1. Your BB Cream: It’s no surprise that Koreans – renowned for their daily ritual of layering dozens of products for
optimal skin tone, radiance and moisture – get credit for kick-starting the BB cream boom. BB creams (BB = beauty balms) are an alternative to foundation, meant to enhance skin, not mask it. The skincare-meets-makeup hybrid has many skin treatment benefits in one tube like primer, SPF, pore minimizing ingredients and provide scant coverage so porcelain complexions can shine through.

How it started: The first BB Creams from brands like Dr. Jart and surfaced in Korea in the 1980s, and originally were meant to treat skin post-surgery. They went on to be endorsed by the country’s best silver screen starlets as the secret for flawless skin. The original versions have thicker, balm-like consistency that you have to work in to skin, and usually only one shade. As the trend has moved west with brands like CoverFx, Maybelline and Estee Lauder, they’re easier to blend, and more shades on the spectrum.

How to use it: Smooth BB creams on in the AM after a thorough cleanse. Given that they’re usually 8 or 10 benefits in one tube, it’s a one-size-fits all quick fix in the AM.

ELLE Canada Pick: Cover Girl CG Smoothers BB Cream SPF 15

2. Your SPF: You can thank Swiss scientist Franz Greiter for being able to effectively shun the sun.

How it started: In 1938 Geiter got scorched on a hike in the Swiss Alps, and the chemist set out to make
effective sunblock. In 1946, his product, Gletscher Crème (Glacier Cream), launched under the brand Piz Buin, is the grandfather of the SPF system we know today. In the 1970s, broad-spectrum UVA and UVB filters were added to brands like Coppertone and Hawaaian Tropic and it has evolved to be far more regulated and effective than ever.

How to use it: Dermatologists recommend a minimum of SPF 30, slathered on 15 minutes before sun exposure. For extended stints in the sun, SPF should be reapplied every two hours to maintain effectiveness.

ELLE Canada Pick:
Dermalogica Solar Defense Booster SPF 50

3. Your keratin hair straightening balm: Frizz-free, bombshell beach hair is a Brazilian signature and they’ll do just about anything to get hair is as swingy at Gisele’s. Enter the keratin straightening treatment to tame tresses (keratin is the protein building block that gives hair strength, shine and softness).

How it started: Brazilian salons went to extremes to make coarse/thick hair submit by combing a severe formula of formaldehyde and keratin – rendering it permanently smooth and straight for months. This harsh in-salon formula created noxious fumes and was hazardous to health. The treatment evolved to gentler formaldehyde-free, at-home keratin treatment shampoos, conditioners and styling sprays.

How to use it:
Keratin shampoos and conditioners as well as styling sprays can be used daily with zero risk of
damage to the hair. The at-home versions from brands like Tresemme, Sally Hershberger and Schwarzkopf act more like rehab for damaged hair – breathing life into stressed/broken strands.

ELLE Canada Pick: Sally Hershberger Hyper Hydration Spray Serum with Smart Keratin

More international beauty items in your makeup bag on the next page …

0-0-0-0-beauty-bag-influencers-m.jpg4. Your water-free cleanser: French skin care rituals are never aggressive, always healing. That’s why it’s no surprise that France is the hotbed for micellar soothing, cleansing waters.

How it started: The water in Paris is notoriously hard and can be aggressive on skin. To avoid rinsing with harsh l’eau, French women started using micellar cleansers from brands like Bioderma, Caudalie, Vichy and Lancôme. These alcohol-and-soap free formulas whisk away dirt, oil and makeup without rinsing. Skin is soft and smooth, never stripped. Now Canadian brands like Neostrata and Lise Watier have their own versions, as well as plenty of drugstore brands like L’Oréal.

How to use it: Douse a cotton pad with the micellar water and cleanse skin – do not rinse. Follow with your toner and moisturizer.

ELLE Canada Pick: Caudalie Makeup Removing Cleansing Water

5. Your moisture maximizer: Canada, and more specifically, Ontario-born beauty maven Elizabeth Arden, gets credit for putting a spin on a workhorse
beauty ingredient – petrolatum. It’s favoured by dermatologists for its ability to lock moisture in the skin and shield it against environmental aggressors.

How it started: Petrolatum jelly has been a skin salve for ages (Vaseline was patented in 1872), but it wasn’t until Arden added Vitamin E and a blend of oils to her 8 Hour Skin Protectant Cream in 1930 that petrolatum became a beauty staple. It got its famous name because it remedied a cut in just eight hours. It’s still the brand’s bestseller and has discerning fans like Victoria Beckham.

How to use it: A multi-purpose ointment that can be slathered on skin, lips, elbows or heels – a cure-all for any dry or rough spots. Ideal in Canadian winters.

ELLE Canada pick: Eucerin Aquaphor Ointment

6. Your cool cred indie brands: Almost all of Australia’s homegrown beauty hits snagged cult status around the globe, paving the way for other independent brands to show up on our beauty radar.

How it started: Because of exorbitant shipping costs and down under weather patterns, Aussie beauty brands got creative to build buzz at home, and then roll out around the globe. Organic Jurlique and apothecary-cool Aesop are skincare standouts while Becca Cosmetics is Bondi-beach babe approved and Miranda Kerr’s Kora Organics has models and moms alike hooked.

Canadian brands have taken the Aussie lead with indie darlings like Bite Beauty, Ilia Beauty and new kid, NudeStix (founded by two Canadian teenaged sisters whose mom Jenny is chemical engineer and a MAC alum) taking prime real estate in cool girls’ makeup bags.

ELLE Canada Pick: NudeStix Lip/Cheek Pencil

Our ELLE International editors share the best beauty and skin care secrets
The top beauty tips from around the world
The secret to Asian skin care