Drugstore Beauty Buys From Around The World

When we look to other countries for "secret" drugstore beauty products, the usual suspect is France. But, why do we stop there? With hordes of beauty junkies cluing into products like Lucas’ Papaw in Australia and Clio mascara in South Korea, it’s become abundantly clear that there are other beauty brands on the map worthy of a spot in our medicine cabinets.
Here, we reveal exactly which wares from across the globe you should stock up on, stat. And, since many of them are available online, there’s no passport necessary. Simply click through, add to cart, and save yourself from 10,000-plus miles of air time.
1 of 27
Photo: Via Invisible Zinc; Illustrated by Tida Tep.
Down Under is subject to some scorching UV rays, so it’s no surprise Australia has the highest skin-cancer rates in the world. To help protect themselves from the harsh sun, Aussies choose to slap on Invisible Zinc sunscreen. This product contains ultra-fine particles of zinc inside a silky, lightweight, non-ghosting sunscreen lotion. It’s a real favorite among the Bondi Beach locals.
2 of 27
Photo: Via Kora Organics; Illustrated by Tida Tep.
If it’s good enough for Aussie supermodel Miranda Kerr, it’s good enough for us. The New South Wales-born beauty launched her certified-organic skin-care brand in 2006, and it’s been creating buzz below the equator in David Jones and Terry White pharmacies ever since. Our pick? The rosehip oil. Packed with antioxidants like noni extract and pomegranate oil, it’s the ultimate skin treatment.
3 of 27
Photo: Via Citizens of the World; Illustrated by Tida Tep.
While we wouldn’t encourage you to take home a physical piece of the Queensland tropical rain forest, this fragrant candle will make you feel like you did. Made entirely of Australian soy wax, this candle contains native gardenia, also known as yellow mangosteen, which is indigenous to Australia. It also contains notes of jasmine and ylang ylang. The result? Eighty hours of burn time reminiscent of a balmy Aussie summer holiday.
4 of 27
Photo: Via Jurlique; Illustrated by Tida Tep.
Produced out of a single farm in South Australia, Jurlique is one of Australia’s top success stories. The 29-year-old brand offers more than 130 products, but it’s the award-winning rosewater mist that still gets the gold. Simply spritz all over to refresh skin year round.
5 of 27
Photo: Via Lucas; Illustrated by Tida Tep.
Models use it, makeup artists swear by it, and beauty editors can’t get enough of it. Lucas’ Papaw Ointment, which comes from Australia’s sunny Queensland state, is formulated from freshly picked papaya fruit. It can be used on insect bites, dry lips, or sunburn — even diaper rash. Plus, the formulation hasn’t changed in the past 100 years. Is there any better testament than that?
6 of 27
Photo: Via Lanolips; Illustrated by Tida Tep.
The inspiration behind Lanolips comes from a humble sheep farm in South Australia, where the brand’s founder, Kirsten Carriol, spent her childhood. Fast-forward a few years and Lanolips 101 Ointment is big news in Oz. Formulated with 100% medical-grade lanolin, the multi-award-winning balm can be used on everything from chapped lips and dry cuticles to cuts, burns, and eczema. A real wonder product.
7 of 27
Photo: Via SK II; Illustrated by Tida Tep.
First launched in Japan in 1980, the formula of SK-II’s iconic Facial Treatment Essence has not changed since. Containing 90% pitera — a nutrient-rich extract developed during the fermentation of sake — the toner-like liquid hydrates, evens out, and illuminates skin. Japanese women have been using the “miracle water” for more than 20 years and still look like they haven’t aged a day.
8 of 27
Photo: Via Cure; Illustrated by Tida Tep.
When it comes to skin care, Japanese brands can be the cream of the crop — and none more so than Cure. What makes this water-based exfoliant different is its chemical peeling action. Unlike regular mechanical exfoliants, which require physical rubbing and scrubbing, this formula (a bottle of which sells every 12 seconds in Japan!) removes dead surface skin gently for baby-soft skin results.
9 of 27
Photo: Via Shiseido; Illustrated by Tida Tep.
Fake eyelashes are big news in Japan, but this mascara by Shiseido’s lower-priced line, Integrate, is a real contender. This formula gives serious curl and volume (albeit clumping!) to even the most poker-straight of eyelashes.

