Rediscovering a French Pharmacy Skincare Brand I Used to Love in My Teens and Early 20s

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Best French pharmacy products for dry and dehydrated skin & Vichy skincare review - Mineral 89 Hyaluronic Acid Face Moisturizer, Aqualia Thermal Rich Cream, Aqualia Thermal Night Spa Replenishing Anti-Fatigue Sleeping Mask - via @glamorable #skincare #vichy #frenchbeauty #parisianbeauty #frenchskincare #frenchpharmacy

Vichy Skincare Review

It seems like only a couple years ago the beauty world was obsessed with French pharmacy brands, and now it’s all about natural skincare and K-beauty. Nothing wrong with that, I suppose, as I obviously love those, too. I just feel like French drugstore brands like Vichy, Bioderma, La-Roche-Posay, Avene, and Embryolisse have been largely forgotten now that the hype is over, even though they have much to offer.

Take Vichy, for example. The brand was founded in 1931 in Vichy, France by Dr. Haller who discovered the therapeutic effects of Vichy Thermal Spa Water on the skin. The main ingredient – volcanic water rich in 15 minerals – was found to soothe sensitive skin and accelerate the healing of surface wounds, and to this day it is the main ingredient in all Vichy formulations, sourced from that one location. In Russia, Vichy skincare used to be sold [and still is] at hospitals, clinics, pharmacies or special pharmacy kiosks. Because it was marketed as a pharmacy brand with semi-medical properties, it always seemed like a worthy splurge.

Best French pharmacy products for dry and dehydrated skin & Vichy skincare review - Mineral 89 Hyaluronic Acid Face Moisturizer, Aqualia Thermal Rich Cream, Aqualia Thermal Night Spa Replenishing Anti-Fatigue Sleeping Mask - via @glamorable #skincare #vichy #frenchbeauty #parisianbeauty #frenchskincare #frenchpharmacy

Vichy has been in my life from a very young age. I was on a cheerleading team in high school, and having good skin was very important to me at the time. That’s why I used to save up the moolah from my part-time job to afford the full regimen, since Vichy skincare was not exactly budget-friendly for a teenager in a post-Soviet country. The products worked well for me, so I carried my love for the brand through my early 20s. At that time I was pretty comfortable financially and had some disposable income, so I was able to discover some new favorites, too. Eventually, I abandoned Vichy in favor of another, more luxe French brand L’Occitane, and stuck with it almost until I started this blog, but that’s another story. I am now rediscovering Vichy skincare again and looks like there were some cool new releases.

Best French pharmacy products for dry and dehydrated skin & Vichy skincare review - Mineral 89 Hyaluronic Acid Face Moisturizer, Aqualia Thermal Rich Cream, Aqualia Thermal Night Spa Replenishing Anti-Fatigue Sleeping Mask - via @glamorable #skincare #vichy #frenchbeauty #parisianbeauty #frenchskincare #frenchpharmacy

Vichy Mineral 89 Hyaluronic Acid Face Moisturizer

Vichy Mineral 89 Hyaluronic Acid Face Moisturizer ($29.50 for 1.7 fl oz) – Is it an essence? A serum? A moisturizer? The answer is, yes. Mineral 89 is the newest Vichy product that hit the shelves in June. It contains only 11 ingredients, and works as a daily booster for skin that lacks moisture. As you guys know, every skin type can become dehydrated, even the oilier types. It all depends on your climate, diet, time of the year; even taking certain medications can cause the skin to flake. Although Mineral 89 is marketed as a new gen moisturizer, it can be used in place of an essence or a serum for dry and dehydrated skin types, or as a lightweight hydrating moisturizer for oily and combination complexions.

The number 89 in the name stands for 89% of Vichy Mineralizing Spa Water contained in each bottle, which is the highest percentile among Vichy products currently. Combined with Hyaluronic Acid, emollients, and occlusives [we talked about those earlier this week], they help the skin stay plump and hydrated by filling in the cracks, and locking in moisture; and aid in skin repair overnight and during the day, thanks to the unique properties of Vichy thermal water.

