Natural beauty and well-being

28 November 2011

France and beauty: shopping guide

My french background gives me the opportunity to share with you some insights about french beauty culture and habits. I am delighted about it.

Having lived abroad for many years now, I always smile when people talk to me about french people. Here's a little summary of what I often hear: classical, crazy about beauty and fashion, men linking vichy shirts, and slightly arrogant ;-) Oh la la!

So, are you in search of the eternal, perfect and purest beauty products? Do you want something different and something that works? Do you want something natural and effective? The french beauty market has a lot to offer and I will try to summarise it for you.

Whether you are going to France for the festive season and want to discover specific natural beauty products or just fancy shopping online on french websites or want to see what is trendy in France, here is little guide of where to go to find what you need.

1- Big department stores: they have their own floor of beauty stalls and exist in all main french cities.

Galeries Lafayette: is one of the most popular "grand magasin" in France. Selling more luxurious and high quality products. Especially the stores in Paris are well worth a stop.

Printemps: is also very famous and attracts a wild range of customers. Historical monument in Paris, it is worth a visit if you are a fashion or beauty lover.

2- Parfumeries: beauty specialists, they can be either located in city centre or shopping malls and offer the most famous brands of make-up, fragrances and skincare. They occasionnaly retail organic brands, because the french demand is quite high.

Sephora: so well known, even abroad, but not present in the UK. Selling most conventionnal brands and a few organic skincare ranges. The presence of natural make-up brands is quite good. If you are not lucky enough to go to France in the immediate future, then be reassured. You can also shop online (french website only) and they do deliver in the UK. Great.

Nocibe: established as a trusted beauty retailers, still behind Sephora, offering beauty salons and parfumeries across France (and only in France). Simple and modern, organic brands (such as Sanoflore, Unmei, Taaj, Naturelle d'Argan, Hevea) can also be purchased in shop or online (french website and delivery only).

Marionnaud: famous french beauty retailer, present in other European countries such as Italy and Spain. They recently had a little make-over to expand on the target audience. They have beauty salons and parfumeries so you have the choice to enjoy some face treatments or hunt for your favorite beauty products. Online shopping is possible too, however delivery in France only for the moment; unfortunately.

3- Parapharmacies: very popular in France. Named that way because they look like"pharmacy" but they are not. You can find a wide range of products from personal care to baby products, from first aid kits to beauty treatments. They often offer discounted prices. Both conventionnal and natural brands can be purchased from the parapharmacies.

Parashop is the leader of the parapharmacies market in France nowdays. If you are looking for a very specific product, you will find it here. Professionnal advisors are always available to guide you if you have any problems/questions. Online shopping is not possible.

4- Online retailers: so many on the web and I have selected 3 that I particularly like.

Mondebio: if you love organic, this is the place to visit! From lovely natural skincare/cosmetic products to delicious organic food and much more, it is a pleasure to browse. An english version is available, so you will not get lost.

Boutique Bio is a little organic treasure island providing a huge selection of trusted skincare brands such as Melvita, but also some new upcoming organic brands. Unfortunately, the site is not translated in english, but the delivery is not restricted to France. If you want any info, you are very welcome to ask me! is very active online although they also have 57 shops in France. They feature great french and european product ranges. Again, the site is in french (delivery is worldwide), but contact me if you need help.

Also, lots of little and cute organic boutiques (such as Croc Nature) specialised in natural products have lately blossomed. In addition, supermarkets brands such as Carrefour, Auchan, Leclerc, Casino distribute natural skincare products and make-up as well. Some of them even manufacture their own organic range. And they also have their own "parapharmacie" shops too.

Get ready now....Christmas shopping is in the air :-).


14 November 2011

Hands: 5 tips to make them beautiful and younger-looking

Autumn weather has gently taken over and it is important to take extra care of your sensitive hand skin, before your hands become feeling tight and uncomfortable.

Hands are vulnerable and fragile and we sometimes tend to neglect them due to busy life and indeed lack of time. External factors (wind, rain, washing up detergent, sun, water, temperature changes) can really be quite aggressive and lead to dehydration and dryness.

In addition, the skin on the top of the hand is quite thin and dark spots easily tend to appear with age if hands are not cared for properly.

Lemon is very beneficial for hands and nails

So what are the 5 key tips to get beautiful hands?

Treating and pampering hands is so easy and can be done on a everyday basis: who doesn't dream of beautiful and smooth lovely hands with clean cut nails?

So, here are small yet super effective tricks that can make your hands pretty and healthy:

1- Choose a very gentle and moisturising SLS-free handwash that will leave hands soft and clean but still respect their natural balance. After washing, dry hands thoroughly as any humidity left will favor dehydration.

Dr Bronner, Ecosoapia and Green People propose a mid-price range naturally scented handwashes very suitable for delicate hands.

2- Apply a natural moisturising hand cream as often as necessary during the day to protect and isolate hand skin from cold, water or any drying factors and/or use overnight too. It is important to massage well from wrists to fingers, insisting especially on fingers and nails base as massaging really facilitates the absorption of the cream and enhances its benefits.

Weleda, Neal's Yard Remedies, Melvita or Laboratoire Phyt's offers excellent soothing creams rich in natural and repairing plant nutrients. For a cheaper option, Skin Blossom and Organic Surge may be a great choice too!

3- Once a week, plunge your hands in a fabulous bath oil enriched with a bit of lemon juice. This beauty treatment is a must for dry and tired hands, and will give a shiny boost to nails too. Olive oil is great and easy to use but almond oil can do good too.

4- Massage your hands with a homemade blend of olive oil enriched with brown sugar, honey and a dash of lemon juice. It will not only improve blood circulation but will really leave skin soft and moisturised. Great to do as a small luxurious home treatment with some nice relaxing music in the background. Very recommended if you suffer from cold hands.

5- Protect your hands by wearing a pair of gloves. Whether the weather is cold or whether you are doing some cleaning, washing up or gardening, gloves acts as very usefull barrier against cold, harsh detergents or irritants.

On the top of that, increase your daily intake of tasty fruits and veggies super rich in Vitamin A, B, and E, nail and skin-friendly vitamins: carrot, grape, avocado, fish, seeds, berries or green leafy veggies and many more...

Easy steps to follow for superb hands and strong nails!
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