Tag Archives: france


It’s no secret that the French know everything there is to know about skincare. They are world-renowned for their pharmacy brands (Avene, La Roche-Posay, Nuxe, the list goes on), and are known to be the leaders in the skincare innovation (see: the world’s first Epidermologist, Joelle Ciocco.

However, Biologique Recherche takes it to a whole other level. Their exclusive spa off the Champs-Elysées is in the little black book of every editor and make up artist around the world. Their treatments and products aren’t cheap either–they’re known as the Hermès of skincare for a reason. One woman from Town & Country magazine took part in their “Haute Couture” program, a personalized regimen that is updated every month by BR, that costs $12,500–the price of a Birkin.

You’ve heard me talk about their ultimate exfoliating toner, P50, here before. While being extremely hard to find (I had to convince BR’s American PR company to send me a bottle) and smelling of onions,  it is also very effective. Containing lactic acid and magnesium, P50 is the cornerstone of BR’s vast range of skincare products.

This past week, Biologique Recherche launched their brand in Canada. Their facial treatments are products will now be available across the country in Toronto, Montreal and Manitoba (and soon, Oakville) at select spas and plastic surgery clinics.

Paris Fashion Week Fix: The Biologique Recherche Facial - Vogue Daily - VogueLast week, I had the privilege of being invited for a BR facial along with an interview with two of the brand’s founders, Dr. Allouche and Pierre-Louis Delapalme. I was ushered into a treatment room at One to One Studio by the wonderful Ellis Holevas (National trainer for BR in Canada), and was told that Dr. Allouche himself would be doing my skincare consultation. I was immediately struck by the sheer volume of BR products lining the counter and shelves. So. many. options.

After Ellis cleansed my face, Dr. Allouche breezed in, the ever-charming Frenchman to take a look at my skin. I was either expecting to hear that my face was a total disaster (my skin is still purging from the new addition of Differin into my skincare routine), or that it was so-so. The reaction I received from the doctor was not at all what I was expecting.

“Bonjourrr Madame!”

After pressing my hand, he took a look at my skin.

“Are you pregnant?”


“But you are going to be pregnant soon? Or you just had a baby?”

“No! No!” (I’m slightly panicking now, does this man know something I don’t??)

“Well, OK, you have lots of hormonal breakouts then.” (This I could agree on).

“Well, the doctor just prescribed me retinol”, to which he immediately made a disapproving face. I asked him what was wrong with retinol. “Nothing, nothing. It is not the best, but if it works for you, keep using it”. Well…OK.

He looked to Ellis and rapidly lists off instructions in his French-inflected English of what she is to use on my skin–different masks, their “Soin Lissant” of course, a P50 toner, and to mix a mask with baking soda. I barely caught any of it, Ellis is a true pro.

After the usual cleanse and tone, Ellis proceeded with the Soin Lissant, starting on the right side of my face. It was the deepest and most thorough lymphatic and facial massage I have ever experience. Once she was done with my right side, she asked if I would like to take a look–and admittedly, I was a bit confused as to why I would want to see my face mid-facial–but when I looked in the mirror, it looked as if my cheekbones had been lifted and injected with filler. I kid you not. The right side of my face was noticeably fuller. It was so incredible.

She then applied a mask to the one-half of my face (Masque Vivant), and went to work sculpting the other half. She has the most miraculous hands–with expert fluttery movements of flicks and applied pressure, she was able to remodel my face as if it was made of clay. I don’t need to tell you that I will be massaging the crap out of my face now at home (even in my amateur fashion with fingers and my massage roller).

Then 2 additional masks were layered on top of each other, and she went to work massaging my arms. Pure heaven.

Once I came out of my massage coma, I was able to have my chance to meet with Dr. Allouche and Pierre-Louis. Unfortunately for me, the journalist in the time slot before me ate up most of my allotted time with them (I was only able to meet with them for 10 minutes, as opposed to 30).

“So tell me…what do you have against retinol?”. “No no, nothing, nothing, just it’s not the best but if it works for you, continue using it. But our method would work too, it might just take a little longer”, says Dr. Allouche. “We have seen the results from our tests in Thailand, the were extraordinary”, says Pierre-Louis, “they have terrible acne in Thailand, you know, all of the spicy foods, it creates inflammation”.

I had no idea about this. Note to self: cut down on chili flakes, salsa and hot sauce ASAP.

“Of course, all acne is different, I would not treat an adolescent’s acne the same way I would treat yours, but we could do it. With the P50 and regular visits en cabine (facials), we could do it”. I ask how often these visits would be. “Well, at first once a week, then once a month. The skin changes so often, you know, and it constantly needs to be assessed. This is why we do the “Skin Instant” before the treatment. We do a visual assessment of your face at that moment before it is treated in the cabine“, says Delapalme.

