Why Italian Skin Care Is Like the Mediterranean Diet for Your Complexion

Photo: Well+Good Creative
If you've ever been to Italy, you understand how beautiful it is—it's verdant, markets are filled with fresh fruit (like lemon, the country's staple), and rich scents of rosemary and tomatoes waft through the air. Given that Italy plays host to such varied, fresh ingredients, it's no wonder that the country's skin care reaps the benefits. Italian elixirs, serums, and creams are packed with vitamins and good-for-skin oils that are a direct product of the rolling Italian countryside.

"In Italy, we're all about using high-quality ingredients, eating the right things, and putting good oils and fats on skin," says Irene Forte, a native Italian and founder of her eponymous skin-care line. "We're not about quick fixes [in beauty], but about a relaxed way of life with balance." Italian skin care takes a minimalistic approach—it's more about using fewer, nourishing products than a 10-step routine. "The few [beauty products] we use  are packed with super botanical ingredients," says Italian beauty pro Gabriel Balestra, founder and president of Skin&Co Roma. "Beauty for Italians is a ritual of wellness that starts every morning when we wake up by choosing the nutrients we put in and on our bodies."

"In Italy, we're all about using high-quality ingredients, eating the right things, and putting good oils and fats on skin." —Irene Forte

A lot of these ingredients happen to be the same ones that make up the Mediterranean diet, like healthy fats and oils. "The ethos of my skin care is not about a quick fix or introducing anything harsh," she says. "It's skin-kind ingredients that nourish the skin and promote long-term skin health." Think: olive oil, which is full of fatty acids, antioxidants, vitamin E, and polyphenols; pomegranate, an antioxidant rich in flavonoids and vitamin C; prickly pear, a moisturizing superstar that Forte says "acts like a sponge to keep skin hydrated"; and avocado oil, which is full of Omega 3s, vitamin B5, and vitamin C. Balestra adds to the list, black truffle extract for hydration and redness reduction, rosemary, which improves circulation, and squalane to add moisture to skin.

But, of course, until you move to the Italian countryside, you can copy their skin-care practices by adding one of the below Italian beauty products to your shelf. Keep scrolling for what to shop.

Irene Forte Hibiscus Serum Age-Defying Lift, $168

italian skin care
Photo: Irene Forte

The star ingredient in this serum is hibiscus, which Forte sources from Sicily and considers the "Botox of plants." Hibiscus extract works as an antioxidant and a peptide all in one for skin protection, and blends with skin-nourishing ceramides, moisturizing hyaluronic acid and rose water, and olive oil for one mighty serum that delivers hydration and a smooth complexion.

Skin&Co Roma Truffle Therapy Face Gommage, $28

italian skin care
Photo: Skin&Co Roma

Exfoliate like a European with this gommage, which very gently buffs dead skin cells away with finely ground apricot seed powder, then delivers nourishing fatty acids back into your skin with olive oil extract, fatty acids, and black truffle.

Borghese Fango Delicato Active Mud for Delicate Dry Skin, $100


italian skin care
Photo: Borghese

Slough off build-up on your skin with this Borghese mud mask, which is infused with Italian kaolin mud to purify the skin, plus hydrating essentials hyaluronic acid, squalane, and aloe that make sure you're not dry afterwards. A citrus cocktail of bergamot and grapefruit add an uplifting touch to the treatment.

Santa Maria Novella Mimosa Elicriso Cream, $54

italian skin care
Photo: Santa Maria Novella

If you've got really dry skin, consider this rich, Italian-derived balm that's spiked with protecting beeswax, skin-regenerating helichrysum, and moisturizing aloe vera gel (plus a lovely citrus-lavender scent) for some serious TLC.

Acqua Di Parma Fico di Amalfi Spray Body Lotion, $55

italian skin care
Photo: Acqui Di Parma

Douse your entire body with the scent of Italy: This body lotion feeds your skin staple olive, almond, and grape seed oils while gracing you with scent notes like bergamot, cedarwood, fig, lemon, and jasmine that will transport you to the island of Capri. (Sounds divine.)

To get beauty inspo from elsewhere around the globe, here's the 4-1-1 on glow-inducing Mexican-based skin-care ingredients. And here's why you should also consider stocking up on Icelandic beauty products

Our editors independently select these products. Making a purchase through our links may earn Well+Good a commission.

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