Wide World of Beauty

The best beauty product lines from around the world, and where you can get them stateside.

By: Karina Giglio

From France: Bioderma

Based in France, Bioderma's Laboratoire Dermatologique often partners with research centers to create scientifically based "cosmeceuticals"—products that don't require a prescription but are often favored by dermatologists.

Star of the line: Bioderma Créaline H2O Ultra-Mild Non-Rinse Face and Eyes Cleanser ($28, beautyhabit.com/bioderma). A favorite of both frequent flyers who are often in tiny airplane bathrooms and supermodels who have to remove makeup quickly, this emulsifies dirt without soap or detergent, so it can be swiped away without water, using a cotton pad or tissue. The mild formula can be used multiple times a day.

From Japan: Clé de Peau Beauté

Considered by many to be the first haute-couture makeup line, Clé de Peau Beauté launched in 1982 and boasts some of the best foundations in the business—they provide coverage without a heavy texture.

Star of the line: Clé de Peau Beauté Concealer ($70, nordstrom.com). If you read customer reviews for this concealer on Web sites such as makeupalley.com, you'll see why makeup artists have been coveting it for years. It provides all-day coverage, virtually erases imperfections, yet is undetectable. InStyle magazine has named it best undereye concealer six of the past seven years.

From Korea: AmorePacific

Packed with botanical extracts native to Korea, this company's modern takes on Asian anti-aging potions contain such ingredients as green tea, bamboo sap, and red ginseng. The line's claim to fame is its time-released formulations, said to deliver nourishment to the skin for 24 hours.

Star of the line: Sulwhasoo TimeTreasure Renovating Serum. One of its newest and most expensive formulations—$320 for 1.6 ounces (bergdorfgoodman.com)—it's already said to be flying off the shelves thanks to raves from celebs. The skin-illuminating concentrate includes azuki bean, believed to draw out impurities and remove dead-cell buildup.

From Sweden: Sachajuan

Perhaps the best Swedish export since Abba, this hair-care line is the brainchild of Stockholm celebrity hairstylists Sacha Mitic and Juan Rosenlind. Rich in sea algae, the cleansing and styling products have a cult following thanks to their ability to give hair maximum shine without adding weight. The line is also free of additives such as phthalates and synthetic dyes.

Star of the line: Sachajuan Straight and Shine Spray ($30, woodleyandbunny.com). Fans of this heat-protectant spray swear that a few spritzes before blowdrying or using an iron not only prevent breakage but make hair look as if you've had a professional blowout.

From Israel: Ahava

People have long flocked to the Dead Sea for its therapeutic effects. With a concentrated extract of Dead Sea water, Ahava's skin-care products are as close as you can come to bottling the reputed cleansing and detoxifying vitamins and minerals.

Star of the line: Ahava Extreme Night Treatment ($72, bluemercury.com). Said to increase collagen and provide renewed firmness and elasticity to the skin, this serum combines the Dead Sea's immune-boosting minerals with goji berries, which contain fatty acids that help skin retain moisture, and raspberry root, which provides temporary lifting and tightening.

This article appears in the February 2012 issue of The Washingtonian.