Shiseido Integrate Separate and Curl Mascara, $20.99, available at oo35mm.
10 of 27
Photo: Via Shiseido; Illustrated by Tida Tep.
Responsible for the great hair of many Asian women, Tsubaki (Japanese for camellia oil) is often touted as the best-selling shampoo in its country. Its key ingredient, camellia oil, is used to fight frizz and smooth strands. It’s also sold in bulk bottles, so even though it retails for around $20, it should last for at least six months.
11 of 27
Photo: Via Kosé; Illustrated by Tida Tep.
This milky moisturizer is favored for its five botanical extracts that work to lighten dark spots and soothe the skin. Best used as a serum in winter or a light moisturizer in summer, this potion is the perfect addition to your skin-care regimen.

Kosé Sekkisei Emulsion Facial Moisturizer, $50, available at Kosé.
12 of 27
Photo: Via Shu Uemura; Illustrated by Tida Tep.
Japanese beauty giant Shu Uemura is best known for its wide range of cleansing oils that are suitable for all skin types. This formula — an updated version of the “classic” — leaves skin feeling clean, balanced, and moisturized. Ideal for sensitive types, it can even remove the most stubborn of makeup. This particular product is also the one responsible for flipping on its head the notion that oil makes skin oilier.
13 of 27
Photo: Via Bioderma; Illustrated by Tida Tep.
One bottle of this coveted cleansing water sells every three seconds, so it is no surprise that it’s one of French women’s (not so) best-kept skin secrets. But, what’s the hype all about? In the early ‘90s, Bioderma was the first to introduce micellar technology, which sees tiny micelles of oil, suspended in highly purified water, dissolve pretty much all makeup, dirt, and impurities. Oh, and it’s non-rinse. Yes, no rinsing or patting your face dry is required. Sure, it’s way cheaper to purchase in France (around $15), but it’s worth every penny.
14 of 27
Photo: Via Klorane; Illustrated by Tida Tep.
A best seller worldwide, this dry shampoo contains oat milk to clean hair without washing. Considered quick and practical for the time-poor (so, all of us), this lifesaver-in-a-can also imparts volume and lightness within minutes. Genius.
15 of 27
Photo: Via Uriage; Illustrated by Tida Tep.
In France, eczema, dermatitis, and psoriasis sufferers are prescribed with thermal water treatments by dermatologists. But, since it’s unlikely you’ll be able to travel more than 3,500 miles to Uriage’s thermal center in the French Alps, a bottle of this H2O, which comes straight from the brand’s own spring there, will suffice. Spray this mineral-rich water as often as required to refresh skin, cool sunburn, and soothe skin irritations like diaper rash or red patches.
16 of 27
Photo: Via Embryolisse; Illustrated by Tida Tep.
The nickname of this wonder cream is “24-Hour Miracle Cream.” Why? Because, as the beauty must-have of models, makeup artists, and celebrities, this cult favorite has multiple uses. With a hydrating lightweight texture, this cream works as a primer, moisturizer, and makeup remover.
17 of 27
Photo: Via Nuxe; Illustrated by Tida Tep.
This dry oil smells like a St. Tropez holiday in a bottle. Considered the workhorse of skin care, this plant-based formula can be applied not just onto the body but also the face, nails, cuticles, and hair. For an oil, it’s surprisingly not-oily, which is because the formula is made with a 30% concentration of precious plant oils that have a very fine texture. These include borage oil to hydrate, St. John’s wort to relax, almond oil to repair, hazelnut oil to moisturize, and camellia oil for its natural anti-aging benefits.
18 of 27
Photo: Via Clio; Illustrated by Tida Tep.
South Korea
Let’s face it: Creating perfect liquid-liner flicks is hard work (unless you’re a pro or have had the time to practice). This incredibly handy tool features a specially designed, curved (and refillable) handle to help steady shaky hands. We challenge you to make this liner budge; its smudge-proof and long-lasting, waterproof formula makes it perfect for romantic-movie marathons or weddings.
19 of 27
Photo: Via Hanskin; Illustrated by Tida Tep.
South Korea is way ahead of the curve regarding skin care. Just look at the now-famous BB cream. This product was originally formulated in Germany as a healing ointment for patients' post-laser treatments, but the beauty pros in Korea took the idea and transformed it into a more sophisticated version that acts as a tinted moisturizer, blemish buster, sun protectant, and anti-aging treatment all in one. And, that was more than a decade ago! One of the most popular picks today? The original BB cream, Hanskin, which took the Asian market (and now the rest of the world) by storm.
20 of 27
Photo: Via Mizon; Illustrated by Tida Tep.
Okay, we've level with you: Snail mucus in your skin care is a lot less offensive than it sounds. Rich in snail secretion, Mizon’s night cream is the latest trend in anti-aging. The mucus, which is extracted without causing the mollusks any harm, is a natural source of glycolic acid and elastin. This peculiar star ingredient (which is said to have been used by the ancient Greeks to relieve inflamed skin) accelerates cell turnover and encourages elastin and collagen synthesis to leave the skin looking plump.
21 of 27
Photo: Via Sulwhasoo.; Illustrated by Tida Tep.
Write it down: Cushion creams are the next big thing. While Laneige’s Snow BB Soothing Cushion is extremely popular, it’s luxury brand Sulwhasoo’s Evenfair Perfection Cushion Foundation that takes the gold. Infused with herbal skin-care ingredients, this new concept sees liquid makeup bases (like BB or CC creams) infused into a dual air puff, which is housed in a portable, refillable compact. Because the cushion keeps the formula moist, the product leaves a fresh, dewy finish (without causing you to overuse any product). Plus, Sulwhasoo’s version offers five-in-one benefits: brightening, soothing, and moisturization as well as long-lasting wear and sun protection.

