5 global beauty favorites minus the harmful chemicals

Are you gearing up for a summer of travel? My family and I have got big plans to stay firmly planted in New Jersey. (Sounds exciting, eh?) But that doesn’t mean I can’t experience a dose of international spirit. The next best thing to visiting exotic places is sourcing products from around the world without ever leaving my bathtub home. Sometimes, it’s even better (especially when traveling with my plus six).

When Gilt.com sent out their dedicated email of conventional global fan favorites, I took that as a cue to reveal the top five clean formula darlings from around the world. And who better to recommend them than the well-traveled Dara Kennedy? As the founder of Ayla, she scours the far reaches to discover the most sought-after brands from niche apothecaries to the private stashes of the beauty elite. Her skin care essentials have consistently served me well—and her global picks are no less exceptional!

If you've got wanderlust, let Ayla satisfy the urge! Click To Tweet

I’ve tested a couple of these brands (specifically Bottega Organica and MyHavtorn), and they are indeed as fabulous as she says. Now I’m eager to try more. Thank you, Dara, for these standouts. She takes over the post from here….


5 global beauty must-haves minus the toxic chemicals

1. Bottega Organica Eye Illuminate, $145 (LUXE) —Italy / NY


Top 5 Global Finds: Bottega Organica Eye Illuminate

This eye cream has gotten stellar reviews from beauty bloggers, and it’s well worth the hype. I really don’t know how they get such a buttery-rich cream to sink into skin so well AND provide almost a cooling sensation. It’s great for those who struggle with dryness and sensitivity around the eyes but don’t want a cream that’s too heavy.

Yes, it is expensive — very expensive — but much of the reason for that is the unusually labor-intensive process their team goes through to make each batch. I found it so interesting that we described it to our customers on our blog. (Find it here.)

Top 5 Global Finds: Voya Me Time

I once had a truly terrible reaction to a product I tried as a potential addition to our site—it actually felt like it burned my face. (Don’t worry: we’re not carrying that one!) Nothing seemed to calm my skin down. Nothing. I couldn’t even use aloe or jojoba on my skin without feeling like it was still burning. So I had this Voya moisturizer in the pile of products that I was going to test, and I thought, “Why not? Let’s see if it’s really soothing.” It calmed my skin down right away. I think much of it has to do with the fact that Voya packs so much seaweed into it, which to me has nearly magical healing powers. And it’s not just any seaweed—it’s seaweed they hand-harvest themselves from their property on the pristine Irish coastline in county Sligo. (Find it here.)

3. Biocyte Hyaluronic Forte, $48 (MID/LUXE)—France

5 Global Finds: Biocyte Hyaluronic Forte

This is one of those products that seems to work slightly differently on everyone, and it seems to go exactly where it’s needed. On me, it helped a lot with hydration levels and fine lines. On one customer, it made her lips really lush and pillowy. On another, it solved her eczema problems. On still another, it made her pitted acne scars plump up. Hyaluronic acid is one of those things that we all have naturally in our bodies, but it decreases over time. The only way to get more of it is to take a supplement, like this one, or to move to a remote mountainous village in Japan, apparently: Click to watch the video!

Many hyaluronic acid supplements are derived from animal parts, but this one is vegetable-derived and of great quality. (Find it here.)

4. MyHavtorn Body Oil, $45 (MID)—Sweden

5 Global Finds: My Havthorn Body OilWhen people are just delving into green beauty, I always urge them to start with the product that they use most frequently over the largest area of their body. Usually, that’s a body moisturizer. This is one of my favorites; MyHavtorn makes it fresh to order for us using sea buckthorn oil they’ve pressed from handpicked berries on their farm. You can see how high the concentration of sea buckthorn oil is in its color—it’s bright orange. It’s phenomenal for skin since it contains a full suite of essential fatty acids as well as elasticity-boosting vitamins. (Find it here.)

 5. TOP Glamour Food Moisture Elixir, $29 (BUDGET)—England

Top 5 Global Finds: The Organic Pharmacy Glamour Food Facial Moisture Elixir

Many of our local customers who come into our SF studio use this, and every one of them looks fabulous. This is one of the best skincare deals out there. The Organic Pharmacy, one of our favorite brands, created their Glamour Food line for Whole Foods in the UK, and we’re the only retailer carrying it here. It doesn’t have as many expensive, fast-acting, deeply-acting ingredients as other products we carry, but it’s a great basic moisturizer for those who want to use a good, clean product to keep their skin healthy. (Find it here.)

It’s a lot of fun for us to carry products from far-flung places; I think, in general, that we stand to learn the most from people who live differently from the way that we do, and it’s fascinating to see how ingredients, products, and rituals can change from country to country and region to region. It adds dimension to what we do. It’s also simply exciting for us to find little hidden treasures and share them with our customers!

Other goodies

Other than the MyHavtorn goodies, I’m especially tempted by a recent addition to the shop: Les Fleurs de Bach that are based on Bach’s non-addictive, safe, and incredibly effective flower remedies that resolve issues like insect bites, acute trauma, sleep, or stress instantly.

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