Beauty junkies have long worshipped French pharmacies. You’ll find iconic neon green crosses on all over Paris, signaling affordable, effective, and beautifully packaged skin and hair products. Lucky for us, many of France’s most popular brands, like Avéne and La Roche-Posay, have made their way stateside, showing up on the shelves of drugstores like CVS and Duane Reade—no airfare required. Thanks to hard-to-find ingredients, many boast higher price tags than U.S. drugstore brands (though they’re still much less than department store brands), so we asked Paris-based makeup artist and Dior consultant Violette to tell us exactly what to buy.
“I use La Roche-Posay skincare every day,” Violette says. “Many of my favorite products are formulated with thermal water to improve the quality of the skin.” She says every dermatologist she’s ever seen has recommended their products, “I have never been disappointed.” She cleanses with the brand’s Physiological Cleansing Milk ($18), moisturizers with La Roche-Posay’s Hydraphase Intense UV ($35.99) with SPF 20, and reaches for their Toleriane Ultra Intense Soothing Skin Care ($36.99) at night, “It is calming lotion that works well on my sensitive skin.”
Violette favors Klorane and Phyto because they use the best ingredients from nature. “Klorane’s products are made with botanicals and vegan milk,” she says. “The Oat Milk Shampoo ($15) is so good! I also sometimes use their Nettles Dry Shampoo ($15). The benefit of Phyto’s line is that they focus a lot on the scalp which is very important.” She particularly loves their Phytopolléine Botanical Scalp Treatment ($38). “It is 100% natural and acts as a boost to clean up and rebalance the scalp. The Phyto lab and factory are models in terms of environmental protection and ecological ethics.”
“Ducray’s Kelual DS cream ($19) is good for calming redness and flaking,” Violette says.
Violette swears by Granions Sélénium. “Normally you drink it and leave it a few minutes under your tongue, but I apply it on clean skin, before putting on cream,” she says. “It is the best antioxidant that I have found.”
Photo: Alexandra Utzmann
“At night, I also apply concentrated solar-radical vitamins directly on my face and neck to enhance my skin’s natural protection,” says Violette. Jaldes Oxelio Topique Gel ($29) is formulated to minimize the harmful activity of free radicals produced by ultraviolet radiation—and it’s moisturizing.
Violette uses Caudalie’s Deep Cleansing Exfoliator ($35) scrub weekly to improve her skin’s texture.
Avène products are known for their calming and anti-irritant properties. Their Antirougers Calm Soothing Mask ($32) is a favorite.
“I also use only Biocyte Keratin Forte Shampoo ($19.42) and Forte Conditioner ($31),” Violette says. “I am 100% against silicone and I discovered keratin a few years ago; it did an incredible job of rebuilding my hair.”