Thursday, March 7, 2013

French Pharmacie Spotlight: The "Baume" Edition

I simply cannot believe that it's been over six months since I last wrote a French Pharmacy Spotlight post! I absolutely adore writing these as they enable me to browse my own skin care drawers and indulge in some product linked nostalgia about visits to France of yesteryear.

As I mentioned when I started this series, one of the most common questions I’m e-mailed or tweeted pertains to French pharmacie products. I’ve noticed a steady growing interest since my own first experience in a French pharmacie several years ago which makes it an even more fun topic to discuss (sorry to toot my own horn, but I can't help but feel as though I was on the front lines of the obsession). Despite the fact that blog posts and websites such as Escentual are making French pharmacie goodies household must haves, I notice that the information that I would want to know as a first time visitor is not widely available. 

Though the many and varied products that line the walls of French pharmacies are all magical in their own way, one of the most approachable items in any cosmetics or skin care shop is lip balm. Most affordable, experimentation safe and travel friendly just about anyone can pick up a tube and pack it in their luggage. I'm certain I'm not the only lip balm junkie that purchases different lip products while traveling the world, so the below should serve as a list of Getting Cheeky approved French balms that can be found in la pharmacie.

Best in "Pot Form" from left to right:

Phytopharma Apricoderm
Though Apricoderm rocketed to fame as a French pharmacie product amongst lip balm junkies due to Gwyneth Paltrow's piece on her website GOOP, it's actually not widely available in France. Finding Apricoderm was difficult in Parisian stores (though I'm told it's possible), and it wasn't until I connected with a lovely reader, Tia, that I had the opportunity to try the product myself. Apricoderm is worth its weight in gold to me simply because it was so difficult to get my hands on, but it's as incredible as I'd hoped: the balm stands up to and fixes just about anything and can be used on other chapped and irritated skin ... not just the lips.

Erborian Lip Bome +
Best known for their famous BB Crème au Ginseng, I purchased Erborian's Lip Bome + on a oh my god I'm in France impulse driven shopping spree whim, and have simply fallen in love with the stuff. Though I've tried and loved other products from the range, Lip Bome + is my absolute favorite. I've been careful about rationing my use, as I'm uncertain where else I can find Erborian products, but this silky smooth balm rivals By Terry's Baume de Rose. Yes, it's that good.

NUXE Rêve de Miel Baume Lèvres
Everyone and their brother has now heard about NUXE's Rêve de Miel balm due to seemingly uncontrollable buzz that started when famed makeup artist and YouTube personality Lisa Eldridge mentioned it as one of her all time favorites. What makes this balm so wonderful is it's unique texture coupled with incredible healing capabilities. I have finicky lips and when other products upset them I almost always turn to my trusty pot of Rêve de Miel. Moreover, as Lisa Eldridge so adroitly pointed out, the matte texture makes this an ideal companion to lipsticks.

Best in "Stick Form" from left to right: 

Caudalie Soin des Lèvres
The award for thickest, most heavenly balm in stick form that I have ever encountered goes to Caudalie Soin des Lèvres. Though this may not be a quality that all users will enjoy (some might, indeed, find this too thick), Soin des Lèvres has always been ideal for my mid-winter lip plight that seems to strike each year without fail when the weather is cold and dry.

Avène Cold Cream Stick Lèvres
Best known for their absolutely perfect Cold Cream (which quite literally smells like France to me), Avène's Cold Cream Stick Lèvres is thick on the lips in the same way their Cold Cream feels immediately following application. The lip balm contains faint shimmer particles that illuminate the natural rosy glow of one's lips, while the cold cream heals and protects. Avène's gem gets points for me as it makes even the most chapped lips look glowy and healthy. The best part? It's often sold in a pack of two at a very low price!

La Roche-Posay Nutritic Lèvres 
Nutritic Lèvres is a utilitarian balm from a brand that consistently knocks it out of the park where perfectly executed skin care is concerned. I have yet to encounter a La Roche-Posay product that has disappointed me, and my husband with his no fuss skincare regimen would likely say the same. Nutritic Lèvres promises and succeeds to treat the four signs of lip sensitivity: "tingling, sensitivity, thinness and chapping." This is another balm that one can often find in "value" packs of two.

Best in "Everything Else" from top to bottom:

Boiron Homeoplasmine
Homeoplasmine remains a cult product, the likes of which is often referred to as a "makeup artist's kit must have," or "the product all the model's love." Often kept behind the counter, I would liken this product to Aquaphor or Elizabeth Arden's Eight Hour Cream: a "go-to" all purpose ointment that treats just about everything from dryness to sunburn and more. I absolutely adore the stuff, and a little goes a long way. The tube you purchase now will be with you for a long time.

La Roche-Posay Ceralip
Marketed as a savior for "severely dry and sensitized lips" I turn to Ceralip when seasonal eczema has done a number on my pout. This lipid replenishing cream restores lips thanks to heavenly beeswax and shea butter. And of course (this won't be a surprise coming from me), like all other La Roche-Posay products, it delivers exactly what it promises.

The best part of these posts is discovering new products that I cannot wait to order or pick up during my next (much dreamed about) visit to France thanks to your suggestions! Do you have any French pharmacie lip balm favorites?