Countries and the beauty products they’re famous for
Around the world in nine products
By Ruby Cotton
October 11 2022
Want a quick trip around the world? Then please, step into our bathrooms. With primers from Paris, fragrances from Florence and makeup from Manila, our vanities are a melting pot of different cultures.
Nowadays, you (mostly) don’t have to wait until you go overseas to stock up on worldwide local favourites (unless you’re talking about Glossier, in which case, nothing has changed). Remember the days when shopping at Sephora was a luxury reserved only for a holiday to the USA? Now, we’ve got an international beauty smorgasbord right on our doorstep.
So without further ado, here are five countries and the beauty products and brands they’re most famous for.*
*Or just the BEAUTYcrew favourites.
Bioderma Micellar Water
You know it, I know it, your neighbour across the street knows it. Bioderma’s Sensibio H20 ($30, Sephora) is a staple, not a secret. However, we owe a kudos to our friends over in France for this gentle and hydrating makeup remover which embodies every sense of the world “cult-status”. We assume you’re using this one, and if you’re not - do.
It’s the French equivalent of paw paw ointment, and we’re sorry to say, something you’ll actually have to hop on a plane to purchase. This must-have staple is in every French girl's handbag and in every makeup artist's kit. Though it’s used for soothing chapped lips and irritated noses during a harsh French winter, it also makes for a dewy, light-reflecting highlighter across the cheekbones or even to fluff up your brows.
This is one of those brands that you’ve likely heard about but are yet to try. Counting Rosie Huntington-Whiteley and Kate Bosworth amongst their fan list, this Insta-famous brand has created a whole lot of buzz since its release in 2018. After witnessing several gaping holes in the makeup market, from the lack of shades catering to Southeast Asian skin tones to formulations and price points that cater to the everyday consumer, their best-selling beauty line was born. With it came the Fluffmatte Lipstick ($18, Holla Bella), which, by the way, sells one unit every 30 seconds.
Even though you can’t walk into a physical store and start swatching, there are some online retailers delivering to Australia. But don’t be surprised if you’re met with “join waitlist” signage in abundance, its popularity is proof of its stellar performance.
Italians just know what’s up. Pasta, peaches, sunflowers, gelato, leather, wine… And it turns out, beauty is no exception. In particular, haircare. If you are yet to hear of the shine-inducing line, Davines, here's a quick introduction. The brand was founded in Parma (a region also famous for, you might’ve guessed it, parmesan cheese), in 1983 by the Bollati family. Our favourite is one of the brand’s newer products, OI Liquid Luster ($70.95, Salon Style). It was only released this year but the rinse out treatment has already made a weightless, glossy mark on our locks. Belissimo!
Santa Maria Novella
Before the Bible was translated into English, there was Santa Maria Novella. Before the execution of Joan Of Arc, there was Santa Maria Novella. Before Christopher Columbus reached the New World, there was Santa Maria Novella. What we’re trying to say is, this luxury fragrance and body care house is more than just a beauty brand, it’s also the world’s oldest pharmacy which first opened in 1221 (over 800 years ago). Now with over 70 retail stores globally (including one very special flagship store in Sydney) stepping into one of their spaces feels more like entering an art history museum than it does a beauty boutique. And the products you’ll find on the shelves are just as spectacular…
Similar to the way we sought out hand sanitiser during the pandemic, perfumed water was once considered a powerful antiseptic during the black plague. And the very same rose water that was used to prevent the spread of disease in the 14th century is still bottled up and sold today: Acqua di Rose ($48, Myer). Amazing, right?
Here’s another brand that needs no introduction, although you might not have realised it comes from our neighbours across the pond in New Zealand. As with all great things that have come out of New Zealand (Lord Of The Rings, Jacina Arden, and depending on who you’re asking, the pavlova), Emma Lewisham’s purple bottles make the masses happy. Though it’s hard to pick a hero product, our favourite is the Skin Reset Serum ($140, Emma Lewisham). Why? The clean and scientifically-backed formula leaves the skin bouncy, firm and radiant.
If you’ve read our Expert Edit, you’d know that there’s a lot of K-Beauty to love. Japanese beauty, however, is not one to be overlooked. From Shishedo to Shu Umera, beauty products coming out of Japan are all about high quality ingredients and innovative formulas. But if we had to pick only one, it’s got to be Tatcha. Self-care rituals are at the heart of the brand's ethos, believing that it’s not just about the physical benefits of their products, but more about the spiritual and emotional benefits that come with taking care of yourself. If you haven't tried Tatcha's twice-fermented rice-enriched formulas yet, we recommend The Water Cream ($102, MECCA); a gentle, “healthy ageing” moisturiser crafted in the Tatcha Institute in Tokyo.
How many times have you seen an Aesop store overseas and said “I think that’s Australian”. Well, we’re here to confirm that yes in fact it is Australian and we are oh so proud. Established in Melbourne in 1987, Aesop has become one of the most widely recognised, luxury beauty brands across the globe. Our pick of the deliciously designed lot? It’s got to be the mandarin-infused Amazing Face Cleanser ($55, Adore Beauty), doesn’t it?
From one iconic monochrome beauty label to another equally iconic, (but much less monochromatic) brand: Go-To Skincare. Founded by ex-beauty editor and author, Zoë Foster Blake, (an Aussie beauty icon herself), Go-To's peach-toned products, no fuss formulas and snappy marketing have cemented the brand as a beloved national treasure. Though picking a favourite wasn’t easy (particularly as the brand has recently launched a few new products), our long-standing favourite has got to be the Transformazing Sheet Mask ($11, MECCA).