If you’re constantly on the search for that just-right product and haven’t found it yet, it might be worth looking a little further afield. With different ingredients, research and formulations, here are six skincare brands that are based everywhere from Tel Aviv to Seoul. Several are making their US debuts for the first time, so they’re even easier to buy—and even more surprising is how affordable some products are.
Tel Aviv-based direct-to-consumer brand Maapilim just launched for the first time in the US with their essential oil-driven, apothecary-style products, ranging from beard oil and pomade to their new skin and body line. The ingredients are sourced throughout the Mediterranean, and below each product online is a helpful map showing which region each ingredient is from (the sage oil comes from the Turkish coast, for example). The shampoo is called “shampoo,” the soap called “soap”—for the no-nonsense users who just want to use simple products with a natural scent.
Every aspect of this newly launched line is international, starting with its name—Heinrich Barth was a German-born explorer who spent most of his travels collected oral histories around Africa in the 19th century. Funders Daniele Bernini and Vladimir Trisic moved from Greece to Germany (where the line is based) and the Heinrich Barth products themselves are made in Turin, Italy. While the core cleansers, creams and sunscreens are inspired by traveling “without leaving a trace” (they’re simple and scent-free), “Mykonos” and “Dakar” bottle a little bit of each destination with light fragrances.
Japanese haircare brand NatureLab has created a brand new line for their US debut this month, one that uses botanical stem cells to improve scalp health, follicle strength and hair growth “at a cellular level.” A sample of active ingredients in the sulfate- and paraben-free formulations include apple stem cells, rice protein, soy protein, sakura extract, even yuzu ceramide. The bulbous bottles look like they’ve come from a laboratory of the future. The line caps off at $16, meaning that you don’t have to sacrifice your budget to benefit from all that stem-cell research.
Although technically US-based, newly-launched Panacea actually makes all three (just three for now) of their products in Korea. The gender-neutral, minimalist skincare line condenses the country’s high-tech formulations and research into a very simplified morning process: cleanser, moisturizer, and sunscreen. Refreshing and feeling barely there, each product feels like a gentle powerhouse—taking advantage of lesser-known ingredients like gotu kola and cardiospermum flower.
K-beauty brand (and online beauty community hub) Memebox has some unusual-sounding product names in its Nooni skincare line—”marshmallow whip maker,” “water blending lip oil” and “snowflake jelly cleansing oil”—but that doesn’t mean its products are any less effective. The latter, for example, is a unique hybrid between cleansing oil and cleansing balm for removing make-up in a soothing, non-greasy way. One constantly out-of-stock item is their Disco Kitten Mask—an Instagrammable pearl-and-diamond product that peels off, leaving behind glowing skin.
Imported from Seoul and made from local ingredients native to Korea’s subtropical, volcanic Jeju Island, Innisfree offers some of the most affordable and effective products for pretty much every stage of life. Sort by skin concern (from pores to sensitivity), or sort by Jeju Island ingredients like green persimmon, tangerine, lava seawater or bija tree. They’ve launched their first-ever store in the US in NYC’s Union Square, as well as a US website—though there are a large selection of products that are only available in-store. like their top-of-the-line anti-aging creams. Prices start at $10 for moisturizers, and their $2 sheet masks make unique party favors or stocking stuffers.
Images courtesy of respective brands