Travel Loot

16 Beauty Products That Will Transport You Around the World

by Jane Larkworthy
Photo by Jernej Graj / Unsplash.

Can’t make it to Marrakech this year? That trip to Brazil need to be rescheduled? Sometimes a moisturizer is the next best thing to being there. (Well, okay, it’s next to the next best thing.) And we’re not just talking about its scent. The texture of a scrub, the way a serum feels going on, even the way something is packaged can drop you down in a far-off destination. These 16 gems can get you there, if only for just a few glorious, soothing, nourishing minutes.

Epara Comforting Body Cream

Take Me Away To: A Snowy Mountaintop
A slew of botanical oils (moringa, marula, argan, apricot kernel, to name a few) blend with coconut oil and mango butter in this intensively moisturizing cream. Applying it feels almost like a paraffin treatment, but instead of wax, even the driest skin softens to a luxurious sheen, thanks to those aforementioned oils. Not taking this on a ski trip is nearly sacrilege. $168.

Thrive Face Wash

Take Me Away To: A Beach in Costa Rica
Thrive’s farms in Costa Rica were once degraded land, but having used native plants to improve the soil, the land is now lush with plant life, which produces many of the anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory plants and plant oils Thrive uses in its products, including this cleansing gel, whose fruit, mint, and clove aroma is invigorating enough to nudge me from the hammock to the surfboard. $12.95

Off Court Performance Body Spray

Take Me Away To: Santa Monica
Several elements about this spray feel very California tennis club, circa 1975. It’s instantly cooling, its outdoorsy scent of citron and driftwood is uplifting and chill, and its optimistic packaging is begging to be tossed into that Parker Thatch tennis bag that I would definitely own if I actually knew how to play tennis. $10.

Furtuna Due Alberi Biphase Moisturizing Oil

Take Me Away To: A Sicilian Farmhouse
This brand’s own organic farm in Sicily supplies the wild-foraged plants — including chicory, beet, and asparagus (who knew??) — which blend with olive oil and olive leaf water in this light moisturizing oil. I recommend taking your time pressing it in with the palms of your hands so your nose can experience the lovely aroma of its magnolia leaf oil.  $225

BL+ The Serum

Take Me Away To: An Icelandic Spa
At the Blue Lagoon in Reykjavik, Iceland, guests dip into mineral-rich waters then slather their faces with the Lagoon’s silica and algae masks. Their new luxury brand, BL+, might not offer masks as selfie-worthy as the Lagoon’s, but BL+’s new serum combines that aforementioned silica and algae with Vitamin C and three hyaluronic acids, all of which help skin look and feel more dewy. $180

Valentino Refillable Lipstick

Take Me Away To: A Bar Overlooking the Spanish Steps
Like Rome, a red lipstick is bold, timeless, and impossibly chic. Make that red lipstick one from Valentino Beauty — specifically, the blue-red Rosso Valentino — and I’m sipping a negroni at the Hassler Bar in Rome, wearing that ruby red mini frock from Pierpaolo Piccioli’s Fall 2021 couture show. And since it’s my fantasy, I’ve got the gams to pull it off, too. $44

Iconic Glaze Crayon

Take Me Away To: A Beach Party in Ibiza
It’s intriguing how different the two formulas of this double-sided eye product are from each other. One end is a super shimmery liquid shadow that can create a smouldering smoky eye look, but the other end is comprised of a soft, generous-sized-tip pencil shadow. It glides easily over lids, leaving a subtle sheen, which can be easily buildable for more intensity. Personally, I swipe it once over my eyelids which is just enough to say I’m wearing eyeshadow without screaming I’M WEARING EYESHADOW!! $30

Hermès Nail Polish

Take Me Away To: A Sexy French Bistro
Hermès has created gorgeous fragrances for decades (Remember the super sultry but sadly unavailable Amazone?), so it’s no surprise they crushed it when they debuted lipsticks and blush last year. New for fall is the new nail collection Les Mains, which includes nail care and 24 polishes. Yes, they made their signature orange (duh), but my pick is Gris Etoupe, which happens to be the shade of my fantasy Birkin that I imagine flaunting at Cafe Flore. Until then, flaunting my nails with this greige at my local coffee shop will have to suffice, which is tres genial with me. $45

