At least once a year, my best friend and I send each other care packages. Most of the time it’s food related – she sends me macaroni & cheese, I send her Schockoladen Brötchen. You know, the important stuff. This time around, though, I decided to send her a beauty box. She loves her Schockoladen Brötchen and Maggi, but I always feel like our trades aren’t exactly equal because the shipping costs she pays to Germany are astronomical in comparison to what I pay to ship to Texas. So, I decided it was time to even things out a bit and send her pricier stuff.
I have to preface all of this by saying that she is a licensed stylist and has loved everything make-up, hair, and skin related since she was at least 12 years old. She knows more about beauty products than anyone I know, and she used to always ask me to bring back European beauty products whenever I visited Germany (back before I made the move). But back then, I didn’t know the products well enough to know which ones were popular or not available in the States. Now that I know a bit more, I finally have some things to send to her.
Now, most of the products on this list are German, but there are a handful from other countries. And before mailing her beauty box off, I ran the brands past her, and she didn’t know a single one of them.
I’d also like to preface this by saying that no one is paying me to write this, and I’m not going to make money if you buy anything. Everything on this list is totally unbiased, and I’ve included links to each of their websites.
So, in no particular order and without further ado, here they are.
Gliss Kur is a German hair care line from Schwarzkopf. Now, Schwarzkopf is readily available in the States, but the Gliss Kur line is not. Some stores carry the British/American version (just called Gliss), but knowing Germany, I bet there are differences between the two beyond just the name of the line. I wouldn’t be surprised at all if they used different ingredients in the two markets.
Product in my beauty box: Liquid Silk (leave-in treatment) and Total Repair (intensive treatment)
This line was founded back in 1910 in Dresden, Germany. They actually started with medical baths, and that’s why the company is named Li-iL Deutsche Arzneimittelwerke (which means Li-iL German Pharmaceutical Plant). Today, they make all kinds of things, including bath treatments, shower gels, lotions, and face masks, and everything is completely natural. They also don’t test on animals. You can get some of their products in the States, but they are outrageously expensive. We’re talking $7 for one bath bomb outrageous.
Product in my beauty box: Sprudelbad (Sparkling Bath Bomb)
Balea is the store brand for DM, and they basically make everything except make-up. DM, of course, is a German store, comparable to Walgreens or CVS in the States. When you buy Balea products in Germany, they are super cheap. But, if you try to order them from Amazon in the States, a .99 cent product suddenly becomes a $14 product. And while you might be like me and immediately write-off store brands, Balea products, especially their hair products, actually get pretty high reviews.
Product in my beauty box: Volumen Puder (Hair Volume Powder), Sprudel Bad (Sparkling Bath Bomb), Augen Konzentrat (Eye Serum), and various face masks
Like Balea, Isana is another store brand, but this one is Rossman’s (also a German store and comparable to Walgreens or CVS). I would say Balea and Isana are basically cousins because Isana also makes everything but make-up and their products are super cheap in Germany but ridiculously expensive on the American Amazon.
Product in my beauty box: Zauber Cooling Gel (Magical Cooling Gel – just because it sounded fun and because there was a unicorn on the box)
Okay, Rituals is not a German brand; they are a Dutch brand. And you can buy Rituals in the States. BUT, I don’t know anyone in the States who has ever heard of this brand. Imagine a Bath and Body Works and then make it super upscale. That’s the best way I can describe Rituals. They make the kinds of products you would find at a B&B (lotion, shower gel, body spray, scented candles, room freshener, etc.), but in a very sophisticated, upscale way. All of their lines smell divine, but my personal favorites are Sakura and Touch of Happiness.
Product in my beauty box: Good Luck Sugar Body Scrub and Ayurveda Body Lotion
This is definitely the brand I’m most excited about hearing her feedback on. This is a German brand that is one of the most, if not THE most, trusted names in skincare in all of Germany. Their products are completely natural (and when the Germans say it’s completely natural, they’re not playing around), with no chemicals of any kind. While you can find this line at places like Douglas, you can also find it in Apothekes (pharmacies) and stores that specialize in all-natural, or bio, products. This brand is available in the States, but, again, I don’t know anyone, including my friend, who has ever heard of it. Although, I did find a bunch of articles about celebrities like Jennifer Aniston and Jennifer Lopez who swear by this brand. This line isn’t cheap though, in Germany or the US. In addition to skin care products, they also have a make-up line.
