Don’t Sleep On This Cult Euro Pharmacy Skin Brand — It’s So Affordable

Photo by Jacqueline Kilikita.
Whether you consider yourself a skincare obsessive or a cleanse-and-moisturise type of person, chances are your AM/PM routine features at least one French pharmacy skincare brand. It might be La Roche-Posay, Avène or Bioderma, to name just a handful of cult classics. But France isn't the only country to dream up results-driven, expert-adored, affordable skincare. In fact, it seems the Polish beauty market is set to blow Paris out of the water.
Earlier this year we brought you news of Polish skincare brand Tolpa. Found in pharmacies in Poland and across Europe, it's adored for its proven ingredients and modest prices, with everything under £13. This month? It's all about Pharmaceris. If you're a beauty enthusiast, you might have already spotted Pharmaceris at Feelunique, Amazon, Escentual or Face The Future (a favourite among dermatologists). A couple of things make the brand stand out. First off, it has been developed alongside a number of esteemed skincare experts. Products target common skin gripes such as breakouts and chronically dry skin but are easy to slot into any skincare routine and feel like a treat to use, unlike a lot of prescribed skincare. You don't have to be a pro to decipher the collection, though. Helpfully, the extensive product range is split into lines, for example, allergy-prone and sensitive skin, rosacea, acne and more, which makes it simple for consumers to pinpoint the best products for their routine.
As skincare enthusiasts, it's safe to say we're obsessed with discovering the next buzzy ingredient. Pharmaceris products are packed with vitamin A (otherwise known as retinol), brightening vitamin C (which facialists recommend for everyday use to fend off pollution), mandelic acid (an exfoliating acid that makes skin gleam) and, of course, high factor sunscreen to protect skin from ageing UV rays. Just like other European pharmacy brands, prices start at an affordable £7.99 and nothing exceeds the £28 mark. So what's worth your hard earned money? I tried over £100 worth of Pharmaceris products and here's my honest verdict.
The best Pharmaceris product for treating breakouts: T Medi Acne-Pointgel Spot Treatment Gel, £11, available at Feelunique.
This hydrating gel nixed a painful forehead spot overnight without drying my skin out or making it flaky come morning. The spot went from raised and angry to completely flat. The star ingredient here is 2% salicylic acid, which skin experts suggest is the optimum concentration for making a noticeable difference to breakouts. So good, it has replaced my trusty Mario Badescu Drying Lotion, £16.25, and Medik8 Blemish SOS, £19. It's a lot cheaper, too.
The best Pharmaceris product for protecting skin against the sun: S Broad Spectrum Sun Protection Cream SPF 50, £13, available at Feelunique.
This sunscreen is always low in stock, proving it has many loyal fans — but it was nowhere near as light and undetectable as La Roche-Posay Anthelios Age Correct SPF50+ Sun Cream, £25, or the incredible Glossier Invisible Shield, £20. It gets points for not breaking me out (as sunscreen often does) and for making my skin matte to the touch but the thick, white product collected in my fine lines and brows and was difficult to blend in. Instead, try the above or give Carbon Theory's Day-Lite Sunscreen SPF 50+, £16, a go if you want a great formula on a budget.
The best Pharmaceris product for oily skin: A Physiopuric Gel Cleansing Gel, £11.20, available at Face The Future.
This cleansing gel is actually formulated for those with sensitive and allergy-prone skin. While it's a lot gentler than other gel cleansers out there (which can often make eyes sting thanks to the foaming element), it easily cuts through face grease as well as SPF and heavy makeup like foundation and mascara. It's kind enough to use in the morning as a quick cleanse or in the evening if you're double cleansing, and it's great value for money.
The best Pharmaceris product for dry skin: Emotopic Emollient Barrier Cream, £15.50, available at Escentual.
Emollient creams help to create a barrier on the skin, which prevents the water loss that leads to dry, rough, flaky and itchy or irritated skin. With repairing ceramides, nourishing oils and moisturising glycerin, this is the perfect product to use in the cold weather. If like me you're a fan of CeraVe's Moisturising Cream, £15.99, you'll absolutely love this. Unlike prescription lotions, it doesn't suffocate skin or make it feel sweaty. It absorbs almost instantly so skin feels silky soft and hydrated. I use this on my face and hands. If you have very dry skin, also try the Dermo-Regenerating Soothing Cream, £13.60, which is similar but features ultra moisturising vitamin E and shea butter, making it a little thicker in texture.
The best Pharmaceris product for an even skin tone: N C-Capilix Vitamin C Serum, £23, available at Feelunique.
Compared to cult favourite vitamin C serums like Lumene's Nordic C [Valo] Glow Boost Essence, £29.90, and La Roche-Posay's Pure Vitamin C 10 Serum, £38, this is heavier in texture (somewhere between a serum and a facial oil). Just like those serums, it made my skin feel great and is helping to fade skin staining left behind by previous spots. Though it's highly concentrated, there was no uncomfortable tingle.
The best Pharmaceris product for acne-prone skin and ageing: T pureRETINOL 0.3 Anti-Acne Retinol Night Cream, £16, available at Feelunique.
This is a great beginner's retinol as it's a relatively low concentration and highly moisturising. My only gripe is the strong fragrance. If your skin is easily irritated, opt for something fragrance-free like SkinCeuticals 0.3% Cream, £65, which boasts the same concentration. SkinCeuticals' retinol range is rated by top UK dermatologists, too.
The best Pharmaceris product for under-eyes: A Opti-Sensilium Anti-Wrinkle Eye Cream SPF 10, £11, available at Face The Future.
While I don't believe eye creams do much to minimise fine lines and wrinkles (unless they contain retinol, the only ingredient proven to minimise the signs of ageing), this is helping to alleviate winter-induced skin tightness under my eyes. It's not magic but if you're looking for a simple, inexpensive eye cream, this is great.
The best Pharmaceris product for dehydrated and sensitive skin: A Hyaluro-Sensilium Hyaluronic Acid di-2 In Water Cream, £14.50, available at Escentual.
Hyaluronic acid draws moisture to the surface of your skin, making it look and feel plump, pillowy and hydrated. If your skin is dehydrated, it could appear dull and peppered with fine lines or feel taut and uncomfortable. This featherlight moisturiser counteracts all of that. For most skin types, this won't be enough on its own but it's brilliant layered underneath a more substantial moisturiser. For £14.50, the 40ml tube is a steal and it's likely to last longer than most hyaluronic acid serums.
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