I’ve just come back from a tiny lovely trip to Paris, where I totally indulged my skincare shopping issues all over town. For the most part, it’s just not as fun any more – thanks to the current exchange rate & the general excellence of Escentual.com’s regular 1/3 off French Pharmacy it’s now often actually cheaper and certainly easier to find the majority of French products in the UK than it was a few years ago, so I really didn’t buy as much as I would have previously – only if it was definitely cheaper or unavailable over here.
So a little run-down of what I bought, and where I bought it!
What I bought…
La Roche Posay Effaclar Duo Unifant – brilliant product – a skin-clearing (containing Salicylic Acid & Niacinimide), great smelling tinted moisturiser I use every day. EUR12.99 so just cheaper than the cheapest current UK price of £12.38.
Caudalie Gentle Conditioning Shampoo – one of my top two SLS free shampoos (the Vichy Dercos Ultra Soothing is cheaper to buy on offer in the UK than in France), this is so much more expensive in the UK (£11.50 compared to the EUR5.60 I paid in Paris) – and French sites now won’t ship Caudalie outside of the country so it had to be purchased!
Caudalie Cleansing Care Oil – mini size, total impulse purchase but will be perfect for travelling.
Sanoflore Aciana Botanica Make Up Remover Oil Jelly – bio brand Sanoflore is the one brand it’s really difficult to get in the UK (I’ve only found it on French websites which do ship here) – I wish they would start to stock over here, and they’re owned by L’Oreal so there’s no reason not to! I’m a big fan of their Acqua Magnifica range for oily/combo skin but this cleanser is my total favourite – a beautiful scent and gorgeous melty texture as the gel turns into oil and wipes away all makeup, leaving skin extra soft.
Sephora Almond Foot Mask – the Sephora own brand masks are great, and after my day of walking 18km in sandals that hadn’t been worn in a year this was just delicious.
What I didn’t buy was a L’Oreal Color Riche lipstick in the shade Coral Red – the shade isn’t stocked in the UK so I’m going to have to head to Amazon for it, as it was EUR 14.99 in Monoprix, compared to the same range being £6.99 in Boots! Not always cheaper in the country the brand’s from…
Where I shopped
It’s really quite sad that a trip to Sephora is just not as exciting as it used to be – I’m no longer bothered that they’re not in the UK and that isn’t something I ever thought I’d say! It’s still a lovely shiny shopping experience and somewhere that’s really easy to spend a lot of time testing, but the only things you’ll find in European Sephoras that you can’t now buy in the UK are their own brand and the selection of minis (which admittedly are both great). But still, I’d never leave it out. There are Sephoras all over town – I went to the Rue de Rivolis branch, but the Champs Elysee & Haussmann branches are also pretty large (I think the Champs Elysee is the flagship).
City Pharma – 26 Rue du Four
Well, I wouldn’t quite say shopped… I wasn’t going to go to City Pharma, but realised I’d ended up nearby so decided to pop in. And then popped quite quickly out again. I think that if you want to buy a lot then it would be worth persevering through the crowded shop and massive queues – the range of products is immense (most brands have their own aisle) and prices are slightly cheaper than everywhere else, but if you only have a couple of things to buy and don’t mind paying 1 euro extra for them I wouldn’t put yourself through it. Apparently it’s better to go first thing in the morning – I was there around 2 and some things definitely had already sold out.
I feel like Monoprix being good at beauty is a relatively new thing – not sure if I’m right about that! But if you want clear layouts, a full range, a stress free shopping experience and the possibility of Haribo Happy Mix on the way to the till, it’s really a great place to shop. Head for the bigger stores (and standard Monoprix rather than the new Monop’ Beauty shops) and you’ll find all of the skincare brands along with a great selection of makeup (lots of L’Oreal, Mavala, Bourjois etc plus The Balm) and all of the shampoos and shower gels you’d expect from a supermarket. I think the one I went to was on Rue de Rennes, but they’re all over.
Pharmacie des Archives – 2 Rue des Archives
Definitely my favourite – all the products you’d want, good prices, totally lovely staff (who gave me lots and lots of samples when I shared their love for Sanoflore) and not at all busy. Most of what I bought came from here.
Is there anywhere I’ve missed? Let me know your favourites so I can check them out next time!