Every few months the Escentual French Pharmacy sale rolls around and I get panicked messages from people spoiled for choice. But do not fear, I’ve put together an updated list of my favourite French skincare bits in case you wanted to grab a bargain (up to 1/3 off all French Pharmacy products so it’s worth stocking up!) and to also serve as a reference point in the future. French skincare has long been my go-to, so here’s a list of what I would recommend for anyone, but especially those with rosacea or sensitive skin.
[Updated: April 2020]
- La Roche-Posay Toleriane Dermo Cleanser – My all time favourite cleanser, this is a simple milk cleanser that easily removes make up and leaves my skin comfortable and happy.
- Avene Tolerance Extreme Extreme Cleansing Lotion – Another great cleanser. Gentle, calming and simple.
- Bioderma Sebium H2O Micelle Solution – Micellar waters are everywhere now but this was the cult product that started it all. I’ve been using this for years and it’s a great way to take off make up if you prefer to use cotton pads. Remember to wash off afterwards using water or cleanser, as micellar waters can be drying if left on the skin.
- La Roche-Posay Toleriane Ultra Fluid – This was brought back into my daily routine after my appointment with Dr Justine Kluk and I haven’t looked back. Gentle, simple, non-aggravating, light on the skin. Just lovely.
- Avene Tolerance Extreme Moisturiser Emulsion (for oily skin) and Moisturiser Cream (for dry skin) – This whole range from Avene is wonderful for people with sensitive skin as they contain minimal ingredients, no fragrance, and no preservatives.
- La Roche-Posay Cicaplast Baume B5 – I’ve spoken about my love for the Cicaplast Baume HERE. If you have a compromised skin barrier it’s a must have, but it’s also great for sunburn, scrapes, dry skin, along with many other things. I cannot be without it.
- La Roche-Posay Anthelios Shaka Fluid SPF50+ – If you’ve read any of my Skincare Shake Up posts over the past few years, you’ll know that this SPF is my holy grail. It’s lightweight, doesn’t leave a white cast to the skin, isn’t greasy or drying, and provides a good base to make up.
- La Roche Posay Anthelios Anti-Shine Invisible Fresh Mist Spray SPF50+ – I love this handbag-sized SPF mist. It isn’t designed to be your main SPF for the day, but it’s great for top ups so it is a must-have for me in the summer.
- Vichy Ideal Soleil Solar Protective Water Hydrating SPF30 – While we’re chatting sun care products, this sunscreen for the body is lovely. It’s easy to apply and didn’t annoy my sensitive skin.
Now that we’re done with the basics, we can talk about added extras. When it comes to skincare for sensitive skin, simple is usually best so I would try to get the three steps above nailed before you move onto extras. Once you’re ready, these are my recommendations:
- La Roche-Posay Hyalu B5 Hyaluronic Acid Serum – Another product that I’ve been using for a long time, this serum is light, non-sticky, makes my skin feel really comfortable, smooths and plumps the skin. I apply it on damp skin after cleansing, before my moisturiser.
- I also really like the Vichy Mineral 89 Serum. Like the LRP serum above, it’s gentle, hydrating, and layers well.
‘ANTI-AGEING’ (I hate that term)
- La Roche-Posay Redermic Retinol Anti-Ageing Concentrate Intensive – I’ve spoken about this product so many times and if you’re looking for an introduction to retinols then this is perfect as it only has 0.1% retinol. Building tolerance over time is key, so I’d start using it once a week, then move up to twice a week once you feel ready, then three. You can also use a serum underneath it if you are worried about sensitivity and need a buffer. And remember to always use SPF as retinols can make your skin more susceptible to sun damage.
- Both the Avene Tolerance Extreme Mask and…
- …the La Roche-Posay HydraPhase Mask are long-term favourites of mine. Both help my skin to feel calm, soothed, and don’t feel heavy on the skin.
- La Roche-Posay Toleriane Ultra 8 Daily Soothing Hydrating Concentrate – I have been using this for about 18 months and love it. I use it after cleansing and before serum and this forms a lovely hydration sandwich, trapping the moisture on my skin. This is described as a ‘hydrating concentrate’, so it can also be used throughout the day when your skin is feeling tight or dry. I also think this would really come into its own on a long flight.
- Avène Thermale Spring Water – I use water mists year round, but they really come into their own in the summer. This one features the amazing thermal water that makes the area of Avène famous – the water has proven anti-inflammatory and soothing properties. I keep one by my bed, one in the fridge, and one in my handbag so that whenever I feel the tell-tale tingle of a flare up, I can quickly spritz my face. It’s a fine mist so you won’t ruin your make up, or end up soaked through!
- La Roche-Posay Effaclar Duo [+] – if you have spot-prone skin or congestion, Effaclar Duo is a fantastic product. It is designed to target oil production, helps to reduce marks left by blemishes, refines the skin texture, unblocks pores, and it doesn’t aggravate sensitive skin.
- Nuxe Reve De Miel lip balm – Lip balms are pretty simple but this one has been in my routine for longer than I can remember. I apply it every night and it’s the reason my lips can survive wearing super-matte lipsticks so often!
What are your favourite French pharmacy skincare products? Let’s enable each other!
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