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Avene vs Vichy 2024 (The Definitive Guide)

We're positive you've seen Avene and Vichy on the shelves at your local drugstore before. But which one should you choose?

Previously, we took a look at a slightly different French pharmacy skincare matchup: La Roche Posay and Vichy; today, we will be comparing Avene vs Vichy to help you figure out which brand better suits you!

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Avene vs Vichy Thermal Water

It wouldn't be an Avene vs Vichy review without first comparing the skin-quenching thermal spring water that forms the foundation of almost all of their cult-favourite products.

Avene's thermal spring water—sourced at Sainte-Odile and filtered by the Cevennes Mountains—is the resounding reason for their overwhelming success, especially amongst the sensitive skin community. It possesses naturally soothing, anti-irritating properties and is highly rich in silica (a natural anti-inflammatory that gives you a beautiful glowy complexion and stimulates collagen production).

Vichy's Mineralizing Thermal Water is born in the French volcanoes and travels to depths of up to 4000 meters before it is heated to 140°C and thrust up to the surface. Throughout its thousand-year journey, it absorbs 15 minerals which gives the water its powers. It helps soothe skin exposed to daily external aggressors and leaves it looking healthy, glowing, and beautiful.

Now it may or may not be obvious from those brief descriptions, but we've just unveiled the primary distinction in priorities between the two brands. Avene is very much focused on tolerability and resolving specific skin concerns, whereas Vichy as a brand prioritises perfecting and beautifying. The contrast between the two isn't quite as stark as it was in our comparison with La Roche Posay, but it is certainly clear and present.

Deciding between the two, then, ultimately comes down to what you're most looking to get out of your skincare routine. If, for example, you are struggling with redness, acne, rosacea, eczema, dermatitis, or other conditions of that ilk, you will most certainly prefer Avene's Eau Thermale. If, on the other hand, you're just looking to improve your skin's overall quality and appearance, Vichy's "beautifying water" is the one for you.

Thermal Spring Water Spray by Avene, the best thermal spring water.

Thermal Spring Water Spray by Avene

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Our rating: ★★★★★

Price: $$$$

A soothing, calming facial mist spray.

What makes it special? This remarkable bottle of French thermal water is hydrating, calming and anti-irritating. The water undergoes an underground journey that lasts over fifty years, picking up powerful vitamins and minerals along the way, retaining all of their unique benefits. It is packaged in a sterile unit at the source in Sainte-Odile to ensure its purity and effectiveness.

Which skin types? All skin types, especially sensitive. Suitable for infants and babies.

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Mineralizing Thermal Spa Water by Vichy, one of the best overall spring water mist sprays.

Mineralizing Thermal Spa Water by Vichy

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Our rating: ★★★★★

Price: $$$$

A skin-beautifying mineral water mist.

What makes it special? Vichy's Mineralizing Thermal Water has been clinically proven to strengthen the skin's barrier function and help accelerate surface skin cell renewal. Enriched with 15 minerals, as well as shea butter and rose extract, this hidden gem of a water spray leaves skin looking radiant and glowing.

Which skin types? All skin types.

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Avene vs Vichy Cleanser

Avene offers a wide range of cleansers, each targeting different, specific skin concerns. Vichy, on the other hand, boasts relatively few options, each focussing on the overall improvement of your skin's quality and appearance. This falls well in line with our previous deductions, meaning that it's rather difficult to find products to compare like-for-like here; but, it makes our conclusion fairly straightforward: choose Avene for targeted treatment (i.e. for acne, hypersensitivity, etc.), and choose Vichy for a normal daily cleanser.

If you're looking for the best daily cleanser of the two brands, we highly recommend the Vichy Pureté Thermale One-Step Facial Cleanser. Today, though, we're going to be comparing cleansers designed for oily skin.

Picking a quality cleanser designed for oily skin is critical, as otherwise, you can unintentionally force yourself into vicious perpetuity of stripping your skin and needing to cleanse more and more to deal with the further-exacerbated oiliness. Avene's Cleanance Cleansing Gel and Vichy's Normaderm Daily Acne Treatment Face Wash are two such quality cleansers that we shall be comparing.

