14 French Beauty Brands I Know You'll Love as Much as I Do
My lifelong quest to become French by association continues. We've already discussed, at length, lesser-known French fashion brands, the timeless pieces in every french woman's winter wardrobe, the trainers they buy en masse, and even their best makeup tips. However, it recently dawned on me that we—or should I say, I?—hadn't yet gotten around to charting my favourite French beauty brands. Let's rectify that, shall we?
As a self-confessed Francophile, I've spent more money on French beauty than I'd care to admit. Still, I consider these to be wise investments, mainly because I've been so impressed by their performance.
Of course, you probably already know of or have used products from the big French beauty brands—Chanel, Givenchy, Lancôme, Dior, Yves Saint Laurent, to name a few—but let's put those to one side for a second. I'm talking about the brands that truly epitomise French beauty; the ones you'll find in small pharmacies.
A good skincare regimen is integral to French women. Generally speaking, they tend to apply their makeup delicately, so clear skin is a must. This is perhaps why there are many excellent skincare brands to choose from over there—not all of which will bankrupt you either. You'll find these in my edit, as well as some less-is-more makeup brands that have that certain je ne sais quoi.
I thought many of my friends would already be well-versed in French beauty. Still, after comparing our skincare routines and beauty bags one evening, I was surprised to learn that none had tried many of what I had considered mainstream and readily available French beauty products. Think the likes of Bioderma's iconic Micellar Water or La Roche-Posay's best-selling Effaclar Duo+, both of which you can pick up in Boots, among other places.
I worry they're not the only ones missing out on incredible (and not to mention affordable) French skincare. So if you too have contemplated picking them up but hadn't yet done so, don't worry—I've slated out the must-buy products for you below. Scroll on to see and shop the French beauty brands I genuinely think are worth knowing.
A fan favourite, French beauty brand Nuxe's dry oils, targeted creams, balms, and universally adored fragrance water are staples on the bathroom shelves of those in the know. As for our editorial director, Hannah Almassi, she can't get enough of the shimmer oil.
Add some shimmer to your face, body or hair!
This sun protecting cream is perfect for sensitive skin.
I've been using Typology skincare for the last six months, and honestly, my skin has never looked better. My ride-or-die buy is its 5% Caffeine + 5% Niacinamide eye serum, with its tinted serum coming up a close second.
This light-weight moisturiser won't leave you feeling oily.
For that no-makeup-makeup look.
The beauty offshoot from Rouje, the Gallic brand created by influencer-supreme Jeanne Damas, Rouje's makeup is undone, effortless, and totally sexy. Lips are the focus, with its quad proving popular as ever. I also hear the mascara works wonders.
4. LA ROCHE-POSAY
La Roche-Posay was my foray into French skincare, and I haven't looked back since. As I mentioned previously, its Effaclar Duo+ face cream is perhaps its most famous product, and for good reason. After just one use, the fine lines that decorate my forehead are gone. My mum has since started using it too and tells me it also does the job on her more mature skin.
This dual action gel de-congests pores and promotes smooth-looking skin.
Swipe on with a cotton pad to remove excess oil, morning and night.
If you're on the hunt for a new cleanser, this is a great place to start.
Our beauty editor Mica Ricketts tells me that many of her beauty-editor pals use Aime's supplements daily. I'm yet to try them for myself, but I'm absolutely eyeing up the French Glow Capsules. Am I that transparent? Yes—unapologetically so.
The pre and probiotics support the skins microbiome, and is gentle enough for the most sensitive skin.
This blend of probiotics will support healthy hair growth and add shine.
Another drugstore discovery, Embryolisse's cult Lait-Crème Concentré is now the stuff of legend. A backstage constant at all the fashion shows, the brand comes recommended by skincare specialists all over the world.
This nourishing moisturiser really does do it all. Use as a moisturiser, primer or makeup remover!
This anti-ageing cream plumps and smooths the skin.
