From topless beaches to organic produce, there’s no doubt that the French prefer most things au naturel, and cosmetics are no exception. Recent studies have revealed that many chemicals commonly found in cosmetics, such as parabens, PABA and isopropyl, may lead to various forms of cancer, further skin damage, hormonal disruptions and other serious health issues, so it’s no surprise that women around the world are purchasing French beauty products more than ever.
But it’s important to make good choices and read labels carefully. Some brands, which shall remain nameless here, claim to be natural or use bio in their name, but they are still full of harmful chemicals. Below are some genuinely tried and tested French brands that are truly natural: some may be based on natural ingredients only, with no added chemicals, while others use only organic ingredients. In both cases, the health benefits are clear: the skin readily absorbs whatever is put on it, so as a general guideline, if you wouldn’t put it in your mouth, it shouldn’t go on your skin, either.
Here are the Girls’ Guide’s top eight picks for all-natural French beauty products.
Yves Rocher is a well-established brand in France that has recently introduced an organic range called Culture Bio, which includes serums, cleansers, treatments, creams and oils aimed at different kinds of skins (oily, dry, sensitive, combination and normal). Prices are reasonable compared with several other brands.
L’Occitane is another brand whose products are simply delicious. Well-known throughout the world, it prides itself on growing its own ingredients, usually in Provence. The aim of the company is to protect the natural environment of southern France through organic agriculture, and to manufacture soaps, creams and perfumes that incorporate the goodness of lavender, peony, verbena and other plants and flowers that are indigenous to the countryside.
Caudalie bases its skin-care range on the beneficial antioxidants found in a common fruit: the grape. The brand grows the fruit itself but uses all parts of the plant: vine, leaves, fruit and seeds. The vine, apparently, holds strong antiaging chemicals, now patented by Caudalie, which can help erase sun damage and fine lines. No preservatives or animal ingredients are used in the brand’s formulas. Andi MacDowell is a fan.
Nuxe’s most famous product is probably Huile Prodigieuse, which was invented by Aliza Jabès, the owner of the brand. She created this “dry oil” to act as a multifunctional hydrating product after she discovered that pregnancy had taken a severe toll on her hair and skin. Based solely on vegetable ingredients, many of which are organic, Nuxe ensures all ingredients are toxologically tested and non-GMO, and never tests on animals. There is also a wholly organic range of skin care by this company, called Bio-Beauté by Nuxe, which includes facial cleansers, toners and moisturizers. As an added environmental bonus, Nuxe uses only biodegradable or recyclable packaging.
Belle et Bio offers a complete range of body and facial creams and treatments, hair products, vitamins and makeup, all of which are completely organic and based on natural ingredients. The products are meant to work in harmony with each other; for example, the ginger slimming and toning body spray should be used with the slimming vitamins, and the benefits of the antiaging creams are enhanced by the antiaging supplements.
Gamarde is an organic brand that can be summarized as being “gentle.” It incorporates springwater from Gamarde les Bains, which is naturally rich in minerals, into most of its products, but also uses the goodness of plant concentrates to repair and maintain even the most delicate of skins.
Doux Me is a brand whose creams are so natural you could practically ice a cupcake with them and eat it. And given that many of its products are based on rose, orange blossom, almond and neroli oils, it would probably taste pretty good, too! Gentle enough for the most sensitive of skins, French mamas often use this brand on their bébés.
Kaé, formerly known as Kaeline, is an all-natural beauty brand based on the benefits of argan oil, which is the vegetable source with the highest natural concentration of vitamin E. The range includes exfoliating gels, facial and body creams and, of course, pure skin and hair oils.
Belle et Bio
More information on chemicals found in beauty products
To check the safety of brands you have at home, visit CosDNA.com