Along with their signature approaches to beauty, many countries are famous for inventing beauty products that have now reached cult status. From the BB creams of Germany to the essential oils of Egypt, these are the beauty buys you should stock up on while on holiday.
Germany: BB creams
Blemish balm, blemish base, beauty balm… whatever you want to call it, there’s no doubt that BB creams have caused quite a stir in the beauty world. Created by the clever Germans a few decades ago, BB creams were designed to soothe and heal sensitive skin after surgery. Fast forward to now, and the formula — which is a cross between a moisturiser and a light foundation — is touted as a “miracle product” all over the world. Garnier Miracle Skin Perfector Daily All-in-One BB Cream ($14) is a bargain buy that works wonders.
Have you ever wondered why Japanese women have such flawless complexions? Their secret is Pitera, an ingredient that is found in a certain kind of fermented yeast. Science aside, Pitera is known as the “miracle water” in Japan and SK-II was the brand that brought it to the world’s attention. Launched in 1980, the formula has not changed since. It’s an investment, but one which leads to moisturised, smooth, glowing-from-the-inside-out skin. SK-II Facial Treatment Essence ($100) is the kind of cult product that celebrities without an advertising contract rave about.
Chile: Rosehip oil
Rosehip oil exploded onto the market a couple of years ago and it’s not going anywhere. Harnessed from the seeds of wild Chilean rosehips, the oil is loaded with fatty acids, vitamin E, beta carotene and other antioxidants. Basically, rosehip oil gives skin the nutrients it needs, slowing down ageing and leaving skin looking radiant and healthy. Kosmea SkinClinic Certified Rosehip Oil ($25) is amazing.
France: Crème de La Mer
It’s no surprise really that the French invented the queen of moisturisers, Crème de La Mer ($440). This thick, intensive moisturising cream is suitable for all skin types, but packs a serious punch when it comes to treating dry, sensitive and ageing complexions. Thanks to the trademarked “Miracle Broth” — which is made up of top vitamins and minerals — Crème de La Mer reduces pores and softens and firms skin.
Middle East: Kohl
Many Middle Eastern women have gorgeous hazel and brown eyes, and as such, eyes are a feature they like to flaunt. These ladies have been lining their peepers with kohl for centuries, which widens and accentuates the colour of eyes. M.A.C Power Kohl Pencil ($32) offers an intense smoky finish that is perfect for smudging.
Singapore: Green tea cleanser
The humidity of Singapore is not very skin-friendly, which explains why beauty fiends invented the green tea cleanser. Usually made with 100 per cent natural green tea, these foamy formulas work to clear breakouts, reduce redness and retain moisture all at the same time. St. Ives Green Tea Cleanser ($10) is brilliant.
America: St Tropez tan
Invented in Los Angeles by power couple Robyn and Tim Gibson, St. Tropez has cemented its spot as the best self-tanner. It’s not hard to guess why: It’s lightweight formula is enriched with aloe vera, meaning that it dries fast and lasts long. Unlike others, the St. Tropez Self Tan Bronzing Mousse ($44) does not smell or have the “oompa loompa” effect. It’s a winner!
China: Nail polish
Believe it or not, nail polish originated in China back in 300BC as a sign of wealth and privilege. If you could coat your nails in colour, you were “someone”. These days, any fashionista worth their Fendi sports the latest lacquer to show their commitment to following trends. The O.P.I range ($20 each at David Jones and Myer) is the undisputed king of nail polish.
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Egypt: Essential oils
When it comes to beauty, the best remedies are au naturel — and essential oils are one of nature’s most effective gifts. Dating back to the time of the ancient Egyptians, aromatherapy is so much more than gorgeous scents — it tackles stress and health issues, clears out toxins and balances the mind and body. Plus, it’s incredibly therapeutic. Jurlique Clarity Blend Essential Oil ($21) will give you a boost on the toughest of days.
Scandinavia: Dry body brush
Do you want smooth, soft, invigorated skin? Take a leaf out of the Scandinavians’ book and start dry body brushing daily. The natural bristles exfoliate, stimulate and detoxify the skin. This technique not only removes dead skin cells and gets your blood flowing, but over time, it also helps to get rid of cellulite. Manicare Cellulite Bristle Brush ($15) does the job well.
Morocco: Argan oil
It’s amazing how age-old beauty remedies come back in vogue every once in a while. This was the case with Argan oil. Though Moroccan women have been coating their hair with the natural oil (from the Argan tree) forever, the Western world only caught on to its benefits around five years ago. The nutrient-rich oil deeply nourishes hair, leaving it hydrated, healthy and shiny. It also protects hair from the effects of one too many rounds with the GHD. Argan Oil Repair Treatment by Muk Haircare ($35) is a great buy.
Australia: Pawpaw ointment, organic skin care, sunscreen
Pawpaw ointment is Australia’s answer to just about any skin concern: sunburn, dryness, rashes and chapped lips. The thick paste is used on everyone from babies to grandmothers, and the Lucas’ Pawpaw Ointment ($6) tubes have established cult status.
Australians have also taken organic skin care up a notch. Given the newfound obsession with health and the fact that we have access to some of the best ingredients in the world, it makes sense that Aussies are returning to all-natural skin care solutions. Try KORA Organics Foaming Cleanser ($45) for that squeaky-clean feeling.
After generations before us tanned their way to leathery skin, Australians are finally realising that too much sun is not so great. A herd of hard-working yet non-greasy sunscreens have dominated the market for a few years now, with Invisible Zinc Face & Body Sunscreen ($32) leading the pack.