Discover the pharmacy grade skincare brands that dominate the beauty industry here in Europe
I never meant to cheat on all of my old favorite beauty products from the states! But I had no choice. When we moved abroad to Spain and I eventually ran out of my regular supply, I knew it would be ridiculous to wait nine months for our return trip back home before replenishing!
Imagine – on top of countless other “expat” things I needed to adjust to and make decisions about, now I had to tackle everyday personal stuff. Like, what face wash to use and which eye cream would work best? It’s like starting over in a new relationship, for pete’s sake!
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But forcing myself to try new brands and venture outside the box actually proved to be fun…and beneficial!! I’ve learned so much and now recognize the massive gap between other products back home and the pharmacy’grade ones here.
Sure you have all the big department store countertop brands like Clinique, Chanel and Estee Lauder with fancy price tags and glossy ads in newsstand magazines.
But trading in my beloved staples from the states has allowed me to try some of the best European beauty brands out there. And the funniest part? I don’t picture myself ever switching back.
Maybe if you come from Europe, a few of these names are familiar but others not as much. As an American, they were mostly foreign to me. And their local identity and popularity is what makes them so special!
Pharmacy Grade Beauty Products
One word. Pharmacies!
Huh? Pharmacies are for only prescriptions and medicine. In the U.S., yes!
But here in Europe, some of the best skincare brands in the world have emerged from the science behind pharmacies. These labels developed from pharmacists that loved studying the impact of natural ingredients on the skin. When they witnessed near miraculous results, they knew they were onto something big!
And a brand was born.
The pharmacists that work selling these beauty products? Imagine having your own personal esthetician just standing behind the counter waiting to answer all of your skincare questions! It’s a beautiful and extremely smart business concept!
Which explains why many European countries such as Spain, France and Italy have maintained this “science meets consumer” approach to selling skincare.
But if you aren’t from this part of the globe, don’t fret! Many of these products can also be purchased online and shipped worldwide.
7 European Beauty Brands to Fall in Love With
gh. (Gema Herrerias) – Spain
Created in Seville in the south of Spain, these products boast high concentration with raw materials and efficiency testing (just check the impressive ingredients label!). In the past, I never would have considered washing my face with an oil cleanser – until trying gh.’s Natural Oil Cleanser. It’s AMAZING, girls, and leaves my skin feeling super hydrated but not…oily!
Recommended Product – gh. Natural Oil Cleanser
Avene – France
This label began in a small village, Avene, in the south of France and has a remarkable story. A farmer’s horse suddenly developed a rare skin disease. With very few options for treatment, the farmer resorted to a natural thermal spring nearby. Miraculously, after drinking the water, the horse’s coat was radiant,shiny and clear.
The skin disease was essentially cured thanks to the properties found in the thermal water. And so the birth of this French brand began!
Recommended Product: Avene Skin Recovery Cream for Sensitive Skin
La Roche Posay – France
A similar background as Avene, the origin of this brand starts with water. The natural thermal spring water discovered in La Roche Posay, France had remarkable results when consumed. (Are we seeing a trend here, guys?! Talk about the modern day fountain of youth products.)
La Roche Posay products are best known for their high content of Selenium, a rare and powerful antioxidant. Since 1975, the thermal water is used as a key ingredient in product development.
Recommended Product: La Roche Posay Pure Vitamin C10 Serum
Caudalie Paris – France
A brand inspired by love and innovation in the vineyards of countryside France, it’s founders discovered the effectiveness of grape seed polyphenols on skin.
And so the birth of three initial products was born. That was more than 25 years ago! Their Night Infusion Cream is like liquid gold for the face!
Recommended Product: Caudalie Instant Detox Face Mask
Emma Hardie – U.K.
World-renowned facialist and Cult Beauty expert Emma Hardie developed her signature ‘Natural Lift and Sculpting Facial’ back in 1996 – a way of massaging and ‘kneading’ the face to help maintain its strength and resilience. Celebrities, beauty editors and the skin care-savvy flocked in their droves to her clinic to benefit from her unique technique.
So much has been written in praise of her work because she delivered a firmer plumper skin without harsh ingredients or invasive techniques. Emma’s goal was always to end the search for a miracle in a bottle by focusing on natural alternatives which make the skin itself more resilient to the passage of time.
Recommended Product: Emma Hardie Midas Touch Revitalizing Cream
MartiDerm – Spain
Founded in Barcelona by a family of pharmacists/chemists, their legendary formula was developed by combining Proteoglycans and pure Vitamin C to regenerate skin cells.
Today the brand consists of more than 70 products based on the scientific formulas of its founders.
Recommended Product: Marti Derm Night Renew Platinum Anti Aging
Vichy Laboratories – France
For more than 80 years, Vichy has prided itself on the use of special mineralizing water in all of their products. Vichy water is obtained from volcanoes in the protected region of Auvergne, France and contains more than 15 minerals and vitamins essential for skin vitality.
The brand also dedicates itself to sustainable business practices, with a focus on protecting the environment.
Recommended Product: Vichy Lift Activ Hyalu Face Mask
So ladies, if you’re getting bored with the same face products or your skin just isn’t looking its best, take a risk! Try venturing outside the box and jumping on board with the European approach to pharmacy grade skincare.
I’m happy to answer any questions or put you in touch with a personal friend and beauty maven who happens to be a pioneer in the pharmacy industry. Just hollar!