A French Girl's Guide to French Beauty

A French Girl's Guide to French Beauty
Like many other French girls, I am obsessed with skincare, haircare and the idea of "effortless beauty." Of course, we all know there is no such a thing as effortless beauty and that your favourite French girl crush most likely didn't wake up like this. Still, no trip back home is ever complete without a visit to my local pharmacie and a suitcase full of my all-time favourite beauty essentials. 

And you're in luck because today, I am sharing with you the products you need to pick up next time you find yourself in France. If my passport wasn't enough to qualify me for the French cool girl card, maybe the content of my beauty bag will? You tell me.


Eau Démaquillante au Bleuet, Klorane :  Put down the Bioderma and pick up this Klorane cornflower-infused makeup remover-meets-toner instead. Cornflower water is known for its soothing and decongesting properties, making this a great product to use on tired, irritated skin and eyes. It's also mildly astringent, meaning it will help tighten your pores and brighten your complexion at the same time when used as a toner. (Available here and here.)

Eau de rose, Sanoflore : A French girl's essential, rose water is great to sooth any skin irritation and calm the skin - it's no wonder Glossier uses it in their now infamous Milky Gelly Cleanser. At around 6€99, it is also ridiculously inexpensive here, so make sure you grab a bottle next time you find yourself near a French pharmacie. (Available here and here.)

Crème lavante Cleanance Hydra, Avène : This cleanser is incredibly gentle, which is probably why most French dermatologists will recommend it to patients who have undergone chemical peels or  any other form of invasive skin treatments. If the regular gel version is easily available in abroad, I have yet to see this mild, hydrating formula anywhere else. I personally use this morning and night and couldn't recommend it enough.  (Available here and here.)

Spray Serozinc, La Roche-Posay : A lot of my friends swear by this facial mist and use it daily, in place of a more traditional toner. Loaded with zinc sulfate, it is a bit of a miracle product for acne-prone skin types since zinc is known to sooth and purify the skin, help fight acne, prevent scaring and tighten pores, while stimulating collagen production and tone down redness at the same time. (Available here, here and here.)

Masque Crème Fraîche de Beauté, Nuxe : This is my all-time favourite hydrating mask, but in fact, I'd highly recommend you check out whole Crème Fraîche de Beauté range next time you're in France. The instructions do say to leave it on for 10 minutes before rinsing it off, but I also like to use mine as a sleeping mask if I'm on a plane for an extended period of time. Just don't forget to wash it off before you land. (Available here and here.)

Lait-Crème Concentré, Embryolisse : This rich, thick moisturizer needs no introduction, but it's good to know that it is generally much, much cheaper on this side of the Channel. It's usually under 12€ here, as opposed to £20 in Boots. Not bad, eh? (Available here, here and here.)

Argile Blanche Surfine, Cattier : I always recommend people pick up some Cattier clay masks when they visit France. At about 3€50 a pop, they are ridiculously cheap, yet extremely effective. I particularly like the pink and white clay version, which are much more gentle than the traditional French green clay most other brands use. And the best thing? These masks now come individually packaged in powder form. Just add warm water and voilà! Perfect if you travel quite often and want to keep on top of your skincare.  (Available here and here.)

Polyphenol C15 Huile de nuit détox, Caudalie : If you're looking for a night oil that will make your skin look brighter and smoother, don't look any further. Once again, it is one of those products that is much cheaper on this side of the pond, so you might also want to stock up. (Available here and here.)

Homéoplasmine : This multi-purpose balm is an absolute must-have for many professional makeup artists and beauty junkies around the globe. Not convinced? You can use it on your lips, on your cuticles and even on your brows if you ever run out of brow gel. It also makes for a great eyeshadow base or highlighter but my favourite way to use it is as a hair pommade. It helps achieve that oh-so-French piecey look while protecting the hair. (Available here, here and here.)



Spray Idéal Soleil, Vichy :  We all know sunscreen sprays are not the most reliable form of sun protection, however this is my favourite product to use to top up throughout the day. It is incredible gentle on my sensitive skin and doesn't leave any tacky, white residue. In fact, the whole Idéal Soleil range is what (sunny) dreams are made of. (Available here, here and here.)

