Beauty and Self Care from Around the World

My aim is to travel the world and discover and source natural fruits, herbs and plants for beauty and skincare by learning from the local cultures across the globe. Online Beauty is a huge space where readers can now shop, read reviews and buy beauty products from all around the world.

Recently beauticians and experts have focused on new found knowledge of Parisian cosmetics and skincare brands, but there is so much more internal beauty buys for consumers 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 I wanted to share my favorite finds with you – 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 the 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 13 of the best skincare lines that you need to know from around the world.

Singapore: Allies of Skin

Allies of Skin Promise Keeper Blemish Sleeping Facial (£122.00)
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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: ($120) is a spot-fighting warrior, the perfect companion 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. It can be applied every other night or on consecutive nights for particularly stressful periods. You’ll be able to notice a glow even after just one use.

Japan: ANESSA

Anessa Perfect UV Sunscreen Aqua Booster Mild SPF50+(£46.22)
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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, 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 (aging) and UVB (burning) 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.

France: Nuxe

Nuxe Paris Huile Prodigieuse Florale Mist (£29.50)
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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.

Without a doubt, the multi-purpose rich (but not oily) body oil is the product to know from Nuxe. Not only does it smells like summer in a bottle (thanks to camelia, argan, and magnolia oils) but it also hydrates 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.

Australia: Alpha-H

Alpha-H Liquid Gold (£33.99)
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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 Airway flights. They are also really committed to sustainability, as 40% of their tubes are produced from recycled materials and 100% recyclable packaging.

Two words: liquid gold. This glycolic acid peel revolutionized the way we think about at-home chemical exfoliation. The resurfacing product is amazingly smooth and clear on your skin. Apply it on a (reusable!) cotton pad after cleansing and go to sleep.

Canada: Indeed Labs

Indeed Labs Hydraluron Intense Moisture Lotion (£24.99)
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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.

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.

Korea: MISSHA

MISSHA Time Revolution The First Treatment Essence Intensive (£31.08)
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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.

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. It also contains niacinamide, a great ingredient for skin pigmentation and sebum regulation.

Greece: Korres

Korres Wild Rose Spotless Serum with 15% Vitamin Super C (£55.00)
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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.

Wild rose is a key ingredient in the Korres range, used for its brightening and soothing properties. The brand updated their original serum with the addition of vitamin C, offering a more potent formula to brighten and help with wrinkles, dark spots, and hyperpigmentation.

Morocco: marocMaroc

MarocMaroc Miel D’Ambre (£73.00)
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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 to leave your skin smooth and properly nourished.

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 removes dead skin cells and reveals fresh, radiant-looking skin. Use it once a week on wet skin.

Brazil: Novex

 

Novex Brazilian Keratin Hair Mask (£18.00)
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Novex promises to bring back the shine and remove frizz with their huge product selection depending on your specific concerns.

The Brazilian Keratin Hair Mask has proven to be the most popular product from the Novex range, thanks to the vitamin E and the Brazilian Keratin protein. Leave it on your hair for 10 minutes or overnight for deeper nourishment.

Mexico: Bianca de la Garza

Bianca de la Garza In Glo We Trust Illuminating Serum
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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 key product of the brand has to be the In Glo We Trust, an illuminating serum meant to combine multiple skincare steps in one. It contains vitamin C and grape extract to smooth your skin and protect it from environmental aggressors.

India: Iraya

Iraya Neelbhringadi Cold Pressed Ayurvedic Taila $12
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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.

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.

Greenland: Polaar

Polaar Smoothing Fluid (£38.00)
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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).

This lightweight serum-cream hybrid contains Siberian olive—which offers 30 times more vitamin C than an orange—as well as natural salicylic acid. Use it as your go-to day cream as it sits perfectly under makeup.

Self Care

The Tropical Duchess celebrates beauty from all over the world. The beauty customs of different cultures are unique and steeped in history, and by learning about them, we’re able to expand our own perspectives (not to mention pick up a life-changing new tip or two). That’s why we’re paying special homage to women far and wide, from Thailand to Russia and beyond. Each day, we’ll honor the beauty practices, trends, and traditions of our sisters around the globe—complex, intriguing, and versatile as they are. Enjoy!

It’s hard to ignore that “self-care” is having a proverbial moment. Due to a combination of stress-inducing phenomena swirling in our culture at the moment (the current political climate not excluded), everything from foot scrubs to blowouts is being touted as a way to treat yourself.

But just as Kim Kardashian West did not invent contouring, the American beauty industry did not invent self-care. As Jessica Crispin, author of Why I’m Not a Feminist: a Feminist Manifesto, told The Muse earlier this year, “The self-care thing [has gotten] so warped and turned into something ridiculous. … It’s not self-care if someone else is doing your hair.” In other words, as self-care becomes a more popular mainstream trend, we find ourselves losing sight of what mental and physical healing really looks like.

To get some perspective, we decided to look beyond America’s modern wellness practices to see how other cultures do self-care. We spoke with beauty experts, models, and cultural specialists from 11 different countries and got their insights on the traditions and rituals that the rest of the world uses to maintain mental and physical health. Intrigued? Keep scrolling to learn the self-care practices of Japan, Pakistan, Argentina, and beyond.

