Vichy vs Avène

written by: Tom Qiao
last update: May 26, 2024

Vichy vs Avène: A Skincare Editor's Take on Two Iconic Thermal Waters

As a beauty editor, I've spent years exploring and testing countless skincare products, including some of the most renowned thermal spring waters out there. Two brands that have long been mainstays in the skincare world are Vichy and Avène, each boasting a rich history and a loyal following. While they share certain similarities, these French thermal waters also have distinct differences that may make one a better fit for your skin type and concerns than the other. Let's dive into a side-by-side comparison.

Ingredients & Effectiveness

Both Vichy and Avène are sourced from natural spring waters renowned for their mineral-rich, therapeutic properties. Vichy's water is extracted from the earth in Auvergne, France, and contains 15 different minerals like potassium, calcium, and magnesium. It's particularly prized for its high selenium content, a powerful antioxidant that helps neutralize free radicals and soothe inflammation.

Avène's thermal spring water originates from the small French village of Avène in the Cévennes mountains. It's known for its low mineral composition and extremely soft, silky texture thanks to its neutral pH and unique Aqua.Calcer.Reductive formula. This gives it superior calming and soothing abilities, making it an excellent choice for sensitive, irritated skin.

From personal experience, I've found both waters to be highly effective. Vichy's mineral-rich formula provides antioxidant protection and leaves my skin feeling strengthened and refreshed. Avène, on the other hand, is the ultimate soother – I always reach for it when my skin is feeling angry and inflamed from harsh products or environmental stressors.

Texture & Application

Despite both being thermal spring waters, Vichy and Avène have slightly different textures and application experiences. Vichy has more of a traditional water-like consistency that sprays out in a fine, evenly distributed mist. It absorbs quickly into the skin without leaving any residue behind.

Avène has a distinctly thicker, velvety texture thanks to its lower mineral content and unique formula. It has more of a "milky" quality that leaves behind an ultra-gentle, softening veil on the skin. That richer feel may appeal more to those with very dry complexions.

While you can't go wrong with either brand's face mists, I personally prefer Avène's thicker texture for intense hydration and calming irritation. But for a quick refresh during the day or use as a toner, the finer mist of Vichy hits the spot.

Suitability for Skin Types

This is where the brands most significantly diverge. Thanks to its high mineral and selenium content, Vichy is generally better suited for normal to combination skin types. The antioxidant properties make it an excellent choice for shielding skin from environmental aggressors like pollution while the minerals help maintain a healthy skin barrier. However, the higher mineral composition can potentially irritate very sensitive skin types.

Avène, on the other hand, is the thermal water I'd recommend for those with sensitive, allergy-prone skin. Its ultra-gentle, pH-balanced formula was specifically designed by the brand to soothe and calm even the most reactive complexions. I always travel with the Avène Thermal Spring Water Spray to refresh irritated skin throughout the day. Those with dry skin may also prefer Avène for its richer, creamier texture.

Customer Reviews

With both Vichy and Avène boasting a devoted following, customer reviews for their thermal waters are overwhelmingly positive. Many Vichy fans praise it as a "holy grail" for combination skin, loving how it helps control oil and shine while still providing ample hydration. There are plenty of testimonials from people who used it to help heal sunburns and wind-battered skin.

Avène's customer reviews highlight its superior soothing and calming abilities. Those with ultra-sensitive skin, conditions like rosacea and eczema, or general redness and irritation can't get enough of this gentle, milky spray. Many reviews mention using it as the first step in their routines to "reset" and rehydrate angry skin.

As an editor, I wholeheartedly agree with the fans – these are both excellent thermal waters that deliver on their promises. Which one you go for just depends on your specific skin type and needs.

Price & Accessibility

Neither Vichy nor Avène's spring waters will break the bank, though Vichy's offerings are generally a tad more affordable. The classic Vichy Mineralizing Thermal Water costs around $14 for a 5 oz bottle, while Avène's Thermal Spring Water Spray is usually $18.50 for the same size.

However, Avène uses an aluminum can to preserve the integrity of its formula, which accounts for some of the higher cost. Both brands offer thermal water in generously large sizes as well for better value. Overall, they're very comparable in terms of pricing.

As for availability, both Vichy and Avène can be found at major beauty retailers like Ulta, Dermstore, and their own brand websites. However, Vichy does seem to have a slight edge when it comes to being stocked at more mass retailers and drugstores for easier accessibility.

The Final Verdict

At the end of the day, you really can't go wrong with either of these luxurious French thermal waters. They're both incredible options backed by years of research and innovation.

If you have normal to combination skin and want antioxidant protection with your hydration, go for Vichy and its higher mineral content. But for sensitive types or intense calming care, Avène's ultra-gentle formula is tough to beat.

Personally, I rely on both in my rotation: Vichy as a refreshing toner and skin prep in the morning, and Avène to soothe any irritation or redness that pops up during the day. These two iconic waters have more than earned their classic status in my book.

Article written by Tom Qiao
Tom is the founder and editor of where he applies his decades of personal experience with skincare problems like acne and acne scarring to provide readers with practical advice and product recommendations.

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