It’s no secret I’m a francophile, but even if you’re not, I swear French beauty products are just THE BEST. They are made with extremely high quality ingredients, generally pretty clean ingredients, and they are at a really good price point! The French are fanatical about skin care, which makes sense why their products are so good. (You can read more about the French beauty secrets I learned here) Every time I travel to France I make sure to stock up on all of my beauty favorites. With the steep discounts you can get on French beauty products in France, it’s almost worth the price of your plane ticket to plan a trip just to get your beauty shopping in! If a trip to France is just not in the cards for you, you can buy all the products online as well. Read on for my favorite French beauty products to buy when traveling to France, where to buy them, and which brands to look for. If you’re not able to make it to France, I’ve also linked up all the products for you to shop from the comfort of your home with a glass of rose, pretending you’re in France.
The Best French Beauty Products to Buy in France (or online!)
Where in Paris to Shop:
It’s really easy to fit beauty shopping into your France itinerary as there is a pharmacy on almost every block and most of the pharmacies have a really great selection of products. They will also load you up with lots of samples! Wherever you shop, be sure to ask the staff for personalized recommendations. They are generally well trained in skin care and will be happy to recommend an individualized skin care routine for you. One of my favorite parts of traveling in France is the shopping experience. Storekeepers LOVE to provide their recommendations and will spend a lot of quality time with you, so do not hesitate to ask!
If you’re in Paris and have time to make a dedicated stop, I recommend the following stores:
- CityPharma – a huge discount beauty emporium just off of Boulevard Saint-Germain
- Mademoiselle Bio – a beauty supply store with all organic beauty products. There are several around the city
- Caudalie – many of my beauty recommendations come from there. There are several around the city but my favorite is in Le Marais. It’s close to a Carette, so be sure to stop by there after for macarons and tea
- Rose Desgranges – this one is very unique. It’s a hidden French perfumery in the heart of the Faubourg Saint-Honoré’s street. They only sell one fragrance and it’s to die for. If anything, go just to hear the story of how the fragrance was created and to experience the magical little courtyard. The story of how the fragrance was created and also the notes of the fragrance are told you by Rose’s daughter or granddaughter and it’s such a special experience. My sister and I walked away from it feeling so inspired and so pretty. I’m almost regretting sharing this tip with you because I love the idea of having this unique fragrance that not many people have. My own bottle has only a bit left and I’m savoring it. If you want to know the story now, read on. If you want it to be a surprise, skip past the next photo. I will say, I’m not telling it half as well as it should be told because half the beauty is hearing it in the courtyard itself.
Rose moved to Paris with her family in 1940 during the war. She was training to be a pianist and had to quit her dreams to provide for her family. She started working at a salon and saved enough to buy the little courtyard and transform it into beauty supply shop. She was always obsessed with beauty and fragrance. Her husband, a chemist, created a special fragrance just for her. She wore it exclusively for years until one day she decided to start sharing it with the public and rebranded her shop to sell only that fragrance. She would fill the fountain with the fragrance so when people would walk by they would smell it. Her daughter and granddaughter now run the shop in her honor and only that fragrance is still sold.
Brands to Look For:
There are a couple brands that I think you can’t go wrong with; almost everything they make is fantastic. Keep an eye out for these when shopping. They are as follows:
- Caudalie – (see my review on all the Caudalie products I’ve tried here)
- La Roche Posey
12 Best French Beauty Products
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Every French friend I’ve ever had has RAVED about this dry oil to me. You can use it in your hair, on your body, on your facial skin, the options are endless. I’ve mainly used it on my body and in my hair. It smells amazing and gives you the best glow. I also really like this shimmery version for nights out.
Micellar water has recently become a trend for makeup remover in the states, but every brand is basically knocking off this original. It works on every skin type and helps to completely remove makeup, even waterproof eye makeup. It’s the perfect first step in any cleansing routine and is another product that my French friends rave about.
I absolutely love this scrub. It makes my skin so soft! It’s the scrub that they use at Caudalie spas and it inspired their whole body care collection.
This toning mist is another cult favorite. You can use it as a toner, setting spray, or just a refreshing spray anytime you need a little wake me up or radiance boost. It’s also perfect to perk up and hydrate your skin during and after long flights. Sometimes, if I’m being extra good with my skin, I’ll keep it next to me while I work and spray it every so often.
This almond shower oil functions as an oil / body wash hybrid. It foams up when added to water and cleanses the skin while leaving it unbelievably soft. Plus it smells SO good.
Full disclosure: I haven’t yet tried this myself. I felt like I had to include this thermal water spray because it’s one of those cult French beauty products that every French person swears by. It’s made from thermal spring water and incredibly hydrating and cleansing. You can use it as a facial spray anytime but it’s especially great when your skin is tired or has been exposed to the sun.
This is the most gentle peel I’ve ever tried. Most peels leave my skin flaky and red, but my skin can handle this one really well. It completely renews skin texture and boosts radiance in just 10 minutes. Such a good at home treatment.
I have a sunscreen that I love (which is also French), but I usually alternate it with this moisturizer in the winter. It has SPF 20, but is extremely sheer so it goes well under makeup. It contains hyaluronic acid which helps hydrate and plump skin. You can see immediate smoothed and radiant results.
This body wash just smells so delicious, it makes me happy every time I use it. I’m not sure if it’s really doing that much for my skin, but it does clean my skin without stripping it of natural oils and again, just smells SO good!! I’ve found it in French pharmacies for under $4, but it is a bit pricey online. This is really just a treat yo’ self type of purchase, but since it’s something that brings a bit of happiness to my every shower, I thought it was worth it to recommend.
Full disclosure: I don’t use dry shampoo, but if I did it would be this one. It’s literally on every French products list and on many top dry shampoo lists. I do love Klorane in general and I stock up on their hair masks when I’m in France.
I’ve tried so many lip balms and I LOVE this one. It is so truly moisturizing and has a very smooth consistency.
This body lotion is extremely nourishing and is one of the few body lotions out there that helps repair the skin and teaches it to hydrate itself. This way you aren’t just moisturizing in the short term, but the skin learns how to properly moisturize itself. Sounds magical right? That’s why it’s yet another French cult favorite.
On My List to Try:
Here are a few more products I’m hesitant to recommend because I haven’t tried them yet but are on my list to pick up next time I’m in France.
- Nuxe Après-Soleil – an after sun lotion that supposedly helps extend the life of your tan
- Le Petit Marseillais Vanilla Milk Extra Gentle Shower Cream – the vanilla is handpicked and grown in the south of France. Tres chic and under $5 at Target
- Diptyque L’Ombre Dans L’Eau Parfum Solide – a solid perfume with a rose fragrance. Found it at Nordstrom
- Votre Vu Le Joli Crayon – a budge proof eye liner
- Anything from Avene – another French cult favorite brand. I haven’t tried any of their products yet, but their thermal water is supposedly amazing
- Embryolisse Lait-Crème Concentrate – a no frills moisturizer that supposedly works magic. You can use it on face or body. Found it on Amazon
- Homeoplasmine – created for nursing moms to heal cracked nipples, BUT used by anyone on any cracked areas and supposedly works really well to heal it. Found it on Amazon
- PHYTO Phytodefrisant Botanical Straightening Balm
- La Roche-Posay’s Anthelios XL sunscreen—SPF 50 – in stick form
- Sanoflore lavender oil
- Caudalie Polyphenol C15 serum – to help fade sun spots and repair damaged skin
- La Roche-Posay Toleriane Dermo Cleanser
Do you have any other French skin care or beauty favorites? I’d love to add them to my list to try!