The Secrets of the Pharmacie

The nation famous for La Guillotine gives excellent face care. We explore French beauty secrets for Bastille day?

?French women don't get fat? is one of those supposed truths that has us Northern Celts rolling our eyes while significant others watch the beyond sophisticated Eva Greene with teenage boy puppy dog eyes. While we silently fume at the effortless beauty of Marion Cottilard and Juliette Binoche, one cannot deny that our Gallic sisters have nailed flawless skin and deserve some superficial attention. Unlike the Irish propensity to slap on the serum, primer and risk near death by foundation drowning, French women cover the basics with like no other nation. Their best kept secret? La Pharmacie.

Ask any beauty maven about cult skincare products and a waterfall of breathy accented words are sure to follow. In France the pharmacy is queen when it comes to sourcing products and is an endless library of solutions for all complaints. Staff members wear white coats and are trained in all the dermatology know-how. These experts can tell almost everything about skin at one glance.? Think of them as oracles for your pores. Liz Dwyer, Beauty Editor with IMAGE Magazine, says about the French approach, "Like fashion, the French have an innate sense of what works in beauty, they don't do fads or trends,rather they unearth what works best and stick with strict skincare regimes from teenage years to the bitter end. They invest in their skin, like their wardrobe and it seems they split their beauty budget between the spa and the pharmacy, rather than blowing it all on luxury cosmetic halls. This leaves them with more to spend on spa treatments which are the norm for all and facials, body massage and wraps are seen as maintenance, not pampering. Given they've such amazing brands in their pharmacies at supermarket price points, and that their pharmacists are as informed as the best skin specialists, ?the French,once again, have the balance just right."

To celebrate Bastille Day this weekend we take a look at the cult skincare products that reign in la pharmacie. Vive la revolution!

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Mist Yourself
Thermal waters are a big deal in France, and they seem pretty plentiful with a countless numbers of skincare behemoths basing their labs around springs replete with minerals. Face mists are an integral part of the French morning regime and act as a toner. These sprays can be applied throughout the day to freshen up, as well as to set make-up. Thalgo harnesses the properties of therapeutic algae. Uriage is a brand new to Ireland - its slightly higher salt content works well for normal skin. Av?ne Eau Thermale Water Spray is great for irritated skin and is one of many products in that brand's arsenal that has sensitive darlings sighing in relief. Hollywood royalty and recent Dame, Angelina Jolie is a purported fan.

Are chapped lips the bane of your existence? Biafine is another French pharmacy find that is a skincare blessing. This topical cream deals fabulously irritated skin and acts as a salve for burns and scratches. A beach bag must, it's ideal for aftersun and its rich moisturising qualities will make you into an evangelist.

Micellar Waters Run Deep
You say French beauty, we say Bioderma Crealine H2O. This iconic cleanser is a regular at fashion weeks because of its gentle qualities and can be used repeatedly without agitating the skin. Bioderma's micellar properties have earned it a legion of followers who insist on using nothing else - some reports claim a bottle of Bioderma Crealine is sold around the world every three seconds! The tiny micellar particles - some science for you here - get rid of all the grime your face collects throughout the day and sweeps away dead skin every morning. Av?ne and La Roche Posay also have micellar cleansing waters worth checking out. However some people feel miceller waters aren't heavy duty enough so while they cleanse and prep you for moisturiser they won't get that completely stripped clean feel.

All Rounders
When it comes to the big-hitters there's no need to book a plane to Beauvais. La Roche Posay is available is most Irish pharmacies and is a reliable go-to for when you want to treat your skin like a clean living conscientious princess. IMAGE Magazine awarded La Roche Posay Most Innovative Skincare Brand at this year's Business of Beauty Awards. The products are first class and the prices won't give you a headache. The research pumped into La Roche is truly impressive. All skincare concerns are covered and if you're super sensitive you might just have made a lifelong companion after your first encounter. Their Rosaliac reduces redness and its green moisturising solution soothes away most worries. Effacular H is also a great product for problem skin and comes highly recommended for people on Roaccutane as it contains renewal qualities for highly fragile skin.
Meanwhile Vichy has Normaderm 3-in-1, an ideal product if the cost of an exfoliating facial is out of bounds. This cream/scrub/mask clears away the daily debris that city living accumulates but is a bit much for highly sensitive skin. An Image.ie favourite also comes from Vichy - we're huge fans of their Idealia Life Serum and Idealia BB Cream.

To buy some of these products online check out escentual.com or your local pharmacy. Bon chance!

Jeanne Sutton @jeannedesutun

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