There is an undeniable air of luxury that surrounds the country of France. It’s a nation of glitz and glamour to the nth degree, the home of many lavish fashion and beauty brands.
Luckily, you don’t need to buy a plane ticket to indulge in some of their products – one of our favorites being their face washes!
Primarily known for its fashion influence, many people fail to remember France’s impact on the skincare and cosmetic world. There are multiple cosmetic brands that have made their way internationally, and in recent years, we’ve come to see their skincare lines making similar tides.
With so many options to choose from, how do you make a final selection? The best French face washes are made with simple and effective ingredients. They’re gentle and no-fuss, aside from the added ingredients that target your needs (salicylic acid, hyaluronic acid, etc).
French washes typically come in 3 forms: gels, creams, and foams, so you have to think about what’s most compatible for your skin type!
We are so excited to introduce these face washes to you, and even more excited to know that one (or a couple) of them are going to find their way on your bathroom counter soon enough. Explore our top picks for French face washes, and what makes them so ‘oh lá lá!’ here!
Features Of A French Face Wash
The skincare routine of the average French person is relaxed and easygoing. They believe that keeping your regime as minimal as possible is one of the most effective ways in keeping your face dewy, clean, and blemish-free!
Thankfully, this means that the vast majority of skincare products you’ll see in France are made of non-scented, ultra-gentle formulas that will feed your skin with just the right amount of nourishing ingredients to keep it happy.
While keeping their skincare formulas as fundamental as possible, there is an unprecedented amount of care when it comes to making products that effectively tackle skin concerns! France knows that sometimes, your skin may need a little more than a basic cleanser to keep skin woes at bay.
Basically, that means it won’t be difficult to find products that work to heal those issues. Thanks to the mindful additions of salicylic acids, extracts, oils, and other meticulously chosen elements, you can keep your skin under control without compromising the essence of French skincare.
While looking for options, you may notice that the French really love their foam-based cleansers! We definitely can’t blame them, though.
Foaming cleansers are notably gentler on the skin, and due to their low molecular size, can penetrate deep into the pores to whisk away dirt, makeup, and other irritants without being too aggressive on the skin.
We all have our favorite types of cleansers, though, and French skincare is cognizant of that. Pick up a cream-based cleanser instead for a deeply moisturizing clean, or a gel-based cleanser if you’re looking to rid your skin of oils.
Being knowledgeable about your own skin type will make choosing your next face wash a little bit easier!
The Best French Face Washes
|1.||La Roche-Posay Hydrating Cleanser||Cream-based, hydrating, ceramides|
|2.||Vichy Cleansing Gel Face Wash||Gel-based, lathers, removes makeup|
|3.||Embryolisse Foaming Cream Milk||Prickly-pear extract, moisturizing, good for AM/PM|
|4.||Avené Cleansing Foam||Soap-free, matte finish, lactic acid|
|5.||Biotherm Hydra-Comfort Cleanser||Reinforces magnesium, mousse form, good for dry skin|
|6.||Filorga Foam Cleanser||Mature skin, hyaluronic acid, makeup removing|
|7.||Caudalie Salicylic Acid Cleanser||Acne-prone skin, anti-bacterial, deep clean|
|8.||Nuxe Cleansing Gel||Sensitive-skin friendly, honey, moisturizing|
|9.||Lancôme Mousse Cleanser||Mousse form, removes makeup, smoothes texture|
|10.||Clarins One-Step Exfoliating Cleanser||Exfoliating, sensitive-skin friendly, fruit extracts|
|11.||Bioderma Foaming Cleanser||Gel-based, makeup removing, no scent|
1. La Roche-Posay Hydrating Cleanser
The skincare world came to a halt when La Roche-Posay came into play. It seems that anyone who was having trouble finding their perfect products found their solutions with this French-based brand.
Built on a foundation that promises simple, yet effective, products, we think that their ‘Hydrating Gentle Cleanser’ is such a staple.
The creamy base of this face wash makes it loved by those who have dry skin, but we think that it’s gentle enough to be compatible for all skin types.
In spite of it’s soft feel, it goes hard on bacteria, clogged pores, and other irritants that are keeping you from having the skin of your dreams.
