I'd always imagined that my first trip to Paris would be like something out of my favorite Mary-Kate and Ashley movie. I'd abandon my chaperone, enjoy five-star dinners at the top of the Eiffel Tower, and ride around carefree on a moped until the wee hours of the morning. Turns out it was nothing of the sort... but I did come back to the states with an entire second luggage filled solely with the best European beauty products.
Not only are European skincare favorites like Caudalie and Monoprix so much cheaper across the pond, but the beauty is the crème de la crème, with brands like La-Roche Posay and Biologique Recherche all founded in the expansive continent. It explains why beauty and fashion editors alike make it their duty to stock up on the duty-frees while enduring the hustle and bustle of Fashion Week, taking time out of their busy backstage and runway schedules to locate that beloved face cream or luxurious fragrance that they can't come by as easily stateside.
Before all of the fashionistas jet off to London, Milan, and Paris, check out the picks that they'll be stuffing into their checked luggage in a few weeks.
Nikki Ogunnaike, Deputy Fashion Director, GQ
"I think this may be the season I swing by the Biologique Recherche Spa and pick up one of the P50 exfoliators every raves about," Ogunnaike tells TZR. "After New York Fashion Week, it’ll be time to slough off some dead skin and start anew."
Bella Cacciatore, Assistant Beauty Editor, Glamour
"The Buly store is my favorite place in Paris, and possibly the world," Cacciatore says. "It's like taking a step back in time; the walls are lined with herbs, the packaging is to die for, and every purchase is personalized with your name. I picked up this rosewater last time I was there (OK, yes, because of the bottle — how could I say no to fairies?). It's the perfect first cleanse or gentle toner, and smells divine. Plus, I'll hold on to the beautiful bottle forever.
"I'm also obsessed with this brilliant lip balm from Nuxe. It's the best lip balm on the planet, period. I always have dry lips, and nothing soothes them like this. It has a thick, waxy texture that keeps my lips moist all day, and when I put it on before bed there's still a thin layer when I wake up in the morning. It's a little hard to find in the US, so I always buy a few when I'm in Europe."
Alexander Julian-Gibbson, Freelance Fashion & Travel Editor
"Caudalie Vinoperfect Serum, for sure," Gibbson says. "I have an old co-worker that swears by it and looks great, so I decided to give it a try. It’s so much cheaper in Paris. I think I bought a whole set at the gift shop in the Louvre for like $50 USD. At Sephora, just the serum is like $80."
Faran Krentcil, Editorial Director, The Newsette
"The Monoprix Savon Liquide in lavender and olive oil is the best soap ever," Krentcil tells us. "I stockpile it when I have spare room in my suitcase. It's like $5 in Paris, smells incredible, works up a gorgeous froth every time. I didn't think I cared about soap until I used this stuff in a Paris bistro bathroom.
"Most recently I'm obsessed with Bleach London's Legal Highlights and Glitterati powders, they have amazing pigment and longevity, and their Beer Conditioner is amazing for shine. Also, you will not smell like beer, promise."
And when it comes to Milan, Krentcil's favorite is something more for the soul than the skin. "The Margherita pizza at Princi on Corso Como is a beauty product, I swear," she says.
Kristen Bateman, Freelance Beauty & Culture Writer
"I try to make it to the discounted drugstore Citypharma in Paris every time. I usually stock up on the original Bioderma Minis, Caudalie hand and eye creams, Embryolisse Lait-Crème, and I also love the Avène lip balms. Nuxe Huile Prodigieuse is also my favorite dry oil of all time with lots of glitter.
Tahirah Hairston, Fashion & Beauty Features Director, Teen Vogue
"I feel like most beauty products in France, you can now buy on Amazon," Hairston says. "So, what I love to stock up on? Eye drops. Collyre Bleu Laiter’s eye drops aren’t only strong, they are chic."
Katie Jayne Becker, Beauty & Health Director, Elle
“There is a Dior self-tanner that comes with SPF, but you can’t get it in the US because the sunscreen ingredients inside it are not yet approved for sale in the states," Becker says. "I restock whenever I’m in Paris in both SPF 30 and SPF 50. It’s super velvety smooth and the tan builds up subtly over a few days of use. I first tried it out when I was staying at the very glamorous Hotel du Cap Eden Roc on a Dior press trip, so I could lay out near the famous pool with all the fabulous guests and celebs and get a little glow on my skin, but still use a full SPF 50 like the diligent beauty editor I am.”
Alexandra Delifer, Assistant Fashion Editor, Vanity Fair
"One of my favorite products to buy is the Bourjois Délice de Poudre Bronzante," Delifer says. "I’ve used this product ever since I was in high school and over the years, they haven’t changed the formula much. It just gives that perfect natural bronzy look to my skin at a drug store price
"And I cannot forget my perfumes! I tend to prefer single-note scents and I always have to stock up on Un Bois Vanille, by Serge Lutens and Fleur d’Oranger by Fragonard."
Jessica Andrews, Deputy Fashion Editor, Bustle
"I love that Paris never skimps on quality, as a rule," Andrews says. "The ingredients — like karité in Talika Eye Masks — are all top of the line especially when it comes to skincare. I discovered my favorite Euro beauty products from my best friend and talented beauty editor Sarah Wu. She moved to Europe and going through her beauty cabinet, I’m like a kid in a candy store. I always love getting recommendations from friends because if they swear by a product, you know it’s worth the investment."
Khalea Underwood, Beauty Editor, The Zoe Report
"I'm queen of product minis, but this season, I'm going to leave some space in my toiletry pouch to stock up on Avène Micellar Lotion Cleanser and Makeup Remover. Yes, I know, I can get this on Net-a-Porter. But I love the gratification of paying less than 10 euros for a huge bottle after browsing the aisles of Monoprix — my favorite thing to do on the rare occasion that there's free time in between shows.
"Last season, I had the opportunity to create a bespoke fragrance at the Ex Nihilo boutique with co-founder Benoît Verdier. And as someone who's absolutely infatuated with all things fragrance, it was such a treat. Hopefully I can make my way back to Rue Saint-Honoré to experience a few more scents — or make another one of my own."
Akili King, Beauty Editorial Assistant, Vogue
"I absolutely love Avène's Spring Thermal Water face mist, it's so refreshing!" King says. "It cools me down and rehydrates my face. I'm also loving this brand called Seasonly that's based in Paris. You take a skin quiz and then they send you your own formula that's made exactly for your unique skin type. It worked so well for me especially as someone with breakout-prone and eczema-prone skin!"