Being a self-confessed makeup and beauty addict, one of the things I most enjoy when I travel is taking home new products to try. I have a great degree of confidence in anything Italian-made. I know it will be quality and stylish. And when it comes to skincare and health products, I’ve hit the jackpot in Italy. When I was last working in Rome in 2011, I took home some organic soaps and skincare and these were truly wonderful.

This year, I’ve bought a great little day cream for sensitive skin prone to redness – L’ Erbolario Crema Viso per Pelli Delicate ed Arrossate. It’s made from camomile, licorice and rusco, which is apparently known as Butcher’s Broom and is an Eurasian shrub that enhances blood flow. Possibly not good for someone with reddish skin but I must say this cream was a delight to use. Not greasy. Didn’t make me look like an oil slick with my combination skin. But the drawback is the little 30ml pot only lasted for just on five weeks. At Euro 17.00 (around NZ $27.00) this isn’t a frugal buy. So I found a replacement.

The Antipodes day cream I brought over with me isn’t cutting it. Antipodes is an NZ skincare range and I think the day cream will work okay back in the winter of NZ. But here in the heat of Rome it was too heavy for my skin. I hope it will perform back in NZ because it’s said to minimise redness.

Anyway. I choofed off to my favourite health food shop near the Jewish Quarter. I think they refer to these shops as biological or organic shops – not health food shops. It was here that I bought the Aloe Ferox that started the process of healing my scaly ankle skin (although Lancome’s Nutrix Body cream cleared it up completely).

The replacement cream is by Italian organic brand, Frais Monde, and the full name of it is Crema Lenitiva al collagene marino, lattuga e sfingosomi per pelle delicata e sensibile. I think this basically means a soothing cream with marine collagen, lettuce and sfingosomi for delicate and sensitive skin. Lettuce? And no idea what sfingosomi is but at Euro 20.00 for 50ml (instead of 30ml) it’s a far better buy. I’ll let you know how this cream goes once I’ve finished up the L’ Erbolario.

When I bought the Aloe Ferox a week or so ago from this shop, I also picked up a face oil to use at night – Italian brand Argital. This has proved to be soooooo gorgeous to use, with its lingering scent of damask rose essential oil, I decided to pick up another bottle to take back to NZ, along with a bottle of 100% natural Argan oil for the face. I swear after just one week of using the rose face oil, my skin is softer looking. These face oils are Euro 16.00 each (around NZ $25.00) and because I only use the oil at night, and use 3-4 drops on damp skin, each bottle should last for ages.

I also picked up a 250ml bottle of sweet almond oil for the body (although the lady in the shop told me it’s drinkable too). It’s by Flora Laboratori di Natura. At Euro 11.60 (around NZ $18.50) this is a great buy. I’ve seen 200 ml bottles in NZ costing $25.00. Even if it’s a comparable price, I’m keen to try the Italian version.

Lastly, I picked up an organic honey shampoo. I normally use Joico Colour Endure range or The Body Shop’s Rainforest Radiance (the latter because it’s free from silicones, parabens, colourants and sulphates). I brought Joico with me and it’s almost finished so I thought why not pick up an Italian shampoo by Apodea. Apparently, Apodea was started by the Rossi family in Umbria and features honey as a key ingredient because the family practices biodynamic beekeeping. What I didn’t know is that Apodia is a cult brand for the Japanese.

The shampoo cost Euro 15.00 (around NZ $24.00). A bit costly yep but doesn’t contain all that nasty silicone business that supermarket shampoos have. So hoping this doesn’t turn out to be my HG of shampoos because I’m not sure how I’d get it again. It’s bad enough that I can’t get my favourite Korres shampoo in New Zealand. Actually, I should double-check this because Mecca Cosmetica is now in NZ and in Christchurch. Perhaps they carry the Korres range as they do in Australia.

I’ll do reviews on each product once I’ve road-tested them for awhile. Who knows what I’ll be picking up in Paris next week – I have to go there for the weekend and, of course, the French are pretty good at organic stuff.

Flora Laboratori di Natura 250 ml Sweet Almond oil.

Apodea Honey shampoo.

Frais Monde cream for sensitive and delicate skin.

Argital facial oils.

L’ Erbolario cream.