French Pharmacy Picks

I loved reading your drugstore beauty picks last week and as promised, today I thought I’d share some of my favorites from French drugstores. (I think I mentioned earlier that I’ve slowly been working my way through Gwyneth Paltrow’s list of recommendations.) First up:

Nuxe Huile Prodigieuse
I love this product! I think it will become a staple on my bathroom shelf. It’s made for hair, skin, face and hands, and I use it on all of those. How I Use It: I mix in a few sprays with my other hair products to keep my curls soft. I have to keep it away from my roots or my scalp gets too oily, but it’s amazing on the rest of my hair. It’s a little heavier than what I prefer on my face, but if I’m having a really dry day, I like it. Plus, if I’ve applied my blush with a heavy hand, it’s perfect for smoothing it out so I don’t look like a clown. When I use it as body moisturizer (best: right out of the shower), Ben Blair always comments because the scent is light and really pretty and the oil makes my skin glow.

It’s more expensive than a typical drugstore product. In fact, I think this might be the only item on the Goop list that’s over $20. But a little goes a long way so a bottle lasts for ages. At the rate I’m using it, I’m guessing my bottle will last about a year. Also, I haven’t seen this on the shelves in many French pharmacies, though if you ask, they will order it for you. I actually purchased my bottle on a flight from France to the U.S., when I noticed it in the duty-free catalog. Hah!

Klorane Dry Shampoo
Another great product! Super easy to use and really effective. How I use it: If I wake up, and my hair smells a bit hair-y, but I don’t have time for a full wash and dry, this product does the trick. I spray it right in at the roots, wait a few minutes, then work it into my scalp with my fingers. (If you have straight hair, you can just brush out the shampoo).

Confession: when I’m out of dry shampoo, I use whatever baby powder or talcum powder I have on hand. I sprinkle it on my roots, wait for it to absorb, and work it into my scalp. But if you’re unsure what the effect is supposed to be, I’d recommend trying the dry shampoo first. If you haven’t used dry shampoo before, this is a great first one to try. You can find it at Amazon (link above), but when I was in New York last October, I also noticed it was available at Duane Reade — so hopefully you can find it where you are too.

I don’t remember what I spent on this tube, but I think it was very inexpensive. Gwyneth says, “Avibon is hard to find outside of France, but it’s one of my very favorites. It’s full of Vitamin A, which is wonderful for the skin, getting rid of blemishes, tough dry spots and preventing wrinkles (they say). I know an older movie star who uses this every night and she has the most amazing skin!”

Based on that description, I was expecting some sort of face creme, but it’s not. It’s really thick. Really. Thick. Like thicker than vaseline. (Have you ever tried A&D ointment? It reminds me of that texture.) The first time I tried to use it all over my face I was like blech, I will never use this again, because it was too thick and I couldn’t spread it around. But now I’m an old pro. How I use it: I rub a pea size dollop between my hands to warm it up and soften it and then massage it into my face. It feels wonderful! And I like how it softens my skin. It feels like a protective, preserving coating on my face — and feels like it keeps moisture locked in.

I have also had success with it as a blemish fighter. Last month, I could feel a deep pimple forming and rubbed a bit of Avibon in at the site. The zit never surfaced and was gone the next day! I haven’t done enough testing to see how consistent it is, but I was impressed.

I can’t find a source for Avibon online (if you find one, please share), so if you want a tube, you’ll have to make a request from your next friend who travels to France. : )

P.S. — Please let me know what you think. I’m happy to keep working my way through the list if you’d like to hear more.

56 thoughts on “French Pharmacy Picks”

  1. Just an FYI for everyone Nuxe Huile Prodigieuse is now being sold at the upscale Walgreen’s locations. The ones that have the makeup departments in them. Also Walgreen’s online. They are also carrying Klorane, although personally I prefer Batiste and Pssst! as I’m a brunette and the Klorane leaves a bit of the white color on my hair.
    Recently, I sent a shopping list of stuff to grab for me with my boss for his trip to Cannes (he’s an awesome boss), and of course he was told the same thing about Avibon, but the pharmacist gave him something called Derméol as a replacement. I can’t find a website that sells it in the states, but here is one that I found in France ( Unfortunately, I speak Italian and German so I can’t decipher if it ships to the US. It’s got more of a cream consistency, and it dries to a matte finish. I don’t love it as a night cream, but it’s excellent under my makeup for daytime.
    My boss being Japanese also brought me some Yu-Be from Japan (you can also get it on Amazon It is more of a pomade consistency, and I have to say I love what it’s done to my face when I wake up in the morning. Fair warning though it smells like camphor when you put it on, but the smell goes away in less than 5 minutes. A lot of Japanese women use it as lip balm as well, but I’ll still maintain that Labello is the best stuff ever. It’s avail on Amazon too, but I tend to buy it from they stock a lot of German products that I love.
    My final favorite product is Homeoplasmin which I have used as everything from eye balm to lip balm to abrasion cream to sticking up my nose during snowboarding and scuba diving trips or for colds. I’m one of those people who gets bloody noses when it’s extremely dry and it has saved me, and a number of pillow cases, for the last few years.

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