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croatian beauty

Croatian Beauty Is the Next Major Skin Care Trend

Your French pharmacy could never.

By: Isabella Sarlija

As I continue on in what feels like an eternity of quarantine in Queens, NY, I find myself longing for things like hot bowls of ramen, poetry readings in the city, and seemingly never-ending karaoke nights with friends—seriously, I bought a karaoke microphone so that I could sing Kate Bush’s Wuthering Heights in the mirror until this is over. And given that it is risky to even travel between boroughs, I, unfortunately, will not be making my yearly trip to Croatia to visit my extended family. There will be no cramped gatherings with my cousins and their little kids running around while we eat roasted lamb, nor will I wake up and pick a fig straight from a tree as I walk down to the shore. I won’t be cleaning barnacles off freshly caught mussels on my uncle’s farm, let alone eating those mussels.

Amongst all of these things, I will also miss perusing the street Kalelarga to visit DM, a German drugstore that has found its way into every city in Croatia. In DM you can find anything from beauty products to over-the-counter medications to nourishing tea drinks. It is essentially the Croatian equivalent of the French pharmacy, where all the locals go to get their self-care staples. Every year I purchase my favorite products en masse to bring back home to the States, until the happy time when I can go back to my family’s seaside village. Here are nine of the skin-care and wellness products I always stock up on when I’m in Croatia.

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Ziaja Goat’s Milk Body Lotion, $15

This body lotion contains goat milk proteins, which work to boost moisture levels and protect the skin barrier via good-for-you probiotics. This lotion has been my holy-grail body product for years, as it gives me that healthy summertime glow in the dead of winter. Might I add it smells heavenly and layers well with perfumes. Do yourself a favor, and get the entire goat’s milk line. You’ll thank me later.

Nivea Creme, $8

If there existed a collective skin-care regimen of all women in Croatia, then the German formulation of Nivea Creme would indeed be front and center. Its thick consistency makes it the ideal creme for deep hydration as your skin repairs itself at night. If you ask any mature woman in Croatia what they use to keep their skin glowing, chances are they will point to this product.

Kneipp Eucalyptus Cold + Sinus Herbal Bath, $20

Croatians have used more holistic approaches to medicine for generations. Croatian people: Ask your baba how much she loves to use rakija to cure any ailment, ever. Although this bath may not be a plum brandy, it is undoubtedly one of the first things I reach for when I feel a cold coming on. The aroma of eucalyptus plus the steam from my bath without fail provides the same level of clarity as a proper schvits at my favorite Russian bathhouse.

Fa Greek Yogurt Shower Cream, $8

One of the most magnificent things about Croatia is its waters. Entire days are spent at the beach, only to be interrupted by brief siestas during high noon. Although we wear sunscreen like our lives depend on it (because they do), there is still dehydration that happens in our skin because we spend all waking hours in the sun. This body wash contains probiotics from Greek yogurt, making it fantastic for rebuilding your skin’s acid mantle. It also helps to soothe sunburns.

Weleda Sea Buckthorn 24-Hour Roll-On Deodorant, $11

The fresh and citrusy scent of sea buckthorn lured me into trying this product initially, but here is why I stayed: This is one of the only aluminum-free deodorants I have tried that truly keeps me dry and smelling fresh all day long. The deodorant is a clear roll-on, which means it easily and evenly dispenses product, and never stains any of my clothing. I’ll take twenty.

Labello Med Repair Lip Balm, $8

If you were to look into the pocket or purse of any Croatian with insanely moisturized lips, you would most likely find some Labello floating around. This balm contains calendula and chamomile extracts, which help to soothe lips that are dried and cracked, and grape seed extracts to restore moisture levels.

Lavera Basis Sensitiv Cleansing Gel, $14

With ingredients like aloe vera and jojoba, this is the perfect cleansing gel for maintaining proper skin moisture levels. I have had this product in my rotation for a few years now, and it has always left me with skin that feels freshly cleansed without ever feeling tight or in desperate need of hydration.

Medipharma Cosmetics Olivenöl Intensivecreme, $16

To say that olive oil is important to a person living on the Dalmatian coast is an understatement if I have ever heard one—my nuclear family alone goes through liters of oil on a monthly basis. This deeply moisturizing creme includes olive oil, which contains antioxidants and antibacterial components, making it perfect for daily application to keep your skin healthy. Plus, this cream contains retinol and vitamin E, which help the skin to exfoliate itself while remaining deeply hydrated.

Le Petit Marseillais Lait Body Wash, $10

This body wash not only lives in all the showers throughout Croatia, but also throughout the rest of Europe. It is ideal for the winter months, as it softens and nourishes skin while it gently sloughs off the dirt and dead skin. It smells like the smoothest, sweetest, and creamiest glass of whole milk I have ever had, which in and of itself is enough for me to purchase.

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