Say bonjour to glowing skin.
Renowned for their pared-back ingredient lists and fuss-free packaging, French drugstore beauty products are beloved all around the world—and we can’t help but assume they’re the secret behind every chic French woman’s glowing complexion.
While the French pharmacy is a tourist destination in its own right and well worth a visit if you have some space to spare in your travel beauty bag, many beauty must-haves are readily available in Canada—brands like Vichy, Bioderma and Avène are sold in drugstores, while others are just a click away.
From a cult cleanser you’ve definitely heard about to a little-known multitasking ointment you’ll want to add to your cart ASAP, we’ve rounded up all the cult French beauty products you can buy without hopping on a plane.
Bioderma Sensibio H2O Micellar Water Makeup Remover, $18
When it comes to French beauty, there’s no product as raved-about as Bioderma’s pink-capped micellar water. Its cult status is well-deserved: It removes every last bit of makeup—yes, even waterproof!—without stinging, irritating or drying out skin. Micellar water is especially great for late nights as it doesn’t need to be rinsed off.
La Roche-Posay Anthelios Ultra-Fluid Sunscreen SPF 50, $32
Finding a sunscreen you’ll actually want to wear every day takes a lot of trial and error, but this cult SPF 50 with UVB and UVA protection from sensitive skin experts La Roche-Posay is a good place to start. The lightweight fluid contains chemical filters that absorb quickly without leaving a greasy or chalky residue behind, so you can apply makeup on top right away.
Klorane Ultra-Gentle Dry Shampoo with Oat Milk, $17
Whether your hair is in desperate need of a wash or just a little extra texture, a spritz of this bestselling dry shampoo will do the trick. The ultra-fine powder soaks up oils quickly, and also comes in a brunette-friendly version that won’t leave a chalky white residue on dark hair. The scent is a standout, featuring subtle floral notes of iris and lily.
Vichy Minéral 89 Fortifying Skin Booster, $46
This lightweight serum is the epitome of pared-back French beauty. Made with just 11 ingredients—including Vichy’s signature mineral-rich thermal water and hyaluronic acid—it plumps, hydrates and strengthens skin without irritation. Apply to clean skin and follow with a moisturizer to lock in hydration.
L’Occitane Shea Butter Hand Cream, $37
With cold weather just around the corner, dry skin is about to be a major concern. A luxe hand cream is a must-have in every beauty arsenal, and you can’t go wrong with L’Occitane’s ultra-nourishing shea butter formula—one tube of the cult skin-saving salve is sold every two seconds around the world. Though it’s thick and ultra-moisturizing, it doesn’t feel greasy on the skin.
Caudalie Beauty Elixir, $62
Need a mid-day pick-me-up? This beloved mist by French beauty brand Caudalie is just the ticket. On bare skin or over makeup, this gentle mist refreshes and adds a dewy glow to the complexion. It contains grape extract and orange flower water and is scented with mint, rosemary, lemon balm and rose essential oils.
Filorga Time-Filler Eyes Eye Cream, $85
Premium pharmacy brand Filorga offers an array of products that target visible signs of aging with potent formulas that feel and smell great. Their bestselling eye cream is a multitasker—it can be applied all around the eye area (including on the eyelid and lashes) to minimize the appearance of wrinkles and sagging eyelids. It also contains ingredients to boost lash volume and make dark circles disappear.
Nuxe Rêve de Miel Lip Balm, $20
The honey contained in this rich balm soothes and nourishes chapped lips. The thick consistency is ideal for overnight use, but it also smoothes the lips and creates the perfect base for a pop of colour. Add a swipe of red lipstick for an instant French girl look.
Embryolisse Lait-Crème Concentré, $43
Moisturizer, mask, makeup primer—this multitasker does it all! It’s not only French beauty fanatics who love this nourishing cream—makeup artists all over the world swear by it. Oh, and did we mention Beyoncé is reportedly a fan?
Avène Thermal Spring Water, $25
Bottled right at the source in southern France and completely sterile, this mineral-packed thermal water soothes sensitive skin and is safe for even the most irritated skin, including eczema flare-ups. Keep a bottle in the fridge to freshen up and cool down post-workout.
Nuxe Huile Prodigieuse, $32
When it comes to getting a noticeable glow in an instant, nothing beats an oil. This popular formula—which contains seven botanical oils, including argan oil to repair and sweet almond oil to soften—is a standout. Apply a few drops give skin a nice dewy look, or use it on hair to hydrate dry ends and tame frizz.
Boiron Cicadermine Ointment, $10
This thick ointment—sold in France under the name Homeoplasmine—is perhaps the French pharmacy’s best kept secret. Though it was first formulated as a nipple cream, it quickly became a must-have for beauty lovers who use it to soothe chapped lips, moisturize extra-dry skin and soften cuticles.
Caudalie Vinoperfect Radiance Serum, $100
This radiance-boosting serum has earned its cult-fave status by zapping dark spots and evening out complexions. It contains viniferine, a powerful patented ingredient that the brand claims is 62 times more effective than vitamin C, as well as squalane to lock in hydration.
Uriage Light Water Cream, $32
Uriage is known in France for its high-quality, affordable skincare products. This cream from the brand’s bestselling Eau Thermale line packs an impressive hydration punch despite its light gel texture. It contains squalane to boost hydration and protect the skin barrier.
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