Sass and the City

The Sassy Guide to French Skincare Gems

French Pharmacy Products

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Hello all! Yes, I know—it’s been ages since I last posted and I’m sure you thought Sass and the City disappeared for good. But fear not! I’m back and sassy as ever. I’ve been trying to juggle all seven of my French classes, in addition to my weekend travels and Modern Family binging.

I’ll delve into all of that soon in future blog posts, but right now I’m going to review my favorite French beauty products. Any skincare enthusiast understands that France is the beauty mecca and that there are countless articles on “the best French pharmacy products.” Seriously, Google that and you’ll find yourself scrolling for ages. So here’s the le vrai lowdown on what your skin needs from France—the good, the bad, and the overpriced! PS- I’m going to link to online stores where you can buy these wonderful products. You can thank me later.


Collosol Cleansing Milk


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Collosol is this super ancient, well-known, beloved cleansing milk. A bunch of past generations have used it and recommend it to their kids even now in 2014—it’s that wonderful. The pharmacist’s face lit up when I asked her about it and she promptly led me to the teeny Collosol section in that glorious pharmacy. Anyway, it’s a super gentle milk formula that smells DELICIOUS. All you do is squeeze some cleansing milk onto a cotton round and then gently wipe your face with it. I was very much hesitant to use a non-rinse cleanser (does it even clean?!), but converted once I tried it. It’s so refreshing and cleansing, all while not drying anything out. I usually use it night after I’ve rinsed my face in the shower and want to moisturize my skin after a long day. TOTALLY worth the 12 euros for a huge bottle.

Bioderma Makeup Removing Wipes


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It’s no wonder why models, makeup artists and French women all rave about this little miracle makeup remover. It’s incredibly effective and gentle, all with the scientific guarantee of a dermatological laboratory. Aka you know you’re getting the good stuff that won’t irritate your face. I’ve only used the wipes so far because I brought some leftover Vichy micellar water makeup remover from home. However, that’s running out and I’m going to buy the Bioderma liquid this week. Here’s a pharmacist pro tip: only use makeup wipes when you’re exhausted and can’t fathom the thought of cotton rounds with liquid. It turns out even the softest, foolproof formulas irritate your poor, overwrought skin. I paid 7 euros for the wipes and will pay about 4 euros for a teeny travel bottle. You can get a double pack of huge bottles for 18 euros! Bioderma also has multiple lines that target specific skin types and concerns, but this sensitive line is universal and bound to soothe any skin.

Embryolisse Lait-Crème Concentré


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Being an addict has never felt so good. This Embryolisse face cream triples as a daily cream, cleanser AND mask. It’s seriously from the gods! It’s a bit on the creamier side for my combination skin, but a light layer works wonderfully at night during the summer and then a thicker layer does the trick in colder weather. I’ve also used it as a mask for dehydrated skin and love it! A little goes a long way and your skin will thank you for pampering it. You can find it in France anywhere between 12 and 20 euros, depending on size, so this price through Amazon is really spot-on.

Sanoflore Rose Ancienne Water Spray


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My love of Sanoflore is no secret—I dedicated an entire post to it! Basically, it’s like having a garden on your face and feeling like a goddess all at the same time. It’s 7 euros for a heavenly, aromatic, ethereal spray that calms your skin and gives you a glow. If I ever recommend a product in my life, it’s this.


Avène Cleanance Masque


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I had high hopes for this acne mask because I read these envy-inducing reviews that proclaimed unbelievable results and also knew that Avène is a reputable skincare brand. Too bad my skin hasn’t reaped the benefits of this scrub. Granted, my skin isn’t ridden with cystic acne or anything crazy, but a girl’s gonna seek perfect skin whenever she can. I do like this mask but wouldn’t pay another 11 euros for it.



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Gotta say I was disappointed here too.  I read everywhere that Biafine was some miracle body cream that healed sunburns, cuts, scars, you name it. Truth be told, it’s not some mysterious, cure-all, miraculous potion. It’s really hydrating and has a nice consistency, in addition to an aromatic scent that grows on you, but it’s nothing to write home about… Ironic, because I’m technically writing home now to my fellow Americans. Anyway, it’s good but not great. I’m gonna try out the celebrated Topicrem next, so here’s to hoping that one works wonders for my dry elbows and tired feet. My Biafine was about 6 euros.




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Some claim it’s like lip chap 2.0, but I highly disagree. Call me old-fashioned, but I’ll stick with good ‘ol Vaseline until the day I die. Homeoplasmine is like a glittery, sticky version of Vaseline that doesn’t do much for any chapped skin. Ugh, this is quotidien sadness at its finest. Good thing it didn’t cost me more than 5 euros.

Avène Thermal Spring Water


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Yes, I used to be a strong supporter of Avène’s thermal spring water. That was until I discovered Sanoflore’s rose water. While I’m sure Avène’s spray still has its promised benefits of restoring pH and adding lost minerals to your skin, I’d much rather upgrade to Sanoflore’s varied floral sprays. However, it is indeed refreshing.

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