The texture is initially very gel-like, and quickly melts into a liquidy serum once it comes in contact with warm skin. I found it non-sticky and easy to spread, and it worked well as a primer under makeup. Vichy products always sting a little bit upon application, I’m assuming it’s due to high mineral content, but I was always happy with the overall performance. The moisturizer managed to keep my skin hydrated in extremely dry environment, and that’s all I asked for really.

You will LOVE it if:

  • You prefer products in hygienic pump packaging.
  • You avoid fragrance in skincare products.
  • You avoid parabens and colorants in skincare.
  • You have dry or dehydrated skin type.
  • You like weightless gel-type moisturizers.
  • You are a fan of French pharmacy brands.
  • You prefer vegan skincare.

You will HATE it if:

  • You only support cruelty-free brands. I’m not a CF expert, so I may be wrong here, but I heard that even though Vichy doesn’t test their finished products on animals for other markets, they are still required to do animal testing to sell in China.
  • You want more than just hydration from your moisturizer.
  • You prefer all-natural skincare.
  • You are sensitive to any of the ingredients.

Ingredients: Aqua (Vichy Mineralizing Spa Water), Phenoxyethanol, Caprylyl Glycol, Glycerin, Butylene Glycol, Peg/Ppg/Polybutylene Glycol-8/5/3 Glycerin, Methyl Gluceth-20, Citric Acid, Sodium Hyaluronate, Carbomer, Biosaccharide Gum-1.

Best French pharmacy products for dry and dehydrated skin & Vichy skincare review - Mineral 89 Hyaluronic Acid Face Moisturizer, Aqualia Thermal Rich Cream, Aqualia Thermal Night Spa Replenishing Anti-Fatigue Sleeping Mask - via @glamorable #skincare #vichy #frenchbeauty #parisianbeauty #frenchskincare #frenchpharmacy

Vichy Aqualia Thermal Rich Cream

Vichy Aqualia Thermal Rich Cream ($31 for 1.7 oz) – I actually used products from this line in my early 20s, because my biggest concerns at that age were lack of moisture and excessive oiliness in the T-zone. I see that Vichy added quite a few products to the line since then, including this luxurious rich cream. It was designed to help soothe sensitive and dehydrated skin retain moisture for up to 48 hours. Many people prefer to buy products designed for sensitive skin these days, because they contain less fillers and irritants. Although this rich cream is gentler than many of the alternatives, if your skin is truly sensitive, then you should probably avoid this one, as it contains added fragrance.

The formula contains emollients, humectants, and a generous helping of nourishing Shea Butter, so it can work for people whose skin is not just dehydrated, but also dry. The moisturizer does feel heavy-ish on the skin, and I only ever use it at night, but it works great as a sleeping pack. I think someone with dry, flaky skin can easily use this for the daytime, though.

You will LOVE it if:

  • You avoid parabens and colorants in skincare.
  • You have dry or dehydrated skin type.
  • You like non-sticky, creamy moisturizers.
  • You are a fan of French pharmacy brands.
  • You prefer vegan skincare.

You will HATE it if:

  • You only support cruelty-free brands.
  • You avoid fragrance in skincare.
  • You avoid products in jar packaging.
  • You want more than just hydration from your moisturizer.
  • You prefer all-natural skincare.
  • You are sensitive to any of the ingredients.

Ingredients: Aqua (Vichy Mineralizing Spa Water), Glycerin, Dimethicone, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Pentaerythrityl Tetraisostearate, Synthetic Wax, Butyrospermum Parkii Butter/Shea Butter, Alcohol Denat., Hydrogenated Polyisobutene, Ammonium Polyacryldimethyltauramide / Ammonium Polyacryloyldimethyl Taurate, Pentylene Glycol, Glyceryl Stearate, Behenyl Alcohol, Stearyl Dimethicone, Glyceryl Stearate Citrate, Sodium Hyaluronate, Phenoxyethanol, Chondrus Crispus (Carrageenan), Disodium Ethylene Dicocamide PEG-15 Disulfate, Disodium EDTA, Caprylyl Glycol, Citric Acid, Biosaccharide Gum-1, Parfum /Fragrance

