If you've been on #BeautyTok at any point in the past year, you're probably familiar with slugging—the K-Beauty method of finishing off your skin-care routine with a layer of petroleum jelly to seal in moisture. But unless you've found yourself as deep into the depths of French BeautyTok as I have, you likely haven't heard of the French girl version of the practice, which swaps a pharmacie-favorite balm in for Vaseline to give your visage an effortless, je ne sais quoi glow.
The product in question, La Roche Posay Cicaplast Balm B5 ($16), is basically the Parisian drugstore equivalent of, say, America's Dove Soap (in that pretty much everyone uses it and loves it). To be totally honest, when I picked up the thick balm on a trip to Paris, I thought it was a hand cream. Then, while scrolling through TikTok late one night (standard), I came across a young French woman lamenting about how her favorite ‘slugging’ night cream has been sold out at her local pharmacy due to its popularity on TikTok. Wait—I thought—you use this on your face??
Apparently, yes, and I'm not sure how I didn't put it together sooner. This rich cream is chock-full of emollients, humectants, and occlusives (aka the hydration trifecta), and as someone who's already a fan of slugging and ultra-thick moisturizers, it's right up my alley.
The hero ingredients in the ultra-hydrating balm are shea butter (an emollient that softens, smooths, and repairs skin), glycerin (a humectant that draws in water), and panthenol (an occlusive that seals in moisture). It pairs these "Big 3" hydrators with La Roche Posay's signature French thermal water, which is rich in minerals that support the skin microbiome, and the result is a hydrating, non-greasy, non-sticky formula that soothes irritation and redness.
So in theory, this should be a cream made exclusively for very dry skin—yet somehow (miraculously) people are healing severe acne with it. Fans of the formula have taken to TikTok to sing its praises and show off its versatility (it can be used as a 15-minute mask, a spot treatment, a full-body moisturizer... the list goes on and on), and as such, it's been selling out everywhere.
I’ve been using the balm myself for the past two and a half weeks, and my skin is in an exceptional state right now. While I'm typically drier than the soil in Death Valley and deal with a lot of skin concerns during the low-humidity winter months, I've recently been in a glowy state of comfort with no flaking, peeling, or breakouts. Plus, the balm has helped to quell some of the rosacea-induced redness on my nose.
If you’re also on the dry side, use a thin (or thick!) layer of Cicaplast Balm B5 over your entire face as a way to lock in moisture overnight. It’s not greasy like vaseline, and has more soothing properties in the formula to pull double duty in your skincare routine.
And while it might be hard to get your hands on this ultra-popular cream at your local pharmacy (stateside or otherwise), you may be able to snag a tube online (including on the brand’s own site).
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