Friday, March 18, 2016

French Pharmacy Finds

This is a follow up to my  Paris Is Always A Good Idea post since so many of you where interested in hearing about my French Pharmacy Skincare Finds. The French Pharmacy is a magical place in Paris where not only do you find your pharmacy needs, you can also buy homeopathic remedies, veterinary medicine and the most amazing selection of skincare. There are green neon cross signs on almost every single corner and it probably rivals Starbucks signs in North America. If you go to France, you must visit as many pharmacies as you can and stock up on amazing skincare. 

In Canada we are actually pretty lucky in that we can find some of these items at Shoppers Drug Mart or London Drugs. The difference is that since these brands are French, in France you get the entire product lineup for these brands vs the edited versions we get here in Canada and they are a little cheaper there.  Caudalie, Nuxe, Roche-Posay are easily found here in Canada but at the French Pharmacy they have aisles and aisles dedicated to each brand. I think you can also find Embryolisse on Most of these products are items I hadn't already tried here so it was fun for me to find new things to try and I loved that they had a lot of products in mini sizing so you could either buy a full size or you could try a bunch of different things. 

1. Nuxe Huile
I tried this oil years ago and really loved it but it was pricy and so I didn't rebuy it. The base of this oil is macadamia nut oil which is really amazing for skin and you don't find a lot of products here that use this ingredient. Macadamia nut oil is the closest oil there is to sebum and it absorbs very quickly, hence the 'dry oil' phenomenon. I  love that you can use this oil for your body, face or hair and it's effective and doesn't clog pores or make you greasy. 

2. Caudalie Beauty Elixir
This is a face mist packed with essential oils and grape extract. Besides all of those lovely ingredients it is a glycerine based spray which is awesome for setting your makeup. It's essentially what MAC studio FX Spray is but with tons more botanical ingredients added. If you hate wearing makeup and having that caked on powdery look you should try one of these sprays. The glycerine melts your makeup together into one layer and gives you a much more natural look.  You can also use them to dampen your eyeshadow or blush or as a 'solvent' for any of your makeup that is a bit dried out like mascara or eyeliner. Glycerine is also a great moisturizer so if you have dry dehydrated skin like I do, using a mist like this throughout the day will really add moisture to your skin. And even better it's a great carry on for a long flight when your skin gets super dehydrated. 

3. Embryolisse
This one had a ton of mentions in various skincare blogs and youtube videos so I was on the hunt for it. Apparently a lot of makeup artists swear by this moisturizer as a primer base and because it plumps up your skin a bit and it makes your makeup glide on really well. I wasn't sure I'd love it because there aren't any 'active' ingredients in it and it seems really basic but once I tried it on at home I really regretted not getting the full size and I'll definitely be ordering it off Sephora once I run out. Again, this has macadamia nut oil in it which my skin really loves so I find it very moisturizing without being greasy since it absorbs deeply very quickly. I love the texture of it. I've never tried a rich moisturizer before that doesn't look greasy or heavy on. 

4. Biologique P50
Ok, to be fair this particular item is not found in the french pharmacy but it is found in France and it was very tricky to source out. It is a cult item and if you google it you will see a ton of articles on it from Vogue, NYT's and some pretty huge beauty blogs.  There is a very tiny handful of spas in the US and Canada that sells this brand so it's tricky to find but it can be done.  This was my #1 must purchase item in France and we dedicated an afternoon looking for the spa at the Champs Elysee's.  I don't know why it isn't more widely sold, it's fantastic. I love a good acid exfoliator and have always used BHA's and AHA's, glycolic pads and lactic acid lotions.  It's pricey buying each item separately and it's annoying applying a few different products like these so I end up alternating days or neglecting to use them and they are never layered together. This product though is a toner and it includes a few different AHA's/BHA's and other exfoliators and it also has an ingredient I love which is niacinamide. I have Rosacea and so niacinamide really calms my skin and improves my texture which really gets affected by rosacea outbreaks. It is an ingredient that is mostly added to moisturizers in North America but only in tiny amounts. In this toner niacinamide is much more concentrated and it's either second or third on the ingredient list. I just love this stuff. 

5. Darphin Intral Redness Relief Serum
You can find this serum on but I don't believe any North American stores carry it in store. It is a soothing serum for rosacea sufferers and it calms redness really pretty quickly. One of the main botanical ingredients in this is camomile so it's very gentle and soothing. I find it very effective but I don't love that it is more watery than it is serum so it's kind of hard to apply. I have to put three pumps into the palm of my hand and then spread it quickly over my face before it absorbs. 

6. Roche Posay SeroZinc
I am so sad and annoyed at myself that I didn't do more research on this product while I was in France and then stock up because I have fallen in love with it and it is totally impossible to find in North America. It is such a simple product (and cheap!) that I thought it was just a mineralized face mist but it's actually a fine mist of zinc which you can use for a dozen different things. You can use it on your face as a toner which removes shine, you can use it to sooth and calm an acne or rosacea outbreak, you can use it for diaper rash or any skin irritation. I've been using it a ton but yesterday I used it on my daughters face because she has a bad sinus cold which is irritating her upper lip and nose area and it did exactly what gloopy diaper rash cream would do. It healed up all that raw skin! It basically applies a transparent coat of zinc onto your skin that doesn't interfere with makeup or cast white. Read up on the benefits of zinc for skincare and then marvel at the amazing application of a fine sheer aerosol mist of the stuff. I don't understand why we can't have this in North America but I need to find a skincare broker to help me out. I bet you it has to do with zincs use in sun screen and issues with labeling it a beauty product vs. a sun screen or medicated ointment. 

