The appeal of traveling around the world is obvious: Exposure to different cultures, expanding our worldview, and luxuriating in the unfamiliar and new. It’s a powerful experience that always stays with us. However, one of our favorite parts of traveling is a little less lofty: We love discovering new beauty products and bringing them back stateside!
While American beauty rules the roost, some of our all-time favorite products are from places like France, South Korea, and Morocco. Here’s a roundup of the must-have products from every corner of the globe, making it simple to indulge your wanderlust.
All the rage in the beauty world, micellar waters are a French invention that cleans skin by removing not just oil and dirt, but also completely taking off makeup without stripping skin. Not since BB creams have American brands so completely lost their minds for a foreign beauty innovation. You’ll find micellar waters at every drugstore and even at department stores – such as (1) Simple Micellar Cleansing Water ($7) and (2) Dr. Andrew Weil for Origins Mega Mushroom Skin Relief Micellar Cleanser ($30) – but the best ones remain French: Try (3) Orlane Vitality Radiance Micellar Cleansing Water ($45) or (4) Vichy One-Step Cleansing Micellar Solution ($14).
Korean beauty has been a huge trend these past couple of years, with each invention cooler than the last (BB cream, anyone?). However, arguably the most innovative product to come out of South Korea are sheet masks. Designed to blast your skin with hydration and concentrated ingredients—think collagen, hyaluronic acid, and even snail extract—there’s literally a mask for every complexion concern. If you have dry skin, try (5) Missha Super Aqua Cell Renewal Snail Hydro Gel Mask ($6). Suffering from acne? Put it on blast with (6) Dr. Jart Dermask Micro Jet Clearing Solution ($9). Hyperpigmentation? There’s a mask for that: (7) Sulwhasoo Snowise EX Brightening Mask ($130 for 10). You can even treat oiliness and large pores with (8) Skinfood Peach Sake Pore Essence Mask ($4).
There’s honey—and then there’s manuka honey. Native to New Zealand, it has remarkable healing, anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, therapeutic properties both when ingested and applied to the skin. For super dry, sensitive, or irritated skin in need of serious TLC, try (9) Apicare Manuka Therapy 30% Honey Crème ($18), (10) Shea Moisture Manuka Honey Intensive Hydration Hand Cream ($6), or (11) Wild Ferns Manuka Honey Hand Crème ($18). Note to self: Do not eat.
Long before coconut oil took the U.S. beauty world by storm, women in India have been using it for centuries on their skin, their nails, and especially their manes. It helps keep hair soft and manageable, reducing frizz and adding shine, and shampoos out easily. Try (12) Dabur Vatika Enriched Coconut Hair Oil ($7), from one of the most popular Indian brands, or (13) Palmers Coconut Oil Shine Serum Hair Polisher ($11) for an American take. And, of course, you could simply get a jar of coconut oil from the local grocery store, such as (14) Spectrum Organic Virgin Coconut Oil ($14).
If the eyes are the windows to the soul, then kohl eyeliner is the window frame to the divine. There’s a reason that smokey eyes are always in style, and it’s because artfully rimmed eyes are sexy and alluring—a promise of mystery and passion that no other makeup item can live up to. Moroccan women have kohl liner down pat: no bare-faced “natural” eyes here. Think dark, dramatic, devastating—and always powder, never stick liner. Try (15) Moroccan Selection Moroccan Kohl Powder Eyeliner ($26), or (16) Guerlain Terracotta Loose Powder Kohl in Noir ($40).