So, how often does the skin change then? “Hour to hour, day to day, this is why products and treatments need to be constantly reassessed. We would like if our clients could come in once a month to the cabine to have their skin reassessed.”

I mention that I noticed that there wasn’t any steaming or extractions during the facial. “No, no, it is too harsh on the skin. Using lasers and metal tools on the skin is like using a laser to cut butter, it’s unnecessary. The skin is so delicate”, says Delapalme. I also noticed that there were no scrubs included in their product catalog. “No, mechanical exfoliation is not needed for the face, we have a product with mechnical exfolation for the body, but not for the face. The P50 is enough”, says Delapalme.

Convinced to reincorporate BR into my skincare routine, I purchase a few of (the many) products that Dr. Allouche prescribed for me, the toner (the gentlest version, for now), of course, and a moisturizer that promises to rebalance sebum secretion (sounds gross). The two set me back nearly $200. “We want to be exclusive, we don’t want to be everywhere. We want to stay professional”, said Dr. Phillipe Allouche, one of the founders of Biologique Recherche. Well, you’re certainly top shelf skincare, that’s for sure.

Biologique Recherche facials and the entire product range is now available in select cities across Canada. In Ontario, you can find BR in Toronto at One to One Studio, and soon in Oakville at Briarwood Cosmetic Surgical Centre and at Heritage Way Medical Spa.

Update: I received more addresses from PR.

Montréal     La Chambre des Dames (514.248.0701)
Manitoba   Bren’s Skin Care (www.brensskincare.com)
Barrie         Femme Fatale (http://www.femmefatalespa.com)


My hair has changed a few times in my life now (I’m 25). When I was really small, my hair was very curly. Then, as a teenager, my hair became coarser (still curly, mind you). Since finishing university, my hair has become finer, thinner, smoother and silkier–which can be nice, but makes it difficult to add volume. Plus, oddly, my hair can be curly just as it’s finished drying, but after a few hours, it loses the curl and becomes straight with wavy parts–except around my face. Those baby curly hairs are my nemesis. I am forever straightening them, hoping to avoid a lion’s mane. In the summer, they become even more stubborn.

Basically, these baby hairs are the reason that I have not gotten bangs yet. I feel that it would be silly for me to be constantly fixing and straightening my bangs, not to mention damaging. But I can’t help but love how a little hair on the forehead looks so feminine, especially when it is wispy and a little messy. It adds more interest to a bun or a ponytail and some hair in the eyes adds instant mystery. For older women, getting some bangs cut can be quite anti-aging as it covers up any wrinkles on the forehead.

Plus, I’ve never really had bangs (well, that’s not completely true–my mother thought it would be a good idea to give me bangs in Grade 5, it didn’t look great, but I was a child), so I don’t know what it’s like to have them. Do they get greasy faster than the rest of your hair? Are they impossible on the second day? How annoying are they?

Existential questions, I tell you. If only the rest of my hair and my baby hairs could coordinate. Sigh.

Cool girls: Jane Birkin, Freja Beha Erichsen, Jeanne Damas, Caroline de Maigret, Alexandra Golovanoff, Brigite Bardot and Léa Seydoux


