I thought I could never possibly crave travel more than I did right after each of my children were born. Apparently, there’s nothing like being completely cocooned with a newborn to give me serious wanderlust! But this pandemic has proven to be, so far, equally as wanderlust-inspiring. Something about knowing that I can’t casually travel for fun makes me want to do it even more!
But I’ve learned over the years that there are many, many ways to see the world. Photos, films, friends, and books can transport you to lands of which you never dreamed. Food can give you a literal taste of a far-off place. Textiles and clothing can whisk you away. Scent is, by far, the most evocative medium for instant delivery to a different time and place.
This is why I love beauty products that are made in other countries. The foreign smells, the different textures, the exotic customs, the inspired rituals— they all carry me away. Never has this escape been so welcome as it is right now, as we face an uncertain global future in the face of this pandemic.
I’ve written about beauty products from other countries on this very blog before, but as Integrity Botanicals has started carrying several new foreign brands in the past few months, I felt compelled to do it again. The recent influx is not just of new brands from around the world, of which there are three!, but also one relaunch, and three quite notable new product launches from beloved international brands we’ve had for years.
The new brands Integrity Botanicals has welcomed recently are Evolve Organic Beauty from the UK, Twelve Beauty from Spain, and Mukti Organics all the way from Australia. We have joyfully welcomed Arcana, which was formerly the brand Aster & Bay, also from the UK. And with three amazing product launches from Ayuna, Kjaer Weis and Routine Natural Deodorant, this international roundup will serve to introduce you to a wide variety of products from an impressive range of unique, green beauty brands. Buckle your seatbelt and fire up your imagination— let’s go around the world!
1.) Evolve Organic Beauty (UK)
We start in jolly old England with a brand I had the pleasure to meet at Indie Beauty Expo a while back (man, do I miss big crowds and talking to hundreds of people, in person, in a single day!!!). I first fell in love with Evolve’s simple packaging and classic-lettered labels, and that affection only grew as I actually tried what’s inside!
My picks: I like everything I’ve tried from this brand, but the standouts for me are the Climate Veil Tinted SPF 20, Gentle Cleansing Melt, Liquid Radiance Glycolic Toner, and, my favorite, the Radiant Glow Face Mask. After wearing that *other* kind of mask we all have to wear all the time now, you’ll really appreciate this kind of mask to help bring back the glow! It contains chocolate, vanilla, blueberry particles, and sugar, so this mask is equal parts confection and healer! But don’t eat it— it also contains Kaolin Clay, one of my favorite ingredients to draw out impurities. The best part of this mask is that it turns milky and rinses off very easily when you’re done with it.
2.) Mukti Organics (Australia)
You know from reading this blog that I LOVE a good daily facial SPF, and I also really love when brands use native ingredients, so Mukti’s Daily Moisturizer with SPF 15 is right up my alley. It’s fragrance-free, so it doesn’t compete with my favorite serums and toners, one of which is now Mukti’s very own Orange Blossom Balancing Mist. I really love the scent of orange blossoms, and you can’t beat the refreshing feeling of this toner on a hot, summer day. I know it’s not summer in Australia now, but it is here in the U.S., and I’m happy to have this toner to spray on throughout the day.
Other Mukti products I love include the Marigold Hydrating Creme (that gorgeous, yellow color! The incredible texture!), and the 2-in-1 Resurfacing Exfoliant. The Resurfacing Exfoliant is one of those products I didn’t know I needed until I tried it, and now I can’t believe I ever lived without it! With three different kinds of Lime extracts (containing the magical AHA fruit acids) and super-finely ground bamboo particles, this is a standout product you have to try to believe.
3.) Twelve Beauty (Spain)
I’d been reading about Twelve Beauty for years on Instagram, but I didn’t actually get to try it until recently, and now I’m kicking myself for waiting so long! The brand’s Rewarding Body Balm has been my pandemic savior— I keep it on my nightstand and put it on my dry, over-washed hands every night, and it’s the only think that has kept them from shriveling up and cracking. I appreciate how it’s unscented and very light, yet rich. I can put it on my hands and immediately use my phone or computer without worrying about getting either one greasy, and the same goes with putting it all over one’s body and being able to put clothes on right away— a rare feat for such a deeply moisturizing product.
