Where In The World?
Our Director of Buying, Letitia Wells, scours the globe for the very best brands. See her favorites.
We’ve got quite the international bunch here at BeautySage! No land is too far or exotic for our Director of Buying (and resident Aussie!), Letitia Wells, who assorts the best brands from all over the world. From smearing our skin with a Siberian beauty secret (pine nut oil!) to transforming our complexions with an East African facial oil (Marula!) to hydrating our hands with the hottest product in Paris (Nuxe!), we reap the beauty benefits of her adventures.
Below, Letitia reveals how she discovered some of our foreign favorites. Not only are these products proven to work, but they carry a certain je ne sais quoi—whether it’s an ingredient, design or history—particular to their homeland.
Background: NUXE founder Aliza Jabès' passion for plants began at a young age when her father (a research pharmacist) educated her on their major therapeutic benefits. Aliza has relied on this nature-based philosophy to grow her beauty brand—using natural ingredients to create effective products with delightful textures and delicate fragrances.
Bonjour, mon cherie: The line is a staple in French pharmacies, where chic ladies load up on their luxurious skin and body formulas—especially the sensuous Huile Prodigieuse Dry Oil.
Letitia says: "I discovered Nuxe while on vacation in Paris last summer. I spotted the products in local pharmacies, and in the hands of some very chic French ladies. I’m kind of obsessed with French style (aren’t we all?) and I wanted to take some of their beauty secrets back with me."
Background: Proraso believes that the ritual of shaving is a daily pleasure that every man should experience with style. That’s been their philosophy since 1908, when Ludovico Martelli founded the brand in Florence, Italy. The first brand to address the problems of shaving—like irritation, razor burn and dryness—their formulas became immediately popular.
Ciao, bello!: Proraso—whose name is derived from the “pro” in professional and “raso,” which means razor in Italian—is based in the Florentine countryside. It’s a family-run brand that is run by Ludovico Martelli and his two daughters, Stefania and Laura, even today.
Letitia says: "Proraso was introduced to me by our friends at C.O. Bigelow. I instantly loved the retro and classic packaging—so Italian! It actually gained a lot of traction during La Dolce Vita time (a magical moment in Italy) and its rich history is apparent in every aspect of the brand."
Background: After spending over two decades in the beauty biz, Lucy Vincent Marr discovered there were natural cosmeceuticals for the face, but not for the body and hair. So she set out to create formulas—after exhaustive research into cosmeceuticals, nutrition and environmental care—that were equally potent and pure for head-to-toe use.
Kia Ora, bro! A native New Zealander, Marr ensures all of her products include the powerful, pristine waters from New Zealand, a country renown for its clean, green environment.
Letitia Says: "New Zealand is so beautiful, natural and fresh, even when it comes to their approach to skincare and well-being. As soon as I met Lucy, I knew we shared the same ideals of beauty and health, and that her products were a perfect fit for our site. She also made a good point: People are so careful about what they put on their face, but what about our bodies?!"
Background: Andrey Trubnikov founded Natura Siberica in 2009 in Moscow—but its indirect beginnings actually date back to the 1940s in Siberia. That’s when two Russian botanists named Lazarev and Brekhram investigated 4,000 plants indigenous to Siberia’s volatile climate—many of which had been used by Siberians to create beauty elixirs for the Russian royal family throughout history. Natura Siberica uses these exclusive bases (including Siberian pine oil and sea-buckthorn) to enhance the active ingredients in each product.
Privet, dorogaya!: Siberian Pine Nut Oil has been used by native Siberians for centuries to create miraculous beauty preserving elixirs. Rich in fatty acids, it enhances the skin's barriers and protects it from environmental impacts. Siberian locals use the oil in cosmetics, medicine and even to cook. Today, Natura Siberica is the only company in the world using Siberian Pine oil derivatives as a unique base for each of our products.
Letitia Says: "I met Natura Siberica in New York last year and instantly knew this was a very special brand. It’s made with all of these incredibly exotic Siberian plants that I had never even heard of before. When I brought it back to the office and everyone started oohing and ahhhing over the creams and potions, I knew we were definitely onto something."
Background: It all started in 1891—in Wurzburg, Germany—when naturopath and priest Sebastian Kneipp cured himself of tuberculosis using natural herbs and hydrotherapy (i.e. jumping into the icy Danube River). This success motivated him to push his tried-and-tested water treatments further, so he partnered with a like-minded Würzburg pharmacist. Using natural plant essences and other pure ingredients as a base, they created formulas that—still to this day—are the basis for many of the current Kneipp products.
Hallo, liebling: The influence of Kneipp’s holistic healing philosophy can be seen in Germany even today, where his water therapy and herbal remedies are incorporated into everyday life. Many public areas have a “Kneipp Walk," where people can walk in icy water to build their immune system. And you’ll also find his name on museums, hospitals and spas—as he dedicated to his teaching and practices.
Letitia Says: "Our Senior Editor at YouBeauty.com loves this brand. And when I was in Cologne, Germany, last year I saw their products in a number of local apotheke and pharmacies. It’s a really beloved line in Germany."
Background: This no-frills line meets the specific needs of men’s skin. It was created by three friends and avid skiers—Mikael Snabb, Jesper Matsch and Jesper Rönnbäck—who found their skin thrashed after years of braving Sweden’s harsh snow conditions. Partnering with a former scientist, and a 20-year-plus veteran of the skincare industry, they created a line that solves a man’s daily issues—like a shiny forehead or a deodorant that stains.
Hej, hej, min älskling: This brand is completely Swedish—from the blistery winter climate that triggered its inception to the slick packaging and labeling, which mimics a Swedish pharmacy. Many of the ingredients are native to Scandinavia, and the water featured in every formulation was voted the cleanest in Sweden.
Letitia Says: "I lived in Stockholm for a short stint and whilst there I noticed most of my guy friends were using Recipe For Men. They told me that once you use these products, you can’t go back to drug store brands."
Background: This rare East African “miracle” oil is loaded with antioxidants and fatty acids for the ultimate anti-aging and hydrating benefits. Katy and Philip Leakey, who live amongst the Maasai people in Kenya, brought this oil to Dr. Ashton Kaidi. Once Dr. Kaidi witnessed its incredible ability to heal the wounds of his cancer patients, they joined forces to bring this beauty oil to the rest of the world.
Jumbo, rafiki yangu: For centuries, African women have revered Marula oil, which they painstakingly extract from wild harvested and individually selected nuts. The Leakeys use the sales to better the lives of women and children in rural East Africa.
Letitia Says: "Dr. Kaidi, one of the founders, was the first person I spoke with about the benefits of Marula Oil. I was amazed at all of the incredible (research backed!) data he revealed about this miracle oil. I wanted to immediately smear it all over my face. Needless to say, I had to get it on our site!"