene Cleanance Toner

I had just finished my La Roche-Posay Effaclar Clarifying Lotion when I purchased this Avene Cleanance Toner as a replacement version. Always keen to try new things I was interested in the split formula (bottom half is a milky liquid, top half is clear) you shake this baby up and use as you would a toner after cleansing. It has salicylic acid so it works on pore refinement and blemish prone skin and claims to have a mattefying effect which I haven’t particularly noticed.

Which do I prefer? Right now I think I am leaning more towards La Roche-Posay version, although I am probably splitting hairs. Both are great for sensitive skin also.


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The Moisturisers

2 x Classics

We’ve all heard about them before but what would a trip to a French Pharmacy be without a little re-stock of Bioderma Sensibio H2O Miceller Water and Embryolisse Cream. These two have long been MUA kit essentials and for good reason too!

I still haven’t found a micellar water that works as, FAST, GENTLY OR THROUGHLY as the Bioderma one. I bought the baby sized version for weekends away. Embryolisse cream is a great face cream for prepping the skin prior to makeup application. It’s super hydrating and sinks in really quickly so you can get on with your makeup. I don’t tend to use it on a regular basis though as I think it can be a bit too rich if used daily. It’s also scent free. I love both these products!


Bioderma Hydrabio Riche

MUA Lisa Eldridge tipped me off about this Hydrabio Riche moisturiser. Although dry and dehydrated mostly, I do have combination skin which is very reactive to my environment, stress, partying and hormones so I have learnt to tailor my skin care regime to my skins bi-polar personality!

After cleansing, my skin usually needs a surge of moisture to avoid it becoming tight but I also need a fast absorbing, non greasy cream that will behave nicely underneath makeup and stop any oil slicks appearing around midday. This is my most used daily cream. Hydrabio does come in a lighter day time version, but I am glad I opted for Riche as it suits my dehydrated skin a treat and hydrates all day long.

La Roche Posay CicaPlast Baume B5

Another Lisa E tip off, Cicaplast Baume 5 is a soothing and repairing cream for skin that has suffered from an irritation either from sunburn, acid peels or acne medication. Is is instantly soothing and moisturising upon application. It has a thick velvety texture but absorbs quickly so you wont have a shiny face. I use this after I have given myself my mid week glycolic acid treatment to avoid tightness and irritation.

Ciciplast also has antibacterial agents in it which makes it a great choice from those who have been using a medicated acne programme.


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Conditioner, Shampoo, Dry Oil


Avene Antirougeurs Jour Emulsion

I have sensitive skin, prone to redness at the slightest trigger, even a luke warm shower! I am always curious to try new anti-red products because I have yet to find anything that take away redness except a layer of foundation, and even then it’s just being concealed. The Avene Antirougeurs Jour disappointed me. Although the cream was a nice texture and a little bit went a long way, it did nothing to combat the redness in my skin. The cream has a pale green tint to it which is said to counteract redness, but alas, nothing here… It also smells like nappy cream, which I didn’t like. The search continues!

Phytokeratine Repairing Shampoo

So this was another beauty blogger recommendations which I was really excited to try out. My hair goes through alotta crap, bleaching and heat tool damage being the worst and since I already have fine hair it becomes fragile easily. Phytokeratine is a shampoo for weakened, damaged hair. My first gripe with this product is how difficult the cap is to open especially when you’re all wet in the shower. I have broken 2 nails trying to flick the lid open! Aside from that, this shampoo lathered up really nicely, which probably means it’s full of sulphates and when I styled my hair afterwards it felt completely coated and weighed down by some sort of film. I did not enjoy this.

Klorane Conditioner with Pomegranate

Not sure what expected from this Klorane conditioner? Again, another beauty bloggers recommendation, I used this conditioner twice before I stopped and went back to my regular L’Oreal Everstrong Conditioner. What was the problem here exactly? Hmmm, generally it just wasn’t conditioning enough. When you rinse out your hair you want that silky, slippy waterfall thing to happen to your mane, right? And I didn’t get it here.

Overall, just a little underwhelmed by my pharmacy hair care purchases.

Bioderma Sebium Pore Refiner

Despite my dehydrated skin I have an oily T-zone. I try to keep my pores and oily areas in check with a product that wont strip away too much moisture otherwise I end with dry patches. I was excited to give Bioderma Sebium Pore Refiner a go as it is a light moisturiser formula which is rare for a pore treatment. The labels states “Tightens the pores and refine the skins texture”. Bioderma’s patented Fluidactiv® complex is said to ensure that the quantity of sebum production is reduced, and its quality improved for unblocked pores and fewer breakouts. I used this for almost a week on my t-zone and didn’t really notice a difference; same size pores, no less clogged. I am placing this one in the loser/undecided category for now because I think I may need to revisit this product again when I have less testing going on and my skin is a little less overwhelmed.

Has any one else tried this and had a positive result?

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So that was my haul from my latest Paris trip. Sorry it took so long to get the review up but there was a lot to get through!

Do you have any favourites I missed and should try out next time?


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