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To a self-professed beauty junkie, discovering the prized beauty products of a new destination is one of the biggest joys of travel. From Budapest to Bangkok, there’s a treasure trove of products out there to be discovered – and thanks to the joys of global shipping, they’re all available without leaving your laptop. Read on for our edit of the best ones to invest in… no passport required.
Discovered over 2,000 years ago, Hungary’s thermal waters are believed to possess potent anti-aging properties, thanks to their remarkably high mineral content. A brand richly steeped in heritage, Omorovicza has been harnessing the power of these healing waters since the 1800s, when the family built the original Racz spa on the site of the springs. Today, the brand boasts a luxury line of skincare products with minimal fuss (read: zero gimmicks) and maximum efficacy. The star here is the Queen of Hungary mist: a neroli and rose-infused toner, inspired by the perfume created for Queen Elisabeth of Hungary in the 14th century. Soothing and refreshing, it’s the ideal in-flight pick-me-up.
In South Korea, skincare is a labour of love. Chiming with the age-old notion that prevention is better than cure, Korean women prefer a flawless natural complexion to a face full of make-up, and think nothing of a lengthy 12-step routine, morning and night.
A standout on the Korean skincare shelves, cult beauty brand Mizon is garnering an obsessive following around the world, despite the rather terrifying nature of some of its products (starfish extract, anyone?) The essential pick here is the All in One Snail Repair cream, which harnesses the skin-smoothing powers of snail secretion filtrate (that’s the slimy stuff) from lab-controlled snails, which is purified, powdered and blended into an indulgent yet light cream. The filtrate is particularly high in antibacterial properties and has been proven to effectively promote wound healing, making this one a saviour for damaged, sensitive and acne-scarred skin.
California: The Body Deli
Born in the Coachella valley, The Body Deli is an all-natural skin and haircare brand that chimes with our current predilections for ‘clean’ living. The brand is loved for its potent blends of raw, active ingredients and living botanical superfoods, all cooked-up by its own ‘cosmetic chefs’.
Founders Margaret Skarin Clark and David Anton Parker explain that most mass-produced skincare (which they not-so affectionately dub ‘canned skincare’) is subjected to excessive heating and aggressive chemical preservatives in order to maintain a long shelf life – often up to five years. Such processes often destroy the potency of any active nutrients and living ingredients, negating any real skin benefits. Therefore, you’ll struggle to find a sell-by stamp longer than a carton of cold-pressed juice on any of the Body Deli’s products. If you try just one, make it the Blueberry Fusion scrub: a rich, purple puree loaded with brightening lactic and citric acids, plus exfoliating diatomaceous earth micro-polishers. It’s effectively like smearing a smoothie on your face.
Davines is a family-run business that takes the personal touch a little further than the rest. Every product in the brand’s signature Essential Haircare family is crafted with organic ingredients, sourced from small producers across Italy as part of the nation’s small-business supporting Slow Food Foundation initiative. So for the Cartucciaru di Paceco Melon in your super-hydrating Momo shampoo, you’ve got Mrs Francesca Simonte from Trapani to thank, and for the Noto Almonds in your frizz-reducing Love Curl conditioner, send gratitude to Mr Carlo Assenza from Syracuse. It’s rare that ethics and performance truly collide in the world of beauty, making Davines a rare diamond.
With spa treatments being a veritable rite of passage when travelling through Thailand, it’s a wonder that there aren’t more Thai beauty products currently gracing our shelves at home. Hailing from Bangkok, Erb is a brilliant body and hair brand whose products instantly evoke the heady indulgence of one of the nation’s fabled spas. Pronounced in English as ‘herb’, the name derives from the traditional Thai phrase ‘erblm’ which means to grow and flourish.
The main draw here is the Princess Pa bodycare collection, which is made with rock salt sourced from Udon Thani and mud and mineral water from the Mae Sa-Nga spring in Mae Hong Son, which are naturally rich in skin-renewing minerals. Crafted in collaboration with HRH Princess Bajrakitiyabha (affectionately known as ‘Princess Pa’) in order to support small rural communities, it’s ethically endearing, too.
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