There's a Cream for That
"Vous auriez une peau sublime..." said the lab coat-wearing saleswoman, cradling the miracle-promising potions in her hand.
My skin, sublime? C'est impossible.
And yet, I contemplated it, awestruck and giddy with hundreds of bottles of serum and cream glistening on the shelves around me.
Sublime skin at my age? Clearly, I'm old enough to know better. After years of unabashed product junkie-ism, few potions have gone untried. By now I've learned (or should have learned) that no cream, scrub or organic algae masque can truly deliver that which heredity, two babies and years of dedicated sun worship have denied.
And yet, je suis optimiste!
So there I stood, on the brink of another purchase, ready to plunk down a hundred euros in pursuit of the as-yet-unattainable dream. Perhaps it was the confidence of the saleswoman, 50ish with a radiant, unlined complexion. Or maybe it was trust inspired by her white physician-esque coat and official-looking name tag, "Francoise" and below it, "Aestheticien." That had to mean something, right? (Okay, so it means "beautician" but still.)
Two cellophane wrapped pots of cream in her hand ("Il faut avoir les deux, madame!"), she glanced back at me and pursed her glossy lips. "Le serum pour les yeux, aussi?" Clearly, I needed the eye cream as well.
At this point, I had all but surrendered. Sure! What's another eye cream? After all, this might actually be the one. Plus, doesn't everyone know that these products work better together?
Carte bleue proferred, items bagged and one hundred plus euros poorer. All in just eight minutes. What had begun as a quick trip for kid's shampoo had turned into yet another pit stop on the quest for lasting beauty.
But of course, this is France. Everyone knows they have the best stuff. The internationally-known brands are legendary: Clarins, Avene, Caudalie, Decleor, La Roche-Posay, Biotherm...There are even a few that aren't French at all
(Creme de la Mer, anyone?) but seek to capitalize on the cache of sounding francais. If it comes from France, it must be good.
Even Gwyneth Paltrow's ever-informative GOOP newsletter included her list of favorite beauty products found only in French pharmacies. From kiddie knee scrapes to crows feet, these are the products Gwynnie recommends.
In fact, here in Paris there seem to be precious few ailments or imperfections that cannot be remedied by the right creme. Cellulite? Pas de probleme. Slather on some Elancyl "Offensive Cellulite" cream and erase those unsightly dimples (like this woman!)
A few extra pounds? Try the Minceur 2011 Slimmer Plate (yes, it exists) or some targeted ultrasound treatment. No need to exercise (sweating is so not seductive). Just strap on a contraption (don't forget la creme minceur), light a cig and relax. In a few hours, voila! Firmer buns, c'est chic.
Pale pallor? Ready your skin for le bronzage with Oenobial, carotene-laden pills to be consumed daily during the weeks prior to les vacances d'ete.
No matter what ails you (or your appearance, anyway) there's a fabulous cream for it here in la Belle France.
As for the beautifying results of my pharmacy purchases? Only time will tell.