As any beauty junkie will tell you, some of the best loot is found not on the counters of your local department store or lining the shelves at CVS, but instead from boutique retailers across the globe. These small merchants churn out handcrafted products that often contain more unique, green and effective ingredients than mass-produced products, leaving even the most mundane shower feeling like a retreat. Taking the legwork out of the search, we traversed the globe several times to round up the best of the best, all in the name of beauty.
Brand: Bubble Shack
Why: The lilikoi scent (passion fruit) transforms any shower to an outdoor one in Hawaii. Sand in your bathing suit not included!
Brand: Fawn Lily Botanica
Why: This one-woman herbalist high-grades the best that the Pacific Northwest has to offer in a facial serum.
Brand: Alaska Glacial Mud Co.
Why: It’s got an incredibly rich lather and a divine smell that’s suitable for the entire body, as a facial cleanser, shave soap and shampoo replacement.
Why: This cream is suitable for any job with its light and creamy texture, and the wild rose scent makes even the most rough and tumble of us feel like a delicate flower.
Product: Italian Lemon Body Oil
Why: Acting as a super-moisturizer, this luxe oil is ideal for post-shower application. For added pampering, slip on your bathrobe and relax for 20 minutes to allow the oils to soak in.
Product: Argan Oil
Brand: Saadia Organics
From: Canadian company with ties to Morocco Co-op
Why: By now we’re all familiar with the benefits of Argan Oil, but this is the real deal — with authentic origin, the product isn’t diluted or processed and acts as a super-saver for hair and nails.
Product: Pure and Unrefined Shea Butter
Brand: Ojoba Collective
From: Ghana West Africa
Why: The source for this unrefined Shea Butter handcrafted by the Ojoba Women’s Shea Cooperative, is 400 rural village women in northern Ghana, West Africa. It nourishes and heals dry skin.
Why: It’s tough to find a product that is truly good for all skin types, but this is one of them. Apply after cleansing your face, and the toner will help remove any grime or oil that remains after cleansing before you put on your favorite moisturizer.
Why: This multipurpose coconut oil keeps skin soft, provides relief to dry patches, is great for split ends and can be used during a massage.
Lauren Padawer is a beauty expert and the founder of Alaska Glacial Mud Co., a line of spa-quality skincare created using mineral-rich mud found on the banks of the Copper River in Alaska. The idea for Alaska Glacial Mud Co. was born in the summer of 2001 during an extraordinary journey down the Copper River on a raft. Since that journey and every time a local resident mentioned that "somebody should bottle this stuff," Padawer realized she was the right woman in the right place at the right time. While the playful spa quality of the Copper River mud may have inspired Alaska Glacial Mud Co., it was the river and its inhabitants that gave voice to the importance of sustainability and activism in our company philosophy. In addition to being purveyors of the finest Alaska glacial mineral mud, we are also advocates for the Copper River Watershed through local philanthropy.