After a few months in Italy I am back in New York and I brought a whole lot of Italian products with me! I love to travel and am lucky to get to go to Italy often. One of my favorite parts of traveling? Finding beauty products that aren't available here in the States. The best thing about most of these products is that you can find them in just about any Italian supermarket or pharmacy. Since I was there through the summer months, most of these products are a little on the summer-y side, so let's get nostalgic for sun and sand, shall we? If you're heading to Europe soon make sure to pick these up - they'll be perfect to prep for summer 2017 or even if you're headed on a warm-weather getaway this winter. Let's get started...
First up is the haircare! I've been using the Garnier Ultra Dolce products since I was a kid, and, for the life of me, can't understand why Garnier does not sell them here in the US. My absolute favorite is Ultra Dolce Estratto di Camomilla e Miele, a shampoo and conditioner with chamomile and honey extracts, which help bring out golden tones in lighter hair. Since my hair lightens when I'm in the sun, this duo is great for enhancing summer highlights, but also works equally well in the autumn and winter to keep hair light and bright. Color-enhancing properties aside, this shampoo and conditioner duo smells incredible - light, fresh and just a touch floral - and leaves my hair feeling super clean and silky. I always make sure to bring home at least two sets of this. I also always buy Ultra Dolce Latte di Vaniglia e Polpa di Papaya, which I love to use during the winter thanks to the cozy vanilla scent. With vanilla and papaya extracts, this shampoo and conditioner is formulated specifically for longer hair and is very hydrating, so it's perfect for combatting brittle ends in the cold months. The last hair bit I picked up is a new one for me - Vitarmonyl Capelli e Unghie, an organic vegan horsetail supplement for hair and nails. We do have horsetail extract here in the States and after a little research I found out that it's a well-known supplement for helping to remineralize hair and nails. Since I'm still on that hair growth track, I took these through the summer and am happy to report a couple new inches of growth! The downside is that horsetail can be a little dehydrating, so while it is great for making hair and nails grow, I had to up my hydration, both internally by drinking lots of water and externally with moisturizers, while taking it.*
Now for skincare! The product I was most excited to try was the brand new Garnier Acqua Micellare Bifase Con Olio Di Argan. I love micellar waters and I love argan oil, so a product that combined the two? YES. I had to search high and low for this one, but it was so worth the effort. I have never liked the greasy feeling of biphase products, but I am happy to report that this micellar water removed all my makeup and, once it dried down, left my skin feeling clean and not the slightest bit greasy. Way to go, Garnier. Another longtime love? Nivea Doccia Olio - a cleansing oil for your body. I am so in love with cleansing oils for my face, so imagine my joy when I found this one for my body a few years ago. Yes, TSA, that is ten bottles of body oil in my suitcase. This stuff is fantastic during the summer because oil dissolves sunscreen in a way that regular lathering body washes just can't. This body wash also makes regular appearances in my shower year-round thanks to it's amazing hydrating properties and clean, soapy scent.
Now for a slightly less sexy product - foot cream. Podovis Crema Nutriente Plus is a godsend. Walking on hot beach sand can do a number on your feet and who wants that when you're living in sandals? This stuff is an absolute miracle for keeping feet soft, hydrated and smooth even when you don't have time for a pre-beach pedicure or when you're bundled up in socks and boots. I never thought I'd say this about a foot cream, but I can't live without it. And to continue on beauty habits no one talks about - waxing. Italians are the masters of hair removal. Waxing at home is very common among Italian women, so it's easy to find professional grade waxes at the supermarket. Since I was always on the go, these pre-prepared cotton cloth strips from Strep were an easy way to keep my skin smooth while traveling, but I also love to stock up on Strep Cera A Freddo, a honey and camellia oil based strip wax. Unlike the (very few and hard to find) waxes available in the US, this one is water soluble and super gentle on skin, making it easy to use at home. I also picked up a few packets of Spuma di Sciampagna Talco Profumato, a perfumed talcum body powder that I buy mostly for the scent. This stuff just smells so good. Imagine being in Italy on a warm spring day and as you walk down a narrow cobblestone street you pass under a balcony where freshly laundered sheets are drying in the sun and flowers are blooming in terracotta pots. This is that scent! It is so nostalgic for me. I bought a couple packets to keep in my suitcase while traveling to keep my clothes lightly perfumed and brought home a few more to leave in my closet and drawers. I guess you could also use it as body powder...
And, finally, sun care. Most Italians flock to the beach during the summer months and come September they better have the tan to prove it. Now being the melanoma fearing part-American that I am, I always make sure that I wear at least SPF 50+ at the beach, but I won't lie, my inner Italian makes me use tan enhancing products on top of that. For as long as I can remember, my mother has used the Bilboa Carrot sun care range and she has great skin, so I've stuck with it too. Every summer I replace my regular body cream with Bilboa Doposole Carrot Bronze, a beta-carotene enhanced after sun milk that helps to rehydrate post-beach and prolong your tan. This summer I also added the Bilboa Carrot Unguento Solare, a carrot oil based gel that helps to hydrate skin and encourage melanin production for a deep, golden tan.** For days in the city when I was out and about, I love to apply Kiko City Filter Primer, which acts as a moisturizer, makeup primer and SPF 50 all in one! I love that this product keeps my skin hydrated and protected from sun and city pollution, plus the light vanilla scent smells amazing. As someone who doesn't like to wear sunscreen, this product makes it easy to incorporate SPF into my routine all year round. And just in case I do find myself looking a little too rosy, Foille Sole is my go-to. This skin soothing spray is great to have on hand to take down any pain and redness from sunburn, and is a must-have during beach vacations or for days when you're out sightseeing and probably forgetting to reapply your sunblock.
So those are all the Italian products that made it home with me! What are your favorite beauty products to buy when traveling abroad? Let me know in the comments below! Up next - what I bought after a week in France..
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*I am not a doctor or a nutritionist! These work for me, but everyone is different, so listen to your body and do what works best for you!
**Full disclosure, I only use tan enhancing products once my skin is already tan and accustomed to being in the sun. These types of products are NOT suited to fair skin tones or skin that tends to sunburn. Use common sense and good judgement when it comes to sun care and ALWAYS wear sunscreen!