Anthelios 50 Minéral, La Roche-Posay : If you are incredibly sensitive to chemical and hybrid sunscreen, you might want to pick this up next time you are in France. As a matter of fact, this 100% mineral sunscreen relies mainly on titanium dioxide to protect your skin against the sun's harmful rays.. It also layers remarkably well under makeup for a mineral sunscreen and doesn't give off any white cast (on my skin tone at least.) Yes, the other La Roche-Posay Anthelios sunscreens are much easier to find abroad, but trust me, this is the one you need. (Available here, here and here.)

Biafine : Most French households will have a some form of Biafine in their bathroom cabinets. This over the counter healing balm works wonders on cuts, rashes and burns and especially sunburns so repeat after me : "Bonjour. Un tube de Biafine, s'il vous plait." (Available here and here.)

Huile Bronzante visage et corps, Nuxe Sun : If oils are more your thing, then I cannot recommend this Nuxe tanning oil enough. With an SPF of either 10 or 30, this oil is light in texture and definitely helps make the most of the sunshine while still protecting your skin. I personally always carry a bottle in my beach bag. (Available here, here and here.)

Cicabio SPF 50+, Bioderma : Cicabio is a very popular healing cream often prescribed by dermatologists to patients who might have just undergone a laser treatment or a chemical peel for example. This newly released version with added SPF50+ is also perfect for anyone who uses strong retinoids for example. (Available here and here.)

Huile lactée capillaire, Nuxe Sun : Sun exposure, chlorine and even sea salt can all be pretty damaging to your hair so it's important to keep it protected, especially in the summer months. You'll find many French products claiming to do just that but this Nuxe Sun milky hair oil is by far my favourite.  (Available here and here.)

Cleanance Solaire, Avène : Formulated especially for acne-prone skin, this hybrid sunscreen is still very gentle on the skin. And because it doesn't rely on mineral filters to protect your skin, it is incredibly easy to blend and layer under makeup. The fluid, mattifying formula is also perfect to top up throughout the day. (Available here, here and here.)



Masque détox cuir chevelu, Cattier : If you ever felt like your scalp needed a little TLC, then you must pick this up, next time you're in France. The pink clay and lemon-extract in this mask are gentle enough not to disrupt the natural balance of your scalp, while still deep cleansing the skin there. (Available here.)

Shampoing au lait d'avoine, Klorane : Somewhat of a cult product in France and oversea, the Klorane oat milk shampoo is probably the most gentle of its kind. It's especially great if you have bleached or damaged hair. I also highly suggest you pick up the matching conditionner while you're at it. (Available here, here and here.)

Crème d'exception Phytokératine, Phyto : One for colour-treated hair, this creamy serum works wonders on weak, damaged hair. And like most Phyto products, it is a little bit cheaper in France so definitely check it out next time you're visiting. (Available here and here.)

Pâte lavante volumisante, Christophe Robin : I'll be honest here, this cleansing paste by Christophe Robin is nothing but a luxury version of LUSH's Big Shampoo but the smell alone is well-worth the extra euros. It also uses clay and rose extract to lift the roots instead of sea salt, which is a lot more gentle on the hair. If you can't treat yourself on holiday, when can you? (Available here, here and here.)

Bain de brillance haute hydratation, Phyto : Many French women swear by this hair treatment - me included. With a special blend of castor oil and sage, rosemary, juniper and lemon extract, this product leaves your hair shiny and softer than ever. It's definitely something worth picking up if you ever find yourself in France - just don't blame me when you get hooked and end up buying it from Sephora despite the ridiculous mark-up. (Available here and here.)

Masque ultra-réparateur Phytokératine, Phyto : Those who know me will know I am quite partial to the Kerastase Masquintense Riche hair mask, however, this deep-repair mask by Phyto comes in a very close second. (Available here, here and here.)



Eau thermale, Avène : Although not a toner like some claim, many French girls like to use thermal water sprays to cool down and refresh their makeup in the summer months - me included. I particularly like the Avène one, but if you're on a budget, most French supermarkets will also carry their own version for a euro or two. (Available herehere and here.)

Levure de bière : French girls have been using levure de bière a.k.a. brewer's yeast to help boost hair growth, strengthen nails and keep their skin looking healthy from the inside out for years. French beauty is all about fuss-free products - the shorter the ingredient list, the better -, so it comes to no surprise that we love this 100% natural supplement filled with high concentrations of vitamins, minerals and proteins. (Available here)

Progieux, le parfum, Nuxe : This is one of my favourite summer scents and definitely one I don't really see that often in the UK or abroad. If you like sweet, summery scents, definitely give this a smell next time you find yourself in a French pharmacie. (Available here, here and here.) 