7. Nuxe Melting Gel Cleanser
I stay away from foaming or soapy cleansers and really like oil based cleansers. This one is really nice and hydrating and has a soft fresh rose scent, not a granny rose scent. I'd probably purchase this one here if I can find it. 

8. Klorane Shampoo
I have to give this one more time since I know Klorane Shampoos are very good. I find it requires a lot more shampoo for lather and I have a ton of hair so it's not economical for me and I haven't noticed any difference using this vs. my usual pantene. 

9. Klorane Dry Shampoo
This I wish I'd gotten a bigger size in. I found the tiny bottle and grabbed it but later saw that CityPharma had a two pack of the big size for slightly more than one of the small ones. Suitcase real esate was limited though.  I've used it twice and really like it a lot. I'm big on dry shampoo post gym since I have a lot of hair that is a pain in the ass to blow-dry and style. I go to the gym a lot and I only like to wash my hair 2, maybe 3 times per week so dry shampoo is a marvellous invention for me.  Dry shampoo and immediately pulling my headband off and taking my hair out of a ponytail so that the sweat can evaporate are what I need to do to keep my hair fresh and not grimmy. I'm picky about my dry shampoo and hate the Batiste and Lush ones since they leave a chalky goopy buildup in my hair. I typically use Living Proof which you spray and then brush out and the little shampoo particles that have attached to sweat and oil fall away. I find this Klorane Dry Shampoo does the same. It doesn't sit in my hair, doesn't leave a white cast and it smells really nice and fresh. 

I really hope you enjoyed this post. I have a few more cosmetic/beauty/skincare posts I want to do in the near future  but  I like to time these types of posts so that they don't interfere with Lululemon posts as that is why you guys come here in the first place. Maybe I can save these types of posts for the weekends. Anyways, let me know. And if you've tried any of the above products I'd love to hear your thoughts on them too in the comments. 


  1. LOVE THIS POST!! I'm a beauty and makeup addict as well as a lululemon fan (wont say I'm quite addicted though I do shop frequently).
    I got NUXE huile, too, when I went to Paris. It's one of my favorite items ever and I've repurchased here in the States.
    Caudalie has an amazing hand cream and I really like their thicker moisturizers for dry skin.
    I haven't yet tried Darphin out of all the brands mentioned.
    The Klorane dry shampoo I got was the non aerosol one and I find the powder too coarse for my medium-dark normal thickness hair and it makes it look dull but it's really good with volume. I prefer bumble and bumble's because the powder is finer.

  2. Gaaaaah! I also love the shopping for products in Europe, and the several times I've been to Paris, it's the same thing too by going into each pharmacie. Another good place to check out is the Monoprix, or even a Hypermarket like Carrefour. They usually carry all the Klorane products as well and are cheaper. I also love the Klorane Dry Shampoo (I actually discovered Klorane in Dubai in 2009 and am thrilled we can get some of it here in Canada!) I have tried most of what you listed, but next time for sure, I'm going to look for the Biologique P50! My husband and I travel to Europe every other year or so (last year it was Athens), this year I'm off to is the best! Did you bring back wine as well from France? So many to choose from! That's awesome you had a blast!

  3. Thanks Lulumum for this great post. I too have rosacea and have to be careful what I put on my face. I will have to try and hunt down Biologique P50 here in Canada. I would also love to get my hands on some Roche Posay Zero Zinc so please update us if and when you ever find it in Canada.

  4. Awesome post! Please keep doing them!

  5. If you like klorane's dry shampoo, try batiste original. It is sold at shoppers drug mart for half the price of the klorane's and it works better.

  6. awesome post! I'm bored with lulu anyway right now so this was refreshing! Keep it coming'. Only bummer is I probably won't ever be able to try this stuff.

  7. Thank you for the posts about France and it's products. It contained useful information. Keep them coming. Klorane's dry shampoo is available in three different types at my Shopper's Drug Mart in Southwestern Ontario. You might want to check in your area if you love it.

  8. I loved this post - you have a lot of knowledge on awesome products so I think you should make this a regular addition to the blog!!! Seriously!!! I have created my shopping list from your reco's!!!

  9. I love that you can now find klorane at Shoppers!

  10. Hi LLM ! Thank you so much for both of your posts ! I'm interested in lotion P50, but can't seem to find how much it is in US. Would you mind if I ask you what you paid for it in Paris? Thank you :)

    1. I've read a few forums and it should be around $98 for 250ml in the US and Canada.

    2. Thank you! $98 is acceptable for me. I thought it would be more like creme de la mer

  11. thanks for posting your pharmacy finds, I enjoyed it and have also been interested in embryolisse for a long time.

  12. I don't know if they carry that particular item, but Shoppers (some of them) have Darphin.

  13. This was seriously helpful! Thanks.