Your skin will also reap the rewards from additional ingredients like ceramides (to rebuild your skin’s moisture barrier), La Roche-Posay’s trademark Thermal Water (for antioxidants), glycerin (to keep skin supple and hydrated), as well as Niacinamide (a vitamin derivative that helps with texture).
2. Vichy Cleansing Gel Face Wash
Vichy has been in the skincare game for years, and with the caliber of products that they produce, we can attest to the fact that they won’t be going away anytime soon.
Being a doctor-founded brand, there is a lot of love and deep thought that goes into the formulation of Vichy skincare- and their face washes represent that seamlessly.
This face wash gently lathers and cleanses the skin, removing makeup, sebum, oils, and other unwanted guests.
You may have experienced a gel cleanser or two in your life that leaves your skin feeling sticky and clogged, or even too stripped, but we can assure you that this face wash will do nothing but leave your skin glowy and clean.
This super-simple formula enlists the help of Moringa seeds to keep pollution from burrowing into your skin, and Vichy trademarked volcanic water to protect against free radicals.
3. Nuxe Cleansing Gel
You may not have heard of skincare being labeled as “respectable”, but somehow, that’s the only word we can think of to describe Nuxe products.
They’re formulated to be kind to your skin, to respect its natural skin cell renewal process, and to help it be the best form of itself it can be!
This cleansing gel is soap-free, meaning it’s non-stripping, making the entire face washing experience a luxurious one. You’ll fall in love with how enriching the formula feels, especially on dry or sensitive skin types.
The reason behind the effectivity of this formula is the addition of honey and sunflower seed oil, both deeply moisturizing. Honey is a natural antibacterial product that forms a sort of protective barrier on the skin- shielding it from acne-causing germs and bacteria.
This gel boasts a 90% naturally derived ingredient list, making it one of the kindest french face washes thus far.
4. Lancôme Mousse Cleanser
It’s likely that you’re familiar with Lancôme for their luxury makeup line, but once you introduce their skincare products into your daily routine, you may be rocking the French-based brand 24/7!
There’s something about this brand that just instills us with a sense of radiance.
Lancôme formulates incredibly beautiful products that work to keep skin looking healthy from the inside out, as emulated by their clarifying mousse cleanser.
This is perfect for those looking to welcome a super simple formula into their daily regimes.
Due to it’s mousse form, this cleanser is super light on the skin and can melt away makeup and the stresses of the day in mere seconds. This cleanser is water-activated, making it deeply hydrating to your face.
For many of us, finding a cleanser that gives you a deep clean without that stripped, raw feeling can be a challenge- thankfully Lancôme graces us with no-brainer options like this one!
5. Embryolisse Foaming Cream Milk
Those who have experienced the pain that comes with a damaged skin barrier know that the recovery process is seriously strenuous.
It seems as though every single product was made to wreak havoc on your skin, so trying out new cleansers may be a a problematic experience.
Embryolisse is a brand knows that knows the struggle well, and they have skincare dedicated to making sure that it’s a problem of the past.
Their products, including this facial cleanser, was formulated underneath the control of pharmaceutical standards, and was dermatologically tested to ensure its quality.
This wash starts off with a milky texture that quickly foams to give you a spa-like experience. The true star of the ingredient list is the smart addition of prickly-pear extract, to work as a rejuvenating agent (it’s what makes your skin look so lively post-wash).
Aside from fruit extracts, this milky cleanser harvests the power of lipids to keep your protection barrier strong, and the moisturizing capabilities of glycerin so that you stay silky soft throughout the day!
6. Biotherm Hydra-Comfort Cleanser
Sometimes, you can’t help but want that glow. During the day, you can use highlighter to give you that dewy look, but why sacrifice that glow when it’s time to tuck in?
Biotherm has graced us with the opportunity to look illuminated no matter the time of day.
With their beautifully crafted formula that features over seventy different types of minerals, working in tandem with magnesium to assist your skin in achieving that “glowing from within” look.
