Introducing Saeve Skincare

Saeve beauty products from Paris France including antioxidant serum and SPF 30 moisturizer, hand creams, micellar water, soothing emulsion, and purifying gel cleanser

Between the museums and the tourist attractions, the long walks and leisurely hours spent in Parisian parks and at sidewalk cafes, I made sure to check out French beauty and skincare whenever possible. Why? There are some brands and products you just can't find at home, of which Saeve is a prime example. I stumbled on Saeve while browsing in the mall downstairs from the Louvre and ended up chatting with the sales assistant for over an hour, learning more about the brand's philosophy and hero products. If you've never heard of it, well, most French people haven't either—Saeve only launched in France last year and isn't available widely. However, with naturals-heavy formulas, wallet-friendly price points, a fun and lighthearted brand aeshetic, and serums that are already scooping up awards from French beauty editors, you can expect the buzz around Saeve to keep building and hit North America soon.

The scoop on Saeve

Saeve (pronounced "Save") is a naturals-heavy skincare brand founded by Pauline Bony, who spent 15 years developing products for other major French beauty brands like Caudalie. The products contain all sorts of nourishing natural ingredients, and are free of controversial ingredients like silicones, parabens, PEG, gluten, mineral oils, sodium laureth sulfae, ingredients of animal origin, phenoxyethanol, and artificial colours. Also notable: Saeve uses a patent-pending Immunox complex comprised of 2 birch-derived ingredients, organic sap and chaga. Immunox is supposed to provide powerful cellular repair and antioxidant protection benefits and stimulate skin's natural immune defenses.

I was so impressed with the scents, textures and ingredient lists of everything the sales assistant showed me that I bought quite a few products, including two that have Immunox. (Carrying everything back in my carr-on was interested: I had to take everything out of the box, stuff it into my liquids Ziploc bag, and flatten the packaging.) Here are my thoughts after the last few weeks of testing.

Saeve Detoxifying Antioxidant Shield Botanical Serum, Multi-Defense Detoxifying Cream SPF 30, Quenching Soothing Emulsion

Saeve Detoxifying Antioxidant Shield Botanical Serum

Regularly layering an antioxidant serum under my SPF has been a game-changer for me. Antioxidants help protect the skin from oxidative stress caused by UVA/UVB rays, pollution, blue light from screens, etc. In other words, it's a skincare essential for modern urban living. Saeve's serum is 91% natural, can be used day or night, and contains dandelion as well as Immunox. I've been using this twice daily and true to its promises, it has given my skin a lit-from-within radiance and glow. The serum absorbs quickly with zero tackiness thanks to its silicone-free formulation, and while it's scented, the scent isn't too floral or cloying and dissipates quickly.

Saeve Multi-Defense Detoxifying Cream SPF 30

French sunscreens don't have the same labeling restrictions that Health Canada imposes on SPF products sold here, so it was hard for me to discern exactly what the active ingredient was as it wasn't listed separately along with the concentration, and I didn't see the ingredients I was familiar with (like chemical sunscreens ending in -ate or -one, or zinc oxide or titanium dioxide). Googling my way through the ingredients list revealed that the active sunscreen ingredient was Phenylbenzimidazole Sulfonic Acid. This SPF moisturizer applies smoothly and absorbs quickly, with zero chalkiness, stickiness or greasiness. I love it! Also, bonus points for having built-in antioxidant protection with Immunox.

Saeve Quenching Soothing Emulsion

The sales assistant at the shop slipped me 3 trial size tubes of this stuff as complimentary samples, after I complained about how the long flight and the hard water in Paris had made my skin red, irritable and dry. I'm now down to my last tube as this stuff is just so good. Hydrating and calming, absorbs quickly with no pilling or stickiness or tackiness (that silicone-free formulation again), and anti-oxidant protection to boot. It definitely helped reset my skin and I noticed a difference after just one day.

Saeve Detoxifying Micellar Water, Purifying Cleansing Gel

Saeve Detoxifying Micellar Water

This micellar water is no worse or better than other ones I've tried. It removes makeup and sunscreen effectively and doesn't sting around the sensitive eye area.

Saeve Purifying Cleansing Gel

Although Saeve is very proud of the fact that their products contain no sodium laureth sulfate, that doesn't mean their products are entirely sulfate-free as this cleanser does contain sodium lauryl sulfate. Sulfates get a bad rap for being overly harsh and drying and potential irritants. That being said, they're not potentially carcinogenic or endocrine-disrupting like other controversial cosmetic ingredients, and when used in the right concentrations in the right formulas they can be very effective cleansing agents. In this particular case, the sodium lauryl sulfate delivers a sudsy cleansing boost suitable for normal to combination skin types and intended to combat excess sebum. I normally have dry skin and was worried that this cleanser would leave my skin feeling tight and uncomfortable, but so far that hasn't been the case. What's more, as temperatures have climbed in Vancouver and I've been sweating a lot more, I've come to appreciate the deeper, more refreshing cleansing experience.

Saeve hand creams

Saeve Hand & Nail Lotions

My specs for hand lotions are as follows: travel-friendly tube size (bonus points if the packaging is pretty); a scent that's pleasant but not overpowering; quick-absorbing and non-greasy; minimal or no silicones (I hate the feeling of something "coating" my hands as opposed to truly absorbing and moisturizing them). Saeve's hand creams tick all the boxes.

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