Top 10 German Apotheke Beauty Products

October 1, 2014

Top 10 German Apotheke Beauty Buys

Furthering my continued research on beauty products in Germany, I'm here to tell you about what I love from the German Apotheke, or pharmacy. Pharmacies in Europe are not at all what you think of if hailing from the US of A. Sure, there are prescription drugs and pharmacists ready to answer questions and provide you with over-the-counter meds that will barely make a dent in your symptoms (oh, Sudafed, how my sinuses miss you during allergy season...), but it's the swanky (mostly French) beauty products that make the Apotheke an actual shopping destination. Brands that were mostly relegated to high-end department stores in America can be had at any corner pharmacy - and here in Germany, they literally are on almost every corner - at a much more palatable price.

But with all these amazing choices, where does one start, you might ask. Well, that's where I come in. Having a penchant for beauty products, not to mention being here for several years, I've spent some time seeking out the best. So whether you are a new expat in Europe looking to replace that face wash you loved for years or are just here on holiday and want a special little beauty treat to add to your arsenal back home, this list is for you. Of course, everyone's skin and hair needs are different, but these are the things I've found to work brilliantly for me.

Vichy Pureté Thermale Sanft schäumende Waschcreme | This creamy, moisturising face wash is super gentle and feels great going on. Even better, it lasts forever as only a teeny bit is needed for each use. I keep mine in the shower for washing my face in the steam.

La Roche-Posay Toleriane Dermo-Nettoyant/Reinigungsfluid | My go-to face wash, I've been using this since before I even moved to Germany. I love how gentle it is for my sensitive skin, as well as how my face doesn't feel stripped by washing with water.

Avène Lotion doucer | I began my face-washing routine in the early nineties, era of the stinging alcohol toner. Why on earth did we do that to our skin?! For that reason, I hadn't used a toner since - until I discovered this. Feeling like I needed a little extra clean and a bit more moisture after my face wash, I decided to give this a try. I've never looked back. It makes my skin feel clean (not stripped), moisturized and smelling like French perfection.

La Roche-Posay Hydraphase UV Intense Legere | I have been adamant about moisturizer with sunscreen since I was 15 years old, after losing several friends and family members to various cancers and the days when melanoma news was at its peak. The incessant teasing of my paleness in high school has turned into skin in my 30s I can be proud of, and I know I have my daily UV protection to thank. This is great stuff and the bottle lasts a decently long time. In the harsh German winters, sometimes I'll switch the heavier 'Riche' version of this to satiate my dry, irritated skin. The smell also takes me back to those weeks spent on the French Riviera in high school, and what could be better than that? (note: I used to use this one, which works great, but prefer one without parabens)

La Roche-Posay Anthelios XL LSF 50+ Anti-brilliance Gel-crème toucher sec | I call this the holy grail of sunscreen. It disappears into your skin like you never put anything on, making excuses for not putting on sun protection null and void. I keep this little tube in my bag for touch ups on my nose, ears or neck when I am out in the sun for longer than expected, as well as to protect my exposed tattoos from fading. I recommend the large tubes of Anthelios sunscreens for slathering on during summer holidays as well.

La Roche-Posay Deodorant Physiologique 24H | I happened upon this product on a trip to Paris many years ago when the airline lost my luggage and I had to replace all my toiletries. After begrudgingly shelling out for all new products at the pharmacie, I discovered that this seemingly simple deodorant was better than anything I'd even used. It didn't irritate my skin, it had no scent and best of all, it doesn't have parabens, aluminium and all the other crap in US deodorants that are terrible for you anyway. Even in Europe, amongst all the icky liquid roll-ons in the drugstore, this is a gem.

Eucerin DermatoCLEAN Augen Make-Up-Entferner | Paying a bundle for eye make-up remover seems ridiculous, but there's also nothing worse than skimping on something that leaves you to wake up with raccoon eyes from all the make-up it didn't remove the night before. This is the best stuff I've found that doesn't cost a fortune but gets the job done. An extra bonus: it's gentle on my easily-irritated eyes.

Phytojoba Masque brilliance haute hydration | With all the capricious hair decisions I've made in the last few years (red, bright blue tips, platinum blonde), my hair has taken a beating. At the recommendation of a well-known white-blonde, I ditched regular conditioner for a deep-conditioning mask. This one is fantastic, it smells great and improves my hair's straw-like texture tremendously. I use it as a regular conditioner every time I wash my hair (letting it work it's magic for as long as possible), as well as slathering it on dry hair a couple times a month and leaving it for as many hours as I can manage to be lazy around the house before washing it out. Phyto's Kératine mask is great as well.

Phytokératine Sérum réparateur longueurs et pointes | That damaged hair I was talking about? Well, it requires all the help it can get. Looking for some kind of leave-in reconstuctor, I gave this stuff a try and it has literally changed the texture and feel of my hair. All those horror stories I heard about platinum hair breaking off left and right, with slit-ends galore, just doesn't happen for me and I think owe a lot to this little bottle. I love the way it smoothes when applied to dry hair without making it greasy or weighed down. A little goes a long way.

Phytocitrus Shampooing éclat couleur | Anyone who spends a lot of time or money on hair color wants to protect it and keep it looking its best. I read good things about this shampoo from other blondes and thought it sounded like the right one for me. As with all of Phyto's products, I love that it's plant-based and the wonderful smell. It helps keep my color bright and doesn't over-lather and dry my hair out.

There are still so many products I have yet to try from the Apotheke, so I would love to hear about your experiences. What mid-range skin and hair products do you love?


  1. I love this series of posts! Honestly, I haven't really investigated the bevy of beauty products available at the Apotheke because I've always found the choices too overwhelming. But, I'm in the market for a new moisturizer, so maybe I'll give La Roche-Posay a try!

    1. Mandi, I'm so glad! I hear you on the overwhelming Apotheke selection, which is why I started with online reviews to see what people were saying. Nothing is worse than shelling out a decent amount of money on a product that you end up hating. Good luck with your next purchase - let me know how it goes!

  2. If you're looking for a Sudafed substitute, try RhinoPront or Reactine Duo. They are sold over the counter at any Apotheke and contain more or less the same active ingredients as the "old" Sudafed (pseudoephedrine + an antihistamine).

    1. Thanks for the recommendation! Old Sudafed (pre-meth production) was the best! Looking forward to giving these a shot the next time my head feels like it might explode. You're a lifesaver!

  3. Thanks for the tips, especially for the hair products. Will try them out ...

  4. Thanks for the tips, will definitely try them out.


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