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Because of different regulations, there are products available in France and Europe but not available in the United States. And conversely, some products are available over the counter in the US but only under prescription in France. That’s why I always check the products’ ingredients to compare the EU to the US version.
Many niche brands do not yet offer international shipping. And other than having a friend living in the US or going there yourself, there is little chance of accessing it.
But I have found a way to do it, using a package transfer service like Shipito. They receive the packages for me in the US, combine the packages into one huge box, and send it back to me anywhere in the world. I highly recommend their service.
My obsession at the moment is to treat PIE, PIH, and melasma. New ingredients are available on the market, namely Kojic acid, and Tranexamic Acid, but they have not yet arrived in France.
Here are my must-have products:
This is a Black-owned brand only distributed in the United States for the moment. They have only made their debut at Sephora, and the products are already out of stock. I have to wait 3 weeks even in the US. They only have 2 products: Faded ($36) and Like Butter ($32). Faded combines the best ingredients for dark spots, while Like Butter is simply a moisturizing mask with a texture quite similar to Aura by Antipodes, my favorite moisturizing mask. Buying both cost me $56 (bundle offer), and with the promo code BEAUTYWITHBODDEN, I also have 10% off.
Shipping cost to the US : 5$
Faded-Water, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Niacinamide, Tranexamic Acid, Shea Butter, Glyceral Stearate, Glycerin, Ceteareth-20, Ceteareth-12, Cetearyl Alcohol, Centella Asiatica Leaf Extract, Behenyl Alcohol, Alpha-Arbutin, Jojoba Seed Oil, Zinc Ricinoleate, Azelaic Acid, Glutathione, Kojic Acid Dipalmitate, Dimethylmethoxy Chromanyl Palmitate, Allantoin, Phytic Acid, Squalane, Palm Butter, Glycine, Soybean Sterols, Cetyl Palmitate, Lecithin, Trisodium Ethylenediamine Disuccinate, Sodium Lauroyl Sarcosinate, Licorice Root Extract, Melatonin, Turmeric Root Extract, Sclerotium Gum, Arginine, Cocos Nucifera Oil, Bisabolol, Tetrahydroxypropyl Ethylenediamine, Phenoxyethanol, Ethylhexylglycerin
Like Butter-Water, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Cetearyl Alcohol, Niacinamide, Diheptyl Succinate, Squalane, Glyceryl Stearate, Sorbitan Stearate, Capryloyl Glycerin/Sebacic Acid Copolymer, Glycerin, Pentylene Glycol, Shea Butter, Avena Sativa (Oat) Kernel Flour, Cetearyl Glucoside, Hydroxyethyl Acrylate/Sodium Acryloyldimethyl Taurate Copolymer, Evening Primrose Oil, Rheum Palmatum Root Extract, Angelica Polymorpha Sinensis Root Extract, Sodium PCA, Sodium Lactate, Arginine, Aspartic Acid, Serine, Sodium Hyaluronate, Astragalus Membranaceus Extract, Valine, Proline, PCA, Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract, Ceramide EOP, Hydrogenated Lecithin, Ceramide NS, Ceramide NP, Ceramide AS, Ceramide AP, Cholesterol, Sucrose Distearate, Licorice Root Extract, Propylene Glycol, Threonine, Isoleucine, Turmeric Root Extract, Madecassoside, Palmitic Acid, Glycine, Alanine, Histidine, Xanthan Gum, Stearic Acid, Phenylalanine, Lauroyl Lysine, Phenoxyethanol, Ethylhexylglycerin
Skinceuticals has a store and an e-commerce site in France but what interests me is Discoloration Defense‘s Americain version.
Compare the ingredients, and you will see that the US version is more concentrated and contains Kojic Acid (for dark spots). This is an expensive ingredient, so it’s a shame to pay such a high price for the version without Kojic Acid.
|USA version||FR/EU Version|
|3% Tranexamic Acid|
1% Kojic acid
Aqua/ Water, Butylene Glycol, Niacinamide, Hydroxyethylpiperazine Ethane Sulfonic Acid, Glycerin, Tranexamic Acid, Propylene Glycol, Hydroxyethyl Urea, Kojic Acid, Caprylyl Glycol, Allantoin, Chlorphenesin, Xanthan Gum, Disodium Edta
|1,8% Tranexamic Acid|
Aqua/ Water, Butylene Glycol, Niacinamide, Hydroxyethylpiperazine Ethane Sulfonic Acid, Glycerin, Hydroxyethyl Urea, Tranexamic Acid, Phenoxyethanol, Caprylyl Glycol, Allantoin, Chlorphenesin, Xanthan Gum, Disodium Edta
The USA version costs $98 + $8 tax. They give very few samples. The site doesn’t accept foreign cards, so I had to ask my package transfer service to place the order for me (and pay an extra $7 + PayPal fees because I pay them in USD).
