Beauty + BPGP

Four Foreign Beauty Products That Blew My Mind

When I travel, I will happily spend hours walking through grocery stores and pharmacies looking for that country’s miracle beauty products.  In Montreal this weekend, I found some new beauty items that I just adored.  And luckily, four of my new favorites are available in the U.S..

Dry shampoo is a struggle for me.  I have brown hair, so I need one that doesn’t look dusty.  I also need one that won’t give me itchy scalp if I need to reapply midday.  Such is the trouble with bangs, they often need touchups to stay oil free.

Pssst has been my go-to for years when I travel (Drybar dry shampoo foam when I’m home), but I used the last of it on the first day in Canada.  I stopped at a pharmacy to pick up a replacement, and found Cake’s Do Gooder Volumizing Dry Shampoo ($9).  Phenomenal.

I spritzed it on my oily roots and they were instantly dry, no powdery look, no itch.  Five hours later, still no oil.  The spray gave my hair a light lift at the roots without being sticky or tacky.  Nothing stinks more than when your dry shampoo causes tangles or that “rat’s nest” feeling the next morning.  But this spray seems to have none of those issues.

I stopped at the pharmacy on my last day in Quebec to buy three more cans.

Fun masks are my skincare obsession.  “Oh, what does this one do? What about this one?”  This Carbonated Bubble Clay Mask ($15) is crazy fun, it also gets your skin really clean.

If you buy this mask, it feels gooey when you take it out of the jar.  And you need to apply it fairly quickly, because it starts to foam when applied to air.  But once you get it on, whoa.  The entire mask foams and bubbles, which leaves your skin feeling very refreshed.

I usually use heavier clay masks for detoxification, but this one offers similar results.  It also doesn’t overdraw my skin, and leaves my complexion looking more even. My one criticism is that is you’re not careful, you’ll end up with mask in your eyes and nose, so leave plenty of room to allow the bubbles to form.


The older I get, the drier my skin gets.  Sometimes, the area around my nose looks like I’m molting.  Andeven when it’s not peeling, my skin doesn’t look dewy or fresh, so much as sallow and pale.  Not pretty.

When I mentioned to the woman at the pharmacy counter that I needed a moisturizer with oomph, she took one look at my skin and said “You have acne scarring?” in a French accent that made it sound almost charming.  I nodded.  “You need Cicaplast,” she said as she slapped a box into my hand.

La Roche Posay Cicaplast ($15) is not a traditional moisturizer.  It’s a balm designed to stimulate cell recovery following laser peels.  It’s billed as the perfect thing to heal dry, chapped skin and soften acne scarring.  Sure, why not?

One application, and my nose was essentially healed.  My skin was moisturized it looked like I’d slept, even when I hadn’t.  And just a little, dime-sized dot was enough to cover my whole face.  I can’t wait to see what  my skin looks like in two weeks.

Primers.  Ever since NARS discontinued Pro Prime, I have been at a loss when it comes to primers.  I find good ones, but no great ones.  The makeup is either too dewy, too matte, doesn’t hold, or looks fake because the primer won’t let it blend.  Well, no more.

This Vasanti 2 in 1 Primer ($24) gives a natural finish with enough oil control that it won’t be shiny.  As an additional bonus, my makeup never looked cakey or crepe-y, even in the cold.  And if you have oily eyelids (me!), this primer will also help your eye makeup stay in place. It’s not quite as good as the Urban Decay I usually use, but it’s good enough that I won’t have to pack two primers when I travel.

What are your favorite foreign-made or internationally sold beauty products? Sarah swears by a Lancome mascara that never smudges, not even in a Norwegian sauna, but can’t get FDA approval.






  1. Orla says:

    Would love an update on the La Roche Posay product! Have been using the AI Targeted Breakout Corrector for years and it has such good results! I have been using First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Cream on my peeling nose and it has given amazing results (even when I had the flu and my nose should have been raw from so many Kleenex!)

    February 20, 2018/Reply
    • RKT says:

      Boots Marshmallow Footcream. It’s only available in the UK stores, as far as I can tell, and it’s not expensive, so I pick up several jars whenever I am there.

      I also love British ‘plasters’ – for some reason, they are much more adhesive/long lasting than the US Band Aids, which come off so easily. Also something I buy in bulk when there. Does anyone know why they last longer?

      I also bought Phyto products in bulk in France before they were common in the US – much less expensive there, too. More like a drugstore brand.

      I also love foreign drugstores/grocery stores and will happily spend hours in them. Thankfully, my SO understands this.

      February 20, 2018/Reply
  2. Shannon says:

    Love this. I always buy Caudalie products in France because they’re almost 1/2 the price as in the U.S.

    February 20, 2018/Reply
  3. Niki says:

    Belle, I haven’t been able to get any of your Amazon links to work recently. They attempt to load for a while then time out. Not sure what the issue is!

