French Pharmacy Haul & Review

Why is it that running out of your most treasured skincare amenities all seem to happen in the same week… if not the same day, or on a morning where you have to be ready and out of the house in forty minutes (you may have overslept but anyway…).

Skincare products – especially the ones that work – must have a sense of when you’ll need them most and decide to vanish into thin air. This unfortunate event very nearly happened to me last month, thankfully I caught on before it was too late and took advantage of a (frequent) French Pharmacy offer on Escentual – note that Feel Unique also very often have French skincare sales! I took the opportunity to stock up on some blogger favourites that would happily replace my quickly diminishing stash of skincare.

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I picked up two moisturisers and one serum, searching elsewhere for a good cleanser and if you’d like to read all about that (after this, obviously) then it is right here. After at least a solid month of use, I’m ready to shed my opinions and views into the beauty world (whether the beauty world would like to hear them or not).

Embryolisse Lait-Crème Concentré

Lait-Crème Concentre is one of the most recommended and talked about moisturising creams when French skincare is being discussed (as it very often is). From popular French brand Embryolisse, this thick, nourishing cream restores balance to skin, relieves dryness and acts as a barrier between your skin and natural irritators.

The not-so-secret secret of this wonder cream is that it’s packed with essential fatty acids, hydrating and plumping skin for hours on end. I love to use it on relaxed mornings or make-up free days, giving my skin some breathing space without exposing it to harsh elements or letting more delicate areas dry out. It also works wonderfully as a night treatment, sitting somewhere between a rich night moisturiser and a facial oil.

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I opted for the smaller 30ml tube (£13.00 from Boots, EscentualFeelUnique), which is perfect for travel, and is a  great try-me size if you’re unsure on how you’ll get on with it. I’ve read reviews that for skin veering towards combination or oily, Lait-Crème Concentre is too heavy, causing breakouts and such. However, for drier skin (which I have especially in winter), I find that the richness of this is enough to keep skin comfortable all day, without venturing into grease-ball territory.

There’s no doubt that, when my smaller tube has reached its end, I’ll be buying the 75ml (£20 from Boots, Escentual, FeelUnique). Unfortunately, I’ll probably be buying it from Boots and not a quaint pharmacy in Paris… bittersweet I guess.

Avène Hydrance Optimale Hydrating Serum

This soothing serum from Avène is designed for sensitive and disrupted skin. It hydrates quickly, and with each use it also works to heal your skin from pollution or irritation. I’ve been enjoying using this serum morning and evening, using 2-3 pumps with each application. It provides a non-tacky layer of hydration, which is very quickly absorbed and doesn’t just sit on the surface of the skin.

On days where I don’t use the Avène serum I can feel the difference, noticing that my skin feels a little tighter, or dry patches develop a little more quickly. However, this isn’t my miracle serum (if there even is such a thing). It does a nice job but for me, there is something missing – my very sporadic dry skin needs an extra kick to get it through the winter and safely into spring.

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It’s undeniable that this is a beautifully hydrating serum on days where I am inside and make-up free. If you have combination skin then I can be sure that you will get along with this in all seasons, but I will be stashing it away for spring and summer testing (and hopefully use), whilst my hunt for my serum soulmate continues.

Avène is stocked in Boots and on Escentual and FeelUnique, and is £17 all round (although it’s really worth waiting for one of the frequent offers online).

La Roche-Posay Hydreane Light Moisturising Cream

This thermal water infused moisturiser is designed for sensitive, combination-oily skin. You might be thinking why I picked this up, considering how often I’ve mentioned my dry skin already. I just wanted a lighter option that I could throw on without it needing to sink in, and not having to wait twenty minutes before putting on my foundation.

Not only does this moisturiser allow me to get things done a little quicker, I can also see it being brilliant in the warmer months. It’s lightweight on the skin, but still manages to feel hydrated to the touch. Lighter bases sit well on top, however I’ve found that heavier bases, or a lot of blending can cause it to ball up in some areas – for me it’s always around my temples.

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My only grievance with it (aside from the occasional balling up) is the scent. I never expect skincare products aimed at sensitive skin to have heavy scents, but this cream has a sort of powdery scent, which on first application is pretty overwhelming, and definitely lingers. If you’re not opposed to scented skincare it won’t bother you, but I’m definitely on the fence about it.

Out of my three purchases, this is the one I’m least likely to repurchase – partly because of the scent, partly because there are just so many other French pharmacy offerings that have rave reviews and get stuck in my mind… It’s not regret, just a little disappointment I guess.

Available at Escentual, Boots and Feel Unique. Prices from £12-£15.

There we go, one love, one like and one probably not again – not too shabby considering I bought these all online without much previous knowledge about the brands.

You can probably guess that the Lait-Crème Concentre from Embryolisse is the one I recommend everyone try (seriously, go get it). Would you try any of the products I’ve talked about? Do you already have a favourite French pharmacy brand? Let me know!

Thanks for reading (and congrats if you’ve actually got this far…)!