A little while ago we brought you a selection of the beauty products that Aussie’s swear by, courtesy of antipodean Ladylanders, Emma and Selina. Now it’s time for our continental contingent, Clem and Margherita, to share their best beauty imports from the eponymous pharmacies of France and Italy − from face cream to painkillers − just in time for your next mini break…
CLEM’S TOP PICKS
French pharmacies are the best (much better than Boots in my humble opinion), so I always do a proper shop before coming back to London. Alongside the classics you’ve probably already heard of, think Bioderma Sensibo H20 Micellar Water and Klorane Dry Shampoo, here’s what I always stock up on when I’m home.
1. Caudalie products − I like everything but especially like their Thé Des Vignes shower gel, I love the scent! You can get it here but it’s much cheaper in France, and usually on offer too.
2. I can’t survive summer without Huile Au Monoi Polysiane, literally. It gives your skin a beautiful glowy quality (great with a tan) and smells divine, like a tropical holiday.
3. For really dry, aggravated skin which I often get in winter I rely on Avene Cold Cream, not as an overall face cream, but for those desperately dry patches, like around your nose when you have a cold or as a night cream (NB. it’s super rich so less is more).
4. Every dermatologist I have ever been to prescribes Ictyane Face Cream by Ducrey. It’s a very simple, no frills mosturiser but it has a great texture, doesn’t leave you shiny and is great both for dry skin and acne prone.
5. I don’t know why, but Doliprane Effervescent Pain Killers (1000mg) are the best headache pain killer I know! We buy 5 jumbo packs every time we go to France and my husband Neil always requests our French visitors bring more if we run out. They’re a lifesaver for hangovers.
6. Children’s paracetamol in suppository form. Don’t be squeamish, this is by far the best way to give a painkiller to a screaming, sometimes puking baby. I have never managed to give a full dose of Calpol to any of my kids before the age of 18 months. You can get these in England on prescription but in France you can get them over the counter, so I always bring some back.
MARGHERITA’S TOP PICKS
1. Connettivina is a product I make sure I’m well stocked up with at ALL times. I absolutely love it! It’s colourless, odourless and feels really fresh (well, I always buy the gel version, because it’s refreshing and agrees better with my combination skin, but if you have dry skin, try the richer cream version). It’s developed to speed up cell regeneration after minor burns, abrasions and scarring and is a pharmaceutical grade product, not cosmetic, which means it’s made to reach the deeper layers of your skin. But the BEST thing is that for every 15g, there are 30mg of hyaluronic acid – a naturally occurring skin plumper and hydrator found in all anti-ageing creams. And every tube is just 10€! Can you believe it? I use it every morning, mixing it up with a normal moisturizer in equal parts. It’s my best kept secret. I’ve also been told it works wonders on nappy rash too.
2. Rilastil crema giorno (day cream) is another incredible product made by a brand famous for its pharmaceutical heritage. Good for all skin types, and as a base for make-up, it protects and tones the epidermis (upper layer of the skin). It’s a bit pricey, but a tube will last you ages as you only need a tiny amount each day to make your skin look supple and alive. Plus, it’s based on years of award-winning research, not a cheesy marketing campaign, so I don’t feel like a total sucker buying it.
3. I also rate Helan – they’re against animal testing, don’t use heavy minerals, petroleum derivatives, preservatives, parabens or colorants, and try to use organic and natural ingredients at all times. They also have recycling/reusing and renewable energy policies. Their Capelvenere balsamo volumizzante (Maidenhair Fern volumising conditioner) is the only volumising conditioner I’ve found which doesn’t make your hair feel heavy or plasticky, and instead leaves it soft and bouncy. It’s made with jojoba oil and extracts of baobab and Maidenhair Fern.
4. Cicatrene is another product I can’t seem to do without. A mild antibiotic powder (it comes as a creme too, see above) to apply straight on wounds and abrasions, or even on simple skin breakouts. It prevents infections and helps your skin fight bacteria and therefore, heal faster. Plus, it dries out the wound quickly and reduces swelling. Handy if you, or any of your kin, are accident-prone.