Lotion hydratante pour les yeux, Innoxa : According to French magazines, these blue eyedrops have long been used by models and celebrities when they want their eyes to appear brighter. It's definitely something fun to try if you're ever in France and want to feel like a 90s supermodel. (Available here and here.)

Crème pour les mains, Caudalie : This is one of my all-time favourite hand creams, along with the crème pour les mains et ongles Nuxe Rêve de Miel. You'll find little sets with one of those hand creams and their matching lip balm for 5€ or less in most - if not all - French pharmacies and parapharmacies*, which are perfect to keep in your bag at all time. (Available here, here and here.)

Démaquillant yeux précision, Sephora : These cotton swabs are pre-loaded with makeup remover and perfect to use on the go. They've saved me and my winged eyeliner many, many times before. I heard they'd been discontinued in the US but luckily, they're still available in France. If you like them as much as I do, you might want to stock up then! (Available here.)

Baume pour les lèvres Rêve de Miel, Nuxe : This thick, matte lip balm has become a bit of a cult product in the past few years, so much that it is now available pretty much anywhere in the world but it is still a lot cheaper to buy in France. Just make sure to get the one the pot - yes, it might sound a little unhygienic, however, the stick form is nowhere near as good and greatly overhyped in my opinion. (Available here, here and here.)


HONORABLE MENTIONS 


Collosol : a milky cleanser and toner hybrid, which is said to be behind Alessandra Steinherr's flawless complexion. I have yet to try this, but if it's good enough for Alessandra, it's good enough for me. (Available here and here.)

A313 Vitamin A pommade (previously known as Avibon) : Many celebrities, including Gwyneth Paltrow, have gone on the record calling this retinoid cream their holly grail so if you were looking for a cheap alternative to all those retinoid creams and serums, this is it. Why spend over $100 on the Sunday Riley Luna Oil or other retinols when you can find something just as effective for less than 3€ in French pharmacies? (Available here and here.)

Klorane oat milk dry shampoo : Once again, this is a bit of a cult product - both in France and abroad -, but it is in my opinion, greatly overhyped. Still, for a few euros, there is no harm in trying it out and see for yourself. (Available here, here and here.)

Sweet Almond Oil : Most French households will have a bottle of sweet almond oil on their bathroom shelves. It's great to use on your body, your hair, your cuticles or any other dry areas and costs next to nothing in pharmacies and parapharmacies. (Available here.)

Crème Hydratante Ultra-Confort, Rogé Cavaillès : a rich and soothing body butter, which dries almost instantly and doesn't leave any sticky residue. (Available here and here.)

Gels douche Le Petit Marseillais : Maybe not one to necessarily bring back with you, but definitely one to try while in France. These shower gels all smell incredible, are gentle on the skin and only cost a couple of euros at most. (Available here and here.)


Couldn't find anything for you in this list? Check out my previous French beauty round-up here


What products do you swear by? I would love to know what your staple beauty products from your country are!

- Elodie x

IN THIS POST




* For those who are wondering, there are actually two types of places where you can find your usual French beauty brands in France : pharmacies and parapharmacies. Pharmacies sell pretty much everything - from skincare to over the counter medicines, prescription drugs, plasters, etc. As for parapharmacies, they only tend to sell skincare, body care, haircare, essential oils and health supplements. You'll only find non-prescription products in there. Some of them also sell makeup, but not always and when they do, it's usually nothing to write home about. 

How to Spend 48 Hours in Marseille

How to Spend 48 Hours in Marseille

When some of my London friends suggested going to Marseille and the French Riviera for a weekend, I knew I wanted to put my tour guide cap on and introduce them to some of my favourite spots there. And with Marseille being the second largest city in France, there was plenty for me to show them - and you. I really tried to squeeze in as much as possible in the short time we had so I hope you're ready...



WHERE TO STAY 


Hannah, Michelle, Sarah, Sophie and I ended up staying at my parents' house on the Riviera and taking the train into Marseille. One thing to know about the South of France is that the SNCF rail network will take you pretty much anywhere along the coast for about 15€ or less. Trains can be pretty irregular though, so do check the timetable in advance.

Now, you might not think I am the best person to give hotel recommendations since I have never actually stayed in Marseille myself, but believe me when I say I've had plenty of friends and family do and both these places came in highly recommended. First is maybe the best value for your money you'll find in Marseille : Phillipe Starck's Mama Shelter. Still, my personal favourite has to be Casa Honoré, a beautiful Bed & Breakfast bang in the middle of the old town. It doesn't get much better than this, believe me. Of course, you could also go for one of the many beautiful AirBnBs available in the area.


