The 10 Most Popular “French Pharmacy” Products on Amazon (Plus Our Take)

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Amazon stocks a lot of “French pharmacy” products — but it’s quite a weird assortment, so I thought I’d dig in and see what’s good, what’s weird, and what’s a super good buy.

A trip to Paris will definitely still be a better way to do a proper French pharmacy haul — and Amazon has had very many complaints about poor quality products (or outright fakes). Many of the brands below operate their own online US shopping sites, so you can go straight to the source, if you prefer. As has also been widely reported, there seems to be some sort of advantage for Amazon in presenting search results that are at best disorganized and at worst chaotic — it really took a minute to sort through what was sponsored and what was not, and to simply distinguish brands that were, in fact, French — from the decidedly not-French brands like Tatcha and Murad, which also showed up in my results.

All those caveats aside, sometimes you just want to try something new, and get it with Prime shipping. I’d opt for #1 and #3, personellement.

1. Nuxe Huile ‘Prodigieuse Or’ Multi Usage Dry Oil Golden Shimmer
Actually I really love this — it’s one of the few French beauty products I buy even when I’m in the US (and where it is markedly more expensive. It goes on smoothly, without feeling too oily, and smells lovely. It doesn’t do anything. It’s like fireworks: Pretty while it lasts, even if it doesn’t last for long.

Amazon star rating: 4.3
Our star rating: 5

Most critical review: “Apparently some people like the way this shimmer oil smells, but I think it smells terrible. I asked the rep about whether it contained synthetic fragrance and was told that it contained both natural and synthetic. Why they would take a product that was otherwise really clean and then destroy it by adding synthetic perfume to it, I don’t understand.” [Ed note: Honestly I think it smells great!!]

2. Caudalie Vinoperfect Radiance Dark Spot Serum
I don’t use many serious French beauty products — I find them less effective than American products. (I assume this is because we can put all kinds of toxic but beauty-enhancing chemicals in ours, while they can’t.) I’ve never used this. I’ve been to a Caudalie spa, and would 10/10 repeat that trip. I have also used a Caudalie face wash, and found it extremely meh.

Amazon star rating: 4.4
Our star rating: NA

Most critical review: “I bought it for my dark spot. I almost done with the bottle. Didn’t work no thing for me. Waste $79 plus tax for nothing 😢”

3. Le Petit Marseillais Extra Gentle Shower Creme Vanilla Milk
also love Le Petit Marseillas shower gel, but I don’t buy it here because it’s too expensive — preferring to fly home with it, so that I have to spend an extra $50 checking a bag. (This is the definition of a false economy.) I’m not sure what distinguishes it from its American counterparts — the smells are really nice? It just feels comfortably middle of the road? It’s not doing anything, but it’s also not hurting anything. I do use this scent — fleur de cerisier — exclusively.

Amazon star rating: 4.7
Our star rating: 5

Most critical review: “Le gel douche fuit partout dans son emballage de colis. Couvercle cassé aussi.”

4. Embryolisse Lait Creme Fluid Face & Body Moisturizer
I’ve never used this one either — but face and body moisturizer? Is this not the skin version of shampoo and conditioner? I’m skeptical.

Amazon star rating: 4.5
Our star rating: NA

Most critical review: “I’ve been using this product for 15+ years and the last bottle I purchased was not the product I’ve been getting for years. It didn’t smell the same, feel the same, or work the same.”

5. Bioderma Hydrabio H2O Micellar Water
I feel like a lot of people worked very, very hard to make micellar water a thing a few years ago, and then moved on to the next thing only having converted about 5 percent of people who wash their faces. I was not among them, alas.

Amazon star rating: 4.7
Our star rating: NA

Most critical review: “Not for waterproof makeup removals. Use it as a skin cleanser instead. Makes me a little itchy but I do have sensitive skin.”

6. La Roche-Posay Anthelios Melt In Milk Body & Face Sunscreen SPF 60
I’ve tried this in that I’ve tried essentially every French sunscreen (usually at the airport, once I realize that I’ve forgotten mine.) I always get a white cast with this one, though I know a lot of people who really love this brand’s sunscreen. Personally, I prefer the US brand Supergoop, which is much less chic but also has different formulas that feel less like you’re soaking your face in heavy cream. It definitely gets the job done, though.

Amazon star rating: 4.6
Our star rating:

Most critical review: “I don’t know why this is so popular—it’s terrible. [Ed note: Cosigned!!] Leaves a white, greasy cast on my face that makes me look like a ghost.”

7. La Roche-Posay Lipikar Soothing Relief Eczema Cream
All I know is that I brought this home for my dad once, to treat his exceptionally dry skin, and it didn’t do anything. YMMV? I will say that this product had very good reviews, and a very low percentage of one-star reviews (1%).

Amazon star rating: 4.7
Our star rating:

Most critical review: “I have eczema on my face and I’ve been looking for a product to help calm it and stop the itching. As soon as I put this on my face my eczema became more itchy than it ever has been and super red and swollen, same thing happened the next day when I tried it again.”

8. Caudalie Premier Cru The Cream
Dying to try this but so spendy!! Also I’m put off by my previous, subpar experience with Caudalie products.

Amazon star rating: 4.3 (not great, huh) 
Our star rating:

Most critical review: “Beware: there is only a small plastic jar with the cream inside an empty super heavy glass purple jar. This is fooling the customer.”


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Hi, I'm Diana. I've written about travel for The Wall Street Journal, Buzzfeed, The Cut, Travel + Leisure, Outside, and lots of other places. This is my blog.