3 French skincare brands you’ve never heard of (but are worth trying)

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Lucy Partington

Some of the best and most effective skincare products ever made have hailed from France. Here are three French pharmacy beauty brands you need to have on your radar…

A couple of years ago, French skincare was an alien concept to us Brits. We could only get our hands on Bioderma’s cult micellar water if we traveled across the Channel to buy it from a pharmacy, and getting hold of La Roche Posay’s Effaclar Duo was all but a distant dream.

Now, though, everything has changed. Bioderma and La Roche Posay, along with other hardworking brands like Vichy and Avene, are readily available on the high street and we couldn’t be happier about it. Who doesn’t want dermatologist-approved products that don’t cost a small fortune and actually deliver results, after all? 

OK, so they might not look as fancy as some brands but that’s something we can definitely forgo, especially when there really is no denying the efficiency of French skincare. That’s also the reason that we were only too happy to road test a few lesser known brands that have landed on our desks in the last few weeks. 

Here’s the low down…


Around 15 years before Bioderma came SVR, a brand created in 1962 by a husband and wife duo. Both pharmacists, it was one of the first brands to bridge the gap between medical, problem-solving treatments and cosmetic skincare. Suitable for all skin types – and with ranges targeted towards different conditions – SVR formulas contain some of the most highly concentrated active ingredients found in any dermatalogical brand.

Well known for clever SPF formulations (SVR have different products targeted to specific skin concerns - impressive), we’re also big fans of Hydracid C50, £30. The innovative foam formula, which is not only really satisfying to use, will also brighten and refine and add serious radiance to skin, as well as making it look and feel super soft. It’s jam-packed with niacinamide which works to help soothe, while red algae extract injects a hit of moisture to dry, dehydrated skin, making it perfect after a day sat under that office air conditioning. 


Up there with the bestselling brands in France, Sanoflore is an organically certified and products are not only clinically tested but ingredients are sustainably harvested, too. The botanical plants used in products are cultivated according to the principles of organic farming and are sourced – where possible – from the Vercours Regional Natural Park and Drome, which we’ve learnt is one of Europe’s best protected regions, and the ground and air are pure and uncontaminated. No big deal, then.

Our hero product is Aciana Botanica Divine Bare Skin Gelee Makeup Remover, £17, a soap-free cleanser that works to easily dissolve the day’s make-up and sunscreen without leaving skin feeling tight. Applied onto dry skin, the satisfying jelly texture turns into a cleansing oil that breaks down even the hardiest of mascara, and then it transforms into a milky formula when water is added. A little goes a long way, too, so one tube will last you a while. We seriously recommend trying it.


Originally a French pharmacy hair care brand, Klorane launched the very first dry shampoo back in 1971 (and now there’s one sold every ten seconds). With a huge interest and passion for nature, the brand’s expertise in botany has lead them to develop a certified process in sourcing safe and effective plant active ingredients. 

Luckily for us, though, they didn’t just keep developing hair products - they moved into skincare and also have a range of soothing products that are formulated with cornflower water. They grow cornflowers as an organic crop in South West France, and once the matured, they’re harvested to extract a ‘pure and safe’ soothing water that’s suitable to use on even the most sensitive of eyes. 

Our favourite cornflower-infused product is Floral Water Makeup Remover, £16. It’s the brand’s first venture into the world of micellar waters and it’s a real pleasure to use. The practical pump bottle is easy to use (and is great to keep nail polish remover in once the actual water has run out) and the water itself quickly and easily gets rid of face and eye make-up, prepping skin for a more thorough cleanse.

Images: courtesy of brands


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Lucy Partington

Lucy Partington is Stylist’s beauty editor. She’s obsessed with all things skincare, collecting eyeshadow palettes that she’ll probably never use, and is constantly on the hunt for the ultimate glowy foundation.

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