Sunday, 11 March 2012

MS loves: Pharmacies and best kept secrets

Chemists/ Apothecary/ Apoteke/ Pharmacia/ Pharmacie..

Every time I travel to a new country, without fail I'd make a beeline for the local chemists. I am so intrigued by what the local chemists serve up as skincare or makeup for their regulars. I noticed that different countries have different selections of products to meet the needs of their patrons.

My trip to Paris left me with an impression that French women love their skincare and it showed in the local 'pharmacie'. Brands like Guinot, Lierac, Vichy, Bioderma, Embryolisse and Nuxe were at the forefront just to name a few. I really like Nuxe, Huile Prodigeuse D'Or is a staple for face, body and hair highlighting when I am travelling. I stocked up of course and snapped up a few of the illusive Nuxe Face and Body Bronzing Powder ( just the perfect shade of health and radiance). For hair, Phyto and Rene Furterer hold the fort for performance products.

In Greece, The pharmacies stock homeopathic skincare items and the preference here is natural organic lines. Brands like Korres and Naturopathica rule the roost. Korres makeup line don't seem to do so well locally compared to the international branches. I wonder why?

In Spain and Italy- they are similar in what they stock and the preference here is body care products. Anti-cellulite, slimming creams. lotions and potions of that nature were stocked up to the top shelves. Italian women love their hair care so shampoo/conditioners and serums for curly hair were abundant. Heaven for me as I am of the curly tumbling hair variety. Sun care is making a wave as the skin conscious masses are learning the effects of sun exposure and skin cancer. So, SPF's are high and long lasting to cope with the demands of prolonged sun lounging and promenading on the beautiful islands.

We love Boots in the UK, and the ever increasing selection of high end to low end is of no end. I tell you something, if a company gets to have their products in a pharmacie, then you know it has made the cut of being in consumer demand.

In Malaysia, I have Guardian Pharmacy and Georgetown serving up Asian skincare and makeup by the dozens. Here the focus on clear fair skin is prominent. BB creams fly off the shelves and makeup takes a back seat as skincare is regent here. Ken's Apoteke in Mid Valley Kuala Lumpur offers a very select collection of high end European skincare/makeup and Asian cosmetics which reads like a who' who list. I must say, I love Ken's and Ken must love me as I spend time and money here.

In India, I love the herbal skincare range that they feature with brands like Lotus Herbals, Himalaya Herbals  or Biotique coming into their own and making waves. Mainstream companies like Lakme which is relatively unheard off here in Europe ruled India. Lakme obviously has to now compete with brands like MAC , Bobbi Brown or Lancome but still the locals know Lakme does colour for Asian women like no one can! Vivid shades of shadows and lipsticks to make statements with and not shy into the background, daring meek colours to step aside.

I could go on and on about the merits of each pharmacy but that would defeat the purpose of this post. I mention it because as an observer, the pharmacy for me is the pulse of the locals. People meet here, discuss skin, hair, makeup and health issues and the pharmacist is actually pretty knowledgeable. These pharmacies are small, bespoke and potent. They feature powerhouse products that have apparently performed for their customers and therefore have earned a place on the shelves. I believe, if the pharmacist stops stocking an item, it could well spell bad news for the company.

Take look at your local pharmacy,, there are hidden treasures that the pharmacist can show you if you only ask them.. I did ..and I  was very pleased to meet Bioderma..


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