WHAT TO SEE & DO





LE PANIER

Known as the oldest part of town, it is also the most picturesque. Located in the 2e arrondissement, it is the area everyone thinks of when they first book their trip to la cité Phocéenne. If you're anything like me, you'll fall in love with all the little cafés and boutiques around, especially le Bazar du Panier. There's even a museum dedicated to the unofficial sport of the South, pétanque - believe me, it doesn't get more marsaillais than that. When you're planning your day, make sure to leave plenty of time to explore the winding streets of Le Panier and La Vieille Charité, an old almshouse-turned-museum designed by French architect, Pierre Puget. The exhibitions are always on point and the place itself is also well worth a visit (and perfect for an outfit shot, as demonstrated here by Michelle.)




MuCEM 
7 promenade Robert Laffont, 13002

Relatively new to the Marseille landscape, the MuCEM (a.k.a. The Museum of European and Mediterranean Civilisations) is a must-see for anyone in the area. And if the current exhibitions aren't your thing, I still highly suggest you go, if only to walk around the building and enjoy the breathtaking views from its rooftop café and footbridge.




LE VIEUX PORT

Whether you go early in the morning to catch the fishmongers at work or just want to see Norman Foster's L'Ombrière in person, no trip to Marseille is complete without exploring the harbour in the Old Town. And yes, that's what that giant mirrored art installation is called in case you were wondering. Those who aren't too scared of heights will also be able to watch the city from above thanks to the ferris wheel next door.




NOTRE DAME DE LA GARDE
Rue Fort du Sanctuaire, 13281

Notre Dame De La Garde is probably one Marseille's most famous landmarks. Built on the highest natural point in town, the church is said to look over Marseille and its people at all times. It is a little bit of a hike, but it is one of the most beautiful (and iconic) views of the city and a must-see if you've got time. Not so keen to hike up there? Just hop on the 60 bus, which will take you straight to the top of the hill.



LE FOUR DES NAVETTES

Navettes are traditional orange blossom-flavoured biscuits baked in the South of France. They are a real delicacy here and believe me when I say that they don't get much better than the ones from le Four des Navettes, the oldest bakery in Marseille. In fact, they are so good, the local Archbishop comes in every year to bless a batch. Needless to say, those sell like hot cakes - pun intended. The original location is on Rue Sainte, but you can also buy these delicious biscuits directly from their shop in Les Docks de Marseille (pictured here).



LA GRANDE SAVONNERIE
36 Grand Rue, 13002

Le savon de Marseille is a bit of a local pride and joy. It has been traditionally made for over 600 years here, using sea water and olive oil. If you would like to know how exactly, you can actually learn and give soap making a try at La Grande Savonnerie. Or you could leave the experts to it and  just buy a few bars to bring home with you. Either way, feel free to talk to the people there - they are always happy to their knowledge of the traditional savon de Marseille and its history.

CHEER WITH THE LOCALS FOR "L'APÉRO"

French people take l'apéro very seriously, especially in the South. If you're confused as to what "l'apéritif" or "l'apéro" is, it is what the French call gathering around for drinks and nibbles before a meal. On a hot weekend, we're even known to do this twice - once before lunch and once before dinner. If you want to do "l'apéro" like a real Marseillais, order a pastis, a local anise-flavored liquor, or a glass of rosé.


Some more things you might want to do while you're there : go on a boat trip around les Calanques de Marseille, visit the MAMO and La Cité Radieuse Le Corbusier, see what's on at Studio Fotokino, take a day trip to Cassis, watch live music at the Dock des Suds and lay on the beach in la calanque de Sormiou.


WHERE TO EAT & DRINK

CAFÉ POPULAIRE
110 Rue Paradis, 13006

You might have already seen this place pop up on Instagram (#Ihavethisthingwithfloors anyone?) and let me tell you, it's a good one! I particularly love their buffet-style lunch menu where you can choose  from the best organic, local ingredients. It's also a great place to grab a glass of wine or two. Or three... Really, who's counting?



This is definitely a place you will want to come back, time and time again. Not only is the decor oh so "Instagrammable", the food is also ridiculously good, fresh and dare I say... cheap? As a matter of fact a starter, a main, a desert, a coffee and a glass of wine will only set you back a mere 26 euros if you go for their lunchtime deal. It's a real bargain on this side of town, let me tell you! The menu changes daily but that day, I had the cold pea and mint soup to start, followed by the fennel and saffron seabass - which I was told was bought a few hours earlier directly from one of the fishmongers on the harbor across the road. That's how fresh it was! -, and a pistachio and raspberry crème brûlée for dessert.


