Vichy Is the French Pharmacy Brand You Should Know
Whenever I travel to France, I seek out excuses to go into the "green cross" pharmacies that beckon on just about every block, their shelves lined with chic but simply packaged products from brands that are so very French: Klorane, La Roche-Posay, and Avène, to name a few.
The brand that has recently seduced me is Vichy Laboratories — partly because I love the products, but also because I love a brand with a great history, which Vichy has. Lucky for you, the products are easy to find stateside, but to really appreciate them, you'll want to take a virtual visit to France.
I recently traveled to Vichy on a trip with the brand and went in with a skeptical attitude toward this magical water. But after experiencing the thermal springs up close and learning about the process used to create the products, I became a genuine fan.
Vichy, France, is a sleepy town in the center of the country, and since the 17th century, it has attracted visitors from all of Europe to its healing thermal hot springs. For centuries, people have come to soak in pools filled with Vichy mineralizing water, which originates in the volcanic region of Auvergne. Under Napoleon III, Vichy became the first spa resort in Europe.
Vichy mineralizing water contains 15 minerals and is an ingredient in every single one of the line's quenching skin care products. The brand was founded in 1931 by a doctor who observed that Vichy mineralizing water had scar-healing benefits on his patients. Today, doctors in Vichy, France, can "prescribe" the water as treatment for their patients, who visit the so-called Hall of Sources to drink water from various local springs. I had a chance to visit the Hall and drink the Vichy
Kool-Aid waters; some of the water really does taste like medicine (aka a sulfur punch in the mouth) while other springs produce water that's refreshing in the traditional sense.
Whether you buy into the idea of "healing water" or not doesn't really matter. The skin-quenching properties of the products are obvious when you use them. Here are seven of the Vichy products I recommend and why.
Travel and expenses for the author were provided by Vichy Laboratories for the purpose of writing this story.
Vichy's latest release is also one of its best, in my opinion: Vichy Mineral 89 ($30). All Vichy products contain water from French thermal springs, but until now, the most the labs managed to incorporate into any product was 10 percent. Minéral 89 is made from hyaluronic acid and 89 percent Vichy mineralizing water. It's designed to fortify against pollution and make your skin more resistant to the signs of aging, and it's fragrance-free and not the slightest bit sticky. After using this product daily for almost a month, I can see a distinct difference in my skin. It's softer and smoother — as if I've just done a detoxifying mask, even though I haven't.
Mineralizing Thermal Water Spray
It might be indulgent to spray $14 water on my face, but that's why I love doing it. I like Mineralizing Thermal Water Spray ($14) because one spritz distributes evenly across the face. It's a great way to cool down in the Summer, in my stuffy office, at music festivals, and while traveling.
Ideal Body Skin Firming Body Milk
Although I have combination skin on my face, the rest of me is decidedly dry, so I use moisturizer all over every day. I'm a fan of the Ideal Body Skin Firming Body Milk ($29) because it's lightweight and makes my dry skin feel silky. Body Milk also has a subtle clean-smelling fragrance.
Mineral Pore Purifying Facial Clay Mask
If you're into multimasking, the Vichy Mineral Pore Purifying Facial Clay Mask ($20) is great to use on your T-zone. I put this on my nose and chin, where I tend to get the most blackheads.
Quenching Mineral Mask
Let the Vichy Quenching Mineral Mask ($20) be the other step in your multimasking regimen, applied wherever your skin tends to dry out. I also bring this when I travel. Since it's so light and clear in color, you can apply it on your makeup-free face on the plane.
Purete Thermale 3-in-1 One Step Cleanser
When I'm exhausted before bed, I can't be bothered with eye makeup remover. Vichy Pureté Thermale 3-in-1 Step Cleanser ($18) is a cleanser, toner, and makeup remover in one. And unlike other products that claim to take eye makeup off, this one really works.