International Beauty Report: French Faced

They say that French women don’t get fat. But living in Paris has led me to believe that it is also true that French women don’t get blemishes, wrinkles or flaky skin. I’ve discovered their secret, and it’s very simple. They use French beauty products. Unlike the U.S., the EU has very strict rules on chemicals used in the production of makeup and skincare products—think no parabens, sodium laureth sulfate or petroleum. Thus inexpensive brands sold at the drugstore can be highly effective and may work even better than their overpriced department store rivals.

On my first visit to a French pharmacie I felt like doing a little dance of happiness when my eyes alighted on shelf after shelf of alluringly packaged beauty products, each an elegant mystery that was waiting to be unlocked. Two of my favorites may not seem that glamorous, but they have worked wonders on my dry, winter chapped skin.

The La Roche-Posay Cicaplast Baume B5 is a velvety cream that, I’m told, is used by French celebrities, models and makeup artists as a primer or as a skin healing balm. This jack-of-all-trades moisturizer works equally on acne prone skin as it does on dry flaky skin, because its ingredients (including copper, zinc and manganese) promote the regeneration of skin cells. I’ve been using it for a week, and the flaky patches around my nose and eyebrows have diminished significantly. Très magnifique!

Homeoplasmine is what I consider to be the chic foreign cousin of Vaseline. This homeopathic ointment can be used for dry skin, sunburn and windburn, but it’s most sought after as a decadent lip balm that is purported to turn even the most flaky and chapped of lips back into their soft and sensuous selves once again. Gwyneth Paltrow is a huge fan, and makeup artists the world over rave about the all-purpose beauty balm. I’m not a makeup artist, or a celebrity for that matter but I too know a can’t-live-without skincare product when I see one. 

Happily, you don’t have to travel to France to score these products. They’re now available on Amazon.