Although it is not as big as K-beauty or has the I do not know what of French beauty, German beauty has a long and rich history and also deserves some attention. And all you need to know about German beauty can be summed up in one sentence: government-subsidized spa days. Yes, you read that right. The German healthcare system — free for all citizens — covers wellness treatments.
Of course, there’s more to it, but it’s all about the spa – and German spa culture dates back thousands of years. Due to its natural hot springs, the city of Baden Baden has been a destination for bathing and personal care since the 2nd century BC. J.-C., and it continues to be a high place of “health tourism” today. As you can imagine, spa treatments come with a host of body and skin care products.
The OG Beauty Marks (German original)
My own German grandmother (who is often mistaken for my mother) swears by the iconic Nivea Creme ($15) – the one that looks like a blue hockey puck. It’s been around for 100 years and is enjoying a bit of a resurgence thanks to hits on TikTok and a general love for all things retro.
Image source: Nivea / Weleda / Dr. Haushka
Other classic German beauty brands include Dr. Hauschka, Weleda and Kneipp. Don’t they all have a similar vibe? This is because they have thermal origin stories, have been around for many decades, and focus primarily on medicinal plants and sustainability. They were doing the natural thing long before clean beauty was all the rage.
German beauty becomes luxury
Recently, German brands have moved up a gear. They still focus on the principles of sustainability and ingredients from biodynamic agriculture, but they lean into the hard science with newer technologies and clinical studies. The packaging and positioning are more luxurious and the spa experience becomes more sophisticated than utilitarian.
Take Amala, for example. This German skincare company has been in spas for over a decade, but only recently became available to the rest of us. “Amala was once the best-kept secret of the world’s most exclusive spas and treatment centers,” says Pav Völkert, the company’s Chief Brand Officer. “Adhering to Germany’s high standards for ingredients and sustainable practices, Amala formulas are crafted with a natural preservative system, cold-pressed raw ingredients and first-pass oils.” There is also a special prebiotic complex unique to the brand.
When you use the flagship Amala Advanced Firming Complex ($248), it’s easy to imagine you’re at a high-end German spa and getting the best facial treatment of your life — not alone in your bathroom applying your face cream. .
Image source: Amala / Augustinus Bader / Dr. Barbara Sturm
German doctor’s marks
Meanwhile, other modern German brands combine medical science with spa principles. Dr. Barbara Sturm is a German physician who focuses on inflammation and orthopedics. she launched Dr. Barbara Sturm Molecular Cosmetics in 2014 with a focus on skin healing and in-office treatments.
Similarly, Dr. Augustinus Bader is a German biomedical scientist and physician who developed his eponymous skin care line based on patented wound healing technology. Augustinus Bader The Rich Cream ($280) has a growing fan base — and while it comes at a hefty price tag, it can replace many other steps in your routine.
What’s next for German beauty brands?
Watch this space as the German beauty shows no signs of slowing down. Skincare is becoming increasingly important to many of us, and highly effective yet responsibly sourced ingredients – something German brands do well – are where it’s at.
Now if we could have a few free spa days. . .
Image source: Courtesy of Amala