I basically called my mom for help. Except when I say mom, I mean an esthetician.
I'm staying in Berlin for two months. There are a lot of reasons to be crazy-excited about living in this city: the history, the food, the parks, the markets. But — full disclosure — one of the things I am most excited about is being able to go to the drugstore in Germany.
It is of my life's greatest pleasures to browse around the drugstore. Do it in a foreign country and I am in heaven.
What is it about foreign beauty products that is so appealing? With any new beauty product comes the promise of a softer, brighter, shinier version of you. When all the labels are in a language that you don't understand, a layer of mystery is added that makes the promise even more appealing.
Of course we're all grownups here, and we know that there are only so many ways to moisturize and exfoliate. The chances are that you won't find something LIFE-CHANGING. What's even more tragic about the whole endeavor is that if you do find something you really like, you might not be able to repurchase unless online shipping is an option.
But damn it — that will not stop me from raiding the shelves every time I go on holiday!
I'm living in central Berlin with shops right at my doorstep, so this morning, I crossed the street to my local Rossmann to see what treasures I could uncover. I didn't do any research before I arrived; I just followed my instincts about what might work for my skin. Turns out that beauty jargon is an international language; and if I was in doubt, I just read the ingredients.
Here's what I found:
First, I picked up the Konjac sponge and the silicone scrubby pad, two gentle, familiar methods of exfoliation. I was super-excited to see them because they were both so cheap! In Ireland I have seen both in shops for around €6 ($6.50). The Konjac sponge cost €2.49 and the scrubby pad was €1.79.
Now, on to the good stuff. First, I tried out the Schaebens Perfect Skin Beauty Concentrate. These little capsules basically have primer inside. As you can see from the photo below, the concentrate is tinted. There's mica in the formula to make it slightly shimmery.The concentrate contains dimethicone and hyaluronic acid to give you a moisturized, smoothed-out glow.
I didn't love the feel of this when I was putting it on, but after a couple of minutes, my skin felt soft and had a slightly perceptible glow to it. I have very dehydrated skin, so anything with hyaluronic acid is okay with me. I could see myself happily using this as a primer under foundation, and the packaging would be great for traveling. At €1.49 for the packet, I don't really mind that you only get five applications.
Next, I tried the blemish patches from Isana Young. Well, I tried to try them, but then I realized I don't have any active zits at the moment (praise the goddesses). Still, I am looking forward to using these. The stickers themselves are very thin and discreet, as you can see in the picture below, and they contain reliable spot-fighting ingredients such as salicylic acid and tea tree oil.
Again, I was delighted at the value — you get 36 patches for €1.99. Also, how adorable is it that the German word for spot is pickel?
Finally, I tried my first-ever sheet mask! You are all pros with sheet masks, I am sure, but they are surprisingly difficult and expensive to get hold of in Ireland.
I picked this Rival de Loop hydrating mask. My skin felt AMAZING afterwards. The mix of glycerin, aloe, avocado oil and cupuaçu butter made my dehydrated skin sing.
The final thing I have to tell you is that in German drugstores you can buy wine. Amazing.
Now let's discuss:
- Do you like drugstore tourism as much as I do?
- What are your favorite international beauty products?
- Any German readers out there? Tell me what I should try while I'm here!