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My French Life: French beauty tips


Chemist with a sign saying founded in 1847 in Boulogne-sur-Mer, France

Whenever my sister comes to see me she makes a beeline for the pharmacie and the supermarket pharmacy shelves.

She constantly tells me just how lucky I am to be in France, not just for the lifestyle, the fresh air, the beautiful countryside, architecture, fresh food – I could go on and on, but I’ll get to the point.  What she really wants to get across is how lucky I am to have such great beauty and health products on tap.  Products that she can’t get at home in the UK.  My Australian and American friends tell me it’s the same for them too.  You can buy health products in France over the counter that you can’t get elsewhere and you can buy face creams here that actually work according to those who use them but you just can’t get them outside of France.

I checked with my friends and family for their favourite French beauty products – I’m a bit of a heathen myself when it comes to a beauty regime but I’m not getting any younger and as everyone raves so much about some of this stuff I thought I’d give some of it a go and tell you about all of their favourite recommendations – there were so many but I picked the top 5 that everyone went for and I’m buying them all!

Without a doubt Nuxe Huile Prodigeuse seems to be everyone’s favourite. It’s been around in France for decades but it never loses its popularity.  An essential oil with Vitamin E and antioxidants.  Most people use it on their face – they say that it revives skin. You can also put it on your hair, cuticles and use it as a body moisturiser and it’s great just after a bath. It smells wonderful and just about everyone I know who’s tried it would recommend it as their top French secret beauty product.  You can also buy it with tiny gold mother-of-pearl flecks to give a sheen.  If you can’t get it in a shop near you – Amazon has it.

No. 2 on the list was Klorane Gentle Dry Shampoo with Oat Milk.  In between washes and to maintain a wash and blow dry.  It makes your hair less oily, pumps up the volume and smells divine. Lots of celebrities use this shampoo – its said to clean your hair without using water – it really does smell and feel great. Again Amazon stock this one. Apparently some film stars are known to use this if they have had a major hair-do that is too time consuming to do every day.

No. 3 was Savon de Marseille Extra Pur Olive Lavende.  These liquid soaps have a seriously good vibe to them – they’re not cheap but they are gorgeous.  They are made with natural oils, don’t irritate and dry out your skin and the smell is absolutely wonderful.  You can get them in different scents but pretty much everyone said they loved the Lavender one best (Amazon stocks this one too).

No. 4 was Avibon.  Particularly amongst French ladies of a certain age.  It’s an anti-ageing cream, lots of Vitamin A and it’s supposed to help prevent wrinkles around the eyes and lips.  I must say I have plenty of French neighbours who are in their fifties and sixties and they always have such soft skin. I find it astonishing that some of these ladies are outside for much of the day as we live in farming and agricultural country and yet their skin is unblemished, not ruined by excessive sun and as soft as a young girls – is this the secret?  It’s supposed to get rid of blemishes and dry spots too.

Homeoplasmine is No. 5.  Working outside, being a gardener as many of my friends are, and having lots of animals which mean constant hand washing – dry hands are unavoidable.  A lot of products are really expensive or they just don’t do what they say they will but this is Marie-Claude’s tip and she has the softest hands of anyone I know so I’ll take her word for it and I’m getting this next time I’m in the pharmacy.  It’s a homeopathic treatment and she says you use just a tiny amount to rehydrate dry skin.  It’s supposed to be for skin irritations but on dry hands like mine it will be perfect.

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