Beauty Counter Think Big All-in-One Mascara

Take Me Away To: A Night on the Town in NYC
Mascara had long been the elusive makeup product to be formulated as “clean,” (read: no carbon black), but a few brands have begun to figure it out. This one uses rice bran, calendula, and carnauba waxes to extend lashes to movie-star lengths, so I feel very Hollywood when I use it. To sort of borrow a quote from Ali McGraw, Think Big means never having to get extensions again. $27

Earth Tu Face Anza-Borrego Terroir Mist

Take Me Away To: Joshua Tree
Founder Sarah Buscho filled these limited edition California Terroir sprays with aromatic oils of indigenous plants like eucalyptus and cedar, to evoke favorite destinations of the state. The wildflower bloom of this eponymous southern California dessert was the inspiration for this skin and space mist, which Buscho also suggests makes an excellent mask refresher. $28

Nature of Things Cleansing Body & Scalp Polish

Take Me Away To: A Marrakech Hammam
Everything this brand makes is infused with an elevated, calming scent, and the grapefruit peel essential oil and Ceylon cinnamon oil in this new scrub are no exception. Even better, the gritty yet toothpaste-tight mix of Moroccan lava clay, Himalayan salt, and Jeju ash send out major Aman spa vibes. P.S. That cinnamon oil also promotes healthy circulation and stimulates hair growth, so take your time when you massage it in. $55

vVardis Weissbad Pure Whitening Fluoride Mouthwash

Take Me Away To: Mont Blanc
When it comes to oral care, most of us place efficacy way over aesthetics. They’re starting to balance out, however, with a recent slew of luxury brands, like vVardis, the brainchild of two Swiss dentists who are also sisters. Their Reinholz toothbrushes are made with sustainably sourced local beechwood with a chic mosaic of different colored bristles, and their whitening gel is both elegant and easy to use. But it’s this bracing minty mouth rinse that delivers you — or, at least, your mouth — directly to the Alps on a snowy winter day. $25

Costa Brazil Lua Moonlight Body Oil

Take Me Away To: The Copa, Copacabana
The first time I visited Rio, I remember feeling a mild pang of anxiety upon learning that dinner didn’t usually begin until well after 10 p.m. I speak no Portuguese, but 10 p.m. in any language means bedtime for me. Strangely, though, my self-imposed curfew stepped aside and I happily dined into the wee hours of the morning each day. This new body oil has a hint of shimmer, making it perfect for bare shoulders during those midnight meals. $98

Testament Moroccan Chamomile Sleep Mask

Take Me Away To: A Marrakech Hammam (Because one hammam is never enough.)
When I inhale this satiny mask (because beauty editors obsessively smell everything), the first whiff I catch is oregano, which is known to quell inflamed skin. Also soothing are its lavender and cooling peppermint, but my skin appreciates the blue tansy for its healing and regenerative properties. And since blue tansy is also known as Moroccan chamomile, when I apply it before bedtime, my mind wanders to the restorative wonders of a Moroccan hammam. $72

Symbiome The One Restorative Cream

Take Me Away To: Big Sur
This rich, soothing cream is like a spa in a jar. Its star ingredient, Lactobacillus ferment, is a post-biotic blend that balances skin’s microbiome and strengthens its barrier. (If you’re playing beauty bingo, that’s a hat trick of wellness buzzwords right there.) Its rich texture makes my skin feel hugged when I apply it, and it imparts a softness that remains for hours, the way a professional facial does. And even though its scent is described “creamy” and “faintly spicy,” it smells like a pine forest at the edge of the ocean, which is where I envision the perfect spa to exist. $125

Tammy Fender Bulgarian Lavender Body Oil

Take Me Away To: The Balkan Mountains
She may reside in Palm Beach, but skin care guru Tammy Fender manages to gently slip you into a field of lavender with this intoxicating oil. Then again, since your limbs have just been graced with this rich formula, let’s place a tree along the edge of said lavender field, with perhaps a shaded hammock in which to enjoy the breeze. $65

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