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Spanish beauty products

I'm headed to Madrid and Barcelona in September and would love any recommends for Spanish beauty products that might not be available in the US. As an example, when I'm in France I hit the Pharmacies for great skincare, lotions and lip balms (LaRoche Posay, Avene, etc)

I'm not interested in perfume, or expensive brands that I can get at Nordstrom here, just good quality stuff the locals like.

Any recommends are appreciated!

Posted by
2765 posts

... this is the European Union, the largest single market in the World....expect to find pretty much the same products from the same global brands, whether French, Spanish, German, etc in every major city of the 29 countries that form it. ))

Having said that, note that Spain is the sixth exporter in the World of beauty products and the fifth market of these products in the EU. Some 83% of the companies in this sector in Spain are SMEs (small and medium enterprises) so there are quite a number of brands, yet the market is heavily dominated by the local bigger corporations which have over 40% of the market. Yet precisely because it's the sixth major exporter, it's likely you'll find many of our big brands in the US too.

If you expect to find mostly Spanish (or Catalan where appropriate) brand names you're in for a surprise... welcome to the wonderful world of 'marketing reasons' so common here in Europe.... you see say a label "Massimo Duti" in a business suit and immediately think about the elegant tailors from Milan in Italy... however the brand is Spanish; or see the famous "Pepe Jeans" in say Berlin and think of Spain, but no, it's a British brand, same goes for thousands of many other products in all sorts of industries. In cosmetics, for example, not all French-like brand names are even French (a good example is "Natura Bissé", incidentally a Catalan firm based here in Barcelona and one of the big players) or the exotic "Ami Iyök" (no, not Swedish but also Catalan). Saying so because if you're looking for local products don't guide yourself by how the brand name sounds.

Just as a curious exercise... how many of these products would you say are from our biggest fragrance producer here in Catalonia, the company PUIG? (btw, pronounced "pooch")... I'm sure some might sound familiar to you: Nina Ricci, Carolina Herrera, Paco Rabanne, Jean Paul Gaultier, Prada, Valentino, Comme des Garçons, Antonio Banderas, Shakira, Mango, Adolfo Dominguez, Agatha Ruiz de la Prada, Victorio & Lucchino.... the answer is.... all of them!

Among some of the best known glocal brands, one can find PUIG, NATURA BISSÉ, THE LAB ROOM, ARCHANGELA, GERMAINE DE CAPUCINNI, FARMA DORSCH, UTSUKUSY, NAOBAY, UNANI, KUESHI, LIPOTEC (now in the hands of Warren Buffet!) etc.

Then, of course, there are the dozens of "bio" or "natural" brands, which are in the hands of smaller but very successful companies -some of them, that is! THALISSI, TERPENIC LABS, MATARRANIA, BIOXAN, PROPIEL, AMI IYÖK, ALGABASE, ALQVIMIA or PHERGAL LABS are some of these brands. These are more likely to be found in smaller specialised shops rather than in big chains or department stores. Especially 'curious' can be a couple of shops that come to mind located here in Barcelona and that offer all sort of products made out of olive oil (we're large producers of it!) including cosmetics, which are supposed to be so godly for skincare, one is called Oro Liquido (appropriately translated as Liquid Gold!) located in Carrer de la Palla, 8 and the other one is La Chinata Barcelona in Carrer dels Àngels, 20. Both stores are in the Old City. There are plenty more... just google for them.

Many of the above are Catalan firms, which dominates the industry, some are located here near Barcelona.

I had the opportunity to delve into the interesting world of fragrances and cosmetics a few years back during a consultancy project I did for Puig, one of the biggest companies in this industry, and I have to tell you the range of local products and brands is enormous. If you're curious about this market in Spain you can get a glimpse here:

Yet the two learnings I got from that project is that (1) never use the brand names to guess where a product might come from, you're probably gonna get it wrong and (2) prepare yourself for a lot of B.S. in the advertising messages.


Posted by
17 posts

Wow! Thank you for this well written and incredibly detailed post!

It seems that I have much to explore and look forward to!

Posted by
2765 posts

I recommend you these chains when in Barcelona: Sephora, La Balear, Druni, Alquimia, Perfumeries Julia, Kiko, El Corte Inglés and specifically for bio/natural products: Rituals and El Manantial de Salud. There are many, many more... but you gotta start somewhere, don't you? :))

Posted by
4675 posts

Do the same thing in Spain as you did in France. Someone already mentioned the major chains so you should be good to go.