So, it turns out the rumor is true!
The women in Spain are quite beautiful. I don’t mean overly done-up, loads of makeup and over processed hair kind of beauty. But natural!
Minimal makeup, long locks with a true sun-kissed ombre to their hair AND glowing skin. Yup, youthful, dewey and bright complexions. As someone struggling to keep my skin hydrated and toned from the effects of hard city water in Barcelona, this got me thinking!
What do the local women here know that I don’t? What are their secrets? Could it be one magic beauty product or perhaps none at all (since we all know sometimes “less is MORE”)?
I decided to stop guessing and started asking questions. One of my dear friends Inma, a native Catalan and also the founder of Farma School, is a wealth of knowledge in this department! She runs her own pharmacy in Barcelona (which I’ve come to learn is just as much of a BEAUTY business here as pharmaceuticals!) and is a skincare brands guru.
She shared some fascinating info with me and I just couldn’t keep it all to myself. In many ways, the skincare and beauty industry in Spain is very similar to the U.S. (for example, the women love to invest in professional treatments such as Botox, chemical peels and collagen injections).
But in other ways, the trends are very different…
While the “name” behind a product is something to consider here, it certainly doesn’t drive decision making for consumers.
What do I mean? The biggest trend in skincare is discovering niche brands, not the ones behind shiny department store counters. After Inma shared with me the depth behind some of these secret labels, I began to understand why.
These brands that have a story to tell and a history to share. Labels that take less time to perfect their fancy packaging and more consideration into the concentration of each product.
Brands to Watch and Try
Maybe a few of these brand names are familiar but others not as much. And THAT is what makes them so special, so pure and so popular here and all across Europe! They each have unique stories, a true reflection of the quality behind their names.
gh. (Gema Herrerias) – Created in Seville in the south of Spain, these products boast high concentration with raw materials and efficiency testing (just check the impressive ingredients label!). In the past, I never would have considered washing my face with an oil cleanser – until trying gh.’s Natural Oil Cleanser. It’s AMAZING, girls!
Avene – This label began in a small village, Avene, in the south of France and has such a neat story. A local farmer’s horse was cured from a rare skin disease after finding a natural thermal spring and drinking the waters from it. The horse’s coat was radiant and shiny. The skin disease cured. And so the birth of this brand began!
La Roche Posay – A similar background as Avene, the origin of this brand is its natural thermal spring water discovered in La Roche Posay, France (are we seeing a trend here, guys?! Talk about the modern day fountain of youth products.) Best known for their high content of Selenium, a rare and powerful natural antioxidant. Since 1975, the thermal water is used as a key ingredient in product development.
Caudalie Paris – A brand inspired by love and innovation in the vineyards of countryside France, it’s founders discovered the effectiveness of grape seed polyphenols on skin. And so the birth of three initial products was born. That was more than 25 years ago! Their Night Infusion Cream (linked below) is like liquid gold for the face!
5Punto5 – Natural extracts, high concentrates and organic formulas are the characteristics behind this brand which was founded in Spain by pharmacists. After traditional skincare treatments were ineffective in helping cure rosacea, the founders started investigating and researching.
Marti-Derm – Founded here in Barcelona by a family of pharmacists/chemists. Their legendary formula was developed by combining Proteoglycans and pure Vitamin C to regenerate skin cells. Today the brand consists of more than 70 products based on the scientific formulas of its founders.
Daily Skincare Routine
If you were hoping for the answer to a quick one-step routine, you came to the wrong place! The women in Spain understand that the secret to healthy, glowing and youthful skin is time and care. Not quite the 10-step routine that famous Japanese beauty maven, SOKO GLAM, recommends – but a close second.
STEP 1: (Day and Night)
Wash with oil-based cleanser or cleansing milk and remove with water. IF acne-prone skin, apply a mouse or gel cleanser and rinse with water.
STEP 2: (Day and Night)
Remaining dirt or oil can be rinsed off with any micellar water product. (Bear in mind, some micellar waters can be left on skin while others need to be rinsed off – check directions!) This step was totally new to me so if you’re like, “huh?!” check out this micellar water by Loreal.
STEP 3: (Day and Night)
Brightening serum next to help prepare skin for special treatment products.
STEP 3: (Day and Night)
Special treatment product like a moisturizing eye cream, plumping booster, whitening serum (evening), retinol (evening) or Vitamin C as an antioxidant (morning).
STEP 4: (Day or Night)
Best Selling Products
Two products emerge as top sellers here in Spain.
1.Gema Herrerias Daily Exfoliant Lotion < — Link to purchase!
Daily use facial lotion formulated with azeloglycine, salicylic acid and cotton extract. It has depigmenting action on the spots, balances the skin and keeps the pores clean , preventing the formation of blackheads . It improves the texture of the skin to reveal, thus, the skin luminosity.
Cost: 25 euro for 100mL.
2.Unique Pink Collagen Powder < — Link to purchase!
Six unique components are found in this single product created in Andorra to achieve a 360 degree anti-aging effect. Just two teaspoons mixed with water daily unlock the stimulation of dermal cell activity. The result? Greater luminosity and firmness with a natural tone.
Cost: 80 euro for three-week supply.
Trends to Leave Alone
Not everything you read online is good information and although some people come into the farma and ask sill questions, the Spanish women know to do their research and know their products.
Remember hearing that hemorrhoid cream would help with under eye dark circles and puffiness? Welp, it doesn’t!
How about the one where anti-cellulite gel reduces darkness from bruises? Nope!
Lastly, what about women using male-specific products because they believe the higher concentration or potency will make them more effective? I mean, really?! I’ll just leave this one right here…
And My Personal Favorites
One of the tough parts about being a woman and moving abroad is trying to find all your favorite staple beauty products. While I’ve had success with some of the larger name brands like Loreal and Sephora, others have left me lost and searching.
It’s really forced me to go outside my beauty comfort zone and try new brands. And I’m so glad I did! Not sure I’ll ever go back to my old brands now.
Here are some of my personal favorites and where to purchase them…
What started as a treasure hunt to replace my usual favorite brands from the U.S. turned into an adventure of trial and discovery! I have truly loved the experience of trying European brands, but more specifically the ones founded right here in the countryside of Spain.
I am excited to hear what your experience has been with trying out new brands in the market where you live. Any funny stories to share? What about the products I recommend above? Love to know your thoughts!
*This article contains affiliate links that may result in a small commission to the writer at no additional cost or commitment to you, the consumer.