Within hours of landing on Net-a-Porter’s beauty edit, must-have French pharmacy moisturiser, Embryolisse, sold out, and in doing so, highlighted the true extent of our beauty Francophilia; an adoration that has been slowly slowly infiltrating the British psyche.
From the oh-so-Gallic insouciance that sits at the very heart of our Lea Seydoux, Clemence Poesy, Josephine de la Baume girl crushes to the Parisian-chic presence in our sartorial choices (Maje, Sandro, A.P.C.), our neighbourly affections are growing stronger by the week. But one area that Francophilia has firmly set roots is in our bathroom cabinets.
And it’s not just the does-it-all Lait Creme Concentre Embryolisse that we’re been borrowing from the French. For years, backstage at fashion week, make up artists have been erasing the remnants of previous shows and cleansing models’ over-worked faces with the wonders of micellar waters. Because, unlike our foamy, balmy, frothy cleansers, micellars are extra gentle on skin, cleansing thoroughly without drying, removing grease, grime and the day’s residue without need for a sink full of sudsy water, or multi-step system. Not unlike a toner, you simply dribble onto a cotton pad and swipe over skin until clean.
Givenchy’s Skin Drink Cleansing and Hydrating Micellar Water has become something of a staple (and not just during weekend festival jaunts), which, considering I am a total oil-plus-cleanser-plus-Clarisonic skin-cleaning Nazi, is a total revelation. But here’s the thing. The water texture vanishes upon use, which means there’s no sticky, grimy product residue left behind. And whilst the unique formula wicks away make up and impurities it also soothes and balances skin with white tea extracts and plumps and refreshes with a boost of hyaluronic acid.
So, whilst the long-standing French brands including Bioderma’s Crealine H2O (or Sensibio H2O as it’s known outside of France) and La Roche Posay’s Physiological Micellar Solution remain go-tos in the world of micellars, the former can sweep away waterproof formulations within moments, the latter a joy for sensitive, reactionary types, I’d recommend taking a punt on the slew of fresh, new, micro-emulsifying water cleansers making their way to a very British high street, e-tailer and pharmacy near you.
Givenchy Skin Drink Cleansing and Hydrating Micellar Water, £21 Houseoffraser.co.uk
Bioderma Crealine H2o, from £4.50 Escentual.com
La Roche Posay Physiological Micellar Solution, £11.50 Boots.com
L’Oreal Paris Skin Perfection 3-in-1 Purifying Micellar Solution, £3.33 Boots.com