Product in my beauty box: Clarifying Face Care Kit
This is another all-natural beauty line that comes out of Germany. Like Dr. Hauschka, they make skincare products as well as make-up. They are a bit easier to find, though. Of course, you can buy their stuff in all-natural stores, but you can also find a lot of their products in DM. The reviews for their make-up are not that great, but people in Germany seem to really love their hair and face products. I couldn’t find any stores in the States that carried Sante, but there are some specialty online shops that sell some of their products. Of course, again though, the prices are outrageous compared to what you pay in Germany.
Product in my beauty box: various face masks
Swiss O Par
Swiss O Par is a German company that’s been around since the 1960s. Most of their lines are aimed at haircare, but they do have a handful of other products. I think you can find this brand pretty much everywhere. I saw it in basically every store I went into that had hair care products. I don’t think you can get this brand in the States unless you order from an international seller online.
Product in my beauty box: Coconut Milk Conditioner, Apple Blossom Conditioner, and Peach Blossom Conditioner
When I first moved to Germany, I was very confused by all of the face washes and body lotions with Bebe on them because I only ever knew them as a clothing company. In all honesty, I’m still a bit confused as to whether or not Bebe clothes are related to Bebe cosmetics. All I know is that the Bebe cosmetic line is actually owned by Johnson and Johnson, which is definitely not German. (Neither is the clothing line.) However, there are a few flavors of lip balm that are sold in Germany but not in the States. I read a lot of threads where people raved about these lip balms after stumbling upon them in Germany and lamented not being able to get them in the States.
Product in my beauty box: Zartrose Lip Balm
Like so many others on this list, Dr. Scheller makes all-natural products (mostly skincare). This is a German brand that has been around since the 1980s and was developed by a pharmacist. (This does seem to be a trend in Germany, doesn’t it?!) I like that this line also advertises that they don’t test on animals. I’m pretty sure all of the all-natural lines refrain from this, though. I don’t think there are any stores (like brick and mortar stores) that sell this brand in the States, although you can buy it online. The prices don’t seem that different, but it is definitely a bit pricier to buy their stuff in the States than it is in Germany. That being said, it doesn’t seem to be a brand that is very well-known in the States.
Product in my beauty box: Organic Argan Oil and Amaranth Beauty Mask
Well, the name of the brand says it all – Long-Haired Girls. And this is one German brand that you absolutely cannot get in the States. In time, maybe we will, but right now, it’s a VERY new line. In fact, they seem to be less than two years old, and they were only recently picked up by DM. This company was founded by two German girls who have really strong (and impressive) backgrounds in the fashion and styling world. They met and traveled together and decided to do what they love by going into business for themselves. Their line is kind of small, but again, it’s new.
Product in my beauty box: Intense Repair Hair Treatment
The final brand on my list is a make-up line from Cosnova (a German cosmetics company) that just launched in 2016. You might be familiar with Essence or Catrice, both of which are also made by Cosnova. As far as I can tell, this brand is only sold at DM and Rossmann and not available in the States at all. Some of their reviews are mixed, but their eye products (mascara, eye liner, etc.) seem to be consistently well-liked.
Product in my beauty box: Best Dressed 24 Hour Waterproof Mascara
Whew. That was a lot.
As I discovered throughout my research and shopping, these brands only scratch the surface of German beauty brands that we either don’t know or don’t have in the States. I ended up buying some of these brands for myself, so I’m really curious to see how they work. I think I’ve been a bit too reluctant to let go of the brands and products I used back home, so it’s probably high time I dabbled in the German market anyway. I can’t wait to see what my best friend thinks about all of these, though! Perhaps a follow-up post will come at some point in the future.
Do you have any experience with these brands? If you do, I’d love to hear about it!