SWITZERLAND

mountain retreats

Danner Mountain Light Cascade Hiking Boots ($360)
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Having been born and raised in Switzerland, I grew up always surrounded by mountains and lakes. Everyone hiked the trails, no matter how rigorous, and would make a day or weekend out of it with packed lunches and camping gear. We called these nature retreats our ‘wellness weekends,’ and it was our way to relax and rejuvenate.” — Lisa Parigi model and entrepreneur

TAIWAN

midday naps

Slip Silk Sleep Mask (£38.50)
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I previously worked in Taiwan for three years, and I learned a lot about what people there do for self-care. Because people work long hours (from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.), they make sure to take naps during their lunch hours in the office. In fact, offices will turn off the lights at noon for a calming environment to sleep.” — Alice Lin, esthetician and owner of Wonderland organic

LEBANON

drinking rose water

Dual Spices Organic Rose Bud Petals $15
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“Drinking Rose Water has ancient origins in cultures such as Persia, the Middle East, Egypt, North Africa, Greece, Ancient Rome, and India as part of Ayurvedic medicine. The alchemists of Persia and the Middle East were fond of drinking rose water for beauty—and Cleopatra was also a big fan. In Lebanon, where I am from, we have something called white tea, which is hot water with rose water. Rose water plumps up the skin, helps acne, has anti-inflammatory effects, and reduces wrinkles and age spots due to its antioxidants.” — Gabrielle Francis, DC, naturopathic doctor

ITALY

long, social dinners

“People in Europe spend much more time together. I am Czech, but my mum is German, and I lived in Italy for many years. Dinners in Italy take at least two hours—you talk a lot between meals, and it’s all part of the experience. Italians just don’t rush or stress at all, especially when it comes to food.” — Kateřina Částková, model with MSA Models

ARGENTINA

talk therapy

Talkspace Online Therapy
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In Latin America, there is almost no stigma attached to seeking psychological therapy. It’s something on your calendar like anything else, so it’s common to hear, ‘I can’t make it tonight; I’m seeing my therapist.’ In fact, Argentina has the highest number of psychologists per capita in the world, according to the World Health Organisation.” — Annalisa Nash Fernandez, cultural specialist

PAKISTAN

coconut scalp massages

Cocovit Coconut Oil ($14)
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As a stress-relieving mother-daughter bonding ritual, my mom would always put coconut oil in my hair growing up. While she was watching TV on the sofa and I would be sitting on the floor of our living room, she would really vigorously massage the coconut oil into my head because it makes your hair insanely soft, silky, and would always help with the occasional dryness and dandruff. For a lot of my south Asian friends, this is a common practice!” — Rida Shaikh, member of The Beauty Line

PERU

nature escape

Huffy Ladies Nassau Cruiser Bike ($150)
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When people of my city, Lima, Peru, feel stressed because of different things such as labor problems, traffic, and pollution, they tend to go for a walk along the viewpoint of miraflores or ride a bicycle next to the beach and appreciate the sunsets. When they have a little more time and money, they tend to travel within Peru. Destinations such as Machu Picchu and Máncora’s beaches are very crowded for Peruvians because they’re disconnected from the capital city, so you can enjoy the beauty of nature, which has no price, for a few days. This definitely removes the stress from anyone.” — Paula Montes Pastor, model with MSA Models

JAPAN

bathhouses

Japan has been about wellness long before the term wellness came into play. From matcha and green tea (loaded with antioxidants and found in a variety of different food, supplements, and drink) to diet (seaweed, sesame, mushrooms—all superfoods). But one of the most notable aspects about Japan is its love for the bath and the bathhouse.

“Japanese bathhouses (known as onsens when using hot spring water, sentos when using heated tap water) are a mainstay throughout the country and are considered both physically beneficial for aches and pains as well as a chief method of boosting wellness and reducing stress.

“One of the better onsens in Tokyo is called Spa LaQua, located near the Tokyo Dome. They offer hot spring tubs, various gemstone saunas for detoxing, and every spa service you can imagine: ear cleaning, massage, scalp care, even a special sauna for the uterus. There are also nap rooms and really fantastic food. It’s an all-day retreat that’s completely affordable and gives you a major reset.

“Even if people aren’t at the onsen, they take nightly baths at home to relax, always showering outside of the ofuro (bathtub) before entering. The tub is filled only with hot water. Its purpose isn’t to get clean, but to relax and prepare for sleep. They’re super deep, so the water comes up to your chin. Incredibly relaxing after a day running through Tokyo!” — Cynthia Popper, DHC Skincare, editor

BRAZIL

self-help books

The Law of Attraction by Esther and Jerry Hicks (£10.37)
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In Brazil, self-help in a national pastime. Brazilians are very spiritual and proactive when it comes to mental and physical well-being. Self-help books dominate the best-sellers lists in Brazil, crowding out traditional literature.” — Fernandez

SWEDEN

nightly saunas

Before I go to bed, I love to take a steam or a sauna to prepare for a good night’s rest and rejuvenation. Being Swedish, I grew up with a sauna in my house, so I’m used to doing it every day, and it’s one of my must-do routines. Hot Sauna or steam and a cold shower is the key to consistent health and beauty for me. When you raise the temperature like we do in the sauna, you trick the body that you have a fever, so it goes into healing mode and starts to heal your already healthy body. That’s why northerners rarely get sick and maintain beautiful healthy skin, even though we are fair and sensitive to the sun.” — Karin Agstam, model with MSA Models

ENGLAND

a cuppa tea

Twinings English Breakfast Tea (£7.95)
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There are no traditional English cultural methods for stress management—well, apart from girl chats and a cuppa tea. (That’s a cup of English tea with milk and a biscuit!)” — Holly Croft, model with MSA Models

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