French Pharmacy Talk

Welcome to the article that will probably drive away any potential male visitor of this blog. Now, this is not because we’re going to talk about some sort of outrageous topic.

It is rather inoffensive, so not to create any artificial suspense, here it is: cosmetics. It’s not any type of cosmetics, though; it is French cosmetics and if that’s of any kind of interest to you, Mr. Visitor, you are welcome to read along.

In the weeks leading up to our vacation on the French Riviera (of which I’ll write more really soon if my proverbial writing laziness doesn’t strike again), I spent some time reading about all things French. About the places we were going to see, of course, but other than that main things popping up were these: French girls’ style and French pharmacy cosmetics. The former prompted me to do some wardrobe reorganization (and yes, some shopping too), but it’s the latter that I’m going to give some details on now.

According to endless articles in countless publications, French pharmacy products are this kind of Holy Grail of cosmetics: they’re simple, efficient and reasonably priced. To be fair, we do have access to a lot of these in Romania, as pharmacies stock quite a few of the French ranges and we must admit that they’re good products, with a price tag that’s most of the times significantly below the upper brands. So I wasn’t really finding anything new, but what kept me really hooked on reading this kind of stuff was that vibe that you got, sort of “dab this on your face and you’ll instantly be transformed into a diaphanous, effortless, chic and smart beauty”. You know, the French thing😊

Anyway, what I’m trying to say is that, arriving in France, my quest was to buy and try the products that are not available at home or, at least, those I haven’t used before.

Enter Embryolisse Lait – Crème Concentre, that’s been around since forever and that everybody still swears by. And by everybody I mean not only the chic French ladies of nowadays, but their mothers and grandmothers and entire families and – and this is the unexpected punch – make up artists everywhere. Or something like that.

This is supposed to be the epitome of all moisturizers ever, that triples up also as a primer, mask and face cleanser. So I put it to test. And my verdict is that it’s good, but I don’t see it as an everyday product as I find it much too heavy. If I put this on my face and wear it as an everyday moisturizer, I’ll feel like I’m carrying a bucket of grease on myself. And if you think that you might feel the same when it comes to a heavy moisturizing product, I would recommend using it mainly as a night time cream.

But. Yes, there is a but and a big one, simply because this is what made me realize why everybody raves so much about Embryolisse. I read in one of the articles that one use for it – and that’s some kind of a beauty insider tip – is to mix a little bit of the cream with your usual foundation. And so I did. And voila, the mystery is solved. IT IS GORGEOUS. It gives that sort of dewy sheen that looks totally effortless and, ironically, doesn’t feel greasy at all.

The only trick is to use just a little bit of it and, of course, to be prepared for your foundation to be thinned out, allowing your skin to be seen through. That’s not a problem for me, as I prefer light coverage (let’s all praise Lisa Eldridge for showing us that, when it comes to makeup, less is indeed more), but if you prefer a more full-on coverage, just thought it useful to mention this.

Which brings me to the second wonder product that I bought. And, yes, I know that I spoilt any accumulating tension exploding in a big reveal, but, you see, this one is good too. And the funny thing is it isn’t even a cosmetic product. I’m talking of Biafine, a lotion that French people stock on in order to treat minor skin burns. Nothing fancy, you will use it probably if you spent too much time in the sun.

But it seems that somebody, at some moment, used it as a moisturizer. And a primer. And lip balm. And who know what else and apparently it worked wonders for everything.

For me, it worked wonders for my sun burnt skin (even though sun burns are quite a waste on me as I’ll be as white as before when they heal up) and as a moisturizer and moisturizing mask. Which is no small thing for a 186 g tube – Heaven knows how they came up with this quantity – that costs 6 euros.

…and that’s something I really didn’t want to share, but here it goes. When I was looking for Embryolisse, I first saw the tube in a Monoprix shop, with a 13 euros price. We were in Nice that day and I said I’ll buy it another day from Antibes or Juan les Pins, where we stayed. A few day later I entered a pharmacy in Antibes and it cost 16 euros. So I said no, that’s too expensive. Looked in a few more pharmacies, they didn’t have it…and at last I found one that did. And when I payed for it, it turned out it was 21 euros, but I took it because I haven’t asked before and it felt quite awkward to say I don’t want it anymore. And then I was pissed off for paying too much for it😊

Ok then, one last thing I want to share on this. One review I came across was complaining about the fact that they both contain mineral oil, which is another way of saying liquid paraffin. As this is obtained from petroleum, there is this debate that it isn’t safe to use. Digging more into the topic, the conclusion would be that it is definitely safe to use, as cosmetic grade products derived from petroleum have nothing to do with what we understand as fuel and such. Still, paraffin doesn’t have any moisturizing quality in itself, what it does is to form a barrier that keeps moisture in. Admittedly, that can also contribute to clogging your pores, so in the end, it is up to you if you’re ok with using a product containing mineral oil.

And since we’re on the topic, I found this website, which is a cosmetic database where you can check how clean and healthy your favourite cosmetic products are.

Give it a try and let me know what you think.

Comments (1):

  1. Petra

    October 30, 2019 at 10:00 am

    Oh nice! I will definitely try out the suggested website as well


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