Posted by: Jordan
I just got back from a wonderful anniversary trip to Italy and London–I still can’t believe that the trip that we had been looking forward to for so long is already over! But I did bring back some green beauty souvenirs that I wanted to post about.
Our trip began on the Ligurian coast of Italy, in a very small town called Tellaro on the Bay of Poets. Such a beautiful coastline–I can’t recommend it enough if you’re wanting to do an Italian Riviera trip that’s a bit off the beaten path. From the very beginning I was anxious to see what kinds of European natural beauty treats I would discover, and I pre-warned my husband that we would be stopping in every possible pharmacy and/or beauty store. Good sport that he is, I got started on my mission from Day 1 of arriving at our destination. Sadly, I left our 4 days on the coast empty-handed! No interesting natural beauty products to be found at all.
Village of Tellaro in Italy
So, on we went to Tuscany where I hoped that the agricultural focus would lead me to more of a selection in the world of natural beauty. I did have a bit more luck there. In the town of Montalcino I went into a pharmacy and saw Weleda Rosemary Shampoo, which I had never seen before because it is not sold in the U.S. market (we only have the Calendula baby shampoo/body wash). I left the pharmacy excited about my discovery, but without the shampoo, thinking I would be able to pick it up at another pharmacy later in the trip since we were spending 6 days in Tuscany. Several days went by and I didn’t run across the shampoo again. So I made my extremely good sport of a husband drive 45 minutes back to Montalcino so I could buy the shampoo! After buying and using the fresh-smelling shampoo I realized that Sodium Laureth Sulfate is listed in the ingredient list. If you’re trying to be more green with your beauty choices, it is typically suggested to try to avoid sulfates, as they are potential toxins and skin irritants. So, I’m not wowed by this particular discovery. The only other natural beauty product purchased in Tuscany were some nice bar soaps scented with lavender, rosemary, and honey. I picked up the rosemary one as a gag gift for Emily because it was a New Moon soap (yes, as in the Twilight saga movie). See, we were staying in Montepulciano where the town was just thrilled to be chosen as the filming site for New Moon. So everything from olive oil to tee shirts to natural soaps was emblazoned with tourist-friendly New Moon logos!
We spent our last 2 days of our 2 week European vacation in London. Now here is a natural beauty junkie’s dream town!! (Although my new Danish friend, Line, who I met in Tuscany–Hi if you’re reading Line!–told me that if I’m interested in natural beauty, I really need to make a shopping trip to Copenhagen. Done! Next trip idea solved.) For 2 days I dragged my husband around various neighborhoods in London where I learned that some natural beauty stores were located. But it took us forever to get to those destinations because I kept getting sidetracked by tons of health food stores, homeopathic spas, and pharmacies selling natural skincare and cosmetics, such as The Organic Pharmacy (which I found out has store location in LA–lucky west coasters!). At one of the local health food stores they had an extensive Weleda section with several products not sold in the U.S.! And, miracle of all miracles (especially in London), they were MUCH cheaper than in the U.S.!!! So of course I stocked up. I bought a Weleda Rosemary & Ginger Shampoo and Conditioner (sulfate free in this version!) as well as my favorite new purchase, the Weleda Aknedoron Cleanser and Purifying Lotion. These products are intended for “problem skin”, which of course my fickle skin can be a bit troublesome at times, so I had to have this in my unending quest to replace my formerly addictive Proactiv. I haven’t been using it long, but I’m really liking it so far! It has sulfur in it, which Emily loves in “problem skin” products.
One of the special destinations on my London list was in Covent Gardens, Neal’s Yard Remedies. They had several locations in London, but I’m so glad we went to this one because Covent Gardens was one of my favorite neighborhoods we visited. Look at how cute this is: Neal’s Yard is an enchanting little store filled with homeopathic remedies, teas, and a dizzying array of their own line of skincare. I bought a natural lavender sunscreen, which I’ll review in a separate post after I’ve had a chance to use it more. I took this picture of the decal on the front door of the store. Love their philosophy!
Around the corner from Neal’s Yard Remedies is this little gem of a cheese store, which has nothing to do with natural beauty unless you think cheese makes you beautiful, in which case I love you and you need to come live with me! Other than my natural beauty store, I’d love to own a cheese shop just like this one.
Not only did we have an incredible, relaxing, well-fed vacation in Italy and London, but it also turned out to be a great green beauty shopping trip for me. Though our 2 days in London provided me with a lot more goodies, I think maybe if I were in bigger cities in Italy I might have had more luck in my natural product search. Has anyone else had a summer trip that provided them with some great international or lesser known green beauty products? Please share your experiences so Emily and I know where, other than Copenhagen, to go next!