12 Beauty Products to Buy from French Pharmacies (or Amazon)

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In France, flashing green crosses aren’t just places to buy cough drops, bandages, and prescriptions. They are also beacons for some spectacular beauty products. Get the vision of Walgreens and CVS out of your head, because French pharmacies are in another stratosphere. There’s a reason why the world’s glitterati scour the shelves to buy beauty products from French pharmacies: high quality at a low cost.

Beauty Products to Buy from French Pharmacies or Amazon

Product junkies are in heaven with the selection of brands and variety of products, but navigating a French pharmacy can also be overwhelming. Between the selection and the French labels, finding a simple sunscreen can feel like mission impossible. Thankfully, there are angels in white coats to help, and they know the products well. Even if you don’t speak French and they don’t speak English, pointing to your eye wrinkles is universally understood; no translation app is required.

Check out part two: “11 More Beauty Products to buy from French Pharmacies {or Amazon}”

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Along with the Eiffel Tower and Louvre, French pharmacies are a must visit.

Given the massive selection, I asked a few of my favorite American girlfriends living in Paris about the top beauty products they buy from French pharmacies. Kasia Dietz is a handbag designer, writer, and all around gorgeous woman. A native of New York, Kasia’s lived in Paris for seven years, and her favorite pharmacy is Pharmacie de la place de la République, open 24-hours a day.

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Kasia doesn’t need make-up. She’s naturally beautiful.

A native of Chicago, Jane Bertch is the woman behind the cooking school, La Cuisine Paris. This fiery redhead’s favorite French pharmacy is Pharmacie de la Mairie, on the corner of Rue des Archives and Rue de la Verrerie, in the Marais. As the owner of Square Modern, Suzanne Flenard is an interior design professional and former New Yorker who calls the Marais home. Her favorite place to shop is Pharmacie des Archives for its interesting and full line of products.

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Suzanne and Jane know how to picnic and pick the best beauty products.

Navigating the aisles of these beauty heavens can be daunting, so you’ll want to keep this list handy for your next trip to France. There’s no reason to fret if France isn’t in your immediate future, since all of these products can also be purchased on Amazon. Isn’t the Internet great?!? Alright, without further ado, here are 12 top beauty products to buy from French pharmacies (or Amazon).

Hair Products

Rene Furterer Intense Nourishing Mask

“A cult product by René Furterer since the 1950s, KARITÉ Intense nourishing mask was formulated to condition the platinum blond hair popularized by Marilyn Monroe. Coated with precious quince pectin and aromas, this rich and creamy nourishing treatment deeply replenishes and revives the hair. Easy to detangle, even the driest hair is given incomparable softness and shine.”

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Picked by Jane: “It’s the perfect rich conditioner, at a great price.”




Rene Furterer Okara Protect Color Radiance Enhancing Shampoo

“Okara Protect Color radiance enhancing shampoo, with an fruity, gourmet aroma, preserves the intensity of colored hair with a sulfate-free acidic pH cleansing base. Hair is tangle-free, soft, and radiant.”

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Picked by Leah: This helps my color stay longer and hair moisturized. Plus, every time I wash, it’s like I’m eating a fruit salad. The smell is delicious.




Facial Products

NUXE Micellar Foam Cleanser with Rose Petals

“This micellar foaming cleanser with Rose Petals gently cleanses thanks to its soap-free micellar formula. Its thick and creamy foam leaves skin perfectly clean, fresh and purified. This facial cleanser is specifically developed for sensitive skins. It’s micellar foam cleanses normal to combination skins in one step.”

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Picked by Kasia: “Nuxe rose foam cleaner is gentle and leaves my skin feeling cleansed and refreshed (and is paraben-free).”

NUXE Micellar Cleansing Water with Rose Petals for Sensitive Skin

“This purifying micellar cleansing water with Rose Petals removes make-up from face and eyes. A 3-in-1 product, it cleanses, purifies and softens. Leaves skin clean, soft and comfortable. This gentle cleanser respects the pH Balance of your skin so all skin types can benefit from it.”

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Picked by Kasia: “The cleansing water is ideal for make-up removal.”

Vichy Aqualia Thermal Rich Cream 48 Hour Facial Moisturizer with Hyaluronic Acid for Dry Skin

“Replenishing and soothing 48-hour moisturizer in a rich, refreshing cream. For deep comfort and a fresh complexion that lasts.”

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Picked by Leah: Since I’ve gotten older, my skin has changed from oily to dry. I put this on at night and wake up with a face that doesn’t look like the Mojave Desert. That’s a win for me!




Darphin CC Cream Instant Multi-Benefit Care SPF 35

“This complete, perfecting skincare solution combines beautifying pigments and light reflective pearls to provide a matte and flawless complexion, while treating the skin and offering broad spectrum UV protection (SPF35) in one easy step. Its exquisite fresh silky texture that melts into the skin upon application is the ideal solution to care of and beautify skin in a wink. Visibly perfected, the complexion is even and smooth, the skin looks naturally radiant for today and the future.”

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Picked by Suzanne: “I get my foundation Darphin (which is a CC cream) from a pharmacy, so that I don’t have to go to their fancy spa on St. Honoré.”




Eau Thermale Avène Hydrance Optimale Hydrating Light Cream

“Lightweight moisturizer provides long-lasting hydration and helps prevent water from evaporating from the skin. Smoothness and luminosity are restored and fine dehydration lines are minimized. Oil-absorbing ingredients reduce shine, for a matte finish.”