The French are known for being very skin-savvy. They are known for their outstanding pharmaceutical brands (Avène, La Roche-Posay, Guinot, Klorane, Embryolisse, the list goes on and on), and for their advancements in skincare.
Joelle Ciocco is an Epidermologist, the first of her kind in the world. In France, she is the woman you want to get an appointment with (if you can afford her). She treats the faces of France’s elite, including stars like Catherine Deneuve, Juliette Binoche, TV host Alexandra Golovanoff and French Voguettes Mademoiselle Agnès and Lily Barbéry-Coulon. 
While we can’t get our own appointment with her in Paris, we can interview her for the good of everyone’s skin in the rest of the world. 
How did you get into dermatology? How is the way you treat skin different from other dermatologists? 
I never actually got into dermatology, I’m not a doctor and I don’t treat skin conditions or prescribe medication. I deal with the skin’s wellbeing, the balance of its natural protection as well as its hygiene. I supplement according to its oxidative stress which is different in every one. For all anti-aging concerns, I use cosmetics.
There is no secret to my method, it’s just good common sense. We have to take a new approach. We can no longer consider the skin with the same, dated evaluations. We now have a real knowledge of cutaneous aging and the trauma it inflicts on the skin, as well as testing of effective cosmetics and the use of several tools (laser, light, etc.) which bring about great results.
Our method is based on a new concept of EPIDERMOLOGY. People come to us for skin evaluations and we advise them on skin defence and hygiene. We satisfy each person in accordance with their specific and personal beauty needs, whether cosmetic, surgical or aesthetic medicine.
Our mission with this new concept of Epidermology is to answer every question, prepare, guide, and repair.
What do you think is the most important part of a skincare routine? (Cleansing? Moisturizing? Toning?) What is something that we can all do at home to improve our skin?
We believe that there are no bad cosmetics, just that they are often misused or unsuited to the person or their environment at the time. Sometimes they don’t correspond to the needs of the user. However, hygiene, that is to say cleansing, is very often not done correctly, not enough, too aggressively. Even a mixture of brands or products, a serum and a cream, can sometimes produce an antagonistic reaction on the skin.
What is the best way to treat skin with acne? Do you believe in following a skincare regimen? Or do you think that we should use different products every day depending on what is happening with our skin?
To improve our skin is to respect it. Our natural film is the skin’s real protection. Unfortunately is gets polluted everyday and so we have to cleanse perfectly every morning and night, purifying it in order to respect the new film. Next, protect your skin from the elements (sun, cold, wind). Use a cosmetic product for this, but don’t go crazy. For example, if you have blemishes or imperfections, you must stay away from aggressive products. These exacerbate rather than repair. We must first correct our cleansing routine, discard the anti-ageing creams or creams that are too heavy, use less oily products and do some exercise or an activity to help with stress. Avoid coca (cola) and caffeine, or drinks with stimulants in general. It’s essential that you cleanse your digestive system too with the use of draining plants. Chocolate is allowed, but not the entire bar!!!!
Products should generally be changed four times a year, with each change of season.
I’ve read that you believe that the skin has it’s own ecosystem. Can you elaborate on that?What are the best foods and activities for healthy skin?
The skin has its own INDIVIDUAL ecosystem, IT’S ITS IDENTITY! It is a very fragile membrane whose biodiversity functions according to the genetic makeup of the person, their past and their present. The interior, exterior, and the mind, all functioning as a whole. OUR SKIN IS UNIQUE TO US!
There’s that assertion that we all know: eat well, not too much meat, drink plenty of water and herbal tea, and take part in different sports activities.
What is the best way to get rid of acne scars?
Regarding acne scars, once the skin is clear, you could visit a dermatologist. Several techniques are possible. Depending on the depth of the scarring, maybe a peeling or laser treatment would suit. However, we would be sure to personalise the treatment on a case by case basis.
Joelle’s skincare range is available online at Oh My Cream, Isabelle BellisColette and 10 Corso Como.
Very special thanks to translator extraordinaire, Ella Rogers Browne, who graciously translated Joelle’s French for this post.


On my frantic run through the pharmacie on Rue du Four in Paris, I instinctively grabbed a pot of Nuxe’s Rêve de Miel Lip Balm (and I’m so glad I did). I had heard so much about it, and needed a good lip balm without any colour or sparkles that had good lasting power and intense hydration. I just cannot handle it when I forget to bring a lip balm with me wherever I am going–as soon as I notice I don’t have one, my lips instantly feel dry and it’s all I think about until I can get some balm on.

The consistency is quite thick, but not sticky at all, and you barely need any of the honey and grapefruit-scented formula to save your lips from that tight, dry feeling. The weight of the little pot also makes it feel luxurious when you pull it out of your purse for application.

P.S. I thought it was quite comical that on the box it says “Tested in extremely cold conditions in Canada”.


Yesterday, after visiting the Catacombes, we headed over to City Pharmacie, the drugstore legendary for their amazing deals and selection of French pharmacy brands.

I was excited the whole duration of our stay in Paris to visit this place. We left the shopping to our last day in the city (also loaded up on tea from Mariage Frères), and every night before bed I would tell Jordan how excited I was the visit the holy grail of beauty and skincare.
I was not let down. Jordan waited patiently outside for me in the scorching sun ( this place was PACKED) as the aisles were too narrow and crammed full of shoppers for his liking (he once got hit by a girl in Aritzia and he now avoids women’s boutiques like the plague and waits outside for me while I shop).
I would suggest going here right when it opens in the morning at eight to avoid the crowds of women. Don’t be put off by what I’m saying–it is so worth it to stock up here on French brands.
I bought the biggest bottle of Vichy sunscreen I’ve ever seen for €10, three toners from La Roche-Posay for €3 each (!!!–you cannot buy these in Canada, they are only sold in France), two Avene lip balms for €5, Nuxe Huile Prodigieuse for €13 (normally $50 at home), Nuxe Reve de Miel lip balm for €6, the cult favourite Homeoplasmine for €3.50 and Retinol from Roc for €22.
I could have spent even more time and more money in there had the people not been so annoying and had Jordan not been waiting for me.
Some other great French brands not to be missed at the Pharmacies:
Caudalie (so incredibly cheap in France)
Klorane (my favorite dry shampoo)
Biafine (intensely hydrating lotions)
Embryolisse (for the cult favourite moisturizer)
Bioderma (for their famous Crealine)