The key difference between the two cleansers is the active ingredient choice. Vichy's uses the traditional acne treatments of salicylic acid and zinc whereas Avene's uses Comedoclastin: an innovative, highly-effective acne-fighting ingredient that blocks the formation of blackheads, whiteheads and bumps (comedones) whilst also preventing their formation from deep below the surface. You won't find Comedoclastin in a non-Avene product since they own the patent!

This mattifying, zit-zapping wonder ingredient combined with Avene's soothing, calming Thermal Spring Water is a cult-favourite of acne sufferers around the globe. In line with popular opinion, our top pick is Avene's Cleanance Cleansing Gel.

Cleanance Cleansing Gel by Avene, one of the best cleansers for oily skin.

Cleanance Cleansing Gel by Avene

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Our rating: ★★★★★

Price: $$$$

A gentle cleansing gel for oily, blemish prone skin.

What makes it special? Soap-free and concentrated with Avène Thermal Spring Water, this gel cleanses your skin gently leaving it feeling soothed and refreshed whilst regulating excess sebum and mattifying your skin. The simple dispenser cap ensures that you use the perfect amount every time.

Which skin types? Oily, acne-prone skin.

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Normaderm Daily Acne Treatment Face Wash by Vichy, one of the best French face washes for all skin types.

Normaderm Daily Acne Treatment Face Wash by Vichy

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Our rating: ★★★★★

Price: $$$$

A salicylic acid face cleanser.

What makes it special? A daily gel cleanser that purifies and revitalises the appearance of oily, blemish-prone skin. Perfectly removes impurities including dirt, dust and pollutant particles, so skin feels cleansed and is left looking fresher, clearer and mattified. In just one month, blackheads appear less prominent, and pores look unclogged.

Which skin type? Oily, acne-prone skin.

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Avene vs Vichy Moisturizer

Avene and Vichy each boast incredible collections of face creams, most of which are for normal-to-dry, sensitive skin types with a focus on hydration and moisture-barrier care. Being spoilt for choice is never a bad thing, but choice paralysis is frustrating regardless; allow us to guide you through the best of the best.

A daily moisturizer should excel at two things: mitigating the effects of TEWL (trans-epidermal water loss) and making your skin feel supple, velvety soft, and hydrated all day long. Girl, do we have two absolute gems of moisturizers for you...

The Vichy Aqualia Thermal Rich Face Cream and the Avene Hydrance Hydrating Emulsion are two holy grail face products fulfilling these two exact requirements, but deciding between the two can be tricky.

One of the main differences between the two is the difference in active ingredients. Vichy's formula is inspired by isotonic rehydration (a solution athletes use to keep themselves fully hydrated), utilising hyaluronic acid and their cult-favourite volcanic spring water to do the heavy lifting. I'd have to say that I think this is probably the most 'targeted' product in Vichy's lineup, and it's a very strong one at that. The Avene Hydrance Hydrating Emulsion instead contains a patented Lipo-Mucine complex which provides long-lasting comfort and hydration for all skin types.

Speaking of skin types, that's where the second main difference arises. Whilst Avene's is great for all skin types, the Vichy Aqualia Face Cream comes in different variants for each specific skin type. This is great if you're absolutely sure of your skin type, but erring on the side of personal experience with regards to skin type uncertainty, we prefer Avene's Hydrance Hydrating Emulsion (especially as it is our top pick for the best French moisturizer!)

Hydrance Light Hydrating Emulsion by Avene, the best daily moisturiser.

Hydrance Light Hydrating Emulsion by Avene

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Our rating: ★★★★★

Price: $$$$

A lightweight moisturizer in the form of an emulsion.

What makes it special? This absolute gem of a moisturizer has a non-sticky, oil-absorbing, lightweight texture that leaves your skin feeling soft, supple and radiant all day long. Its custom 'Cohederm' complex guarantees 24-hour hydration & soothing relief by locking in micro-reservoirs of Avene Thermal Spring Water deep beneath the skin's surface, releasing quenching bursts of hydration over time.

Which skin types? Normal, combination, oily, and/or sensitive skin types.

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Aqualia Thermal Rich Face Cream by Vichy, one of the best daily moisturizers.

Aqualia Thermal Rich Face Cream by Vichy

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Our rating: ★★★★★

Price: $$$$

A velvety-soft, rich face cream moisturizer that evenly distributes moisture.

