When it comes to elixirs and potions that smooth and soothe, the world’s borders are, thankfully, wide open. These world-class beauty ingredients from around the globe are a welcome addition to any medicine cabinet and makeup bag—no passport required. Give them a try the next time you’re looking to infuse your beauty routine with a little wanderlust.
Donkey milk - Greece/Egypt
Cleopatra is said to have luxuriated in baths of donkey milk, evidence that the roots of this unexpected beauty elixir go way back. While it’s been popularized by Korean skincare in recent years, it was the ancient Greeks and Egyptians who originally discovered its reparative and moisturizing properties. Find it in everything from lip balm to foot cream to makeup remover. If it was good enough for the Queen of Egypt...
Snail filtrate - South Korea
It doesn’t get any more natural or organic than this. Turns out that the slime trail left behind by snails is a skincare powerhouse. Just visit any beauty shop in South Korea, where this weird-but-wonderful natural product is the star player in many a serum and lotion. Comprised of a good-for-you cocktail of ingredients, including hyaluronic acid, peptides, and antioxidants, snail filtrate is believed to help improve skin texture and clarity, and aid in the recovery of minor sunburns.
Argan oil - Morocco
Are you familiar with Moroccanoil, the popular lineup of hair care products with the unmistakable aquamarine label? Argan oil, made from the kernels of the Moroccan argan tree and chock-full with vitamin E and omega fatty acids, is the underpinning ingredient. It’s considered a powerhouse product in the North African country where it’s used most often in its pure form to hydrate and nourish both skin and hair. Look for it outside of Morocco in serums, shampoos, and as a cold-pressed oil.
Turmeric - India
This brightly hued spice deserves spots on both your kitchen spice rack and bathroom top shelf. Women in India have been taking advantage of turmeric’s scientifically backed anti-inflammatory properties for centuries; it contains a powerful chemical compound called curcumin, which has been found to speed up the healing of wounds and help calm acne and rosacea. In North America, turmeric’s popularity as a skincare ingredient is relatively new but growing quickly, with DIY and store-bought turmeric masks leading the charge.
Marula oil - South Africa
The beauty world’s list of natural oils used to cleanse and moisturize is long and winding. Marula oil, found in the woodlands of South Africa, is one of the newer additions. What makes it special: a high concentration of antioxidants and omega fatty acids, wrapped up in a fast absorption time bow—it’s perfect for hair and skin.
Manuka honey - New Zealand
As an edible product, manuka honey—made from the bees that pollinate New Zealand’s manuka bush—is heralded as uniquely sharp and sweet, with the power to help alleviate allergies, digestive issues, and infections. As a beauty product ingredient, it’s championed as a hydrating superhero with antibacterial effects that can help calm acne.
Tea tree oil - Australia
If you can get past the medicinal smell, tea tree oil, with all its anti-bacterial properties, is a trusty acne-fighting and dandruff-regulating remedy. It comes from the land down under, where it’s harvested from the leaves of the native Australian tea tree. Apply it as an oil, using a clean fingertip or cotton pad, or try it as a solid soap or liquid cleanser.
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