The Best French Skincare Brands and What to Buy From Each
We've waxed on about French beauty for years now—researching a French girl's approach to "dieting", the things French women would never do to their hair, the skincare products they love that are available in the states, as well as a conversation with two women of colour on the issues with America's idea of "French beauty". So, yeah, we're into it. And there's just something about French products that keeps attracting us, offering low-maintenance, feel-good formulas and results to match. We set out to find the best skincare brands France has to offer (ones that are available in the U.S., too) and did a lot of testing, trying, and reviewing in order to come up with the cream of the crop.
Below, find our six favourites—picks that have served us for years as well as a few we just discovered. We asked makeup artists, skincare experts, and a few French readers who know their salt in skincare. The result was a list of skincare goods suitable for many different skin types and tones, from acne-prone or combination to dry or sensitive and back again. Below, find your new favourite lot of formulas, all French-born and bred. Keep scrolling for our picks.
Embryolisse Lait-Crème Concentraté ($16)
This cult French moisturizer has exploded in the U.S. over the last few years, gaining popularity with celebs models, editors, and makeup artists alike. "I discovered Embryolisse by seeing it day after day in all of my makeup-artist peers' kits,” makeup artist Afton Williams, who works on campaigns for brands like Wildfox and grooms the likes of Ed Westwick told us. "I tend to avoid trying overhyped products, but I finally took the plunge and bought a small tube of Embryolisse Lait-Crème Concentraté ($16). It was love at first squeeze." The ingredients are great, a blend of shea butter and soy proteins to hydrate and firm, but the genius is in the finish. It offers up a soft-satin glow wherever it's applied.
Embryolisse Creme Anti-Age Global ($90)
Just one look at the ingredients list of this anti-aging cream and you'll be sold—hyaluronic acid, olive oil, shea butter, aloe vera, and vitamin E. It's all so hydrating, nourishing, and plumping, we truly can't stop raving about it. The hyaluronic acid plumps and retains moisture while the olive oil and shea butter moisturize, soften, and keep your skin's lipid barrier in tact. This cream is rich and opulent and feels cushiony on your skin each time you apply. Plus, it firms and smooths fine lines after continued use.
Embryolisse Masque-Creme Hydratant ($35)
If you're looking to revive dull and dehydrated skin (especially during winter), Embryolisse's emollient blend of beeswax, sweet almond, and sesame oils is your golden ticket. It works to rebuild your skin's lipid barrier to lock in moisture while vitamins A, E, and F neutralizing free radicals for a brighter, healthier-looking glow.
Nuxe Huile Prodigieuse Shimmering Dry Oil ($55)
Nuxe's iconic multi-use dry oil has a shimmery counterpart, and it's so good. The formula contains tiny mineral particles to keep your skin glowy, reflecting and catching the light each time you move. A mix of sweet almond, camellia, borage, hazelnut, macadamia, and argan oils. So, yes, it's super hydrating and smells like a dream. Once applied, it goes on with a satin finish without ever feeling greasy.
Avène Thermal Spring Water ($19)
Avène's cult-favorite hydrating mist offers up minerals and silica to reduce irritation and leave behind a soothing barrier of lightweight moisture over your skin. It's great for a mid-afternoon refresh, setting your makeup, or adding a bit of glow before a night out.
Avène XeraCalm A.D Lipid-Replenishing Cleansing Oil ($31)
Use this gentle cleansing oil to calm, soothe, and alleviates irritation on your skin—it's especially helpful for those with atopic dermatitis, eczema, and sensitive skin. The ingredients include AHAs for a gentle exfoliation, castor oil for hydration, as well as amino acids, vitamin E, and antioxidants.
Caudalie's beauty elixir is one of the brand's most-purchased products, and good reason. One spritz of this essential-oil-infused, aromatic complexion treatment and you'll feel as relaxed and radiant as you would on a day to the spa. Rosemary, mint, and rose work together to tone, balance, and soothe your skin while grape extracts clarify and refresh. Beauty Elixir is the ideal setting spray between layers of makeup for a long-lasting and smooth finish, as well as just a quick pick-me-up between the office and a night out.
Caudalie Vinoperfect Radiance Serum ($79)
Caudalie's brightening serum is is one of the highest rated brightening serums on the market, boasting a natural ingredient from grapevine sap that is 62 times more effective at brightening than vitamin C. Its lightweight, satiny formula absorbs quickly and works to fade acne scars, pigmentation, melasma, and sun spots.
Caudalie Premier Cru Eye Cream ($99)
This eye cream targets dark circles, puffiness, and fine lines courtesy of an ingredient called resveratrol, meant to lift and firm, grape seed polyphenols to protect against environmental aggressors, and natural pearlizers and soft focus powders to reflect light and nix darkness under your eyes.
Talika Eye Therapy Patch ($49)
Talika's eye mask features a blend of essential oils including rose, safflower, avocado, and wheat germ to reduce inflammation and puffiness along the delicate skin of your eyes. After 30 minutes, you'll notice a fresher, more awake look and overtime your any lingering fine lines and crow's feet will appear softer. FYI: They're a perfect accessory during a long flight to lock in moisture.
Talika Eyelash Conditioning Cream ($33)
For thicker, fuller lashes (without the hassle of extensions or falsies), Talika created this hydrating formula to soften your lashes while encouraging follicle growth. A blend of nettle, horse chestnut, allantoin, soy lecithin, witch hazel, and apple extract work to lengthen, heal, and restore your lashes to the flirty, fluttery accessories you've always wanted.
Talika Bio Enzymes Purifying Mask ($12)
Talika's one-time-use purifying mask helps to promote a more clear, even complexion in just a few minutes. The formula includes naturally astringent and antibacterial botanicals (like grapefruit oil to minimize pores and balance oil production) as well as peptides, bamboo stem cells, hyaluronic acid, and vitamin E to hydrate and protect your skin.
This post originally appeared on our sister site Byrdie.