If you're lucky enough to live in a city with international vibes (or at least somewhere with an amazing selection of restaurants), you know what it feels like to globe-trot in a day. Ceviche in Peru, lumpia in the Philippines, macarons in Paris — you can practically hop continents between appetizers and dessert. Forget your passport, all it really requires is an empty stomach and a full wallet, and you are a certified explorer of the world. Beauty, on the other hand, isn't quite that easy to get a hold of. But foreign beauty products? Well, some of them are must-haves, whether you travel or not.
There are some beauty facts that cannot be denied: Korean skincare is other-worldly, French makeup is all about simplicity, and ingredients native to the region you're buying from are what you want on your face. It's simple as that. However, gaining access to all the incredible beauty products the world has to offer can be tricky when your only method of transportation is surfing the web. The thing to remember here is that most American brands replicate some of the more innovative, trendy ideas, so you can likely find versions of your online beauty obsessions close to home. But for a more authentic purchase, sometimes it is worth the shipping. Search for products you know you can't get at home, have good reviews, and most importantly: The stranger, the better!
1. Waterless Skincare
It might sound counterproductive to use waterless skincare products if you have dry or irritated skin, but (surprise!) products that list water as their first ingredient tend to be more dehydrating. The idea behind this Korean skincare craze is that the less water there is, the less the vitamins and antioxidants within the product are being diluted. You might be thinking, well duh, why aren't all face products made that way then? It's because water is the cheapest ingredient around and makes most skincare products more affordable. So while waterless products might be a bit of a splurge, they're well worth all the hype.
2. Scalp Massager/Conditioning Brush
Brushing your hair while it's wet is bad. Split ends, gnarly damage, the usual. But this Japanese design was created just for wet strands. Apply your conditioner right to the brush, and run it through wet hair from roots to tip. It helps to improve circulation, meaning a boost in hair growth and some extra luscious locks to boot.
Du-Boa Ceramide 2 + Ion Scalp Massager, $19, travelbeauty.com
3. "Essence" (Because What Is That Really?)
Have you ever heard of essence? More importantly, do you know what part of your body it's supposed to be applied to? The concept was created in Korea, and the Asian beauty market has sworn by it for decades — but no one does luxury skincare quite like the French, and that is the purpose of essence: Luxury.
It provides hydration and anti-aging properties, and was designed to supplement your other skincare products (since it is not a cleanser, toner, serum, or moisturizer apparently). The key to applying it properly is using your hands instead of a cotton pad, and applying it in an upward motion starting at the chin. It's practically tradition. Try Cosmetic 27's version, it's pretty much the Maybach of skincare — especially since American versions seem to be a bit confused about what exactly essence does.
4. Face Masks With Ingredients You Wouldn't Expect
If you couldn't tell, I have a borderline romantic relationship with face masks. How can you not be obsessed with something that makes your pores tiny and your face tingle? So when it comes to unconventional ingredients like mango seed and acai berries, you better believe I'm ordering in bulk. Testing out new masks lets you see what properties different ingredients might have. Do remember to always try out a test spot on your hand to make sure you don't get a terrible rash and curse the day you tried a coconut/chili powder concoction!
Real Nature Mask Sheet Bamboo, thefaceshop.com
5. Australian Sunscreen
Nobody knows sun quite like the Aussies. They're such safety experts at soaking in the rays that Australian-born brand Invisible Zinc created a face-specific sunscreen that is SPF 30+, a moisturizer, and a sheer golden tint all in one. Plus, it has ultra fine Zinc Oxide particles that have anti-aging properties. If there is such a thing as a summer staple, this has got to be it.
6. Body Treatments
You've heard of treatments for your hair or your skin, but who would've thought to treat the whole body? The beauty geniuses in India, that's who. With a treatment like the Kama Ayurveda Rejuvenating Body Treatment, you're able to refresh your muscles and the skin itself. Ingredients include jelly leaf, to alleviate muscle pain, and winter cherry to easy stress and tone skin. Use it during a hot shower after an intense workout or particularly tough day at the office, and you'll feel your whole body will feel like jelly. The good kind.
7. Fragrances Other People Rave About
Reading about fragrances on the internet is impossible. If a perfume is described as "fruity with hints of cinnamon and a vanilla backdrop, plus musky undertones," I have no idea what that means. So you'd think it would make no sense to order a fragrance online, but I like to think of it as a beautified Secret Santa. If you're looking to switch up your scent, keep an eye out for what international beauty bloggers and writers have to say about their favorite local spritzes. I'm based in Dublin at the moment and can tell you Cloon Keen Atelier can do no wrong when it comes a classic scent. Just go with your gut, and have a little faith. You're either going to smell great, or you'll have your grandmother's next birthday gift lined up.