New York City is a wonderful place, but after two years of cloistering in a tiny apartment, I was overjoyed to touch down in the French Riviera last month. The sea was impossibly blue, the streets preposterously clean (I kid you not, the only litter I saw was a porcelain espresso cup and saucer), and the pharmacies — the pharmacies were bliss for a skincare lover. I left weighed down by too many new additions, but thankfully, you can get one of the highlights online.
Avène is a mainstay on the French beauty scene, and the brand’s RetrinAL 0.1 Intensive Cream unites retinol with French efficiency. If you haven’t tried the ingredient before, it’s an anti-aging gold standard that increases cell turnover, meaning your skin looks revitalized and younger within weeks. Avène’s formula pairs retinaldehyde (the most gentle form of retinol) with a collagen-boosting peptide and antioxidant to keep environmental stress at bay, along with vitamin E and the brand’s trademark French thermal spring water to soothe skin.
According to reviewers, the combination is a hit. “I’m closer to 60 than I want to admit, and have been using this product since I was in my 30s,” wrote a shopper with sensitive skin. “Age and gravity catch up, but people still guess my age [as] 10 years younger than I am. I call this my ‘French potion,’ and when someone asks me if it is truly the secret to my smooth eyes (I have no wrinkles around my eyes at all), I respond, ‘I’m not going to quit using it to find out!'”
To buy: aveneusa.com, $70
Others write that they start to see fresher-looking skin emerge within a week and a half, and within three, they’re “super impressed” with the improvement in fine lines and deep wrinkles around their eyes, mouth, and forehead. At the six-week mark, another elated customer says their wrinkles are disappearing — and the difference is so profound, more people comment that their skin “glows like it did 25 years ago.”
Melasma, too, shrinks with use: “This has cleared it right up. Visited family, and they state the change is super obvious.” Other dark marks likewise fade within two weeks, a different shopper comments, and their skin texture starts to look smoother and more even. “This is magic in a bottle. Love how my face looks and feels,” one more fan said. “You can see the difference fast in texture and luminosity.”
“No redness or sensitivity, no reaction, just results — brighter, more even skin, fewer breakouts, no fine lines,” wrote a final reviewer. “My skin feels healthier, younger and more vibrant.” Try the downside-free French favorite for $70 on Avène’s website.