Vanille Noire is known for their - you guessed it - black vanilla ice-cream. The secret behind the rich, unusual colour? Squid ink. If that's not your cup of tea, you can always go for some of their more "traditional" flavours, like calisson, fig or even olive oil.


CAFÉ DE L'ABBAYE

As I've said, l'Apéro is somewhat of an institution down there, so head over to l'Abbaye early (around 6, 6.30) to make sure you nab yourself a table and blend in with the locals while you sip on a glass of wine and snack on olives. Do I even need to mention the amazing view over the Pharo


AU BOUT DU QUAI

Great views of the harbour, delicious local seafood and a Pinterest-worthy setting - what else could you wish for? If they have it on the menu that day, I highly recommend you try their clam linguine. It's rich, yet incredibly fresh and moorish.


Choose whatever you fancy from the many different stalls in this food court and go sit outside for the ultimate Marseille experience. I personally always get the crudités with anchoïade and tapenade dips to share while everyone decides what they want - and believe me, it can take a while!


Some more places places worth checking out if you have time : Le Carmine (an Italian with a view that also doubles up as the perfect spot for l'apéro), Chez Fanny (for delicious, mediterranean street food), L'Epuisette (for the best bouillabaisse in town), Chez DouceurR2 - Le Rooftop (where you can have everything from a delicious burger to thai food while looking over the Vieux Port), Carry Nation (Marseille's very own Speakeasy.  Just make sure to book ahead or you might never find it) and La Dame Noir VII (a.k.a. where the cool kids have a drink on a Friday night.)

And if don't know what to eat, here are a few local dishes I would recommend everyone tries when in the South of France : bouillabaisse (a luxurious fish stew) ; the humble soupe de poisson, which is fish soup served with croutons and rouille, a very traditional and slightly spicy spread ; the classic moules marinières ; aioli (because dipping veggies, fish and shellfish into a delicious garlic sauce never gets old), fougasse (a delicious flatbread typical of the area,) a classic tian provençal and of course, ratatouille.  Of course, there are plenty of other local dishes to try but if you're pressed for time, I'd start from here. And if you fancy something sweet, don't forget to pick up some calissons, which are traditional sweets from the near-by town of Aix-en-Provence.


WHERE TO SHOP


Marseille is definitely a great place to shop around. You will find most high street brands (including Sephora) at Les Terrasses du Port, as well as many concept store in the near-by Les Docks so if those are what you're after, you might want to make a pit stop after you're done at the MuCEM.

If we're talking street names, Rue Paradis is where you can find local designers like GAS Bijoux or REIKO. If you're after something a little bit more luxurious, head over to Rue Grignan or Rue Saint-Ferréol. After all, Louis Vuitton is a little bit cheaper over here, am I right?


Le Panier also has some great second-hand shops, like Ma Grand Mère Avait les Mêmes, which literally translates to "my grandma had those." There you'll find vintage milk glass from the 60s, 70s crockery and of course, Ricard memorabilia. If you do end up going, I highly recommend you stay for an almond milk matcha latte and have chat with Phil, the owner. He has the best stories and yes, they may sound a little bit exaggerated and over the top but hey, this is what happens when you talk to people who are from Marseille.


For the cool kids out there, you will definitely want to leave some time to explore Noailles, a really cool, multi-cultural part of the city. It's got everything from traditional Tunisian crockery to record shops like Lollipop, Extend & Play and Galette Records. You might also want to walk down the Cours Julien and head to Fietje, a really cool independent craft beer shop where you can get your hands on some local and international brews.


Here are also a few shops I particularly love and would recommend to everyone : Kulte, a really cool concept store ; Epicerie L’Idéal if you want to bring home a little taste of Marseille ; Jogging, a former butcher shop turned concept store and Maison Empereur, the oldest "quincaillerie" in the city, where you'll find anything from vintage-looking lamp fixtures to funky kitchen utensils.




Have you ever been to Marseille? Anywhere you think I should add on my list, next time I'm in the South of France? 

- Elodie x

If you decide to book an AirBnB, don't forget you can get £30 / $37 / 30€ off your first Air BnB stay when you sign up here. Bon voyage!