It’s mousse like consistency makes this fantastic for dryer skin types. Those with parched skin know the struggles of achieving “dewy” looking skin, so we can’t help but be thankful for this cleanser for protecting the integrity of your face so that you can look radiant from first use.
You can enjoy the softening effects of this cleanser twice daily – simply pump the foam into your hands, massage around your face, and rinse.
7. Clarins One-Step Exfoliating Cleanser
It may sound impossible to take the abrasiveness of exfoliating products and somehow balance it with the gentle essence of French skincare, but if there’s any brand that can do it right, it’s Clarins.
This cleanser is called “one-step” for a reason. It’s the only cleanser you’ll need to reach for that can effectively remove your makeup, whisk away any bacteria, and scrub away any impurities.
That’s right- this formula is a powerhouse, and we couldn’t be more obsessed with it.
The microbeads in the formula (that are eco-friendly and biodegradable, by the way) take care of any superficial texture issues and clogged pores, while the creamy base works to moisturize.
This wash is compatible with all skin types, and helps everyone achieve that radiant glow with the addition of orange peel extract. The added vitamin C helps clarify and tone the skin, while also aiding in UV protection!
8. Avené Cleansing Foam
Avené is a renowned skincare brand that was borne in the south of France, and has looked to the natural resources of the land to make a skincare line that nourishes the skin through clean ingredients.
Though this cleanser was formulated to remove makeup, we are in love with the fact that it leaves the skin with a matte finish (perfect for a makeup base, in our honest opinion).
Due to the addition of glutamic acid, which keeps over oiliness in check, we think that normal to oily skin types would be able to find the most benefits from this cleanser.
The secret ingredient in this cleansing foam is lactic acid. Lactic acid is part of the AHA/BHA family, meaning it’s going to work to speed up your skin’s cell renewal process by working as an exfoliant.
Thankfully, Avené called on the help of one of the least abrasive actives possible, so you can safely use this face wash every single day and night.
9. Bioderma Foaming Cleanser
For sensitive skin types, finding a face wash that doesn’t leave your skin hot, red, or itchy is a major win.
The key is to search for brands dedicated to maintaining your skin’s natural tolerance threshold- just like Bioderma.
This Bioderma foaming cleanser deeply cleanses the skin, digging deep into the pores to take care of any build up, but thanks to the addition of micellar water, can do so without drying you out!
The other ingredients that make this cleanser so special is the fatty acid additives, which help keep skin bouncy and youthful, and the cultivation of coco glucoside – which gives skin that slippery, soothed finish.
We love how this cleanser was specially made for sensitive skin, but it was so artfully crafted that we recommend it to anyone looking for a simple, yet strong face wash.
10. Filorga Foam Cleanser
Mature skin types don’t need to miss out on the French skincare party!
Filorga, a brand formulated by French doctors in the 70s, has a collection of face products they label as “aesthetic medicine”. Simply put, they’re products are luxurious and practical.
This foaming cleanser was made with a slew of anti-aging products and properties that help renew that youthful look we’re always trying to chase.
How does it do that? By putting moisturizing ingredients to the mix! By placing importance on hydration, your skin is given a second chance at producing collagen and improving elasticity- both things that can effectively fill in fine lines and wrinkles.
Boasting a rich formula, you don’t need to use a ton of foam to see the effect that it has on your skin. Pump a small out onto your hands, and apply it to a damp face every morning and night.
This fancy face wash is actually incredible at removing makeup as well, so you don’t need to double up on cleanser if you have sensitive skin!
11. Caudalie Salicylic Acid Cleanser
Have you ever had a face wash that left you feeling like an entirely new person post-rinse? A face wash that feels like it washed away dirt from ten years ago?
Sometimes, a deep clean is necessary, especially for those with acne-prone skin, or those who regularly wear makeup.
For that clarifying clean, reach for no more than this cleanser by Caudalie, enriched with salicylic acid to take care of active spots, and grape water and naturally derived essential oils to protect your skin’s softness and integrity.
But you don’t have to take our word for it! Caudalie held a study in which 24 volunteers used the wash for a month straight, every single day. 96% of those volunteers saw a difference in the purification of their skin, and if that’s not proof enough, we’re not sure what is!