The beauty of the internet is that you can shop, read reviews, and buy (almost) any product from around the world. Gone are the days that you have to stock up on products when you finally get a chance to travel overseas. Parisian cosmetic and skincare brands have been some of the most talked-about formulas, but there are so many more international beauty buys for you to discover.
When traveling to a new place, checking out local pharmacies and beauty stores is one of the first things on the agenda, so we wanted to share our favorite finds—no flight required. From the U.S. to Japan, all of these products aim to give you the best skin (or hair) of your life, using years of knowledge and research. Some of these brands have become internationally renowned while simultaneously staying true to their local roots, while others are up and coming local offerings.
Here are 12 of the best skincare lines that you need to know from around the world.
Singapore: Allies of Skin
The brand: Allies of Skin, a brand from Singapore, is based on clinically-proven, active ingredients to heal your skin. Founder Nicolas Travis is a trained chemist—he launched the brand with just one product in 2016, and the now 10-product line-up is available in many locations around the world. It's great news for us, as the products sell out very quickly in Sephora. No parabens, sulfates, mineral oils, alcohols, and other irritants are included.
The hero product: Promise Keeper Blemish Sleeping Facial ($125) is a spot-fighting warrior, the perfect companion meant to improve spots and skin texture as well as hyperpigmentation. Antioxidants, colloidal silver, rosehip oil and medical grade Manuka honey come together to nourish and even out your skin, according to the brand. It can be applied every other night or on consecutive nights for particularly stressful periods. You may be able to notice a glow even after just one use.
The brand: Anessa offers a huge variety of formulations for their sun-care—from various textures to sweat- and water-proof options. The brand is hugely popular in Asia, and as it’s formulated for humid climates, but it doesn't ever feel heavy on your skin.
The hero product: Suitable for even the most sensitive skin, this sunscreen contains no fragrance, no added color, and will protect you from harmful UVA and UVB rays. It’s a lightweight milk that soaks into your skin quickly, as well as keep you hydrated and protected throughout the day. Remember to use half a teaspoon for face and neck including ears and under your eyes.
The brand: This French brand is mostly known for its sunscreen, and for good reason. It was founded in 1989 and brings together science and nature, resulting in great anti-aging formulas, skincare, and haircare.
The hero product: Without a doubt, the multi-purpose rich (but not oily) body oil is the product to know from Nuxe. Not only does it smell like summer in a bottle (thanks to camelia, argan, and magnolia oils) but it also promises to hydrate your whole body in a few quick pats. The shimmery version is perfect for nights out, and you can even apply it to your hair as well. Apply on slightly damp skin for ultimate moisture.
The brand: Aussie native Michelle Doherty had severe acne throughout her teenage years and her 20s. After trying countless treatments that didn’t work for her, she discovered Alpha-H and developed it to the international cosmeceutical brand that it is today. The brand is now available in over 25 countries, including on British Airways flights. They are also really committed to sustainability, as 40% of their tubes are produced from recycled materials and 100% recyclable packaging, according to the brand.
The hero product: Two words: liquid gold. This glycolic acid peel revolutionized the way we think about at-home chemical exfoliation. The resurfacing product promises to smooth and clear your skin. Apply it on a (reusable!) cotton round after cleansing and go to sleep.
Canada: Indeed Labs
The brand: Hard-working ingredients and years of research have been the main focus of Indeed Labs since its founding in 2009. Consumers care about ingredients now more than ever, and that’s why Indeed Labs has amassed an international clientele, as they have been at the forefront of ingredients that work. Their latest product is a natural retinol alternative—bakuchiol—proving once again how innovative they've become in the beauty space.
The hero product: Hydraluron is a clear favorite of the brand, and is available in three different versions (plus a mask), according to your needs. Its key ingredient is hyaluronic acid, a super hydrating, naturally-produced compound that breaks down as we age, as well as an olive-based emollient called squalane.
The brand: The Korean brand, founded in 2000, has been an international favorite across the world and particularly the United States. They always include the latest and most innovative ingredients like bee pollen, snail mucin, and desert cactus, and focus on natural and pharmaceutical methods for products that deliver real results.
The hero product: Essence is vital as part of a proper Korean skincare routine (It's applied on clean skin morning and night). This particular essence is a hero product for MISSHA and with good reason—it hydrates and improves skin tone and texture courtesy of 90% fermented yeast extract, according to the brand. It also contains niacinamide, a great ingredient for skin pigmentation and sebum regulation.
The brand: Korres has been an international favorite for many decades thanks to their no-frill formulas that work. The brand was founded by the Korres family, who have been creating natural and homeopathic-based products in Greece since 1996. George Korres was using over 3000 herbal remedies before setting up his brand, which remains a core focus in their formulas to this day.
The hero product: Wild rose is a key ingredient in the Korres range, used for its brightening and soothing properties, according to the brand. The brand updated their original serum with the addition of vitamin C, offering a more potent formula meant to brighten and help with wrinkles, dark spots, and hyperpigmentation.
The brand: Recreate the effect of Hammam treatments at home with Moroccan skin and body care brand MarocMaroc. The brand uses a blend of amber, rose, honey, and clay create meant to leave your skin smooth and properly nourished.
The hero product: A key part of Hammam treatments is a deep cleansing from top to bottom, so the body scrub is a must try from the brand. Honey and beeswax are anti-inflammatory, and together with sunflower, castor, and sesame seed oils the formula promises to remove dead skin cells and reveal fresh, radiant-looking skin. Use it once a week on wet skin.
The brand: Novex promises to bring back the shine and remove frizz with their huge product selection depending on your specific concerns.
The hero product: The Brazilian Keratin Hair Mask may be the most popular products from the Novex range, thanks to the vitamin E and the Brazilian Keratin protein. Leave it on your hair for three to 10 minutes or overnight for deeper nourishment.
Mexico: Bianca de la Garza
The brand: After spending over 15 years in front of the camera, Bianca de la Garza knew a lot about keeping her skin in shape—which, ultimately, is what led to creating her own brand of illuminating, glowy products.
The hero product: The key product of the brand has to be the In Glo We Trust serum, an illuminating serum meant to combine multiple skincare steps in one. It contains vitamin C and grape extract meant to smooth your skin and protect it from environmental aggressors.
The brand: Iraya means "from the Earth" in Sanskrit, and, as such, it's a brand that incorporates Ayurvedic practices. The hair, body, bath, and face products are created with ingredients sourced from the Iraya Farm in Central India and the brand keep sustainability and organic farming top of mind always. The delivery times are long, but these products are worth the wait.
The hero product: This cold pressed oil is a must try from Iraya. It's meant to stimulate your scalp to help with hair texture changes and thinning. Apply the oil on your scalp, massage it in, and leave it on for at least one hour (or overnight) before washing your hair. It increases blood circulation to your scalp which helps with growth, according to the brand.
The brand: Founder Daniel Kurbiel launched Polaar in 2004 after an expedition in the Arctic where he found key ingredients now featured in the brand's skincare offerings (things like Siberian olive, taiga pine, boreal algae and more).
The hero product: This lightweight serum-cream hybrid contains vitamin C-rich Siberian olive as well as natural salicylic acid. Use it as your go-to day cream as it sits perfectly under makeup.
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