When I heard my parents were going to be spending a few days in Paris on their way to the south of France, I asked (OK, begged) my mother to pick up a few beauty items that are not available in the US. Well some are, but they are much less expensive in their ‘homeland.’ My friend Lianne Farbes of The Makeup Girl I had remembered had recently posted an article of her shopping spree in Paris at the famous City Pharma in gay Paris.
Knowing I couldn’t ask for everything and that my mother would max out at about five items (more from patience than money) I had Lianne give me her top 5 must-haves from her list. I already knew I was going to have my mom pick up Lumigan (French Latisse) because unlike in the US you don’t need a prescription and it costs about a fifth of what it costs here. My lashes were disappearing! But what else did I absolutely need to try?
So my mother, who is actually fluent in ‘American’ French trudged off to the City Pharma with her list in hand. She reported back that she got flustered as the employees there were very French (rude) so she couldn’t get the Lumigan, but did manage to pick up the following:
BIAFINE – Lianne purchased BIAFINE ACT and mine is just BIAFINE. I am still trying to figure out what the difference is (I think ACT is a cream whereas the one I got is an emulsion). Apparently you can get it is the US with a prescription. BIAFINE is an oil in water emulsion that heals burns, bumps, scratches, and scars. It was developed in France in the early 70’s for radiation burns and was heralded for significantly reducing healing time. Biafine eventually became a popular treatment of sunburn in France. The active ingredient is Trolamine the ingredient used to make salicylic acid – which makes it perfect for areas that need fast healing and/or exfoliation.
CICADERMA – I don’t remember asking for this, but have learned it’s very similar to the BIAFINE. Cicaderma is an ointment that contains extracts from fresh plants (pot marigold, common St. John’s wort, milfoil) and homeopathic tinctures from wild rosemary and pasque flower in white paraffin jelly that aides in healing of smaller burns and injuries on the skin surface. It has a mild anti-inflammatory and astringent effect as well. Cicaderma is best for treatment of smaller skin burns and smaller clean injuries of the skin surface, such as scrapes, small cuts, skin cracks, insect bites, etc.
AVIBON – This balm is the one I am most excited about as it is a beauty editor favorite. It has consistency and look of Vaseline except it is practically pure vitamin A which is a natural retinoid. Actually it’s a Retinyl Palmitate which is a form of Vitamin A similar to Retinol but without the dryness and flaking one usually experiences. It should be applied all over the face (around the eyes, forehead and any place else you see dark spots or lines). It’s a little goopy so warm it in your clean hands before you apply. And I mean really warm it up so it liquifies more, I look like a grease-ball after applying, but I’m trying to fight the good fight here!
LUMIGAN – Yes, I got it. Specifically mom brought me back 3. She was able to get it in the south of France at her local pharmacy. LUMIGAN is the French Latisse. In fact, it’s made by the same company, just with a different name. These eye-drops were originally used for glaucoma however, it was discovered it also grows and thickens eyelashes. I have used Latisse a few times and have loved the results, but at $125 a pop, it was becoming a bit expensive. LUMIGAN comes in two strengths, 0.01% and 0.03%. My Latisee was 0.03%, so I don’t expect this strength to work as quickly, but you need a prescription for the stronger strength. So I will just have to wait a little longer for my lashes to look amazing again, but who cares? At a fifth of the price, I’m cool with that.
Read Lianne’s Drugstore Diva: Shop With Me – City Pharma in Paris, here.
– Lauren Dimet Waters
Photo: Second City Style