A Parisienne might appear nonchalantly bare-faced (save for a swipe of red lipstick or slash of black eyeliner), but don’t be fooled into thinking her makeup minimalism extends to the rest of her beauty regimen. Her impeccable skincare routine, in fact, is what allows her to get away with going sans maquillage. Great skincare is accessible for all Parisiennes, because the pharmacies are treasure troves of salon-worthy formulations at supermarket prices. So if you want one of the most covetable of all Parisians souvenirs — a clears complexion — make sure to add a pharmacy to your shopping itinerary.
For the record, the best one in town — in terms of range as much as price point — is City Pharma (26 Rue du Four 75006; closed Sunday). Just try to get there when it opens (08:30 all days except for Saturday, when it’s 09:00), because the crowds of beauty-loving tourists can get rather overwhelming. And take the following list to make your shopping mission a little smoother …
BioDerma Sensibio H2O
This water-free makeup removing solution has a cult following for good reason: it whisks away makeup, without stripping skin of protective oils. It’s particularly perfect if you live in a city where the tap water has high calcium levels.
Vichy Minéral 89 Daily Booster
Rich in hyaluronic acid, this serum-gel drenches skin with moisture for a visibly plumping effect and pampering feel.
Embryolisse Lait-Crème Concentré
It’s a mainstay among makeup artists for its foundation-priming ability, but this silky cream is, above all, a crowd-pleasing moisturiser, delivering a serious dose of hydration that leaves skin feeling supple all day long.
La Roche-Posay Anthélios
There’s little point going to any skincare effort if you don’t protect your skin with good sunscreen — and the La Roche-Posay range is about the most effective, and most pleasing to wear, you’ll find.
Caudalie Eau de Beauté
Laced with grape seed extract, this lovely mist can be used to set makeup, or else give your complexion an energising boost whenever needed.
A solid version of the top-selling multi-purpose Homéoplasmine ointment, to soothe and soften chapped lips.
Avène Cold Cream Hand Cream
The rich formulation is quick to sink in, and the soothing effects are felt almost instantly. A must for every Vanessa Bruno or Hermès tote.
Nuxe Huile Prodigieuse
This use-everywhere dry oil was one of the first of its kind, and is still one of the best. The feel-good summery scent is a winner, too.
Klorane Shampooing Sec
Parisiennes are known for their undone, ‘I just woke up this way’ hair; this dry shampoo spray is one of their secrets, helping to enhance natural texture, and extend days in between hair washing while keeping excessive scalp oils in check.
Roger & Gallet Savon Parfumé
This whimsically olde-worlde French beauty brand sells gorgeous body oils and lotions, but don’t go past its prettily wrapped scented soaps (fig, rose, lavender, to name a few). They make for gorgeous gifts, but save some for yourself, as they’ll scent your drawers beautifully, the aroma reminding you of Paris on a daily basis.