There’s a reason people can’t get enough of K-beauty stateside—this stuff works. But that doesn’t mean it’s easy: Korean women spend an hour applying 10 to 15 products every morning and night. What takes so long? For starters, the “double cleanse” trend is popular here: Korean women wash their face twice, first with an oil-based cleanser, then with a water-based cleanser to guarantee that oil-, silicone-, and water-based makeup and products are all washed away. The BB and CC cream crazes (which fuse makeup and skincare) also originated here.
Just like American women know what to do with their hair according to the weather on a bad hair day, in Korea it’s the same with skin. “They listen to their skin,” says Katalin Berenvi, co-founder of Erborian, a Korean beauty line with a French twist. “They won’t use the same products every day, depending on what they want to address. They specialize in experimenting with things and then changing their routine to cater to a condition.”
While these methods are effective, they’re also complex and time-consuming. Enter the Erborian line, which bundles several steps into a single product for Westerners. For example, instead of double cleansing you can wash once with Erborian’s Solid Cleansing Oil, a balm infused with seven Korean herbs that transforms into a milk when water is added.
Coconut oil has become an ubiquitous beauty staple in the U.S., and you can thank Zanzibar in Tanzania in East Africa for this. “It’s one of my favorite places,” Flor says. “Three cultures—Muslim, African, and Arabic—mix in a melting pot in this island. Africans are known for their beautiful skin, and Muslim women make coconut oil completely from scratch. They learn how to make it from birth, and it protects them from the sun and heals skin.” They also use coconut oil in other products; it’s a key ingredient in handmade soaps.
Mrembo Spa in Stone Town, Zanzibar, offers hands-on workshops to teach visitors how to make coconut oil, soap, and a famous clove scrub for less than about $25 USD each. And of course if you can’t make it to Tanzania, it’s easy to pick up a bottle of coconut oil at home.
Where would the beauty world be without France? “With incredible ingredients and the best products on earth, from fragrances to great moisturizers, this is where every makeup artist splurges on beauty goods,” says Flor.
Masks are big here, and they have been for quite some time, says Marie-Laure Fournier of the Fournier PR + Consulting Beauty Communication Agency. “We have masks for everything: purifying, hydrating, detoxing, and anti-aging. Our grandmothers showed us the way when they were slathering their faces with honey and egg white. A mask is not only a beauty must-have; it is also a time for yourself and a moment of pleasure.”
Hitting the spa takes on deeper meaning here, too. “French women for centuries have used seaweed and seawater in their beauty routine, but also for health purposes,” Fournier says. “I don’t know any French women who are not going to a Thalassotherapy spa at least once a year. We love our wine and baguettes, but French women are obsessed with weight and cellulite and use seaweed scrubs and baths to increase circulation and elimination.
France is also known for its minimalist makeup, and the classic red lip is synonymous with Parisian chic. “Lipstick is more than just color for our lips; it is a state of mind and a feminine attitude,” says Raffaella Giraudi, general manager of Orlane. “French women can say a lot with just a lip movement—think about Brigitte Bardot’s famous pout.” To make sure you have beautiful, plumped lips, she advises starting with a gentle scrub and following it with Orlane’s Extreme Line Reducing Lip Care.