A much-requested video; half the world now seems to be obsessed with the mysterious delights that are kept locked up in the legendary French Pharmacie. I don’t tend to go pharmacy shopping as much as I used to, and that is mainly because the things that I used to stock up on are now widely available. Escentual.com stocks Bioderma, Embryolisse and La Roche-Posay, which were the three main brands that I’d stockpile, and you can get NUXE and Vichy and Klorane and Lierac very easily too. But there is still something quite fantastic about seeing all of these brands squashed onto the shelves together; huge multipacks of Bioderma cleansing water sitting above rows and rows of delectable face creams, twenty different treatments for sensitive-skin-that-is-also-acne-prone* underneath cheap tubes of ointment that promise to “repair and protect”. Even if some of the labels and names are now more familiar, it’s nice to see such range and variety in one space.
There’s nothing in the UK that really compares to a French Pharmacie; not that clean, almost clinical presentation and the way in which samples are given out with every purchase and the fact that staff are nearly always very knowledgeable about the ranges they are selling. It interests me, too, that there’s very little in the way of colourful or garish packaging in the Pharmacie; you are often forced to read the label quite carefully rather than choose according to visual stimuli. It makes me think that the Pharmacie shopper is perhaps much more likely to get something that is suitable for his or her skintype or skin concern – you can’t just pluck things off the shelf, not so much. If you go to Boots, for example, there are so many brands vying for attention and they all have to sing out from the shelves and blind us with their wacky names and pretty bottles – I often wonder whether the customer has a fair chance at being able to select what they really need. I get very easily distracted by pretty packaging and names that promise great wonders… Just thinking aloud, there!
*Treatments for skin that is sensitive and also acne prone, look to La Roche-Posay and Avene in the Pharmacie – or they are at Escentual.com too. If you’re looking for Lierac then it is stocked at LookFantastic.com and Delarom, which is a new discovery for me, can be found at Urban Retreat.