Welcome to Around The World In 80(ish) Products, an ongoing series where I will explore the best in international beauty. The idea for this series started in 2016 when I wrote about K-Beauty. While I try not to obsess over my analytics, I’m always surprised to see how much traction that post still gets. Obviously, K-Beauty is a huge trend right now, but I think that globalization and the Internet in general have made us more interested in international beauty products now more than ever.
After all, I know when ever I visit another country, I love to go to a local drugstore or department store and buy things that are likely better, but at the very least more interesting than what is available back home. But, the truth is that you don’t need to go abroad to buy international products. So many are available at brick and mortar stores in the US as well as online.
So, bellas, let’s take a trip to Italy. Or just talk about my favorite Italian products.
Jolii is a new Italian cosmetics line that has answered a question many of us have asked for years, which is“Can you please take the gloss out of my lip gloss?” The answer is yes. Jolii Luxe Crème Mattes apply exactly their glossy sisters, but they last longer than an iPhone battery and are sexier than a super model in a tight Gucci dress. But because so many matte formulas leave your pout feeling dry as a box of pasta, Jolii is formulated with both shea butter and jojoba oil to keep your lips as moist as the cream inside a cannoli. Jolii’s color selection is also very unique (clearly these people think outside the lipstick box) with deep shades of red, purple, brown and orange.
I first tried Armani Beauty is at the least glamorous place on earth, which is the Beverly Center mall in Los Angeles. Without getting into too much detail, this mall is the exact opposite of the Sistine Chapel. I was scheduled to do a photoshoot for MRKT Handbags that day, but could not find an available makeup artist all week. Being the resourceful person I am, I figured there would be tons of people at Bloomingdales who would want to do my makeup and in return, I’d buy lots of products. But I guess I was wrong because the cosmetics section was a ghost town at 11:00am on a Saturday. The whole thing was so bizarre, but clearly it was destiny because the only counter where someone was actually working was Armani Beauty.
It was there when I was introduced to Maestro Fusion Makeup, which I’m pretty sure is a product I will use for the rest of my life. Maestro is not like any other foundation I’ve ever used. It has a very unique texture, almost like a liquid powder. Just a few drops are needed. The bottle has a built-in dropper, which dispenses the perfect amount. Then, you blend it in with your fingers (no blender or spongie thing necessary) and it disappears into your skin like magic. It’s hard to say a foundation can change your life, but this one might be the exception to the rule.
Terax is a true Italian brand. Founded nearly 50 years ago in Bologna, Italy, the company is still family owned and operated. My favorite Terax product is the Crema Conditioner. As a not so natural blond with dry AF hair, Crema has taken up valuable real estate in my bathtub on and off since middle school. The brand disappeared from shelves for a while and was re-launched in 2016. I recently started using it again and I feel like I’m in love with my conditioner. Crema is super creamy (hence the name) and really penetrates into the hair to restore moisture. Leave it on overnight once a week and you can skip your regular hair mask.
Before I started using their products, I always found Davines in the showers of the most sophisticated people I know. Yes, I’m that guest who uses your fancy shampoo. Davines, which is pronounced dav-vin-ess, was founded in 1983 in Parma Italy. The brand focuses on creating artisanal and sustainable products for both hair and body. Their hair care line is quite extensive and includes shampoos, treatments, and styling products for every hair type you can and cannot think of. Every single product smells like heaven and has a cool name such as Oi, Volu, Nonu, Dede as well as other names I’m incapable of figuring out how to pronounce. My favorite Davines product is the Love Shampoo for curly or wavy hair. It’s the only shampoo specifically made for curly hair that I (you guessed it) love. It’s also the easiest to pronounce.
Kiko Milano is the best affordable Italian makeup you’re not wearing (yet). With over 1000 stores in 20 countries, they aren’t quite that big in the US, yet. But give Kiko some time. After opening up their first location in 1997, the company only expanded to the US in 2014. Considering their first stores in this country were in New Jersey and Staten Island, which are not exactly centers of emerging cosmetic trends, this brand has yet to break the Internet. But, when I visited their store at Hollywood and Highland (which is essentially the Hollywood version of the Fresh Kills Landfill), I was very impressed. With over 1,400 products, I like that Kiko is a one-stop shop with literally everything including makeup, brushes, skincare, nails, etc.
This year, the brand celebrates its 20th anniversary with a variety of limited lines. Check out the Tropic Heat capsule collection for some spring/summer/vacay/you-live-in-a-warm-climate-so-seasons-are-really-irrelevant-anyway inspiration