The French know a thing or two about beauty, and skincare junkies have long been zipping over on the Eurostar to stock up on niche brands that aren’t available here.
But with two new ranges from across the Channel arriving in shops this spring —Absolution and Visoanska Paris — and a host of cult pharmacy lines available in the likes of Boots and Space NK, you can get your French fix without leaving the country.
Here, we reveal our pick of the best Gallic beauty buys:
Bonjour beauty: Products favoured by the French are making their way to shops here this spring
Absolute treat: Absolution's La Creme du Jour is full of antioxidants
What makes this brand unique is that it is not only organic, but unisex.
We love the bespoke element — you can add drops of specific skin-boosting concentrates to the different ranges to suit your skin type.
The hero product is Absolution La Crème du Jour (£49, beautique.com), a day cream high in antioxidants, such as green tea and calcium, aloe vera to hydrate and restructure the skin and mica, which is a natural mineral sunscreen.
The packaging looks great, too.
Developed by Elizabeth Visoanska, this award- winning skincare line counts Hollywood star Angelina Jolie among its fans, and has a well-deserved reputation for its innovative anti-ageing products.
It’s claimed that 93 per cent of the ingredients come from natural sources, with a dash of biotechnology for added oomph.
Specialising in haircare for more than 30 years, Klorane has products to suit every type, tackling specific conditions such as scalp problems.
Products are packed with pure plant extracts and one of the best-sellers is the Dry Shampoo with Oatmilk (£7.50, johnlewis.com).
Fans include Britney Spears, Kate Moss and Gwyneth Paltrow, who recently raved on her blog: ‘This stuff’s great when your hair needs a little spiffing up, especially if you want to maintain a blow-dry.’
It’s the stuff lazy girls’ dreams are made of.
Celebrity favourites: From left: Visoanska Formule Anti-Age Optimale, Klorane Dry Shampoo and Avene Eau Thermale Water Spray
EAU THERMALE AVENE
Nestled in the French village of Avene, the Saint Odile spring was discovered to have therapeutic properties in 1743. Since 1900, these have been used to create products for sensitive, intolerant and allergic skins.
The number one skincare brand in France, the range has something for every skin complaint — from acne to rosacea — but its sell-out product is the hydrating Avene Water Spray (£6.50, Boots).
As the water dries, it leaves a film of silica on the skin, softening and protecting the surface and leaving it feeling fresh and comfortable.
Model-turned-celebrity-TV-cook Sophie Dahl wouldn’t dream of going on a long-haul flight without it.
Sell out: Melvita's Naturalift Youthful Skin Cream
When it comes to natural skincare, it doesn’t get much greener than Melvita, founded in 1983, deep in the French countryside on a bee farm, by the biologist Bernard Chevilliat.
He quickly realised the cosmetic value of wax and honey and concocted a blissful beauty range.
The sellout product is the Naturalift Youthful Skin Cream (£30, melvita.co.uk), formulated with oligo peptides, extracted from hibiscus seeds, to help protect the collagen and elastins in the skin, and argan nut proteins for tightening and firming.
These ingredients are blended with powerful antioxidants from alpine buddleia and wild beech buds, rich in flavonoids and polyphenols, to protect the skin against free radicals.
No wonder it’s a favourite of Oscar-winning actress Marion Cotillard and supermodel Eva Herzigova.
Watch out for the much-hyped new Bio-Excellence line.
Soothing: La Roche Posay's face cream
LA ROCHE POSAY
La Roche Posay’s celebrity fan base reads like a Who’s Who of red carpet celebrities, with everyone from Cate Blanchett and Anne Hathaway, to Diane Kruger and Gossip Girl’s Leighton Meester passionate devotees of the brand.
La Roche is so gentle it’s recommended by more than 25,000 dermatologists worldwide.
The key ingredient is selenium-rich spring water from a thermal spring in the village of La Roche-Posay in the French region of La Vienne.
The hero product is the Lipikar Baume AP (£11.50, stockists: 0800 055 6822), a fragrance and paraben-free cream designed for dry and irritated skin.
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