An Esthetician Asked This Shopper What ‘She Was Doing’ Because Her Skin Was Transformed—It’s This French Drugstore Serum

Photo: Getty Images/ PeopleImages
With the Well+Good SHOP, our editors put their years of know-how to work in order to pick products (from skin care to self care and beyond) they’re betting you’ll love. While our editors independently select these products, making a purchase through our links may earn Well+Good a commission. Happy shopping! Explore the SHOP

There’s a reason why so many folks return from their Parisian vacations with checked luggage filled to the brim with drugstore skin care. French beauty products are known for their effective, high-quality formulas that rival luxury US brands for a fraction of the price (one of our writers swears by this $28 cream she says is better than Creme de La Mer). And for the longest time, you needed, bare minimum, a one-way ticket to Paris to get your hands on brands like Avène, Bioderma, La Roche-Posay, Caudalie, and more. Luckily, these brands are now readily available online, so you can shop French drugstore favorites from the comfort of your couch, no trans-Atlantic flight required.

One of our newest favorites? Avène RetrinAL Advanced Correcting Serum ($78)—a drugstore serum so good that an esthetician actually asked a shopper for her skin secrets. The shopper writes in their review, "My esthetician asked what I was doing because my skin was noticeably firmer on my last visit after two months of use." The moment you know you're definitely doing something right in your skin-care routine.

What in the formula that's so special?

It’s formulated with bakuchiol, hyaluronic acid, niacinamide, pre-tocopheryl, glycerin, and triglycerides, all of which lend to plump, even, youthful-looking skin. This is why, despite $78 being far from American drugstore price standards, skin-care experts here in the States understand (and support) the hype of this product.


“Bakuchiol is an extract of the Babchi plant long used in Ayurvedic medicine,” explains board-certified dermatologist Dr. Hadley King. “It is one of the few retinol alternatives for which studies back up the pseudo-retinol effect of anti-aging and skin brightening.” Where a study in the British Journal of Dermatology found that bakuchiol works just as well as retinol for the reduction of hyperpigmentation, one in the International Journal of Cosmetic Science concluded that the ingredient works markedly well to significantly improve the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. The best part about bakuchiol? King says that it’s much better tolerated than retinol, which is known for potentially causing irritation, especially on more sensitive skin types. “It doesn't seem to irritate and redden skin the way retinol often does, so it appears to be a gentler option,” she explains.

Hyaluronic acid

While bakuchiol works well to smooth the appearance of skin, hyaluronic acid helps, too. “Hyaluronic acid is found naturally in our skin, where it holds water and helps to keep the skin hydrated, dewy, and plump,” King explains. “It is a powerful humectant that can hold 1,000 times its weight in water, making it a great topical hydrator, as long as either the environment is humid, or you combine it with emollients and occlusives to lock in the hydration so it doesn't pull water out of the skin.”


Then there’s pre-tocopheryl. “pre-tocopheryl is a photostable predecessor/precursor to vitamin E,” says Dr. Jodi LoGerfo, who is a Doctor of Nursing Practice and a Family Nurse Practitioner certified in Family Medicine and Dermatology. “It is a commanding antioxidant that guards cells from UV damage and free radicals.” In that way, it’s an ingredient that further helps to combat hyperpigmentation.


Niacinamide also assists with that. “Niacinamide is involved in the most important cell functions as part of the vitamin B family—[specifically,] nicotinamide seems to have anti-inflammatory, anti-itching, skin-lightening, antimicrobial, and photoprotective effects,” LoGerfo says. But that’s not all. “It also increases the skin's production of ceramides, which help strengthen the skin barrier, preventing loss of moisture,” King adds. This likely plays a big part in why this serum is so well-tolerated.

Although the product only recently launched, it's already garnered hundreds of near-perfect reviews online, many of whom say the product helps with plumping and complexion. "This is the first bakuchiol product I’ve used. I have been using this in AM every other day. I think it layers really well. No weird feel after applying. It does make my skin feel more plump after applying and I have gotten many compliments about how beautiful my skin is recently. I do see a more even look from my skin- a glow from underneath," one shopper writes.

"I’ve only been using this product two weeks and I can already tell my '11s' [lines between your eyebrows] are smoothing out!" another says.

BRB, adding several bottles to cart.


But wait, there's more!
Want to be the first to hear about the latest (and greatest) SHOP product drops, custom collections, discounts, and more? Sign up to have the intel delivered straight to your inbox.
Our editors independently select these products. Making a purchase through our links may earn Well+Good a commission.

Loading More Posts...