Whilst a cleanser, moisturizer and sunscreen provides the bedrock of any Parisienne-approved skincare routine, serums provide the je ne sais quoi that completely transforms it into a full-blown spa session. The simple addition of a French serum before applying your moisturizer genuinely makes all the difference in achieving that coveted radiant, healthy glow we all desire.
So what exactly is a serum? A serum is usually a liquid or gel containing high concentrations of active ingredients which can penetrate much deeper into the skin than any other topical product. They're the number one best way to target specific skin concerns due to their potency.
The reason why French serums reign supreme compared to others is due in large part to their no-nonsense formulations that consist only of the highest quality ingredients. The efficacy and tolerability of French serums are assured by dermatologists globally, and consistent use yields guaranteed results over time.
Deciding which one is best for you depends entirely on your goals, skin type and skin concerns. Our top 10 picks narrow down the best of these delightful skincare products based on each of these factors. Enjoy!
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Best serum for sensitive skin
Unbeknownst to most, skin is not directly in contact with the outside world. A protective film known as the hydrolipidic film covers the skin, which allows the skin to maintain its moisture levels and prevents many kinds of external aggressions. It is of utmost importance to nurture this protective film, especially for those with sensitive skin, as it is what gives skin its suppleness, its radiance and makes it pleasant to the touch.
Avene's Hydrance Intense Rehydrating Serum restores and stabilizes the hydrolipidic film, infusing Avene Thermal Spring Water into the skin for an incredibly hydrating finish. With this French pharmacy serum:
- Skin becomes hydrated, supple, radiant and comfortable;
- Tightness and dehydration immediately diminishes;
- And sensitive skin is cared for with its formula being hypoallergenic, non-comedogenic, soap-free, paraben-free, oil-free, soy-free and gluten-free.
It is categorically the best French serum for sensitive skin available on the market and one of the best French pharmacy serums; unsurprisingly it boasts hundreds, if not thousands, of rave reviews.
Best serum for oily skin
La Roche-Posay holds our title of Best French Brand for Problem Skin (from our Best French Skincare Brands article), as well as the equally impressive title of '#1 Acne Skincare Brand in Europe', so it should come as no surprise that the best French serums for oily skin are theirs!
The Effaclar Pore-Refining Serum with Glycolic Acid is an ultra-fluid, fast-absorbing face serum for oily skin that helps reduce the look of pores, targets fine lines, smoothes & tightens skin texture and boosts radiance. It does contain an alpha hydroxy acid (AHA) that may increase skin's sensitivity to the sun, though, so we highly recommend using sunscreen after application. Click here to see our top 10 best French sunscreens.
Best anti-ageing serums
French serums provide the best opportunity to turn back time and unveil a rejuvenated, youthful and healthy version of your skin. Whilst each anti-ageing formula is distinct, the functions are identical, and the results are indistinguishable. Ultimately, each French anti-ageing serum works by rapidly regenerating your moisture barrier, supporting your skin's microbiome, and facilitating natural hyaluronic acid production. The benefits of adding one of these serums to your routine are unbounded; here are but a few:
- Day after day, wrinkles appear reduced, skin becomes firmer, and the complexion, tone and texture becomes more even;
- Skin's barrier recovery is improved, and skin looks healthier, radiant and younger;
- And facial contours become redefined.
It is incredibly tricky to choose just one best French anti-ageing serum; in fact, we've had to call it a tie. The cult-favourite Advanced Genifique Serum by Lancome and Double Serum by Clarins are by far our favourite French serums for anti-ageing, and tens of thousands of other rave reviews echo this sentiment. Yves Rocher offers a similarly impressive anti-ageing serum with a slightly lower price point.
If you're interested in anti-ageing products, you might also be interested in our definitive guide on French Retinol.
Best firming serum
Inconsistent hydration levels, mild sun exposure and daily external aggressions all wreak havoc on the skin's elasticity. Therefore, it is crucial to take special care of it, both preventatively and supportively. The best way to achieve this is by opting for a firming serum; our choice for the best French firming serum is called Resveratrol Firming Serum by Caudalie.
The lightweight and oil-free texture glides onto the skin, quickly absorbing to leave a non-sticky finish. 91% of women reported that their skin looked firmed and toned and that their facial contours were redefined after just 30 days of consistent use. Incredible!
Best overnight serum
What if you could reset your skin overnight, erase the impact of stress and fatigue, and wake up each morning with fresh, rested, healthy-looking skin? That is the purpose of a good French overnight serum, and they don't come much better than the Overnight Reset Serum by L'Occitane which is, of course, our choice for the best French overnight serum.
This French overnight serum stimulates skin microcirculation and increases collagen synthesis for firmer, smoother skin. Finally, a satin finish leaves the skin instantly hydrated, without any greasiness or residue. A staggering 9 out of 10 French women would recommend this product to a friend - it's that good!
Best hydrating serums
Much like for the anti-ageing category, it is incredibly tricky to choose just one best French hydrating serum. We covered why hydration is crucial in our French Skincare Routine guide, and any of these three serums would flawlessly swap in or out of that critical second step before moisturizing.
First up for the best French hydrating serum title is the Vichy Mineral 89 Hyaluronic Acid Booster. Enriched with Vichy's highest concentration of 89% Vichy Thermal Mineralizing Water with Hyaluronic Acid, the gel-serum plumps skin and strengthens the skin barrier to protect from the impact of daily aggressors such as pollution. It is your skin's daily dose of strength.
Secondly is the Biotherm Aquasource Aura Concentrate. We chose this fantastic French hydrating serum because of its unique dual texture. By shaking the serum before application, you activate millions of powerful moisture micro-droplets. In 10 days, even the dullest complexions are visibly transformed.
And last, but certainly not least: Institut Esthederm's Intensive Hyaluronic Acid Serum. Specifically formulated for dehydrated skin, this French hydrating serum instantly plumps up the skin to reduce fine lines thanks to a quick-absorbing texture. It penetrates and rehydrates deep into the lowest layers of the skin for a long-lasting radiance and skin comfort.
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