While many begin 2021 with hopeful optimism, travel junkies and holiday vacationers alike struggle to scratch their wanderlust itches as travel bans continue to make it difficult to go anywhere but the grocery store. If there’s one thing quarantine taught us, though, it’s that the breadth of experiences you can create within your own home knows no bounds. Many have grown accustomed to ditching the hair salon in favor of DIY cuts or replacing a gym membership with at-home workouts, so who’s to say we can’t simulate some of the joys of traveling from home?
It’s tough to beat the immersive experience of visiting a new country, but approaching quarantine beauty with international brands can give us a taste of how things work in the cultures we admire and long to experience. Here, L’OFFICIEL guides you through the top beauty brands around the world, from the effortlessness of France to the soothing skincare of Japan.
Dr. Jart+ (South Korea)
With with 10-step nightly routines and the goal of achieving glass skin, K-beauty is known for its innovation and focus on quality skincare. South Korean skincare brand Dr. Jart+ got its name from the phrase "Doctor Joins Art," which reflects the brand's philosophy of "skincare powered by science, inspired by art." The green-to-beige color-correcting treatment went viral on TikTok in recent months as a miracle cream that evens the skin tone by eliminating the appearance of redness, and it's currently Sephora's best-selling Dr. Jart+ product.
Cosrx (South Korea)
Once a well-kept secret in America by the most in-the-know of sincare junkies, Cosrx is a cult South Korean skincare brand that has since infiltrated the international market. The inexpensive products are huge hits at retailers like Ulta and Urban Outfitters, especially the Acne Pimple Master Patch and the Advanced Snail 96 Mucin Power Essence, which utilizes snail secretion filtrate to brighten, hydrate, and repair the skin.
Too Cool for School (South Korea)
By Terry (France)
Beyond all of the makeup offerings from Parisian fashion houses like Chanel, Dior, Givenchy, and others, By Terry is a favorite French beauty brand that infuses its cosmetics with skincare ingredients. The hyaluronic acid-based setting powders and foundations give a flawless finish while also hydrating the skin.
Named "France's Best Skincare Export" by Birchbox, Bioderma makes a micellar water that celebrities and French girls have sworn by for years. The cleansing water is centered around research-based findings (as are all of the brand's products) and uses soothing properties to remove makeup and cleanse skin.
Emma Lewisham (New Zealand)
The New Zealand beauty scene places a clear emphasis on sustainability and green science, and Emma Lewisham's cult-favorite brand is no exception. With a commitment to transparency and its small-batch production, the brand's nourishing ingredients are "farm-to-face." Its Skin Reset Even Skin Tone Serum is an early favorite of its Kiwi consumers, and now American shoppers can get their hands on the skincare line as it recently launched in the U.S.
Model agent Shelley Barrett launched this beauty brand based on her experience with her model clientele and knowledge of the core products they need. Beginning with a well-received heated eyelash curler in 2002, the brand has now grown to offer everything from highlighter to lip plumper to tanning mousse.
Founded by Australian beauty editor Zoë Foster Blake, Go-To brands itself as simple, easy skincare that works. Its best-selling products include the Face Hero face oil, which the brand says "completely protects the face against bad guys trying to make it unhappy," and the Properly Clean facial cleanser.
A tried and true luxury favorite of celebrities and beauty gurus alike, Tatcha is a Japanese skincare brand known for its silky, soothing properties. The brand's products are based on the typical Japanese skincare routine, which includes oil cleansing and deep moisturizing.
This Tokyo-based beauty brand is known for its pink hues and cute, compact packaging. According to its brand philosophy, Canmake makes products for customers that want to "look cute, have fun, and sparkle!"
This luxury award-winning skincare brand is known for Pitera, the brand's special ingredient derived from a strictly controlled natural fermentation process. Rich in vitamins, amino acids, minerals, and organic acids, Pitera is a clear liquid that restores skin for a bouncy, clear glow.
Afrocenchix is a British, Black-owned haircare business founded by friends Rachael Corson and Joycelyn Mate who found themselves frustrated with the lack of clean, effective products for afro hair. With an emphasis on sustainability and ethical practices, Afrocenchix became the first British brand specifically for afro hair to be available in a major retailer when Whole Foods began selling their products in 2018.
The Inkey List (Britain)
Costa Brazil (Brazil)
Sustainable beauty brand Costa Brazil is inspired by founder Francisco Costa's homeland and the healing powers that reside in the natural resources of the Amazon rainforest. The result is luxe skincare and body products that combine sustainably harvested ingredients with chic packaging and a commitment to supporting the local communities of the Brazilian Amazon.