Best French pharmacy products for dry and dehydrated skin & Vichy skincare review - Mineral 89 Hyaluronic Acid Face Moisturizer, Aqualia Thermal Rich Cream, Aqualia Thermal Night Spa Replenishing Anti-Fatigue Sleeping Mask - via @glamorable #skincare #vichy #frenchbeauty #parisianbeauty #frenchskincare #frenchpharmacy

Vichy Aqualia Thermal Night Spa Replenishing Anti-Fatigue Sleeping Mask

Vichy Aqualia Thermal Night Spa Replenishing Anti-Fatigue Sleeping Mask ($28 for 2.5 oz) – Earlier I mentioned that I use Aqualia Thermal Rich Cream as my nighttime moisturizer, but this product was specifically designed for overnight wear. It has similar ingredients to the rich cream, but instead of Shea Butter the formula contains Squalane, which is lighter and works for more skin types. It also contains a mix of occlusives, emollients, and humectants, including Hyaluronic Acid, to smooth the surface, hydrate the skin, and prevent moisture loss. The texture is more gel-like, and reminds me of Laneige sleeping pack.

I’ll be honest, I thought this sleeping mask was alright, but I didn’t love it. Perhaps it’s better suited for spring or summer seasons or less dry environments, but it didn’t keep my skin hydrated as well as the previous two products. For a product marketed for use on sensitive skin, I was disappointed to see the included fragrance, dyes, and denaturated alcohol in the formula.

You will LOVE it if:

  • You avoid parabens in skincare.
  • You have dry or dehydrated skin type.
  • You like non-sticky, creamy moisturizers.
  • You are a fan of French pharmacy brands.
  • You prefer vegan skincare.

You will HATE it if:

  • You only support cruelty-free brands.
  • You have sensitive skin.
  • You avoid fragrance and added colorants in skincare.
  • You avoid products in jar packaging.
  • You want more than just hydration from your moisturizer.
  • You prefer all-natural skincare.
  • You are sensitive to any of the ingredients.

Ingredients: Aqua/Water, Glycerin, Dimethicone, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Squalane, Ammonium Polyacryldimethyltauramide/Ammonium Polyacryloyldimethyl Taurate, CI 42090/Blue 1, CI 42053/Green 3, Dimethiconol, Sodium Hyaluronate, Phenoxyethanol, Poloxamer 338, Disodium EDTA, Caprylyl Glycol, Citric Acid, Biosaccharide Gum-1, Xanthan Gum, Parfum / Fragrance

Best French pharmacy products for dry and dehydrated skin & Vichy skincare review - Mineral 89 Hyaluronic Acid Face Moisturizer, Aqualia Thermal Rich Cream, Aqualia Thermal Night Spa Replenishing Anti-Fatigue Sleeping Mask - via @glamorable #skincare #vichy #frenchbeauty #parisianbeauty #frenchskincare #frenchpharmacy

Left to Right: Mineral 89 Hyaluronic Acid Face Moisturizer, Aqualia Thermal Night Spa Replenishing Anti-Fatigue Sleeping Mask, Aqualia Thermal Rich Cream.

Best French pharmacy products for dry and dehydrated skin & Vichy skincare review - Mineral 89 Hyaluronic Acid Face Moisturizer, Aqualia Thermal Rich Cream, Aqualia Thermal Night Spa Replenishing Anti-Fatigue Sleeping Mask - via @glamorable #skincare #vichy #frenchbeauty #parisianbeauty #frenchskincare #frenchpharmacy

BOTTOM LINE:

I hope you enjoyed my Vichy skincare review! It was fun to look at the brand with a fresh set of eyes, now that a lot of time has passed. After trialing all of these, my personal favorite among the three is Vichy Mineral 89 Hyaluronic Acid Face Moisturizer, because of its hygienic packaging, and fragrance-free, dye-free formula full of emollients, occlusives, and potent humectants. I like that it contains only 11 ingredients, most of which actually benefit the skin vs. used as fillers for bulk. I also think it can work well for all skin types, even sensitive, unless there are specific ingredients present in the mix that irritate your skin. Although none of the 11 ingredients are common irritants, everyone is different and some people are just more prone to skin sensitivities even from otherwise safe cosmetics.