I also really like the Clementine Cleansing Balm that Twelve Beauty makes. I am always impressed when a brand can create such an effective, wonderful product with only five ingredients, and this one doesn’t disappoint. I use it on the days when I really need a deep cleanse, because wiping it off with a warm, damp cloth is one of the most satisfying feelings in the world. I sometimes apply it before a quick shower and let it sit on my skin until the very end. With it’s light, citrus (clementine) scent, it’s a universal winner— even my husband loves it, as it doesn’t have the overwhelming floral fragrance some of my other favorites have. Other Twelve Beauty favorites include The London Mask, a truly rare combination with Kaolin Clay that is also moisturizing, and the Hyaluroil Lip Treatment, which has been another pandemic-essential to me these past few months. I often put it on my lips before donning my face mask when I go outside to take my daily socially-distanced walks.
4.) Arcana (formerly Aster & Bay), (UK)
I loved Aster & Bay, so it was a no-brainer to me that I’d also love Arcana, the new re-brand from the brilliant Erin Hammond. When I saw the words “Peach Leaf” and “Wild Pansy” on the box for the Veil of Rest: Vitamin Recovery Face Serum, I knew it was going to be my new favorite. I mean, first of all— the imagery— Veil of Rest?! Where can I get one of those, please? It sounds like a decadent nap! I’m in. And then you add the peach leaves and wild pansy and it’s a dream. Plus, it has Blueberry seed oil to help minimize the skin’s absorption of blue light, which is very essential to me now that I spend almost all day, every day in front of my computer, thanks to Zoom calls and meetings. Other highlights from this new-and-improved brand include Sulis: Mineral Replenish Face Mist, because you know I can’t resist a good mist, and the Second Sight: Metamorphic Eye Serum, which is such a great bargain— so much potency and a very affordable price point!
And now, three international brands’ new products that deserve some serious attention.
1.) Ayuna (Spain)
The other night, as I was applying my Ayuna Cream I before bed, my husband said, “I just love the scent of that. What is it?” I showed him the cream, which I’ve used off and on for the past 2 years (I like to layer it over Maya Chia’s The Straight A Retinol Treatment these days!). “They should make that into a perfume,” my husband, who doesn’t like many scents, said. I laughed. “They just did,” I told him. If you’ve ever even so much as sampled an Ayuna product, you’ve fallen in love with this signature scent. Now, they’ve answered our prayers (my husband’s, included) and turned it into a fragrance. Dojo Mindful Fragrance is not only pleasing to smell, but it was designed based on the science of aromachology, an emerging science that studies the effect that scents can have on our mood. This perfume might actually brighten your day— it certainly does mine. And, apparently, my husband’s, too!
2.) Kjaer Weis (Denmark/Italy!)
And here’s a prayer I didn’t know I needed answered: Kjaer Weis’ new Invisible Touch Concealer! I really didn’t think I needed another concealer, but when I sampled this one, I realized how wrong I was! Three dots of it below my tired eyes, and I’m a new person. It’s really good for all those Zoom calls, because I like to at least present the illusion that I have it all together! The best part is that the silver top that goes with this chic concealer is compatible with/the same as the brand’s lip gloss top, so if you, like me, already have a lip gloss top, you can use that with the concealer! I love that about Kjaer Weis. I like that this concealer doesn’t budge, especially important because when I wear a mask to go outside, the top edge of it sits right below my eyes, where the concealer is, and it’s nice to not have to worry about it making a mess on my face!
3.) Routine Natural Deodorant (Canada)
Speaking of answered prayers, have you heard about Routine’s stick deodorants yet? This Canadian brand’s deodorants are the best I’ve tried, and my only complaint about them, ever, has been that it would be nice sometimes to have a version that I didn’t have to apply with my fingers— you know, when you’re in a rush to get out and you just want to quickly swipe a stick deodorant across your pits and get going? Well, Routine heard my pleas and made one, and I am so happy! It’s the little victories these days, when the world is such a mess! Thanks, Canada. You really know how to do stuff right.
I’m partial to Moon Sisters, because it has charcoal, prebiotics, and magnesium, but really, all the scents and varieties of Routine stick deodorants are wonderful.
After just writing this roundup of new international brands, I already feel uplifted and refreshed. In a time when so many of us barely leave the house, much less the country, it feels good to remind ourselves that there’s a whole world out there. And maybe we can’t just jet off to Spain or Australia, or to the UK, or even Canada, but it is nice to feel some connection with the countries that give us the incredible brands and products above. Some day, we’ll look back on this pandemic time as a (hopefully!) brief, distant blur. But I’m committed to making it a meaningful, fun time whenever possible. If that means bringing the world to me right here at home, via skincare, then I’m more than happy to do so. If that also means coming out of this time with clearer, softer skin, smelling great and feeling moisturized, then so be it. How lucky am I?