    February 20, 2018/Reply
  4. Amanda says:

    Have you ever tried La Roche Posay’s Effaclar system?
    I am a HUGE fan. My cousin, who is 9 years older than me, recommended it when I asked her how her skin looks better than mine (I’m 39 now). I have struggled with acne since my teenage years, but my adult acne is the awful cystic type. It has helped so much, and if I run out or get lazy with it, I can definitely tell a difference. I am going to look for the moisturizer that you recommend also.

    February 20, 2018/Reply
  5. Kim says:

    I want to try one of those carbonated clay masks!

    Kim .. STRIPES & NYFW!

    February 20, 2018/Reply
  6. ANika says:

    What is the name of the Lancôme mascara? I probably need it in my life.

    Regarding the La Roche-Posay product, I wonder how it compares to Dr. Jardt+’s Cicapair products. Any chance you could do a comparison?

    As for my international picks, I burn a hole in my wallet when I go to Japan. I am enjoying Ettusais’ BB cushion for a winter no makeup makeup look on my sensitive combo skin. I just used up a lavender eucalyptus cream from Argelan that’s gotten my hands through a Wisconsin winter. And sheet masks. All of the sheet masks.

    February 20, 2018/Reply
    • Liz says:

      Lancome Hypnose works really well for me – it’s the only mascara that doesn’t end up under my (oily, oily) eyes by midday. There are a few versions, but the formula is the same – they just change the brush.

      March 9, 2018/Reply
  7. Kim says:

    Where were you shopping in Montreal? I am in Canada and some of these are new to me too. I am intrigued by the mask.

    February 20, 2018/Reply
    • Belle says:

      Murale, and the pharmacies near our hotel.

      February 20, 2018/Reply
  8. Liz says:


    I got this in a white elephant exchange this Christmas and I really like it. Plus, it’s seriously fun to use and watch it foam/bubble up. BUT one tip on using it — use the scoop to take some out of the jar, and then smear that around on your face. DO NOT double dip the scoop without ensuring that it’s been wiped off and NEVER put your fingers in it — if you do, you will transfer oils from your skin into the jar and it will start to bubble/react in the jar instead of on your face.

    February 20, 2018/Reply
  9. Crystal says:

    Good news for your imminent DC return — I believe the La Roche-Posay products are available at CVS (at least the 13th & Pennsylvania NW location).

    February 20, 2018/Reply
    • Hjhdo says:

      I also found that brand on CVS 14th and L /Vermont Ave NW, along with a TON of other fun brands I’ve never seen at a drugstore here before. Great post by the way! My top foreign items are Nivea Roll On Deo and LDB Roll On Deo.

      February 21, 2018/Reply
  10. Monica says:

    You can buy La Roche Posay products at Target and Ulta! They don’t carry the whole line, but they do carry the Toleraine Moisturizer (it has Niacinamide…Love!)

    February 20, 2018/Reply
  11. Mandi says:

    Thanks for sharing these picks! I’m a fan of picking up Rx strength retinol OTC in european pharmacies. Curious to know if you brought the Kevyn Aucoin foundation with you on your trip, and how it works in cold climates?

    February 20, 2018/Reply
    • Anna says:

      Mandi I live in Europe, can you let me in on this retinol secret? What ones are as high as rx strength /where have you seen? I need to get in on this action!

      February 21, 2018/Reply
      • NeENS says:

        I love swinging by The Ordinary shop in Covent Garden when in London to get my retinol products and the other serums that are in my routine. So much cheaper and I can stock up and bring everything back home to Brussels on the train without worrying about liquid limits 😀

        February 22, 2018/Reply
  12. Kate says:

    I’m a big fan of cicaplast- you can buy it at target!!

    February 20, 2018/Reply
  13. Kristen says:

    This is the second time I’ve had someone mention Cicaplast in the past week (the first was on Forever 35 podcast – which you should totally be a guest on!). I have oily-acne prone skin, and I’m nervous that it will break me out. Have you had any issues? I just started micro-needling, and this seems like it might be a good addition to my nighttime routine.

    Also, what are your thoughts about using an essence?

    February 21, 2018/Reply
  14. Rhonda says:

    La Roche-Posay Cicaplast vs Dr. Jart Cicapair – I use both, (Color Correcting Treatment from Dr. Jart, the squat jar) and absolutely love both. I have dry, sensitive skin with moderate rosacea and acne scarring as background. Cicaplast is very moisturizing, great for when you’ve gone overboard on microneedling and/or acids. i think the Cicapair isn’t nearly as moisturizing, but doesn’t irritate and has SPF and color correction. Together they are skin care perfection for me.

    I was going to try the new L’Oreal CicaSomething, but figured LRP is so fantastic, why search for something that might be better just because it’s a dollar or so cheaper?

    February 21, 2018/Reply