While the EU version costs 93€ + 3 samples of 10ml systematically, so clearly, apart from the difference in formulation, there is no other interest in buying from the USA. Moreover, the product can oxidize quickly, so keep it in the fridge as soon as you receive it.
Shipping cost in the US : 6$ for any order under 100$ + taxes (I paid 8$ in taxes for 98$ order, I don’t know why)
Basically, for this serum, I have to pay the serum + 8$ for taxes + 6$ for shipping + 7$ for someone to order it for me + shipping fees to France + eventually customs fees. I must admit that I’m too desperate so I will buy it at any price 😀
Rebirth: I admit the marketing around this product fooled me. It’s a brand created by influencer Teni Panosian. She always had texture issues and apparently got rid of them with her own product. Well, the story doesn’t say if it’s due to the lack of makeup and foundation during lockdown and Covid… but the ingredient list looks pretty good to me. With 5% lactic acid (a pretty mild AHA), several humectant ingredients, and no water! 56% Birch Juice has replaced the water, so even more moisturizing. I looked everywhere, and no product has a similar list of ingredients. That’s why I bought this exfoliating serum: 58$, free shipping.
To place an order, you have to be very patient because it works like no other brand: you have to pre-order, but not at any time. There are open drops every 2 months. Then, they order all the way from South Korea. When South Korea sends the products to the US, they ship the products to consumers. It usually takes 2 months in total.
Shipping costs in the US : Free
Betula Platyphylla Japonica Juice, Niacinamide, Glycerin, Centella Asiatica Extract, Lactic Acid, Butylene Glycol, Squalane, Cetearyl Olivate, 1,2-Hexanediol, Betaine, Pentylene Glycol, Glyceryl Stearate SE, Sodium Hyaluronate, Avena Sativa (Oat) Kernel Extract, Anthemis Nobilis Flower Extract, Dipotassium Glycyrrhizate, Water, Ammonium Acryloyldimethyltaurate / VP Copolymer, Glyceryl Caprylate, Ethylhexylglycerin, Xanthan Gum, Caprylyl Glycol, Sorbitan Olivate, Propylene Glycol
It is a brand created by influencer Susan Yara. The brand’s ethics are questionable, and personally, I’m not too fond of Susan Yara’s videos, especially her reaction videos. She was promoting this brand by saying that she received it for free and liked them too much, before apologizing later in a deleted video, that in fact, it is her brand
One can buy Naturium products from Amazon US for faster and free shipping. There are more product choices too, and they accept international payment cards.
Shipping costs in the US: Free for all orders over $30
I’m interested in: AZELAIC ACID EMULSION 10%. 22$ I really like azelaic acid, and having an emulsion is a dream come true. It also has niacinamide, an ingredient I really like. I will definitely get glowy skin with this emulsion.
Aqua, Azelaic Acid, Butylene Glycol, C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate, Glycerin, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Methylpropanediol, Pentylene Glycol, Isostearyl Alcohol, C13-15 Alkane, Ethylhexyl Olivate, Butylene Glycol Cocoate, Niacinamide, Allantoin, Sebacic Acid, Acetyl Rheum Rhaponticum Root Extract, Astrocaryum Murumuru Seed Butter, Gossypium Herbaceum (Cotton) Seed Oil, Bidens Pilosa Extract, Linum Usitatissimum (Linseed) Seed Oil, Avena Sativa (Oat) Kernel Extract, Carbomer, Hydroxyacetophenone, Silica, Benzyl Alcohol, Panthenyl Triacetate, Xanthan Gum, Sodium Hydroxide, Ethylcellulose, Squalane, Ethylhexylglycerin, Lactobacillus Ferment, Sodium Benzoate, Potassium Sorbate, Tocopherol.
Tranexamic Topical Acid 5%. 20$ This is an anti-hyperpigmentation ingredient I’ve never tried before. Combined with Kojic acid, Niacinamide, Licorice Root, and then Panthenol, it should be an effective and gentle serum. I really like the formula and the price too.
