As a Milanese, I’ve been taught the Italian code of beauty and style from a young age. Generally speaking, I would say that Italian women favor a natural look. They don’t like wearing too much makeup everyday, saving that for special occasions or for nights out, and even then it’s rarely overdone. Obviously not everybody is the same so you will always find people who like to pile on eyeshadow, mascara and eyeliner, but I’d say the majority has the approach that less is more. For example, if you are wearing a bright red lipstick, your eyes will be almost bare except for some mascara; if you’re going for a more dramatic look for your eyes, the rest of your face will look like you’re not wearing anything and you will put on a neutral lipstick or a lip balm.
Eating well plays a huge role in both feeling and looking good and people are really conscious of ingredients and quality of food in Italy. They tend to eat seasonal, and portion control is key for eating well but not gaining weight: sure, on nights out people might overindulge on their favorite foods, but during the week it’s back to eating properly and making sure you don’t overdo it.
Fast food is also something that is enjoyed in moderation, although if you live in a city you might sometimes find yourself settling for something cheap and fast for lunch, when you are working and don’t have time to bring a prepared meal from home.
Despite living in a country where you spend lots of time outdoors, unfortunately I see lots of people ignoring the importance of sunscreen, thinking they’ll just get tan more quickly if they don’t apply any and that the sun is always good for them. So that’s a downside to Italian beauty—but more women are starting to recognize that it’s essential to take good care of your skin and use sunscreen.
Wearing moisturizer is just as important and it’s one of the lessons I was taught first by my mother. As a kid, I would watch her apply face cream; she would always smell so nice, and I was looking forward to doing the same when I grew older. When I was about 19, she told me I should start using a moisturizer, getting facials and just generally taking good care of my skin. Because of the example she set, I’ve never felt like this was a chore or something that was taking away precious time, even on nights when I was tired and ready to fall asleep. To this day I am very interested in skincare and constantly try new products.
Here are some of the best organic and cruelty-free Italian brands you should treat yourself to when you visit Italy—and some you can even buy abroad.
Italian Organic & Cruelty-free Beauty Brands
Founded in 1978 in Lodi, Northern Italy, L’Erbolario is a well-known organic ethical brand that has never tested on animals and promotes initiatives to give back to people and the environment. In 2013, they launched a humanitarian project called “Hibiscus, a flower for Africa”: by purchasing products from the perfumed line bearing its name, customers contributed to making 600,000 m² of land fertile in the villages of Gourikii Samba Diom and Bokhol in Senegal. They also donate to local projects and their cosmetics are high-quality; even their packaging is environmentally friendly.
I personally love their shower gels and their moisturizers, so I would recommend checking those out!
The products made by organic brand Le Driadi simply smell divine! I love their Green Coffee Body Scrub and their Aloe and Ginkgo quenching face mask. This is a relatively new brand but it’s growing in popularity and based on what I’ve tried so far I can’t recommend them enough. They are exclusively sold by a chain called Tigotà that also has an online shop.
As a vegan, finding the right mascara can be a little complicated since most of them contain beeswax. Bottega Verde makes this great mascara that I love, Mascara effetto ottico allungaciglia, and when you buy online or if you have their membership card (which you can request for free) you can purchase discounted items. I am also a fan of their deodorants, which are perfect on sensitive skin, and their lipsticks. They stock some beautiful, unique colors.
Make sure you nourish your body not just with skincare but with good food and you get enough rest. After all, beauty products alone can’t work miracles!
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