FROM BUDAPEST TO BRAZIL THERE ARE BEAUTY SECRETS WAITING TO BE PILFERED AND BROUGHT BACK TO BLIGHTY
How often, when nursing an ailment on holiday, do you stumble into a chemist, fumble through the transaction in a variant of pidgin Esperanto and flee as soon as you can? Chances are you don't spare a second glance for the novel goodies on the shelves, which is a shame because so many holiday spots are home to a bevy of great beauty products. So stay and browse — the most valuable bits from any holiday are those you can take a way and incorporate into your life the rest of the year.
Thanks to its proliferation of mineral-paced hot springs, Hungary has a rich history of spa-ing. Making use of those healing waters is Budapest's Omorovicza Spa (www.omorovicza.com). Swing by for a bespoke facial and take home the Omorovicza Thermal Cleansing Balm, which is chock-full of calcium, magnesium, zinc and copper from the local clay and water. Or go for Ilcsi, another Hungarian skincare staple. Try the Sour Cherry Gel Mask and Stonecrop Whip Moisturiser—both will hydrate summer skin, minimise pores and even skin tine. If you're not planning a trip soon, visit www.ilcsi.co.uk.
Fermes de Marie is part spa, part traditional ski lodge in the French Alps. The treatments (if you go, have the famed LIFTAlpes treatments) and skincare are based on properties of mountain plant life such as edelweiss, which is thought to protect against UV rays and extreme cold. The Fermes de Marie Bol d'Air Pur, a hard-working face cream is great for wearing under sun screen for the beach. Also available atwww.fermesdemarie.com
If there's a county in the world that does good suncare, it's Australia. Aussie model Megan Gale, who's made it big in Italy and is rumoured to be the next Wonder Woman, has created Invisible Zinc—the beset range of suncare to hit the market in a long time. Sydney's city girls wear the Brush-on Tinted Daywear all year round as it's a gold-tinted foundation, moisturiser and SPF30 sunscreen in one. A multi-tasking lifesaver—literally.
A favourite in hammans across the Arab world is Kaeline—beauty treats made from ingredients that Moroccan women swear by, such as vitamin L-rich Argan oil. Try the Traditional Black Hamman Soap with Eucalyptus, for washing and exfoliating without drying out your skin. You can also get the range from www.lovelula.com
Further north, the steamy waters of the Blue Lagoon fjords in Iceland offer their own brand of healing thanks to their geothermal waters. The secret to their beautifying powers is the silica content in the mud and the self-replenishing water supply (from nearly 2,000 feet under the earth's surface), great for healing and calming skin conditions such as psoriasis. If the lagoon is a dip too far, heal at home with the skincare range at www.bluelagoon.com.
Sweden's number one anti-ageing brand that all the glossies go mad for—True Look—has just two products in its range: a day Cream and a Night Cream. Their secret? High levels of peptide, squalene, aloe and hyaluronic acid, which aid collagen and elastin production. Also available online at www.eleven.se.
The daddy of all beauty tourism destinations is America, not least because of the strength of the pound. Spend as long as you like perusing the aisles of Walgreens, Duane Reade and other drug stores for goodies, but make sure you take away the limited edition McBride Beauty Travel Set, made in Brooklyn. Wini McBride's products are based on homemade Irish recipes from her mother—and they've been snapped up by Robert De Niro for his Greenwich Hotel in Manhattan. Safe to take through airport security (all products in the set are less than 100ml), you can get it from www.newlondonpharmacy.com. Or try Californian cult brand Dr. Alkaitis. His products are so natural and skin friendly they're safe enough o eat. Pick up the handmade, aloe-based Organic Treatment Oil to soften dry or damaged skin and improve its elasticity.
Phytophilo Aromatherapy Bath Bars are Brazil's equivalent of the Body Shop's scrumptious glycerin soaps and they sell like Havaianas over there. Tropically scented with acerola, passion fruit and carobinha, they're also vegan and super-ethical. The brand works with local Amazonian communities to help ensure sustainability, so you'll have a squeaky clean body and conscience.