Sulwhasoo Evenfair Perfecting Cushion, $66, available at Shop at Korea.
22 of 27
Photo: Via The Face Shop; Illustrated by Tida Tep.
You’re probably more inclined to pop a tissue face mask onto, well, your face, but Koreans actually do so on their feet. To help soothe dry soles, ditch the ol’ pumice stone. One of these foot masks will make your callouses vanish as your tootsies shed dead skin for two days. But, after 48 hours, they will be unbelievably soft.
23 of 27
Photo: Via Natura; Illustrated by Tida Tep.
The streets of central Brazil are simply overwhelmed with palm trees. These trees produce the buriti fruit, which is harvested by members of the local Palmeira do Piauí community into a red-coloured oil. Known for its rich antioxidants and moisturizing properties, Natura Ekos Buriti Three-Phase Shower Oil awakens the senses and keeps your body hydrated for up to 24 hours.
24 of 27
Photo: Via O Boticario; Illustrated by Tida Tep.
One of Brazil’s top apothecaries, O Boticário boasts more than 3,000 stores in Brazil, Portugal, Mexico, Bolivia, Peru, Paraguay, Venezuela, and even parts of Europe. Of the chain’s enormous fragrance offering, O Boticário Malbec Eau de Toilette is one of its best selling. As the first fragrance made with vine alcohol as its base, the perfume is given an uplifting scent thanks to top notes of lime, bergamot, and lemon. At the heart is patchouli and warm woods, which linger beautifully on the skin.
25 of 27
Photo: Via Phebo; Illustrated by Tida Tep.
Unless a trip to Rio is in your cards, good luck tracking down Phebo soaps and candles. Founded in the ‘30s, Phebo is one of Brazil's most venerable perfumery brands, but it’s also pretty impossible to find in U.S. stores. Thankfully, the Internet and Amazon can hook you up with Phebo’s Sabonete Barras, the brightly wrapped soaps infused with eucalyptus (Flores da Primavera) and lavender (Amazonia).
26 of 27
Photo: Via Sol de Janeiro; Illustrated by Tida Tep.
Because of Brazil’s year-round sunshine, Brazilians take maintaining their skin very seriously, which is why we know we can rely on their products. Local brand Sol de Janeiro keeps fair and bronzed bodies protected using a limited number of silicones, mineral oils, and preservatives. If that’s not enough to lure you in, take one whiff of Sol de Janeiro’s after-sun gel and you’ll be hooked. It contains coconut water and mint to cool the skin and help restore balance after too much sun exposure.

Sol de Janeiro Coconut Water Cooling Aftersun Body Gel, $28.97, available at Fish Pond.
27 of 27
Like this post? There's more. Get tons of beauty tips, tutorials, and news on the Refinery29 Beauty Facebook page. Like us on Facebook — we'll see you there!

More from Skin Care


R29 Original Series