My French Pharmacy/Supermarket Haul (skincare and more!)

Posted by Lipglossiping On April - 2 - 2013

I spent every Summer in France as a teenager, so it was lovely to be able to rediscover some of my old haunts, particularly down the aisles of the nearest Super U.  My first stop wasn’t for skincare, but haircare.  My obsession with Dop shampoos has been a long-lasting inexpensive love affair which my poor Mother has to tend to every-time she returns to France in the Summer with a shopping list longer than her own!

French Buys_01

This time around I decided to treat my dry hair to some of their more moisturising shampoos in the shape of their Argan-oil and Shea Butter-enriched formulas.  Ignore the 2-in-1 labels, I never actually use these without a separate conditioner.  The bottle on the left is their original formula, I find that all of these shampoos are less stripping than many of their UK counterparts, plus the 400ml bottles last forever!  I paid around £1.40 per bottle.

French Buys_02

For conditioning, I picked up two Le Petit Marseillais products, one enriched with Shea and Argan, and one with Shea and Honey.  Both have been made for dry, frizzy hair-types and cost around £2 / £3.50 respectively.  All of the above I bought at Super U, our local French supermarket.

French Buys_03

Next, I moved on to the pharmacies.  Outside of Paris, there’s less choice in the brands available and they tend to vary from pharmacy to pharmacy.  Our local supermarket has it’s own rather wonderful para-pharmacy attached so I didn’t have to venture too far but I still couldn’t get my hands on any Embryolisse (I wasn’t surprised, I’ve never been able to in the past outside of major cities), or more disappointingly, Avibon – of which I was told they are currently experiencing a nationwide shortage!

I did, however, manage to pick up a tube of Homeplasmine which Mr. L uses on his lips when they’re cracked.  It’s a great alternative for anyone who dislikes the feeling of balms as it doesn’t feel remotely claggy or heavy with more of a matte texture.  It’s also great for sore, post-sniffles noses, and cuts and bruises and is priced at around £3.75 for a small tube.  My final pharmaceutical purchase was for Leila and is something I always get Mum to pick up for me in lieu of Calpol!  Doliprane is France’s generic kid’s paracetamol and dosage is measured by the child’s weight rather than their age, making it far more effective (in my opinion) at bringing down fevers.  It costs around £2 a bottle.

French Buys_04

I bullied myself into trying some new skincare products, desperate though I was to stock up on the old faithfuls.  I’m quite proud of myself that I didn’t come back with more than this!  My skin is still pretty dry and the change of water/travelling has made it quite finickity.  You may notice a bit of a Zinc theme running through my choices, blame my Dad… he’s a bit of a skincare tart (thanks to his eczema not vanity!) and led me in the direction of these tantalising treats.  What a great Dad I have!

I opted for a full set of skincare from makeup removal to cleansing, toning and moisturising.  I’m currently undergoing another round of IPL for facial hair removal, so tailoring my choices for irritated skin seemed like a good idea.

I went for: Uriage Anti Irritation Cleansing Gel (approx. £7.50), Bioderma Atoderm PO Zinc Ultra Soothing Creme (just under £10.00), a supermarket cheapie micellaire for eye-makeup removal in the shape of Mixa Eau Nettoyante Apaisante (£3.00), and La Roche Posay’s Serozinc which I’m hoping will provide additional cooling/calming after my lasering (£5.00).

French Buys_05

As if I could forget the chocolate (or the wine, but that’s a whole other post!)

The French seem to have a greater appreciation for salty caramel chocolate than we do in the UK.  Crunchy, smooth, chewy, silky… all textures are catered for… I reined myself in a little but could have returned with far more than what you see above!

What do you think of my buys?  Anything you’d like to try for yourself?

20 Responses to “My French Pharmacy/Supermarket Haul (skincare and more!)”

  1. Tina says:

    Mon dieu, Super U! I was on exchange in France in 9th grade and the local Super U was frequently visited by the entire class since the school dinners where rather dreadful… 😉 Lots of pain au chocolat, pain au lait and other sweets were bought. Gosh, must go back to France soon and visit a Super U, it’s been 18½ years. I have been to France since but didn’t see any Super U’s…

  2. Sarah says:

    I’ve been in France since Dec 2011 but coming home soon and debating what to bring! I don’t find La Roche, Nuxe, Bioderma much cheaper in the Alps but the range is outstanding.

    I love Petit Marseille shower gels – my favs at the moment are Mandarin & Lime, Nectarine and White Peach and I’ve been told to try the Almond one. I’ve never actually tried the hair care – always got plenty of samples to plough through but might pick up something on your rec.

    Obviously lots of Rose wine (at 2.50€ a bottle it will be quite a few!) and fabulous cheeses. Haven’t seen those Nestle chocolate bars but get the coco one all the time it’s great.


