When I began my career in beauty editorial 8 years ago at Shape, the most important thing I learned from my editor is this: When it comes to skincare and healthcare, always trust the Japanese and the French.
To that end, my medicine cabinet is perpetually stocked to the brim with goodies from Crème de la Mer, SK-II, Avene, and Shiseido. Plus, whenever I'm in Tokyo, I hit up Don Quixote (3-14-10 Roppongi, Minato-ku, Tokyo 106-0032) for primping supplies, and the same goes for Paris. City-Pharma (26 Rue du Four, 75006 Paris), my all-time favorite discount beauty empourim/pharmacy ever, is usually my very first stop. Below, the three things I always re-up on:
1) Bioderma Crealine H2O Ultra-Mild Non-Rinse Face and Eyes Cleanser (available Stateside for $28 at BeautyHabit.com)
This is the best makeup remover ever. Ever, EVER, E-V-E-R! You don't need a lot; usually I just soak one circular cotton pad and swipe, then flip and repeat to remove everything (including waterproof mascara). It also doubles as a face cleanser; I use it to quick wash my face on the weekends, as I recently instituted a firm "no makeup on Saturday and Sunday" rule.
Since I'm not wearing makeup, there's no need to fully wash my face with my favorite Mario Badescu cleanser, and this does the job just fine. Oh, and I also use it to deep clean my makeup brushes! (I soak them in a cocktail glass full of warm water and two tablespoons of this -- they emerge as clean as they were the day I got them.)
2) Embryolisse Lait-Crème Concentrè (available Stateside for $16 at EmbryolisseUSA.com)
It's a super-thick, multi-purpose miracle cream that can be used as a face or body moisturizer, makeup primer, and makeup remover. It smells like fresh, clean heaven, and despite its ultra rich consistency, it's non-comedogenic for all skin types -- even sensitive and oily. (That means you won't break out if you use it. Just be sure to adjust/lessen the amount you apply.)
3) Saforelle Soin Lavant Doux (available Stateside for $23 at NewLondonPharmacy.com)
We talked about Saforelle a few months ago (I bought their pH-balancing tampons in Germany last year). Those of you using regular old soap to cleanse your meat locker, you're doing it ALL wrong. And don't be fooled by Summer's Eve -- this pussy soap is the shit. It lathers really well, and it's infused with burdock root, which helps calm and neutralize the vagina's acidic environment while keeping excess yeast at bay (which in turn, prevents it from becoming a full-blown infection).
Now here's the most important part. When you're done power beauty shopping, stroll on up four blocks to Cafe de Flore (172 Boulevard Saint-Germain, 75006 Paris) and treat yo self to un café crème...
...et une soupe à l’oignon gratinée.
Otherwise known as coffee with milk and French onion soup.
Just one word of advice: Professional pickpockets will snatch your wallet, your wig and everything in between at Cafe de Flore, so keep everything you love in your lap, right in front of your eyes, with all 10 fingers and toes touching everything at all times.
And whatever you do, DO NOT GET DISTRACTED BY THE OLD "OOPS-I'M-PRETENDING-TO-BE-HANDICAPPED-AND-I'M-SORRY-I-BUMPED-YOUR-TABLE-AND-DIPPED-MY-TRENCHCOAT-SLEEVE-IN-YOUR-SOUP-AND-OOPS-I-DROPPED-SOMETHING-ON-THE-FLOOR-COULD-YOU-HELP-ME-PICK-IT-UP" BIT. Motherfuck manners and being nice. That's how those assclown fuckwads stole my vintage Chanel purse, Tiffany wallet, passport (with the BEST photo ever), 1000 euros, $500 cash, camera, iPhone and more. (Le sigh. This is what we call life lessons -- an expensive one. It happened 3 years ago, but yep. I'm STILL pretty pissy about it.)
What's your favorite place to kick it in Paris? Where do you have to go when you're in the City of Lights?
Tell me below, or over on Twitter at @IndiaJewelJax!