Water, Isopentyldiol, Tranexamic Acid, Propanediol, Citric Acid, Kojic Acid, Niacinamide, Hydroxyacetophenone, Isododecane, Polyacrylate Crosspolymer-6, Glycyrrhiza Glabra (Licorice) Root Extract, Panthenol, Glycerin, Xanthan Gum, Tremella Fuciformis Sporocarp Extract, Phenoxyethanol, Ethylhexylglycerin, Betaine, Sodium Hyaluronate, Sodium Phytate, Potassium Sorbate, Tocopherol.
AMBI® Fade Cream for Oily Skin: 2% hydroquinone, the maximum concentration allowed over the counter in the USA. We must hurry before the FDA bans even this kind of product. 6,5$, not expensive
I had a bad experience with Murad’s hydroquinone serum, being POC (Asian). I used this ingredient non-stop when I should have used it for 2 months, then stopped for 1 month. In any case, hydroquinone is the best ingredient for spots that I tested. This cream also contains a sunscreen to minimize hydroquinone’s side effects, but I will only use it indoors. I’m a little worried that the chemical sunscreen will cause me to break out. I really need to do a patch test first.
Shipping cost in the US : 3,95$ for any order under 30$
Active Ingredients: Hydroquinone (2%), Octinoxate (2%). Inactive Ingredients: Betaine, Butylene Glycol, Cetyl Alcohol, Disodium EDTA, Ethylparaben, Fragrance, Glycerin, Glyceryl Stearate, Glycine Soja (Soybean) Protein, Isopropyl Myristate, Lactic Acid, Methylparaben, PEG-100 Stearate, PEG-16 Soy Sterol, Pentaerythrityl Tetra-di-t-butyl Hydroxyhydrocinnamate, Potassium Cetyl Phosphate, Propylparaben, Sodium Ascorbyl Phosphate, Sodium Metabisulfite, Stearic Acid, Tocopheryl Acetate, Water.
The products I will buy if I’m too rich
Naturium Plant Ceramide Rich Moisture Cream: $25 moisturizing cream that strengthens the skin barrier. I am still hesitating to buy it.
Water, Glycerin, Oleic/Linoleic/Linolenic Polyglycerides, Ethylhexyl Olivate, Behenyl Alcohol, C12-16 Alcohols, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea) Butter, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Hydrogenated Olive Oil Decyl Esters, Isostearyl Alcohol, C13-15 Alkane, Butylene Glycol Cocoate, Hydrogenated Lecithin, Palmitic Acid, Crambe Abyssinica Seed Oil, Squalane, Microcrystalline Cellulose, Linoleic Acid, Linolenic Acid, Citric Acid, Phospholipids, Oryza Sativa (Rice) Bran Extract, Caprylyl Glycol, Ethylcellulose, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Extract, Sphingolipids, Sodium Hyaluronate, Tocopherol, Caprylhydroxamic Acid, Xanthan Gum, Phenoxyethanol, Sodium Phytate, Potassium Sorbate, Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Leaf Extract, Sodium Citrate.
PCA Pigment Gel® HQ Free
If I still have spots left (or money), I’ll have this serum sent to me, too, which is as effective as hydroquinone but without the side effects. 64$, so I’m still thinking about it a bit. I believe with all of the above products. I must already have glowy, dewy skin.
Water, Alcohol Denat, Hamamelis Virginiana (Witch Hazel) Water, Lactic Acid, Butylene Glycol, Kojic Acid, Azelaic Acid, Alcohol, Hydroxyethylcellulose, Phenylethyl Resorcinol, BHT, Glutathione, Silybum Marianum Fruit Extract
SkinMedica Lytera 2.0 Pigment Correcting Serum
It contains Tranexamic Acid too and Phenylethyl Resorcinol, along with Niacinamide & Tetrapeptide-30. The ingredient list isn’t more innovative than the other products, so I don’t know why it costs $154. I’ll leave it on this list to test when I go to the US
Water, Butylene Glycol, Glycerin, Niacinamide, Polyacrylate-13, Phenylethyl Resorcinol, Tranexamic Acid, Vitis Vinifera (Grape) Flower Cell Extract, Plankton Extract, Tetrapeptide-30, Artemisia Capillaris Flower Extract, Vibrio Alginolyticus Ferment Filtrate, Alteromonas Ferment Extract, Tocopheryl Acetate, Polyisobutene, Polysorbate 20, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Hydroxyacetophenone, Phytic Acid, Diethylhexyl Syringylidenemalonate, Disodium EDTA, Ethylhexylglycerin, Phenoxyethanol.
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