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European Pharmacy Favorites.

One treat of living abroad was having access to the exceptional yet generally well-priced skincare and haircare products that you could score at the local pharmacy, which, at least in Lyon, had the air of a sophisticated department store and was occasionally and unapologetically closed at what I perceived to be odd hours. I specifically recall a handwritten note on the glass door of the pharmacy on Rue Victor Hugo in Lyon: “Fermeture exceptionelle,” with no explanation following, at 2 p.m. on a Saturday. I immediately conjured a maudlin tale of familial illness or bereavement but was at the same time baffled by this seeming lack of professionalism. It was, after all, unthinkable that a CVS would be closed at 2 p.m. on a Saturday in America. I came to appreciate this slender cultural difference, as it reminded me, in its various permutations, that people make the world go around. And so though I would often writhe against the inconvenient reality that certain shops would be closed for the lunch hour, or certain bureaucratic offices would be open only on the obscure third Thursday and second Tuesday of the month, I was also never more aware of a shared humanity: we all fall ill, we all eat, we all sleep, amen. At any rate, lucky for us, many of the items I discovered back then and in the years following are now available for purchase online, often with free shipping. Sharing a few of my favorites and some items with proper cult-followings that I have yet to try…

BIODERMA MICELLAR WATER (SUPER GENTLE WAY TO REMOVE MAKEUP, CLEANSE, AND TONE – 15% OFF WITH CODE BESTYOU)

KLORANE SHAMPOO (THEY HAVE FORMULAS FOR ALL DIFFERENT HAIR CONCERNS, FROM ITCHY SCALP TO BUILD-UP TO DRY ENDS)

EMBRYOLISSE (PEOPLE *DIE* OVER THIS MOISTURIZER/PRIMER — I FOUND IT A BIT THICK FOR MY NEEDS, BUT DEF WORTH A SHOT GIVEN ITS CULT FOLLOWING STATUS AND AFFORDABLE PRICE)

CAUDALIE ELIXIR (TRULY ADDICTIVE – GREAT FOR SETTING MAKEUP, REFRESHING SKIN, ETC)

MARVIS TOOTHPASTE (FANTASTIC AND IMAGINATIVE FLAVORS — 15% OFF WITH CODE BESTYOU; NOTE THAT EUROPEAN TOOTHPASTE DOES NOT FOAM LIKE AMERICAN ONES DO)

KLORANE DRY SHAMPOO (MY RIDE OR DIE; FULL REVIEW)

CURAPROX TOOTHBRUSHES (LE BEST — THE HEXAGONAL HANDLE MAKES IT EASY TO ANGLE IN YOUR MOUTH; THE SOFT BRISTLES DO NOT SCRAPE ENAMEL OF TEETH!)

LA ROCHE POSAY FLUID SUNSCREEN (HAVE WORN THIS DAILY FOR YEARS NOW — BLENDS RIGHT IN WITHOUT LEAVING WHITE CAST)

AVENE LIGHT MOISTURIZER (SWEAR BY THIS FOR SUMMERTIME)

NUXE DRY OIL — SO MANY FRENCH WOMEN SWEAR BY THIS MULTI-PURPOSE OIL (FOR FACE, BODY, HAIR)

NUXE LIP BALM — LOL AT THE DESCRIPTION: “A PARISIAN WOMAN NEEDS PERFECTLY SMOOTHED LIPS TO ASSUME HER KISS REPUTATION”; BUT SERIOUSLY, THIS GETS INCREDIBLE REVIEWS AND DOUBLES AS A CUTICLE CREAM

COMPAGNIE DE PROVENCE SAVON MARSEILLE — BEAUTIFUL HAND SOAP IN GREAT SCENTS

HOMEOPLASMINE — FOR EXTRA DRY SKIN/ULTRA-CHAPPED LIPS (APPARENTLY IN EVERY FRENCH MAKEUP ARTIST’S ARSENAL)

VICHY VITAMIN C SERUM — CURRENTLY USING MYSELF; I FIND IT DIFFICULT TO APPLY BUT SEEMS TO BE ACHIEVING THE INTENDED RESULT OF BRIGHTENING SKIN JUST AS WELL AS OTHERS I’VE TESTED!

VICHY SERUM AMPOULES — PEOPLE LOVE THIS ALL-AROUND HYDRATING AND ANTI-AGING SERUM (READ REVIEWS!)

AS AN ALTERNATIVE, CAUDALIE’S VINOPERFECT SERUM GETS STRONG REVIEWS

P.S. More affordable beauty buys.

P.P.S. Musings on living abroad. And more here.

P.P.P.S. Thoughts on “Emily in Paris” — a total daydream of a show that sparked quite a bit of controversy.

11 Comments

  1. I’ve used that Caudalie serum, and the brightening essence, for years now and it’s been a wonderful alternative for my very sensitive skin that can’t tolerate even the smallest amount of vitamin C.

  2. We were on a trip in Greece with a long list of sights to see. A nasty blister was about to ruin my trip. As soon as I spotted a local pharmacy you betcha I marched right in. All I had to to is point to the back of my heel and the associate showed me these awesome blister pads. I slapped that on and away I went and never looked back. What would have been a disaster was saved by these silicone pads. Now, I bring them on every trip to requires a lot of walking. The brand is compeep!

    1. Thank you so much for the tip! Was just able to find them on Amazon — amazing!! I’m sure these will be a huge improvement over the standard Bandaids I use that then get bunched up on my heel/in my sock. Grazie!

      xx

  3. I am a total sucker for European pharmacy products. Feel so much fancier than CVS products! And I love that the EU has banned many ingredients that the US allows. Just bought too many of the products in this post – will report back!! Can’t wait for them to arrive.

    1. Me too – they DO feel fancier (and better made, and more legit…). Let me know what you think of these items!! xx

  4. Hi! May I suggest la roche posay’s Pure vitamin C10 serum: I find it much better that the Vichy one. Also love the SVR vitamin C serum. Both very easy to apply (and I love most of the products by these two brands).

    1. Oo la la – thank you SO much for the tip! I love LRP products — will try this one next. xx

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