For years, I heard about City Pharma, a drugstore-beauty emporium in the Saint Germain district of Paris that stocks beauty products hoarded by French woman and praised by women’s magazines, models, makeup artists, beauty bloggers. So when I finally made it to Paris this year, I made a point to stop by and check out what all the hype was about.
The verdict – definitely worth a visit! What a fun hour and a half of browsing and people-watching – aisles of products, sales assistants buzzing about, women comparing notes, registers ringing. They had plenty of brands I was familiar with – Caudalie, Nuxe, Klorane, Avene, Biotherm, Decleor, etc, only a wider selection and cheaper prices. And plenty of new products and brands to tempt me.
Here is what I picked up:
Embryolisse Lait-Crème Concentrè
According to the sales assistant, this product is particularly popular with locals and out-of-towners alike. Use it as a moisturising cream, a cleansing cream, an after-shave cream. It has emulsifying and softening agents with active moisturisers that respects the skin’s natural balance (pH, microorganisms) and helps rebuild the hydrolipidic layer (the skin’s natural protection). Apply it to clean dry skin and feel skin quickly hydrate and plump.
Used for over 25 years by French households as the go-to emulsion creams to treat sunburns and scrapes. The medical and beauty professionals also recommend it for post-op healing from plastic and reconstructive surgeries, radiation burns, facial peels, and dermabrasion therapy. This is available over the counter, but you have to ask the sales assistant for it!
Avibon Vitamin A Pommade
Models and celebs swear by this thick, gooey, smelly Vitamin A (retin) ointment to help smooth out skin tone, fight acne, soften wrinkles and fine lines, and fade brown spots. Warm a pea size amount in hand to activate the retinol before applying undereye, face, neck overnight. This product always sells out in the US, so I asked the sales assistant for a couple.
Supposedly every French household and makeup artist swears by this homeopathic ointment to soothe and heal dry irritated skin and chapped lips. This is available over the counter, but you have to ask the sales assistant for it!
Caudalie Vinexpert Dietary Supplements
Previously marketed under ‘Vinocaps’ name, these are hard to find in the US so I was excited for the chance to stock up. They contain anti-oxidant grapevine polyphenols (OPC) and redensifying reservatrol which are clinically shown to reduce free-radical damage and diminish wrinkles and rejuvenate the skin and body from the inside out.
Nuxe Reve de Miel – Honey Lip Balm
This thick and creamy balm is well-known in the beauty blogosphere for its lovely scent and healing properties. Apply it on dry, cracked lips overnight to relieve, repair, and plump.
With some searching, these products can be found online and in specialty pharmacies in the US. But nothing beats being in Paris and shopping like a Parisian!