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Style + Design

9 Best Beauty Products from Around the World

The first rule of successful jetsetting? Don’t check a bag. And yet we’re always willing to break our own rule if it means stocking up on impossible-to-find beauty products from around the globe. Here’s our list of the nine best and their winning ingredients.

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The Ingredient: Herb Yarrow, England

Grown in hedgerows across the U.K., yarrow is the star of Magic Organic Apothecary’s 100 percent natural Moa The Green Balm. Part brightening beauty pick-me-up, part first aid kit for all sorts of cuts, scrapes, rashes, burns, bites, stings and cold sores, it’s made from a recipe out of old herbal folklore — which, combined with some gorgeous packaging, makes it a favorite with the beauty experts.

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The Ingredient: Cactus Water, California

It’s not for the makeup bag, but Caliwater Cactus Water falls under the beauty label for all its rare vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, and natural skin-hydrating properties. Produced in the California desert, it has a local audience in elixir-seeking Angelenos, and it lives up to the hype with a blend of prickly pear cactus extract, juice and water — zero sugar, fat, calories and preservatives.

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The Ingredient: Grapes, France

Proof that wine is indeed good for the body, the main ingredient in French skincare brand Caudalie Beauty Elixir is grapes. Or rather, the healing properties of naturally derived polyphenols found in vine sap. Founder Mathilde Thomas made this discovery while working with grape expert Dr. Joseph Vercauteren on her family’s vineyard near Bordeaux. The result is Caudalie’s multi-patent creams, which have a cultish following and are used at spas (including the one in NYC’s Plaza Hotel) around the world.

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The Ingredient: Binchotan Charcoal, Japan

A cleansing staple in Japan’s Kishu region since the early 17th century, this purifying Binchotan Charcoal Facial Soap is made by burning then quickly cooling oak branches. Charcoal has facialist-grade power to draw impurities out of the skin, but you can now find it as the main ingredient in cleansing masks and facial puffs, as well as toothbrush bristles and soaps.

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The Ingredient: Lanolin, Australia

Breastfeeding moms know all about the soothing, healing and, most important, chemical-free properties of lanolin, which is made from wool, but Down Under it’s also a moisturizing staple. Lanolips 101 Ointment is the best-known brand, having won dozens of beauty awards with its range of medical-grade body, lip and hand and nail creams.

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The Ingredient: Marula Oil, Namibia

On the heels of the crazes for argan oil and rooibos extract, Shea Terra Organics is the newest star ingredient in the anti-aging show, though the healing, detoxifying agents of Marula oil have been used in southern Africa for centuries. A sweet fruit snack for elephants and monkeys, the seeds hold the oil and must be removed by hand, sun-dried and cold-pressed before the oil can be bottled.

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The Ingredient: Ghassoul Clay, Morocco

A natural mineral found only in Morocco’s Atlas Mountains, Elma and Sana Moroccan Ghassoul Clay Powder is known for its skin-purifying powers, though local women also use it in their hair for some blowout-grade bounce. When mixed with rosewater the clay can be used as a mud mask facial that leaves skin brighter and impurities fainter. Bonus: Since it’s derived naturally, ghassoul is all organic, and hypoallergenic to boot.

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The Ingredient: Kukui Nut Oil, Hawaii

Used as a moisturizer and ointment in Hawaii for centuries, today's cold-pressed Oils of Aloha Kukui Moisturizing Cream is an essential ingredient in many big brand shampoos, scrubs, salves and more. Technically, it’s the blanket of triglyceride lipids that coats the skin and traps moisture without clogging pores, but we were sold as soon as actress Lupita Nyong’o — owner of the most flawless complexion — declared it her beauty staple.

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The Ingredient: Thermal Water, Hungary

Harnessing the anti-aging thermal waters from the 200-year-old Racz Spa in Budapest, Omorovicza Thermal Cleansing Balm is a cult favorite in Hungary, and it’s shipped internationally today. Products range from gold sugar scrubs and thermal cleansing balms to an award-winning toner mist and plumping mask, and all use the brand’s patentend Hydro Mineral Transference technology to activate the natural healing minerals in the water.