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Picked by Kasia: “I’ve been applying Avene Hydrance (UV Légère) with SPF 20 to my face every morning since I moved to Paris seven years ago. It’s a light hydrating cream that’s oil-free, and leaves my skin both moisturized and protected from the sun.”




Laboratoires Filorga Paris Hydra-Filler Pro-Youth Boosting Moisturizer

“Filorga hydra-filler pro-youth boosting moisturizer harnesses the power of extra-pure hyaluronic acid to instantly replenish skin. Hyaluronic acid works as a true moisturizing perfusion and is able to hold up to one thousand times its weight in water. Hydra-filler combines the performance of two hyaluronic acids-high-molecular weight and micro-fragmented-for a plumper skin. At the same time, our complex replenishes the skin’s hydration barrier to smooth the appearance of wrinkles and protect against dry and dehydrated skin.”

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Picked by Kasia: “I recently discovered Filorga Hydra-Filler and love it for the texture, smell and simply how good it feels on my skin. My favorite night cream to date.”




Eau Thermale Avène Soothing Moisture Mask

“Deep hydrating mask provides intensive soothing care to dehydrated, over-stressed skin.”

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Picked by Kasia: “Avene Cleanance is the perfect weekly exfoliating mask for my mixed skin. Afterwards my face feels so clean!”




Body Products

NUXE Huile Prodigieuse Multi-Purpose Dry Oil

“Huile Prodigieuse is France’s leading beauty oil. This multi-usage dry oil, made using six Precious Plant Oils (Macadamia, Hazelnut, Borage, Sweet Almond, Camellia and St. John’s Wort), nourishes, repairs and softens skin and hair. It has a unique dry oil texture and a captivating fragrance.”

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Picked by Leah: I’m absolutely obsessed with this oil and its fragrance. Not only does it moisturize, but it’s a great finishing touch on my legs before going out. The perfect amount of shine, without looking like a oiled-up stripper.




L’Occitane Almond Shower Oil

“This shower oil, when in contact with water, transforms into a lavish, softening foam–original and unique in texture–that leaves a satin-like softness all over the body. Enriched with almond oil, it respects the hydrolipidic film and leaves a subtle and mouth-watering scent of fresh almond, for a delightful skin!”

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Picked by Leah: I don’t love all L’Occitane products (at least the scents), but this is one I keep buying over and over. I normally prefer a bar of soap, but this shower gel has me converted. Plus, the smell really is nice, and I’m sucker for that.




La Roche-Posay Anthelios 50 Mineral Ultra-Light Facial Sunscreen Fluid for Sensitive Skin, Water Resistant with SPF 50

“Anthelios 50 Mineral Ultra Light Sunscreen Fluid with zinc oxide is designed for sensitive skin and is formulated with Cell-Ox Shield technology, an exclusive combination of: Mineral Sunscreen with physical sun filters, including Zinc Oxide, at different particle sizes for improved protection and texture; a powerful Antioxidant complex to help protect skin from free radicals caused by UV rays; and all Anthelios sunscreen have been formulated for optimal skin tolerance.”

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Picked by Suzanne:  “I love La Roche-Posay Anthelios sunscreen spray and their sun stick. I carry the sun stick with me everywhere.”





Keep in mind that product prices are less expensive in France, sometimes by a significant amount. For instance, the Nuxe Huile Prodigieuse dry oil sells in the USA for around $45. In France, it’s less than $20, therefore worth stocking up when visiting. Also, if you spend more than €175 at once then you’re entitled to get the tax back, as long as you live outside of the European Union. Ask for a VAT form upon check out and show your passport. My favorite pharmacy is City Pharma in Saint-Germain-des-Prés. Not only is it a five-minute walk from my flat, but the selection is legendary, as are the crowds. Get there early, with list in hand. Happy shopping!

Want more product suggestions? Check out my other article, “11 More Beauty Products to buy from French Pharmacies {or Amazon}”.


12 Beauty Products to Buy from French Pharmacies or Amazon by Leah Walker


Note: There are affiliate links in this post, meaning I make a small commission if you make a purchase through my links. It costs you nothing more, but helps keep me stocked in French wine {and a roof over my head}.

Another Note: Photos of products are property of the respective brands.

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  • Claire
    August 29, 2016

    Hi, I agreed With you the most but you are missing one little thing that I can´t live without is the bottle of rose water. 🙂

    • Leah Walker
      August 30, 2016

      I’ve added it to my list…which seems to be growing by the day.

  • Lisa
    August 29, 2016

    In Paris, my daughter bought a lip balm in the pharmacies that may have been about $10 but we still say it was the best lip balm ever.

    • Leah Walker
      August 30, 2016

      Is it the Nuxe honey? I’ve heard that is incredible.

  • Sarah Bond
    August 29, 2016

    Just LOVE! Love the post, love the comments and love that a luxe travel writer moved beyond food and day spas. Bring on the sunscreen and lightly oiled legs, spring has sprung in NZ and I’m about to melt some plastic on Amazon.

    Love your work as always Leah 😀 ♡♡♡

    • Leah Walker
      August 30, 2016

      “Melt some plastic on Amazon…” That made me laugh so hard. I think I’ll steal that line, if you don’t mind. Let me know what you think of your purchases.

  • Pauline Sinnamon
    March 7, 2017

    Thank you for your post! As a teacher of French who travels to France once a year, your list will save time when I come to Paris. Look forward to reading more! Merci!

    • Leah Walker
      March 8, 2017

      Just the tip of the iceberg. There are so many great products I’ve discovered since writing this post. I should do a part two!


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