Every skincare routine should start with a sweeping of Bioderma Micellar Water. That's not an opinion; it's a fact. Though the brand has created plenty of skincare products in its time, none are quite as iconic as its pink-topped bottle. That said, there are lots of formulations to choose from depending on your skin type, and although cleansing wipes should only be used sparingly (they are notoriously bad for the environment), Victoria Beckham does swear by Bioderma's wipes. I know it's true—she told me herself.
So many makeup artists I know swear by this.
If they're good enough for VB, they're good enough for me.
If you struggle with dark spots, this micellar water was formulated for that exact problem.
8. BY TERRY
After an impressive career at Yves Saint Laurent, Terry de Gunzburg opened her own beauty laboratory in 1998. The goal? To create a comprehensive range designed to enhance—not detract from—your natural beauty. I've used By Terry products in the past and can confirm they give you that covetable French-girl glow. I also really rate the eye crayons.
A lightweight, fast absorbing formula that will instantly rejuvenate your skin.
This face palette has everything you need to create a glowy look all year round.
This is another French beauty brand I'm yet to try for myself, but I can't tell you how many people have told me how good its eye patches are. Dark circles are my biggest beauty hang-up, but they're said to be no match for these patches. When I finally get around to ordering them, I'm also tempted to order the neck mask, too.
These have been one of Talika's best sellers for the past 15 years.
All the nutrients your skin need delivered in a quick 15 minute mask.
All the key nutrients you need for smooth, hydrated skin.
10. LEONOR GREYL
Ever wondered how French women seem to have great hair? Well, look no further. Perhaps the most decorated haircare range out there, Leonor Greyl has won more industry awards than I can count. With a variety of products that tackle any and every hair stressor, the formulations provide instant and long-lasting results and will grant you gorgeously glossy and lustrous locks without any nasties including silicones, parabens, coal tar, harsh chemicals or sodium lauryl sulphate.
This pre-shampoo treatment adds nourishment and works to protect and detangle.
If you're struggling with fine, limp hair, Leonor Greyl's volumising shampoo is here to save the day.
France's number one dermo-cosmetic brand, Avène makes products that contain spring water, a powerful active ingredient that is naturally soothing and anti-irritating, making it great for anyone with sensitive skin. Although I don't suffer from skin concerns right now, I still use this range, as it makes my skin feel so incredibly soft.
Just one spritz will refresh and smooth.
Ideal for sensitive or irritation-prone skin.
This gently cream will comfort puffy areas and protect the delicate skin under your eyes.
12. LA BOUCHE ROUGE
A relatively new addition on the French beauty scene, La Bouche Rouge has already been picked up by Net-a-Porter and sits in its sustainable category. The brand offers refills on many of its products and has quickly developed a cult following. The mascara is like gold dust right now, so get it while you can.
One of the few mascara's around that is enhanced with nourishing castor oil to encourage eyelash growth and strengthen your lashes.
The brands focus on sustainability extends to this eyebrow pencil, with the lid made from infinitely recyclable metal.
Blend and build for your perfect shape.
Caudalie is another celebrity-loved French beauty brand. It focuses on skincare, and you're sure to find a bottle of its Beauty Elixir in every A-list makeup artist's kit. I know what you're thinking—is it all just good marketing? However, one mist of this spray will instantly rejuvenate your skin, freshen your makeup, and make your complexion look brighter. I'm telling you this is the closest thing to beauty in a bottle.
Use as a refreshing spritz on fresh skin, or a setting spray to keep your makeup last.
This toner is perfect for combination skin.
The first thing I noticed after trying Vichy skincare was how hydrated and plumped my face felt. I'd advise anyone to start with the Minéral 89 Hyaluronic Acid Hydration Booster; it's incredibly gentle, and the formulation instantly quenches your skin.
The 11-ingredient formulation is award-winning.
This serum works to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
This specialist moisturiser promotes collagen production to naturally decrease signs of ageing.
This story was originally published at an earlier time and has since been updated.
Next Up: 15 Skincare Products That Dermatologists Actually Use.
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