The Best and Brightest Italian Beauty Brands We're Obsessed With Right Now
By Emily Taylor, Editorial Assistant |
K-Beauty introduced us to snail slime. G-Beauty gave us a newfound appreciation for science-backed brands. Now, we're declaring the reign of I-Beauty, an Italian renaissance of hand-picked, wholesome ingredients and strong ties to heritage.
Below, we rounded up some of our favorite hair, skin, fragrance and makeup products from across the Atlantic, all of which are also available at New York City's first "Beauty Made in Italy" Holiday Pop-Up store at 10 Corso Como, now through January 1st. For more info on how Beauty Made in Italy serves as a business incubator for exceptional Italian beauty brands and helps them become available in the US, visit here.
For anyone not familiar with Acca Kappa, here's a quick brush-up on the brand's backstory. Founded almost exactly 150 years ago, Acca Kappa has been endorsed by everyone from Oprah to the Queen of England, particularly because of their toothpastes and toothbrushes. Though their hair brush holds the most history—it was the very first item offered, over a century ago—their tooth tools are some of our favorites. This soft-bristled nylon brush keeps the mouth clean without wearing on gums.
What smells like heaven, feels like the secrets of youth and looks like the Ferrari of skin creams? Spa brand Bioline Jatò was originally founded as a school for aestheticians and skin-care savants to dive deep into product research for a diverse range of skin types, and is based on "the Method," a mantra focused on accurate skin diagnoses and appropriate treatments. A mere 40 years later, the company now offers almost 100 SKUs in over 40 countries, including this twice-daily anti-aging moisturizer with plant cell extract, seaweed and peptides.
Legend has it that in the the year 1380, a monastery in Capri began furiously prepping for the surprise visit of leading lady Queen Joan of Anjou by gathering the most beautiful and fragrant flowers on the island. A resident left them in bowls of water around the monastery for three days and when he went to dispose of them, noticed the fragrant effect, later explaining everything to a chemist and developing a secret formula. Hundreds of years later—in 1948 to be exact—a second prior rediscovered the notes and with the actual pope's blessing, created Carthusia, the World's Smallest Fragrance Laboratory. One thing we know for sure: Meditteraneo Eau de Parfum with lemon, green tea and musk smells like scooping a citrus sorbet in the Italian countryside.
More than just a dupe for Stila's Glitter & Glow, Eva Garden's long-wearing liquid shadow is out-of-this-world good and we'd also wager, Euphoria-approved. The creaseless formula packs a punch in terms of pigment and is seriously foolproof—it's designed to be mixed and matched with other eye offerings like the All in One Twist Up Eyeshadow ($21) and is buildable, so its agreeable nature and one-for-all seriously is literally built right in.
Pronounced like the fruity drink that once ruled the school in our younger years, Jusbox is the brainchild of the brother and sister team V-MONKEYS, who noticed that fragrance mimics music (or is it vice versa?) with symphonies of scent composed of many different "instruments" and "notes." With this idea in mind, the duo created two unique lines, where each unisex scent is inspired by a musical artist or genre, including 80s house music (the perfume bottle is the first ever to glow in the dark), Aretha Franklin and Bob Dylan (a personal favorite for its warm tobacco, leather and cognac combo). Each bottle topper is shaped like a retro record and bottles hold exactly 78 mLs of fragrance—the same exact number of revolutions per minute (rpm) of classic vinyl disks.
Ancient Egyptians enjoyed a liquid variety, Napoleon ingested the powder for indigestion and the Italians added it to their toothpaste in a long-awaited collaboration with Amarelli that is so iconic, there's an actual museum erected to celebrate it. Licorice is the dental care ingredient we didn't know we needed. Claiming "The World's Best Black Licorice," Calabrian Amarelli is offered in bite-sized squares to eat and in Marvis' best-selling Licorice Toothpaste to clean teeth and refresh breath. For anyone who reviles the fragrant root, the licorice flavor is actually super subtle and pleasantly surprising when paired with mint. Our favorite part? The brand offers seven persuasions of interesting flavors, including ginger, jasmine and cinnamon, and suggests using a different one for each day of the week.
Inspired by Milan, the Italian center of design and fashion, Milanesi Skincare offers products in three lines based on popular neighborhoods around the city: Navigli (an artsy, up-and-coming area adjacent to the Navigli canal), Brera (a more traditional and romantic sector) and Montenapoleone (the upscale, luxury quarter). Tucked within the Brera line is the Illuminating Gel Cleanser, as efficacious as it is chic. Saffron, moringa extract and organic cucumber combine to lightly exfoliate dead skin cells, cleanse and hydrate.
Created by ultra-rare black bees called Carpenter Bees, anti-bacterial imperial honey is the hero ingredient of this lush cream and is dotted throughout in tiny-but-visible "drops" that nourish on contact. The insects occupy Perin's research center and headquarters, located in Turin, Italy on 150 pesticide- and insecticide-free acres of land where many of the other ingredients are grown.
Facial-hair fans have Proraso to thank for the invention of the three-step shave, including the pre- and post-parts. Proraso's very first product—with a formula that's remained fairly unchanged since its inception in 1948—was the pre-shave cream, which remains one of the favorites from the Martelli family, who still runs the brand. In addition to the original formula, two other varieties exist: the red packaging shown is in the "moisturizing and nourishing" line for thicker hair growth and the white is bespoke for sensitive or irritated skin.
Formulated by actual generations of surgeons and the superstar product of the Sempiù School of Professional Training in Campania, Ripar Cosmetics brings a clinical edge to the world of cosmetics. The transfer- and waterproof foundation is intended for head-to-toe application and camouflages everything from tattoos to varicose veins. Like a second skin, each of the 24 shades provides full coverage without the weight. It even offers sun protection with an SPF value of 18.
Nicknamed the "all-in-one dream cream," Skin&Co Roma's cleanser is gentle, yet tough on makeup—including the waterproof type—plus daily dirt and grime. What makes it truly special is the farm-to-face black winter truffle extract that boasts high concentrations of superoxide dismutase (SOD), a powerful antioxidant that fights free radical damage. Another all-star ingredient, sweet almond oil, is packed with fatty acids to nourish and support the skin's barrier function. Mallow leaf, chamomile and tiger grass ensure skin is calm, cool and collected (and moisturized).
Another brand from the fragrance fanatics, V-MONKEYS, Tuttotondo is an accessible and beautifully simple line of body products organized by scent. Each perfume profile exists like a postcard from a different part of Italy and is inspired by a different region or activity. Vela, with white flower, musk and patchouli, is meant to evoke a deep dive into the ocean and smells like crisp sea air. Even the name Tuttotondo has significance: it references an ancient sculpting technique that required the artist to provide a complete image with a 360 view of the subject and multiple different viewpoints, something the siblings aimed to embody with each dynamic fragrance.