The French Pharmacy: Clean Edition

Written by: Jean Godfrey-June


Published on: September 9, 2022

Photo courtesy of Camille Yolaine

We’ve discovered many of our favorite beauty essentials in French pharmacies over the years. Of course, as we’ve cleaned up our routines, those favorites have changed, but our love affair with French beauty—whether the products are actually French or simply give off that ineffable air of both mystery and common sense—remains as passionate as ever. From a firming serum infused with resveratrol (the “French paradox” antioxidant compound found in red wine) to the most effortless tinted lip balms to a frizz-smoothing hair perfume, our French-pharmacy-inspired obsessions are all clean—and best in class.

  • 1

    Skin Serum

    Caudalie Resveratrol-Lift Instant Firming Serum, $79

    This gel-serum is made with active ingredients found in wine (including resveratrol) to hydrate and firm skin, leaving it smooth and refined—and the dewy finish works beautifully under makeup or on its own.

  • 2

    Overnight Exfoliating Treatment

    goop Beauty GOOPGLOW Dark Spot Exfoliating Sleep Milk, $98/$89 with subscription

    The French believe gentle is always best—and the time-released alpha hydroxy acids and special moisture complex in this serum make its intense exfoliation gentler on your skin. The results (both short- and long-term) are next-level.

  • 3

    Gel-to-Milk Cleanser

    Okoko Beauté Majestique Cleanser, $116

    Brighten, balance, and revive dull skin with this raspberry-colored cleanser that detoxifies pores and smooths roughness with a genius blend of exfoliating salicylic acid and papaya, as well as bamboo powder (a physical exfoliant) and moisturizing squalane.

  • 4

    Antifrizz Oil

    goop Beauty GOOPGLOW Restore + Shine Hair Serum, $55/$44 with subscription

    This intensely smoothing preshampoo treatment is the secret to effortless French-girl texture. The shine-boosting blend of cuticle-sealing vitamin C and nourishing botanical oils silkifies frizz and helps detangle, leaving hair smooth and lustrous—no matter your hair type.

  • 5

    Micellar Water

    Furtuna Skin Acqua Serena Micellar Cleansing Essence, $78

    Cleanse and nourish skin with this clarifying essence that sweeps away makeup, dirt, oil, and the day. Made with organic ingredients and hand-harvested botanicals, this multipurpose water luminizes and tones—and looks gorgeous in your bathroom.

  • 6

    Hair Serum/Perfume

    Ranavat Fortifying Hair Serum: Mighty Majesty, $70

    Made with just three ultranourishing ingredients—vitamin-C-rich amla, sunflower, and jasmine oils—this gorgeous hair serum smooths flyaways and smells like a tangle of wild jasmine. It’s incredible for zhuzhing unwashed hair into something gently mussed and French, or for leaving on overnight as a moisturizing mask.

  • 7

    Sexy Liquid Eyeliner

    ILIA Clean Liquid Liner, $28

    The classic French cat-eye is best rendered in inky eyeliner—this one is sleek and water-resistant and doesn’t smudge. (Or etch it along your lash line to create subtle—and face-energizing—definition.)

  • 8

    Rescue Balm

    Okoko Sublime Balm, $83

    We don’t know what’s more luxurious: this supple-skin miracle’s rich texture—the plumping blend of carrot and tomato seed oils feels so cushiony against your skin—or the way it triples as moisturizer, eye balm, and even cleanser (just mix it with water).

  • 9

    Hair Color

    Christophe Robin Temporary Color Gel, $35

    Our favorite temporary color from French hair-color star Christophe Robin blends beautifully, looks as natural as the color you’d get at Robin’s Parisian salon, lasts for seven shampoos, and—crucially—is made without bleach or PPD, one of the most potentially dangerous chemicals in hair color.

  • 10

    Essential Eye Cream

    Caudalie Resveratrol-Lift Eye Firming Gel Cream, $59

    This French gel treatment is loaded with antioxidant resveratrol, cooling hyaluronic acid, firming peptides, and vegan collagen to lift and depuff. We love how seamlessly it melts in—and how it revives tired eyes almost instantly.

  • 11

    Plum Face Oil

    Le Prunier Plum Beauty Oil, $72

    Le secret weapon for brilliant, baby-soft skin is this plum seed oil (the sole miracle ingredient). Swirled with antioxidants, omegas, and polyphenols, it deposits the prettiest healthy-looking sheen—on skin, body, and hair—and smells incredible.

  • 12

    Tinted Lip Balm

    goop Beauty GOOPGENES Clean Nourishing Lip Balm Trio, $48

    Each sheer shade flatters any skin tone—you get a subtle rose, a translucent garnet, and the OG clear one—and leaves lips cocooned in moisture for hours. The coconut-and-jojoba formula feels silky on and works as beautifully for day as it does for nights out.

  • 13

    Rich Moisturizer

    Augustinus Bader The Rich Cream, $280

    Rich and plumping, this supermoisturizer smooths, deeply nourishes, and fortifies skin. Made with replenishing oils and a groundbreaking ingredient complex called TFC8 that contains amino acids, the cream targets fine lines and wrinkles, texture, elasticity, and more.

  • 14

    Face Spritz

    Tower 28 Beauty SOS Daily Rescue Facial Spray, $28

    This deeply soothing mist (the magic comes from hypochlorous acid, an ingredient surfers love for helping to calm skin) deposits the dewiest sheen—and is just brilliant for refreshing energy-less midday skin.

  • 15

    Skin-Brightening Tonic

    goop Beauty GOOPGLOW Flower Acids Resurfacing Toner, $45/$40 with subscription

    Exfoliating flower acids combine with aloe and glycerin in this gently retexturizing toner that also drenches skin in moisture. Smooth it on after washing your face for silkier, glowier, healthier-looking skin.

  • 16

    Hello, Bardot

    Christophe Robin Pre-Curved Blowdry Hair Brush 12 Rows, $103

    This brush (also from Robin) glides through hair and makes styling—voluminous blowouts, bouncy texture, sleek pulled-back looks, epic waves—amazingly easy. The 12 rows of natural boar bristles smooth tangles, add body, and leave hair beautifully shiny.

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