12 European Skincare Brands We Love
From that French girl je ne sais quoi to the intricacies of the multi-step Korean skincare routine, the international cosmetic and aesthetic industries are as vast as they are unique. But, thanks to globalization, niche trends now have universal appeal. In this series, The AEDITION explores geographical markers of beauty and how they influence today's global patient and consumer.
If you’ve been traveling recently, it’s likely been local. Dream destinations have been a bit out of our reach thanks to the pandemic. But that’s not to say we can’t enjoy a bit of wanderlust. Allow us to take you on a European vacation by exploring what we can access right now — beauty products. When it comes to skincare, Italians are known for their love of quality ingredients (hello, food and wine), the Swiss focus on technology, and the French start young to maintain a clean, effortless complexion. Here are 12 European skincare brands and products worth exploring. Safe travels!
Italy: Santa Maria Novella
The Officina Profumo – Farmaceutica Di Santa Maria Novella was established by Dominican monks in 1221 and is now the oldest pharmacy in the world. It began as an infirmary in Florence where monks from the adjacent church grew and experimented with herbs for medicinal purposes, and it opened to the public in the seventeenth century. Today, the brand offers specialty skincare, body care, and perfumes, while the original location functions as a world-famous pharmacy, perfumery, and museum with vintage scripts, decor, and bottles.
Product Pick: The Rose Water has a cult following that ranges from regular folks to royalty. Just dab a little bit on a cotton pad and wipe across a clean face like a toner for an instant refresh. $60, buy.smnovella.com
Italy: Borghese Roma
First created by Princess Marcella Borghese of Umbria in 1956, the brand began as a line of lipsticks. Fast forward to 1992 and Borghese Roma is now a global spa-like skincare line (though it does still over a range of color cosmetics!). Product Pick: The Classic Fango Active Mud Mask launched in 1985 and is credited with making the brand famous. Inspired by a Tuscan mud treatment, it helps to purify the pores and refine skin texture on the face and body. $38, borghese.com
England: Emma Hardie
Since 1996, Emma Hardie has been one of the most sought after facialists by celebrities and beauty editors alike. Known for her signature Natural Lift and Sculpting Facial, she launched her own line of multipurpose products so her clients could mimic her facial technique at home.
Product Pick: The best-selling product is her Moringa Cleansing Balm, which contains moringa seed and essential oils to help dull skin glow again. Rub a little bit in between the palms of your hands to melt the balm before massaging the creamy oil onto your face and neck. Remove with a warm washcloth. $60, dermstore.com
Cowshed is one of the more popular beauty brands to come from the UK, specifically London. First developed in 1998 for the Cowshed Spa at Babington House in Somerset by a perfumer who used ingredients from the garden on the property, the natural skincare and home products now have a cult-like following. Each one uses a blend of wild-crafted essential oils from all over the world. The creams, lotions, gels, and scrubs are clean and indulgent.
Product Pick: We love the Revive Foot Scrub because it’s a triple-threat. Grapefruit, sage, and rosemary create an uplifting mood; a blend of avocado oil and aloe vera moisturize and soothe; and natural black volcanic sand gently exfoliates. $32, cowshed.com
The Embryolisse brand story dates back to 1950 when a dermatologist in Paris created the Milk-Cream Concentrate, which sold millions worldwide. Since, it’s expanded into a full range of face and body products. Their coveted formulations are also favorites of makeup artists. Product Pick: It’s hard to pick just one to recommend, but start with the Restorative Skin Cream. There’s a reason it has a cult following. The nourishing formula can be used on your face, body, and lips (we like to put it on our cuticles, too) and contains the hydrating powerhouse hyaluronic acid. $15, usa.embryolisse.com
Nuxe began in a small Parisian laboratory in 1990 and is now sold in almost 60 countries. The French pharmacy brand marries nature and science to provide efficacious products with a sensorial experience.
Product Pick: The number one body oil in France is Huile Prodigieuse, a dry multipurpose oil that nourishes from head to toe without any greasy residue. Apply it to the face, hair, and body for a healthy glow. $26, frenchpharmacy.com
Back in 1988, pharmacist George Korres began experimenting with herbs to create natural remedies for clients at the oldest apothecary in Athens where he worked. In 1992, Mr. Korres opened his own homeopathic laboratory and gained a deep knowledge of about 3,000 herbs. Korres was established just four years later in 1996 and is known for formulating with ingredients like Greek yogurt, pomegranate, and olympus tea. Product Pick: We can’t get enough of the body butters! Available in four scents, the Elasti-Smooth Body Butters are super rich in texture and help to improve the skin’s elasticity. $24, korres.com
The brand’s holistic approach to skincare is inspired by the Hippocratic philosophy – all concerns are addressed comprehensively. Founded by two pharmacists in 1979, the Apivita line is made of 85 to 100 percent natural ingredients, including beekeeping products and Greek herb extracts, and are free of silicones, parabens, mineral oil, and more. Product Pick: The Bee Radiant collection is one-of-a-kind because it delivers an instant glow and works over time to improve collagen and elastin production and even skin tone. We recommend adding the Glow Activating & Anti-Fatigue Serum to your morning and evening regimen. $48, apivita.com
Germany: Dr. Hauschka
The story of Dr. Hauschka dates back to the early 1900s when a chemist, Dr. Rudolf Hauschka, became curious about the rhythms of nature. After years of learning, the 100 percent natural skincare line was introduced in 1967. The face and body care are created with medicinal plants and can be found in many clean beauty boutiques today. Product Pick: The Tinted Day Cream is made with avocado and almond oils to moisturize, while beeswax and quince seeds balance the skin and prevent dryness. Appropriate for all skin types, use this moisturizer after your morning serum for a healthy glow. $45, dermstore.com
Germany: Dr. Barbara Sturm
This German aesthetics doctor (originally an orthopedic) is known for creating the Vampire Facial, which uses your own blood cells to produce proteins to stimulate healing. In 2002, she became one of the most sought-out doctors thanks to her personalized plasma-based cream. Her eponymous skincare line, Dr. Barbara Sturm, launched in 2014 with a curated regimen of six products. Today, she offers more of a range, so there’s something for everyone. Product Pick: We recommend trying her Face Cream because it can be tailored to your skin concerns. There are several varieties, including light and rich textures and even ones specifically formulated for darker skin tones. $215, sephora.com
Switzerland: La Prairie
The advanced anti-aging skincare originated in the La Prairie Clinic in Montreux, Switzerland, in 1931, when cellular therapy was first being explored. Known for its lavish face and body products, La Prairie prides themselves on luxe ingredients (think: caviar, platinum, gold) and cutting-edge technology. Product Pick: If you’re ready to splurge, try the Skin Caviar Liquid Lift. The caviar-enriched serum will give you an immediate lifting sensation, in addition to proivding long-term firming benefits. $690, saks.com
Valmont is known for its Swiss research and development team who has been exploring the relationship between aging and skin since the early 1900s. The skincare line was developed in 1985 and uses natural resources like pure alpine glacier water from the Swiss canton of Valais.
Product Pick: Not your average scrub, the Face Exfoliant is a silky cream that contains quartz crystals to gently exfoliate your skin. Use it up to three times per week to keep your complexion smooth and bright. $95, saks.com
All products featured are independently selected by our editors, however, AEDIT may receive a commission on items purchased through our links.