Meet the Underground French Brands Beauty Editors Love
Here at Byrdie Australia HQ, we don't need a holiday like Bastille Day to remind us of how much we love all things French. Not a day goes by we aren't made aware by everything from our lunch (mmm baguette) to our Instagram feeds, that Paris is the birthplace of many beautiful things. (Willy Cartier—follow him.) While we're all fairly au fait with French pharmacy brands and the cult skincare products Parisian women swear by, what I'm sharing today is a little more underground. Ahead, you'll find six low-key French brands beauty editors love and the cult products from each we can't stop raving about. Want to add a little extra je ne sais quoi to your routine? Grab a macaron and keep scrolling.
This beautiful brand is deeply rooted in aromatherapy and specialises in a whole host of skin and home products, all based on organic essential oils. (FYI, a minimum of 95 per cent of all ingredients are from natural or organic origins.) Apart from their obvious commitment to green beauty (they formulate without parabens, GMOs, synthetic fragrances or colours), they're also big on safety and efficacy testing. Plus, they package in completely recyclable bottles and boxes. As far as favourite products go, I could call out plenty. That said, this Jasmine Shower Oil smells incredible, and is life-changing for sufferers of dry skin.
SLA Paris SLA Precious Silk Sun Powder ($68)
SLA Paris, named for founder and makeup guru Serge Louis Alvarez, is a premium line that also happens to be natural. (Those French, they know things.) Regarded as the first professional brand to develop organic makeup, SLA is even manufactured in an eco-cert laboratory. The brand sources fair trade ingredients where possible and does not test on animals. Product-wise, the first thing you'll notice across the range is the level of pigment—it's intense. (Makes sense considering these cosmetics are designed for use by makeup artists.) This editor's pick? The ultra-fine illuminating powder. It mimics a naturally sun-kissed complexion without turning skin muddy.
If you took one look at the name of this brand and thought, 'cologne = mens', I'm happy to report that dudes aren't the only ones who can get amongst. While Atelier Cologne is known for creating perfumes inspired by the traditional eau de Cologne (a typically masculine blend of citrus oils), the brand's compositions are considered and female-friendly. Despite their complexity, these scents also work incredibly well when layered together. Ambre Nue and Rose Anonyme in particular create a rich floral scent together that lingers on skin for hours.
Zao Matte Eyeshadow in Brown Beige ($30)
Another all-natural (and somewhat organic) makeup range out of France. What makes this one different is the brand's refill system, designed to minimise wastage caused by regular single-use packaging. Oh, and everything is gloriously scented with natural (and hypoallergenic) vanilla. For me, the powders are particularly impressive with the sparkle-free eyeshadows taking out top spot for favourite product. This shade in particular is a winner for correcting tone on your lids without adding much colour, and the matte texture also keeps oiliness at bay.
Patyka Geranium Body Cream ($40)
Patyka (meaning "apothecary" in Hungarian), is a brand born from Parisian love story. The legend goes that in 1922, a young Hungarian pharmacist was so inspired by the beauty of a French woman he moved to Paris, where he then created a plant-based youth serum. The elixir, Huile Absolue, went on to be shared by the Parisian elite, and is still today. (Although it has since undergone a reformulation.) The line's geranium-scented body cream is a revelation for super-dry skin, containing nourishing ingredients like squalane, shea butter and jojoba oil.
David Mallett Australian Sea Salt Spray ($54)
Australian hair stylist David Mallett has lived and worked in Paris since the age 27, so I feel justified in counting his namesake products as completely French. Designed to fulfill the needs of his clients, and tested in his impossibly gorgeous salon, Mallett's line is a minimalist's dream. Both the serum ($99) and mask ($99) have devoted fan bases, but this texturising salt spray is my jam. The only way I could love it more would be it was made using Australian lake salt. Oh wait—it is.