If there’s one thing I’ve learnt in my time living on the planet as a human female, it is that ‘French Girl Chic’ is shorthand for a certain type of insouciant beauty. It’s Léa Seydoux’s gap-toothed smile. It’s Mélanie Laurent’s no-make-up make-up. It’s Alexa Chung’s hair – because, yes, French Girl Chic is not limited to the French.
Ask any self-respecting model what they pack in their carry-on and they’ll rattle off a list of beauty products that they picked up in a Parisian pharmacy. But don’t worry if you’re not jetting off to France anytime soon, as airport stores and even in-flight retail are stocking up on these bestselling French beauty brands.
Founded by Dr Haller in 1931, Vichy Laboratoires is renowned for products that work wonders for sensitive skin. The key ingredient in the range (Vichy Mineralising Water) is sourced from the heart of the volcanic Auvergne region and is naturally rich in 15 different minerals. This Minéral 89 serum combines Vichy Thermal Mineralising Water with Hyaluronic acid, to regenerate and strengthen the skin barrier.
In what is possibly the most French paragrah to ever have been written, Caudalie’s website reads: “What does the term caudalie mean? A caudalie [kodali] is a unit measuring the duration of the wine’s flavour on the palate. For each second the flavour remains this is a caudalie. A quality wine will contain many caudalies.” This might seem wildly irrelevant for a beauty brand, until you consider that Caudalie was founded in the vineyards of Bordeaux. This Vinoperfect essence is halfway between a toner and a serum, and it’s ideal for plumping up the skin.
With packaging that looks like it belongs in a first aid kit, La Roche-Posay skincare is serious stuff and comes recommended by over 25,000 dermatologists worldwide. It’s built up a loyal fanbase of beauty aficionados thanks to its tangible results, and its sun protection range is second to none. This innovative UV-monitoring patch, for instance, is typical of the scientific approach of the brand.
In 1952, Jeanine Marissal began adding thermal plankton extract from the mountain springs of Molitg-Les-Bains to her formulations. It was the first time plankton had been used in skincare, and thus, Biotherm (a combination of “Biology” and “Thermal”) was born. With its subtle fragrance and anti-stain formula, this Deo Pure Invisible 48-hour antiperspirant roll-on is an absolute must for long haul flights.
In the early nineties Aliza Jabès started NUXE, a small formulation laboratory in Paris. From there, her beauty empire expanded and NUXE is now represented in over 70 countries. Best known for their Huile Prodigieuse dry oil, the brand is nonetheless making waves in the facial skincare department too. This new Crème Fraîche de Beauté would be a dream to apply ahead of a flight as it nourishes and protects the skin from the drying effects of air-conditioning.