Reviewed: The French Moisturizer You Don't Know About (but Should)
As beauty editors, we get bombarded with a ton of new products every day (we know—tough life). Reviewed is a series where we report on some of the best products we've tried. Whether it's a drugstore lipstick that lasted all day or a hand cream that saved us this winter, you'll find all of our favorites in this column. Enjoy!
I've always viewed moisturizer as the Michelle Williams to serum's Beyoncé; overlooked and overshadowed (sorry, Michelle). When my friends ask me if a pricey moisturizer lives up to its claims, I usually scoff (lovingly) and tell them to spend their money on a serum instead. After all, serums are packed with active ingredients like vitamin C, retinol, and glycolic acid that are proven to brighten dark spots and smooth wrinkles. Moisturizers, like your too-nice ex, are full of grandiose promises but exist to do just one thing for your skin: support it, and little else. Some dermatologists even think we should cut out moisturizer altogether, which I almost could have believed until a few weeks ago when I tried this little-known, all-natural product from indie French brand C.Lavie.
This product was handed to my possession by my friends at The Detox Market, who are always on the pulse of what's new and noteworthy in the natural beauty realm. I recommend only stepping into a Detox Market store when your bank account is somewhat stable, as you will want to throw your credit card gaily at the sales associate and buy everything in sight. But when founder Romain Gaillard sang the praises of this moisturizer, I couldn't help but inwardly roll my eyes. Yet another French moisturizer? Great. What could make this one different, other than cute packaging and a tongue-in-cheek name?
I immediately scanned the ingredient list, which is the best way to weed out imposters dressed in fancy packaging. At this point, I did what could only be described as a theatrical double take. The first ingredient was organic rose water, and the second was jojoba oil—promising, and not at all what I was expecting. As my eyes took in the rest of the ingredients, I was surprised at how, well, good they were. Most were organic and known to hydrate the skin (e.g., olive oil and sunflower seed oil).
With so many natural oils, I was expecting the moisturizer to feel thick and heavy. Instead, the texture was light as air, and it left a velvety finish to my skin—the perfect base for my foundation. It also smelled intoxicatingly good, like a mixture of fresh flowers with a hint of sweet cream. I wanted to slather the cream on everywhere, and I found myself reaching for it morning and night. There are few moisturizers that do your skin right in the a.m. and p.m., and this is one of those rare gems.
After I realized I had not touched another moisturizer for two weeks (is this what moisturizer monogamy feels like?), I reached out to Gaillard to hear more about this little-known product. "C.Lavie is a little gem that no one knows about," he told me via email. "We discovered them in Paris when it just launched in 2016. It was created by a passionate woman, and I was impressed by the level of care she put into the packaging, the formulations, and the science behind the product. She created a very good moisturizer, non-greasy yet moisturizing. It is the perfect product for spring."
I probably should have led with his quote, because he summed all my thoughts in a few sentences. This French product is a true diamond in the rough; it keeps my oily skin balanced and comfortable day or night, is made with high-quality ingredients, and it is standing in the wings to replace your primer. Yes, it's $85, but it's far better than many/most of its counterparts in the same price range. I left it at home on a recent trip to Los Angeles, and my skin cried for it like an angsty teen separated from her best friend during sleepaway camp. Snatch it up before all the French models do.
You can buy C.Lavie The Cream ($85) at TheDetoxMarket.com.
What's your favorite French product? Tell me below!