The French have a reputation for producing world-renowned beauty products, some of which you will be familiar with, and others less so. There are so many fantastic French products, I’ve tried to choose the most helpful links I could think of, but I’m sure I will have missed many!
If you go to a French pharmacy, you will see that they stock more upmarket brands like Avène, Darphin (their face creams and essential oils are brilliant), Roger Furterer (hair products), to name but a few.
Then you have the brands that speak for themselves:
- Le Savon de Marseille is very well-known for their traditional block soaps. They are amazing and I would buy them all if I could; and you can, right here.
- Roger&Gallet is another well-known traditional brand.
You also have brands so well-known they have their own shops, like:
- L’Occitane sells beauty products from Provence, popular in France and abroad.
- Yves Rocher is kind of the French equivalent of the Body Shop. It was my go-to shop when I was a teenager. I especially like their botanical fragrances.
I must also mention Sephora, which is a massive French beauty shop that is just as big in France as it is in the US. They do not stock quite the same perfumes, which is a bummer for me because I can’t find my favourite perfume outside of France, Lolita Lempika’s Le Premier Parfum.
And then, there’s the huge French market for organic, free-from products, and I mean HUGE:
I was chatting to my mum the other day and she said that the organic products market is growing bigger every year in France. A recent documentary stated that well-known brands are losing custom on a large scale due to French people’s love for organic, what they call ‘bio’, products, and no wonder. The physical and ecological issues associated with the chemicals contained in beauty products are well-documented (even if the risk is small in some cases) and French people are into ‘healthier everything’: free from aluminum, free from parabens, free from colourings and chemical scents. I have tried quite a few products and they are wonderful and made a massive difference to my skin, if only the price tag on the best stuff hadn’t forced me to compromise. These days, the one thing I remain uncompromising about is anti-perspirant, I use Bionsen as it is available in my local supermarket; I would never go back to a non-organic product, because it is one area of the body that I absolutely do not want anywhere near known carcinogenics.
One of these organic products, which is without doubt one of the most popular traditional products used in France is ‘argile’. Basically, it is pure white or green clay, so completely free from chemicals, and it is a great product for face masks. It draws out impurities from skin pores and is the most efficient thing I have ever used on my poor oily, acne-prone skin, and you pretty much can’t find it in the UK unless you go to an obscure health store and pay through the teeth.
Here are a few other organic brands or online supermarkets where you can find everything you may want.
- Couleur Caramel specialises in makeup. I have loads of their products and they are fantastic.
- Weleda is great for adults and for kids.
- Lavera is another reputable organic make.
- Dr Hauschka is an Austrian brand and I cannot even describe how incredible their products are, and how different they are from a typical beauty regime.
There are also a lot of websites that gather the organic brands in one place, like