From the groovy music to the bright colors, you’ll want to watch Birchbox France’s January Teaser video twice (or three times!).
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Earlier this week, I was in Paris for a hot second to meet with the phenomenal (or should that be trés magnifique?) JolieBox team. Naturally, I carved out some time to do some important on-the-ground research—namely, eating and pharmacie-raiding. Now it’s a well-known fact that the French are spoiled when it comes to skincare. Every block, you’ll find a pharmacy filled with products and brands that would make your head spin (and ours did). In addition to makeup artist favorites like Embryolisse, there are all sorts of things that you can’t get easily in the US. I asked JolieBox’s editorial director, Mathilde Lacombe, to give me a shopping list of her favorites. Here’s what we scooped up.
Bioderma Matriciane Firming Matrix Cream: “French girls love this brand. It’s famous for being very tolerant even if you have acne or dry skin. The texture is like a gel and not too oily. It moisturizes the skin very, very well—perfect for combination skin and you don’t have to use too much.”
We are sworn Francophiles for more reasons that just our love for the language (English sure as heck doesn’t sound as pretty) and the food (baguettes, steak frittes, crème brûlée — we love it all) and Paris (the city is just so ooh la la). In fact, we are even obsessed with French beauty products, especially NUXE, a natural line found in many luxury pharmacies. In the early ’90s, Aliza Jabès founded the brand by turning a private lab that specialized in aromatherapy and phytotherapy into a super-successful beauty company. We caught up with the busy CEO to chat with her about the NUXE philosophy, the best beauty advice she’s ever received, and her absolute favorite product.
1. How does being a French company affect your philosophy and approach?
The fact that NUXE is the leading brand of natural cosmetic products in French pharmacies is very demonstrative of the French cosmetic market as a whole. Women here look for products that are both beautiful and good for their health. Using our products is an enjoyable experience beyond their efficacy because everything we create is sensual and elegant, from the textures of our formulas to their fragrances.
2. If you had to choose only one Nuxe product, what is your favorite?
I love them all, but I have a special connection with Huile Prodigieuse®, my first NUXE baby. Twenty years after its creation, it’s still our number one product. This multi-purpose dry oil nourishes, repairs, and protects skin and hair thanks to its unique concentration of six precious oils and vitamin E in a silicon-free formula. Fun fact: we sell one Huile Prodigieuse® every seven seconds in the world!
3. What are some of the benefits to using a dry oil?
A dry oil created from plant oils, like ours, will really nourish skin because it contains special fatty acids that are natural components of skin cells and it has lots of vitamins and antioxidants. One major benefit to using a dry oil is that it’s lighter and easier to spread than a lotion.
4. What’s the best beauty advice you’ve ever received?
My grandmother and mother taught me that it is important for a woman to look after her skin and to never skip cleansing, moisturizing, and SPF. A beautiful woman is a woman with a radiant complexion. Even if you have the best makeup or most expensive clothing, if your skin (or hair) doesn’t look nice, nothing else matters.
5. Where would you like to see NUXE in five years?
I’d like to see NUXE as the worldwide leader in natural cosmetology in pharmacies.
For more NUXE products, take a look at our Birchbox Shop.
Historically, I have not been a big GOOP fan. I snicker when I see blog post titles like This Week’s Pile of GOOP and I cheer when ABC points how how much it actually costs to live like Gwyneth (answer: $3606.50 a day). But ever since her amazing and surprising Glee appearance (actually, lets take a minute and revisit that phenomenal Cee Lo performance), I’ve been feeling slightly more charitable toward her. And then there was this morning’s GOOP, which has a great roundup of the best French drugstore beauty finds. Makeup artists have long been obsessed with these products, which are relatively inexpensive and available at any French drugstore. My friend Diane da Silva, a fabulous and fabulously talented makeup artist, turned me on to Embryolisse moisturizer, which is rich without being heavy, Bioderma makeup remover, and Homeoplasmine, which looks like hemorrhoid cream but is actually a magical skin soother. The last time she was in Paris Diane picked up all three products for me, and I have been obsessed ever since. As my supply dwindles, I am already thinking about how I am going to restock. Maybe my new friend Gwyneth will send me some?
For stellar domestic beauty finds, check out the Birchbox Shop.