Our top pick? Le Petit Marseillais' Extra Gentle Body Wash Cream
Whether you're kick-starting your day or washing it away, bring on that fresh feeling with a delightfully luxurious French body wash.
Deciding which one is best for you, though, depends entirely on your preference of fragrance and your penchant for French pharmacy skincare. Our top 14 picks narrow down the best French body wash based on each of these factors. Enjoy!
This post contains affiliate links; as an Amazon Associate we earn commission from qualifying purchases.
Most Popular French Body Wash
At risk of repetition of our best French soap article, Provençal brands are king when it comes to delivering an affordable, spa-like experience day after day. Le Petit Marseillais, Pre de Provence, and L'Occitane are three of the most well-renowned, offering some seriously cult-loved products; no less their range of body washes.
The most popular of the lot—lining the shelves of drugstores all across France—is Le Petit Marseillais' seriously addictive body wash cream. Kind to your skin, kind to your purse, kind to your nose and kind to the environment; there's really nothing negative to be said about it.
If you prefer shower gels over creams, then we highly recommend Pre de Provence's sumptuous Rose de Mai shower gel—it just forms such a lovely bubbly lather. And if you prefer higher-end options, look no further than L'Occitane's Shower Gel with an irresistible and invigorating verbena scent that transforms your daily shower into a genuine moment of pleasure.
Having used all three, I can comfortably say that I prefer the Extra Gentle Shower Cream by Le Petit Marseillais. The neutral pH, creamy formula leaves your skin feeling oh so soft, and the scent is nothing short of divine.
#1 — Extra Gentle Body Wash Cream by Le Petit Marseillais
Our rating: ★★★★★
An extra gentle body wash cream.
What makes it special? This moisturizing body wash lathers into a smooth, easy-to-rinse foam that nourishes as it cleans, leaving your skin feeling soft and moisturized. It delights the senses with the rich and sweet aroma of handpicked cherry blossom. It is pH neutral and gentle enough for daily use, as well as being 100% recyclable and 98% biodegradable.
Which skin types? All skin types, even sensitive.
#2 — Rose de Mai Shower Gel by Pre de Provence
Our rating: ★★★★★
A traditional, gentle French shower gel.
What makes it special? Whether lounging in a relaxing bath or taking a quick shower before your day starts, surround yourself with a bubbly lather of sumptuous Rose de Mai that gently cleanses while leaving skin petal-soft to the touch. Pair with the rest of the Rose de Mai range for the full traditional French skincare experience.
Which skin types? Normal skin types.
#3 — Verbena Shower Gel by L'Occitane
Our rating: ★★★★★
A luxurious, traditional French shower gel.
What makes it special? Like a session of aromatherapy, let yourself be transported by the revitalising & energising scent of Provence. Each squeeze of this luxury fragranced shower gel releases the crisp, citrusy aroma of L'Occitane verbena and infuses your skin with refreshing, moisturizing essential oils.
Which skin types? All skin types, even the most sensitive.
Best French Pharmacy Body Wash
For the more skincare-inclined, you won't find anything quite like the dermatologist-backed, ultra-gentle, skin-nourishing body wash formulas created by French pharmacy brands. Perhaps unsurprisingly, though, the battle for the title of the best boils down to the classic rivalry of Avene vs La Roche Posay.
Both are hypoallergenic, soap-free, paraben-free, fragrance-free, non-comedogenic, suitable for infants, *and* imbued with their famous thermal spring water, thus making it a rather tricky task to separate them at first glance.
'Fragrance-free' products are never really "fragrance"-free, though, and often reveal rather unpleasant chemical smells that would otherwise be masked with delightful scents in your usual non-pharmacy products. Unfortunately, this is particularly the case for Avene's Trixera Cleanser. If you can handle the pungent scent then you will be rewarded with countless benefits of one of the *best* moisture-barrier supporting & replenishing body washes available. Otherwise, it may be best to avoid this one.
Our preference lies with La Roche Posay's Lipikar Body Wash, though, on account of its much subtler scent and its synbiotic (that's pre-biotic AND pro-biotic) formula, that helps to support your skin's natural microbiome.
#1 — Lipikar Wash AP+ Body & Face Wash by La Roche Posay
Our rating: ★★★★★
A gentle body wash for normal-to-dry skin.
What makes it special?
Tested and re-tested for its efficacy and mildness on sensitive skin, the Lipikar body wash immediately locks moisture into the skin and protects against the drying effects of water, leaving skin feeling soft and supple. The minimalist formula contains La Roche Posay's highest grade ingredients and is suitable for use on even the most sensitive skin including newborn babies from the first day of life.
It does double up as a face wash, although we recommend getting a dedicated face wash instead since the skin on your face is orders of magnitude thinner and more sensitive than the skin on your body. Check out our best French face wash post!
Which skin types? Gentle enough even to be used on babies sensitive and delicate skin.
#2 — Trixera Nutrition Nutri-Fluid Cleanser by Avene
Our rating: ★★★★★
A nourishing, moisturizing, protective body wash.
What makes it special? The biodegradable, soap-free formula gently cleanses and nourishes even the most sensitive skin. It restores your skin's natural moisture barrier by supplying skin-nourishing lipids & helping to prevent water loss while soothing dry to very dry skin; a treat for the entire family.
Which skin types? Suitable for all skin types: including infants, children and adults for cleansing face and body.
Best Perfumed French Body Wash
Having recently covered the best French perfumes, we felt compelled to find their body wash counterparts because there's something that's just oh so satisfying about the perfect French shower gel & perfume combo.
Generally targeted at normal skin types, these aroma-packed shower gels provide the perfect start to your day, dousing you with your signature scent that will permeate from your aura for the day and night ahead. Prepare to be bombarded with comments and questions about it from people wondering where they can get their hands on it for themselves.
If you're unsure about the perfect perfume or fragrance for you, consider this as the ideal entry point into the world of sensual fragrance Française—the shallow end so-to-speak. Our personal favourites (and seemingly the favourites of 1000s of others with them boasting flawless reviews across the internet) are the Coco Mademoiselle Foaming Shower Gel and the Miss Dior Foaming Shower Gel. Whether they be used as a lovely occasional treat, or as your everyday go-to, you will love every moment you use them.
Complete your daily shower or bathing routine with the best French shampoo!
Calum Torrington is the founder of FemmeNordic. He has worked as a beauty editor since 2020 and employs his analytical background in mathematics to thoroughly scrutinize complex INCI lists. Now, he helps over 1 million people per year to find the best beauty products.