K-beauty may be taking over the world as we speak, but there’s just something about French beauty brands that we can’t quite get enough of. Surely, you wouldn’t have missed cult-loved ones such as Avene, La Roche-Posay, Bioderma, Vichy, Nuxe, and Klorane when you flip the pages of glossy magazines or shop in malls. Here, we round up ten other French beauty brands that deserve a place on your vanity and the best-selling product you should buy from each.
1. Biologique Recherche
Founded in 1978 by Yvan and Josette Allouche (a biologist and physiotherapist, respectively) and continued today by their son, Dr. Philippe Allouche, Biologique Recherche has formulated a cult following thanks to its lineup of genuinely effective clinical products that help rebuild clearer, firmer, and softer skin. However, unlike other French beauty brands, Biologique Recherche cannot be found in your local pharmacy or Sephora. Their professional products are only sold by spas and aestheticians. The brand’s P50 is by far its most well-known and most beloved product. The chemical exfoliator is designed to get rid of dark spots, acne, regulate sebum and impart an overall glow.
Price on application, click here for stockists in Singapore
What could be more quintessentially French than a skincare that uses the benefits of red wine? Founded in 1993 by Mathilde Thomas and her husband Bertrand at her parents’ vineyard in Bordeaux, Caudalie harnesses the anti-ageing powers in the active ingredients found in the entire grape plant – polyphenols from the seed, viniferine from the sap, resveratrol from the vine and grape water from the fruit – to brighten the complexion and help reduce dark spots or fine lines. You’ll also be happy to know that Caudalie is the largest-contributing “1% for the Planet” member, in which the company has given 1 per cent of its turnover to support the movement’s reforestation efforts since 2012.
Try the Premier Cru The Cream, which is a moisturiser that’s made to address all signs of ageing skin — peptides improve collagen synthesis, resveratrol helps lift and firm skin, potent antioxidants combat free-radical damage, while grape and sesame seed oil nourish and hydrate skin.
$175 for 50ml, from Sephora
3. Yves Rocher
For sixty years, Yves Rocher researchers have been hard at work on the company’s 100-acre organic farm in La Gacilly, Brittany creating a variety of skincare formulas that respect the skin and the environment. Not only does it pride itself on not engaging any middleman (the company owns all of its flower fields, manufacturing facilities and retail stores), the brand is also certified by Ecocert and is a carrier of the Cosmebio label, which guarantees that the cosmetic products carrying this are truly natural and organic.
The Elixir Jeunesse Double Action Essence is a serum that fights against free-radical damage caused by pollution such as blue light, fatigue and stress to prevent signs of premature skin aging.
$59 for 30ml, from Yves Rocher
4. Institut Esthederm
We’re going to go out on a limb here and say that the brand’s sun care range may be the sole reason French women always look perfectly sun-kissed. By activating the skin’s natural pigmentation process, the sunscreen formulas encourage a natural, faster-forming tan that lasts while helping to stave off effects of sun damage thanks to the brand’s patented Global Cellular Protection Technology. One such product is the Adaptasun Protective Body Lotion – Moderate Sun, which has a creamy milk texture that spreads easily on skin.
£44.50 (S$76.80) for 200ml, from Escentual.com
Born in the Ardeche region in the south of France over three decades ago, Melvita takes pride in all of its certified-organic formulas that are free from preservatives, emollients, surfactants, mineral oils, silicones, and anti-perspirants. Like Yves Rocher, the brand is also certified by Ecocert and carries the Cosmebio label. You can check out the brand’s flagship boutique at ION Orchard or shop at its online store come this August. One of its best-selling products to try is the Damask Rose Floral Water, which revitalises, hydrates and tones skin.
$48 for 200ml, from Melvita Singapore’s online store and boutique at #B3-37 Ion Orchard
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6. Leonor Greyl
When it comes to French haircare, Leonor Greyl is the brand to have. Ask any French woman and she will tell you that you can’t go wrong with any of the products, which is formulated with natural and botanical ingredients, but we especially adore the L’Huile de Leonor Greyl Treatment Before Shampoo. It’s a pre-shampoo treatment that smells like heaven in a bottle and is capable of transforming even the most straw-like strands into a smooth, gorgeous mane.
$71 for 95ml, from Escentials
Founded back in the 1920s by one of the first female doctors, Nadia Payot, the brand marries advanced technology with potent actives to meet every beauty concerns and needs. It is also known for its signature 42-movement massage that’s inspired by the art of dance and is still part of the Payot facial experience today. A must-try is this 70-year-old cult classic, the Pate Grise L’Originale, that has become the French woman’s secret for clear, blemish-free skin.
$53 for 15ml, from Facial Point.
Created in 1964 with the goal to develop high-quality algae-based beauty products, the brand has pretty much been a staple on French vanities since. Working together with top scientists and researchers, Thalgo has identified and extracted over 50 marine actives to manufacture formulas that are packed with marine effectiveness but also provide a pleasant sensory experience. The Reviving Marine Mist has marine minerals (of course) to help skin fight off skin damage caused by stress and pollution.
$45 for 150ml, from Lazada
Talika has been a French beauty essential since its inception in 1948 but everywhere else in the world, it’s still flies under the radar. Steeped in history, the specialist skincare brand created its now-legendary lash growth treatment and is one of the first to launch light-based beauty devices. It also introduced a washable, reusable eye contour mask in 2001 called the Eye Therapy Patch. The mask has garnered a celebrity following, including Eva Longoria, Brooke Shields and Missy Elliott. Infused with ceramides and shea butter for hydration and a blend of botanical oils, regular use of the eye mask will rejuvenate your undereye area and erase signs of stress and fatigue so you look more bright-eyed.
$89 for six patches, from Zalora
10. Pharma Developpement A313
Created by Pharma Developpement, A313 is a pharmaceutical-grade vitamin A sold over-the-counter in France, and if you ask us, it’s one of the country’s best kept beauty secrets. The great thing about A313 is the amount of vitamin A it contains is low enough that it doesn’t cause the flakiness of typical Retin-A creams, but strong enough that you’ll notice a difference. Fans of the product claim it gets rid of fine lines and wrinkles, pigmentation, acne, blackheads, oily skin, and even helps reduce the appearance of large pores.
$20.89, from Amazon
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