What makes it special? The skin loses around 500ml of moisture each day which can leave the skin feeling dry and uncomfortable. This face cream targets moisture loss by rehydrating dry and very dry skin with an intense and long-lasting daily formula inspired by isotonic rehydration. A solution used by athletes consisting of water, minerals and sugar designed to replenish a dehydrated body’s natural fluids.

Which skin types? Dry to very dry skin.

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Avene vs Vichy Sunscreen

French sunscreen comprises a fundamental part of every flawless-skinned Parisienne's skincare routine, and Avene and Vichy are two of the biggest go-to's boasting some of the best sunscreen products on the market. But which is the best?

When it comes to picking a daily sunscreen, the things to look out for are: its SPF (the higher, the better), whether it has a mineral or chemical formula (based on preference), and whether they exclude oxybenzone or not (to look after the coral reefs!). Two of the best options to consider are the Capital Soleil Face & Body Lotion by Vichy and Solaire UV Mineral Sunscreen Fluid by Avene.

We have covered both extensively in our best French sunscreen post, so we will just get straight to the point here. Vichy's is by far the best overall, whereas Avene's is by far the best for those with sensitive skin. Both products are oxybenzone-free, paraben-free, hypoallergenic, and non-comedogenic. Vichy's is oil-free, whereas Avene's is silicone-free. Having used and loved both, we really think you can't go wrong with either of these picks, but if we *had* to choose, we would opt for Vichy's Capital Soleil Face & Body Lotion.

Capital Soleil Face & Body Lotion by Vichy, the best French sunscreen overall.

Capital Soleil Face & Body Lotion by Vichy

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Our rating: ★★★★★

Price: $$$$

The best French sunscreen overall.

What makes it special? The formula is enriched with Mexoryl XL, a patented filter system that provides broad-spectrum UVA/UVB protection that stays on the surface of the skin, and it has a super silky, non-greasy texture that absorbs quickly into the skin (face and body!) without leaving a residue.

Which skin types? All skin types.

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Solaire UV Mineral Sunscreen Fluid by Avene, the best French sunscreen for sensitive skin.

Solaire UV Mineral Sunscreen Fluid by Avene

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Our rating: ★★★★★

Price: $$$$

The best French sunscreen for sensitive skin.

What makes it special? It boasts a light matte finish, broad-spectrum UV-A & UV-B defence, free-radical protection, water resistance and soothing Avene thermal spring water. Unlike many other mineral sunscreens, it does not leave much of a white cast on the face at all. Exceeding our expectations on all fronts, it will slot perfectly into any sensitive skincare routine.

Which skin types? Suitable for all skin types, especially sensitive skin types.

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Avene vs Vichy Conclusion

The consensus with regards to the two brands as a whole follows neatly from the inferences we drew from the thermal water comparison. To reiterate, you will probably prefer the Avene brand as a whole if you are looking to resolve specific skin concerns such as acne or dryness, whereas you will definitely prefer Vichy if you are simply looking to improve your skin's overall quality and appearance.

2024 update: There's not an awful lot to report with regards to Avene or Vichy three years on. That's not necessarily a bad thing, though. While we do love to see shiny new versions of products, it's also just as comforting to see a product look and feel the same as it ever has. It's testament to how popular they are, as they are.

So as not to compare apples to oranges, this article comprised comparisons of similar, popular, best-selling products from the two brands. To round off our review, though, here are our recommendations for the alternative skincare lines that Avene and Vichy offer.

Other Avene Ranges

For very sensitive skin:
Try the Tolérance Range

For redness or rosacea:
Try the Antirougeurs Range

For acne and oily, blemish-prone skin:
Try the Cleanance Range

Other Vichy Ranges

For mature skin:
Try the Liftactiv Range

For skin showing early signs of ageing:
Try the Idéalia Range

For skin needing extra coverage:
Try the Dermablend Range

Frequently Asked Questions

Avene Eau Thermale vs Vichy Mineral 89?
The Vichy Mineral 89.

Vichy vs La Roche Posay for Acne?
Avene's Cleanance Range.

Work in progress

You have been reading a post that we are constantly updating. Be sure to bookmark this page, subscribe, and come back later to see additions to the definitive Avene vs Vichy guide!

This article was originally published on November 22nd 2021, but it has been reviewed and updated with the latest available information on January 25th 2024 by Sara Mckay, MA.

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