    • Yes, I was going to stock up on some other LRP essentials but the price difference was pretty minimum so I didn’t bother with anything other than the Serozinc as you can’t get that over here. I bypassed all the shower gels because I’ve got a LUSH/Body Shop/Kings & Queens stockpile going on in the bathroom, starting to think I should have picked up a couple though!

      I ate almost half a brie portion on Sunday in an attempt to “use it up”, wish I hadn’t been so greedy now, really fancy some!

    • Oh, for wine… I tried lots while I was over there (research, of course). Fell in love with a Super U Grenache but ended up staying safe and buying the Lidl Merlots (3L cartons) which I usually bring home. They’re so lush and only 10E a carton (I think?). Anyway, wish we did them in our Lidls!

  3. Bellide_TS says:

    I must ask my sister who lives in France to buy me some of these Le Petit Marseillais hair care products! I love the brand’s shower gels, I got Lait de Vanille and want to try the Lait d’ Amande as well.
    Lindt and Nestlé are both Swiss brands, though 😉

    • Hey, yes, do give them a go! Dop do a lovely Almond shampoo too (not that I’m obsessed!). I know that Lindt and Nestle aren’t French but we can’t get those posh varieties in the UK!

  4. Joanne Green says:

    Oooh, lovely haul, sounds like you’ve all had a brilliant time. I’m off to Belgium later on this year for a bit of drive around some of the breweries in the hunt for my new love, sour lambic fruit beers. On the day we arrive, we’ll drive through north France so I’ve already warned long-suffering, indulgent husband that I am going to be tracking down french pharmacy goodies for a good few hours. Loved your economising trip details – our cheapest holiday ever was to France about 10 years ago when my daughter was about 7 – bank holiday in August, totally last minute, free ferry trip from some internet signup, slept in the car overnight in Dover, got the train from Calais to Le Touquet once we landed and spent the most gorgeous few days in a lovely cheap B&B. Lots of bakery products eaten in our room and a couple of moules-frites meals out – we had our best long weekend ever at just under £150 all in!

    • That sounds amazing! We’re always travelodgeing it/B&Bing it around the UK so totally appreciate the munching on bakery goodies from the comfort of your room! Your upcoming trip sounds great, never heard of those beers though! Am intrigued!

    • Julia says:

      I live in Belgium so I understand your obsession with Lambic entirely. Do try the Pecheresse by Lindenmans (peach variety), it’s to die for. If you are lucky you can also find the black currant version (cassis) which is a bit different to your usual cherry and raspberry ones.

  5. Jamie says:

    I can’t wait to travel to Paris(someday) and spend all my money on their skincare products and yummy pastries! It’s hard to find French pharmaceutical skincare in the US, a few stores here and there might carry La Roche Posay or Vichy, but the range is very limited and double the prices.

  6. I got addicted to Le Petit Marseillais after a swap with a French beauty blogger a couple of years ago. I love beauty hauling in Paris and she loves beauty hauling in London – the grass is always greener!

  7. Katrine says:

    I’m about to do the same thing in Berlin – it’s a lovely vacation activity, hoarding, but still, a bit bothersome to become addicted to extra-national products! I think I’ll listen to your dad, too. All these seasons, my skin doesn’t like it at all.
    I do think karité is shea, though – not keratin. At least that is what my (lovely, overpriced) l’occitane beurre de karité has led me to believe.

    • I want to go to Berlin next! Please let me know if you uncover any toptips and send them my way. Thank you for the correction also, I have amended. The lack of a “beurre” made me lazy in my translation!

  8. Ceci says:

    Well that’s odd, I just got back from Paris TODAY with a suitcase full of Le Petit Marsellais and (half) packets of salted caramel chocolate!

  9. veronika says:

    J’aime bien le petit marsellais!

  10. Bet says:

    Paris is one of my travel destinations someday. :) I hope that I’ll be able to see these products when I get the chance to visit this place. I have a dry hair and I can’t do anything about it, I’ve been using conditioner, but it doesn’t have any effect. Is this DOP Shampooing really effective for people who have a dry hair? I hope so, I’ve been really wanting to resolve this issue. Anyway, thanks for the great review! Hope you had a great time. :)

  11. Mlle Nature says:


    Interesting post!….always funny to see to see how foreigners like France and their beauty products hehe

    I am french .. and write a blog about beauty :-)

    I have written a special post about beauty shopping in France, you can have a look!

    But ladies, couldnt recommend enough to check the product composition……:-) ..In beauty, it becomes essential nowdays.

    Have agreat day!

  12. Daisy Meadow says:

    Aaah I love this too, although I never go to France so buy from the UK instead. A blogger bought from a french site (farmaline I believe?) and got slapped with a £30 customs charge! I wouldn’t risk it! I’ve reviewed it on my blog and have the UK seller on there if you want to read it http://daisy– xx

  13. Phoebe says:

    I lived in france for 4 months a couple of years ago and never really got into french skin care although now i really regret it!Definitely need to try Embryolisse and more Avene products.


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