French women have a reputation for being effortlessly chic and they apply that same breezy style to their beauty routine.
If you have the time to stop at a café, sip a café au lait and devour an almond croissant as you people watch, you’ll notice that French women don’t wear a lot of make-up.
A bold lip or black eyeliner maybe, but mostly it’s about fresh, healthy, glowing skin.
And they don’t spend a fortune on it either. French pharmacies are stocked with cult creams, lotions and potions.
While Australians tend to shop for cosmetics at department stores and boutiques, Nuxe international PR manager Charlotte Levesque says buying beauty products at a pharmacy is a way of life in France.
“You go to the pharmacy for products which are effective, they don’t have to be the most expensive,” she says.
“And it is easy, you go to buy medicine and pick up products while you are there.”
Nuxe was one of the first pharmacy beauty brands.
Founder Aliza Jabès was influenced by her father, a pharmacist who believed in the power of nature. She set up Laboratoire NUXE in 1989 with the idea of creating a natural cosmetology brand that harnessed the power of plants, but was still luxurious. Hence the name, N for natural and Uxe after Luxe, French for Luxury.
As part of its ethos, Nuxe avoids using parabens, mineral oil and products that come from animals.
“That combination of natural and luxury is the DNA of the brand,” Levesque says.
“Nuxe has a research lab in Paris, which is always looking for new molecules. It has 45 patents and is now available in 72 countries.”
Including Australia. It used to be that if you wanted to get your hands on cult French brands you needed a plane ticket and empty suitcase, but they’re now available here.
Adore Beauty founder Kate Morris says it’s easy to see why French pharmacy brands are popular.
“First of all they offer a great combination of value for money and effectiveness; they work and they’re not too expensive,” she says.
“I think there’s also a certain cachet of Parisian chic around these brands, they’re all relatively new to Australia so there’s still that excitement of discovery.”
This story was first published in Shop Smart, The Sunday Telegraph, on April 19, 2015