COUPON CODE: Use code PREEN20 for 20% off and free shipping on any order at vichyusa.com through February 15th 2018.

Have you tried Vichy skincare? What brand of skincare did you like using in high school, if any? Let me know in the comments below!

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  • That daily booster looks good!

  • marciaf

    I read great things about the line but I don’t buy anything with fragrance so only the first one would work for me.

    • Allison really liked that first serum 🙂

  • Kristi Vasquez

    Many of your reviews – I go straight to the What you love/not love and then the ones that sound interesting, I read up on your details. I love that summary part. 🙂

    • Awesome, thank you for the feedback! That is exactly why I started doing those quick bullet points.

  • Jen Mathews

    I LOVE your love/hate bullets and how honest you are about all the details! How refreshing! I can’t support them because I only buy cruelty free, but it’s nice for everyone to have the option to decide for themselves.

    • Thank you Jen! If bloggers aren’t honest, then we are no better than magazines 🙂

  • Allison @neversaydiebeauty

    I love Mineral 89 as an essence. It’s one of my favorite skincare products for 2017

    • I saw that in your post, Allison! Happy to hear it worked well for you too.

  • Great review! The what I love/hate sections are so handy.

  • Jen Sky Walker

    I love Vichy LiftActiv Supreme and need to try more from the brand. I never loved any skincare stuff in high school- my face was and still is so sensitive, and that’s where I found a lot of brands that hurt my face.

  • I’ve never tried Vichy!

    • They are super popular in Russia, it’s one of those entry level brands into the fancy territory. Kind of like a lot of people first tried Clinique before buying other department store brands.

  • I bet you had the most flawless skin in your cheering squad!

    • Eh I wish, I used to have that type of acne where it’s just raised bumps along the hairline, cheeks, and chin, but they weren’t red or inflamed. So glad that phase is over!

  • Shelley Polarbelle

    I’ve never tried that brand. But I have often thought about going back to skincare I used 10-15 years ago and seeing if it still worked for me.

    • That’s a fun trip down memory lane 🙂

  • Sounds really nice!

  • Ehmkay Nails

    I feel like I’ve seen this brand around but I don’t know where! I haven’t tried them yet though!

    • Maybe in magazines? I often see ads in print magazines, and rarely on TV.

  • Lola Seicento

    I love Vichy, and have a lot of their wonderful products!

  • Vichy has been on my “to try” list for ages. Thanks for the thorough review!

  • all_the_words025

    I have used each of these products and have loved them all. I’ve always had really great experienced with Vichy.

    • That’s great to hear! Vichy products are a hit and a miss for me, but the hits are always outstanding.

  • Pubali Babi Chatterjee

    I tried a small sample of their sleep mask and loved it! I definitely need to try more from the brand!

    • Good to know that it worked well for you, Pubali!

  • I used to love Vichy sunscreens before discovering La Roche Posay. Sadly, the Mineral 89 Booster broke me out 🙁

    • Oh no, so sorry to hear that 🙁 I guess we all have ingredients that our skin can’t tolerate.

  • Stacie Wacie

    I’m interested in trying this! I love French brands because they make me feel fancy. It’s so much fun rediscovering brands, too!

    • French skincare does seem extra fancy, doesn’t it? Even when products are on a more affordable side 🙂

  • Mandy Rena

    I love the way you reviewed this product. I have super sensitive skin and it is so hard to find new products. Your review method is so easy and simple to get the answers I would be look for.

    • I’m glad you find it helpful, Mandy!

  • So Vichy is not CF?