By Sarah Jio
French girls have all the luck. They can drink wine and eat croissants and not gain an ounce (allegedly, at least), and they also have access to a smorgasbord of to-die-for skincare products in every corner drugstore. Le sigh.
Since Paris is one of my favorite places on the planet—and the setting for my latest novel – I’ve been fortunate to visit often over the years, and when I do, I always leave extra room in my suitcase for all the French skincare products I plan to cart home.
The good news is that you don’t have to jet-set to Paris to get your hands on the crème de la crème of French pharmacy skincare.
In fact, you can find five of my favorites on Amazon:
Confession: I used to think that facial mists and sprays were completely overrated and unnecessary. That was before I discovered Avene’s Eau Thermale Spring Water.
I went through a period of time (hello, late thirties!) when it felt like my skin was waging war on itself—literally.
It was dry, oily, inflamed, and prone to breakouts—all at the same time. A dermatologist told me about this thermal water spray from Avene, and I’ll admit, I was skeptical—until I tried it, and wow.
Call it French magic—I have no idea—but this cooling mineral water that comes out in the finest, daintiest mist (it doesn’t ruin your makeup) completely disarmed my inflammation and helped heal my embattled skin barrier.
Nowadays, I always take a bottle with me when I travel to blunt the damage of dry airplane air.
There’s a good reason why top makeup artists carry this stuff in their bags—it’s adored by everyone from supermodels to Paris’s in-the-know supermoms, including this Seattle-based mama (who is neither a supermodel, nor Parisian, ha).
Here’s why we all love it: It works!
If you’re anything like me, your skin takes a serious beating in the fall and winter months, when dry, cold air make hydration a must. The year I discovered Embryolisse (in Paris!), I felt like I’d hit the skincare jackpot.
Bargain shoppers, rejoice: It’s like La Mer, but without the hefty price tag.
I consider myself an OG adopter of La Roche-Posay products (AKA: the hardest skincare brand to pronounce).
Before Sarah Jessica Parker and Anne Hathaway became devotees, I was a twenty-three-year-old baby journalist on a business trip to Paris where I bought out an entire shelf of one French pharmacy in the 16th arrondissement (true story).
Fortunately, LRP has made its way to the US (you can even find it at Target!), which makes me happy, because I can now buy my favorite sunscreen while shopping for paper towels and laundry detergent.
While I might have been an early convert to La Roche-Posay, I was a mega-late bloomer to Biotherm.
This giant French skincare brand makes a ton of fabulous products that women rave about, but here’s my fave: their deodorant.
It does the job, while also feeling a bit luxurious (ooh la la!). Fans claim that it both smells divine and provides odor protection that lasts beyond 48 hour. I started using it last month, and I am in total agreement.
My only regret is that I didn’t discover it earlier!
“Obsessed” isn’t a strong enough word to describe my feelings about Ialuset’s luscious cream, which contains a much higher percentage of hyaluronic acid than similar US-made products on the market, making it a screaming deal.
I wish I could say that I discovered this miracle balm in Paris, but, alas, this find is the result of a late-night Google search last year (what can I say, I’m a skincare nut).
Honestly, guys, after two weeks using this cream, my skin looked like a million bucks, and that’s a big compliment for a product that only costs about $20 on Amazon! Fan for life.
Sarah Jio is a journalist and the New York Times bestselling author of 11 novels published with Penguin and Random House Books. To learn more about her work, visit: www.sarahjio.com or www.instagram.com/sarahjio.