One treat of living abroad was having access to the exceptional yet generally well-priced skincare and haircare products that you could score at the local pharmacy, which, at least in Lyon, had the air of a sophisticated department store and was occasionally and unapologetically closed at what I perceived to be odd hours. I specifically recall a handwritten note on the glass door of the pharmacy on Rue Victor Hugo in Lyon: “Fermeture exceptionelle,” with no explanation following, at 2 p.m. on a Saturday. I immediately conjured a maudlin tale of familial illness or bereavement but was at the same time baffled by this seeming lack of professionalism. It was, after all, unthinkable that a CVS would be closed at 2 p.m. on a Saturday in America. I came to appreciate this slender cultural difference, as it reminded me, in its various permutations, that people make the world go around. And so though I would often writhe against the inconvenient reality that certain shops would be closed for the lunch hour, or certain bureaucratic offices would be open only on the obscure third Thursday and second Tuesday of the month, I was also never more aware of a shared humanity: we all fall ill, we all eat, we all sleep, amen. At any rate, lucky for us, many of the items I discovered back then and in the years following are now available for purchase online, often with free shipping. Sharing a few of my favorites and some items with proper cult-followings that I have yet to try…
BIODERMA MICELLAR WATER (SUPER GENTLE WAY TO REMOVE MAKEUP, CLEANSE, AND TONE – 15% OFF WITH CODE BESTYOU)
EMBRYOLISSE (PEOPLE *DIE* OVER THIS MOISTURIZER/PRIMER — I FOUND IT A BIT THICK FOR MY NEEDS, BUT DEF WORTH A SHOT GIVEN ITS CULT FOLLOWING STATUS AND AFFORDABLE PRICE)
CAUDALIE ELIXIR (TRULY ADDICTIVE – GREAT FOR SETTING MAKEUP, REFRESHING SKIN, ETC)
MARVIS TOOTHPASTE (FANTASTIC AND IMAGINATIVE FLAVORS — 15% OFF WITH CODE BESTYOU; NOTE THAT EUROPEAN TOOTHPASTE DOES NOT FOAM LIKE AMERICAN ONES DO)
CURAPROX TOOTHBRUSHES (LE BEST — THE HEXAGONAL HANDLE MAKES IT EASY TO ANGLE IN YOUR MOUTH; THE SOFT BRISTLES DO NOT SCRAPE ENAMEL OF TEETH!)
LA ROCHE POSAY FLUID SUNSCREEN (HAVE WORN THIS DAILY FOR YEARS NOW — BLENDS RIGHT IN WITHOUT LEAVING WHITE CAST)
AVENE LIGHT MOISTURIZER (SWEAR BY THIS FOR SUMMERTIME)
NUXE DRY OIL — SO MANY FRENCH WOMEN SWEAR BY THIS MULTI-PURPOSE OIL (FOR FACE, BODY, HAIR)
NUXE LIP BALM — LOL AT THE DESCRIPTION: “A PARISIAN WOMAN NEEDS PERFECTLY SMOOTHED LIPS TO ASSUME HER KISS REPUTATION”; BUT SERIOUSLY, THIS GETS INCREDIBLE REVIEWS AND DOUBLES AS A CUTICLE CREAM
COMPAGNIE DE PROVENCE SAVON MARSEILLE — BEAUTIFUL HAND SOAP IN GREAT SCENTS
HOMEOPLASMINE — FOR EXTRA DRY SKIN/ULTRA-CHAPPED LIPS (APPARENTLY IN EVERY FRENCH MAKEUP ARTIST’S ARSENAL)
VICHY VITAMIN C SERUM — CURRENTLY USING MYSELF; I FIND IT DIFFICULT TO APPLY BUT SEEMS TO BE ACHIEVING THE INTENDED RESULT OF BRIGHTENING SKIN JUST AS WELL AS OTHERS I’VE TESTED!
VICHY SERUM AMPOULES — PEOPLE LOVE THIS ALL-AROUND HYDRATING AND ANTI-AGING SERUM (READ REVIEWS!)
AS AN ALTERNATIVE, CAUDALIE’S VINOPERFECT SERUM GETS STRONG REVIEWS
P.P.P.S. Thoughts on “Emily in Paris” — a total daydream of a show that sparked quite a bit of controversy.