I don’t review a lot of Polish products on my blog because despite being Polish and loving Polish cosmetics, I live in Australia and thus most of my readers would be English speaking. Polish products are definitely hard to get your hands on if you don’t speak the language or visit their shores in person. I do feature them more often in my Instagram posts because I can’t help but share the things I love to use, so I decided to do a ‘summary’ post of my favourite Polish makeup and skincare products of the moment 🙂 I figure we are such a global community and travel abroad more easily and more often, it might be helpful if you spend a weekend visiting Poland and want to check out some local goodies. Or you might be adventurous and look to order them online, so I will give you a few tips on the stores I order from and what to be mindful of 🙂
Above: A collection of my favourite Polish Cosmetics 🙂
Bikor Highlighter in Kyoto and Egyptische Erde Bronzing Powder
Poland has a lot of drugstore makeup brands but not that many higher end brands, and for a long, long time the ones that did exist were seriously elusive. That’s where Bikor comes in 🙂 They are a niche brand with some seriously high quality products! The products appeal to makeup artists and makeup lovers alike, thanks to each products high pigmentation and skin loving ingredients. Every detail has been thought through. The bronzer, Egyptische Erde, was the first product the brand released and it’s become a bit of a cult hit. For some reason it has a German name ‘Egyptian Earth’. I loooove the retro 80s packaging, which includes a geometric pyramid on the front (you can’t see it in the photo above, but check it out here) and generally the 80s vibe you get from the colour scheme of the case (gold and this red-ish brown tone) and the choice of material it’s made out of – a matte plastic, that includes a see through layer, to the shinier red-brown tone beneath it (conceptually representing ‘the earth’ I assume). It’s just cool 🙂 I have a ‘limited edition’ version of the bronzer which was released last year to celebrate the products 20th anniversary, but I don’t believe the colour is different to the original Egyptische Erde, it just has a few more hydrating ingredients in its formula.
- Due to its elaborate composition, Bikor Egyptische Erde is an irreplaceable beauty product that not only makes you look more beautiful, but also conditions your skin while it is at it. Its formula was created over twenty years ago and is constantly subjected to improvements that are inspired by the latest developments in cosmetic technology. The product has quickly gained a cult status and plans to stay on this path.
Egyptische Erde is a universal and intelligent beauty product that adapts to all skin types. First application gives the effect of natural illumination. With each subsequent one, you will reach a new level of tan (up to nine layers), and model the oval of your face.
It is a bronzer with the characteristics of a mineral cream. To be more specific: they are vitamins and minerals that in the final phase form an emulsion which then undergoes the process of baking. BIKOR Egyptische Erde is not a powder but a cream in a form of a moist stone. o make the best use of its qualities, apply Egyptische Erde directly on the skin. As a result, nutrients and skin-nourishing ingredients contained therein will sink into your skin.
The bronzer comes in one universal shade, which is said to be suitable for anyone, including those of us with very fair skin tones. I’m not sure about this claim because it’s a medium to dark shade, which I don’t think porcelain skin could get away with. I wouldn’t say it has an orange undertone, but it is a little red and warm, which in my opinion is actually quite natural looking because when our skin naturally tans, there is a little redness to it (exactly like when you are out in the sun for a little too long!). It’s certainly a bronzing powder, not the cool sculpting powders we see a lot of atm. It does layer beautifully, and melts into your base makeup (foundation). As it’s a mineral baked powder, it’s formed this hard like crust over the top of the product (after many uses though – this happens to Bourjois blushed too, due to the oils you pick up on your face which transfer onto your brush and then the product) but I don’t mind this, because it means my brush picks up less product (it’s very pigmented otherwise) and I can apply it lightly to my skin even once summer is over without worrying about it looking OTT, to get a gorgeous wash of warmth. I do need to try and use it in summer, when I am not wearing any foundation or perfecting base product. It might be helpful to mention that I have a fair to medium complexion, depending on the time of year.
KYOTO, though barely visible, it will make your skin radiant through the day.
This reflective powder will light up your skin. Apply it and enjoy luminous, smoothed and refreshed skin.
Now onto the Kyoto Highlighter…. I LOVE this highlighter! It’s such a brilliantly formulated product, it feels like butter. It almost looks a little moist in the pan, so you know it won’t look powdery on the skin. As such, it also just melts into you skin and blends like a dream. It has a silver/pink pearl shimmer. Because the texture is so smooth and soft, it gives a very sophisticated glow. The powder also smells like sweet white chocolate 🍫 I can’t recommend this product enough, so if you are new to the brand, I recommend picking up the highlighter! If you’d like to see a swatch of the highlighter, check out the review I wrote up a few years ago now (here – I also reviewed two of their eyeshadow quads). There’s a new colour in the Kyoto Highlighter ‘line’, no. 2, which is a gold champagne hue. I can’t wait to get my hands on it! 🙂
Buy: Bikor offer worldwide shipping and their prices are reasonable! You can pay either in Polish Zloty, Pounds, US dollars or Euro. They use UPS as their preferred courier. They also have a concept store in Warsaw and you can find their products in some beauty/makeup salons around Poland. For all the address details, see their website. Their website is easy to navigate and they provide a lot of product details in English, including English reviews and a FAQ page. Their customer service team is also very response via email 🙂 Minti Shop (a popular Polish online beauty shop I purchase from often) also sells Bikor makeup, including the limited edition Egyptische Erde. International shipping is also available for pennies! Mintishop is a little harder to navigate as they don’t have English translations/instructions, so Google Translate will be your best friend if you don’t speak Polish. Their customer service team is bound to have someone who can get back to you in English is needed.
Blend It Sponges
A Polish brand of makeup sponges. These are hard to find (I think) because I can only find them on Minti Shop. Blend It has a website showcasing all of their products, but no webshop. I think they are worth the trouble of finding and ordering though. Why? Because they are better than Beauty Blenders in the long run. Beauty Blenders irk me because a) they are soooo expensive and b) the dye runs from the sponges EVERY time you wash them, and eventually they look faded and old. For the price you pay, they should stay green damn it (or whatever colour yours is!). Blend It sponges are fab because they aren’t quite as soft as Beauty Blenders. Don’t get me wrong, they are soft – even the little Blend It sponges are great for the under eye area – but they are slightly less porous than Beauty Blenders and thus donk soak up as much product. You notice the huge difference they make once you give them a go. I’m sure I am saving on a ton of concealer thanks to these guys 🙂 The colour from my Blend It sponges also havn’t faded at all from what I can tell and the colour doesn’t run when I wash them (and I have a neon pink and bright blue sponge, as you can see in the photo). Oh and the price difference is massive! One large Beauty Blender costs 30 DOLLARS (Australian). One large Blend It sponge costs 24,90 zloty (on sale atm, but usually they are 29,90 zloty) which is around $9.30 Australian. That’s a massive difference. Also note: Some cheaper sponges are soooo hard once they are wet, they almost hurt. These aren’t like that at all. They are super soft and pleasant to use! In comparison, I find Mecca branded beauty sponges and the Real Techniques sponges to be too hard. I know which sponges I will be using from now on 🙂
Buy: Available at Minti Shop.
M Brush by Maxineczka
Maxi is a Polish Youtuber and my favourite Youtuber by far!!! She lives and breathes beauty and makeup specifically, so of course she has the skill to produce the best brushes ever. Even Anastasia Beverly Hills features her brushes on Instagram – that’s pretty major! They are the best brushes ever for a few reasons 🙂 Each brush is handmade from natural bristles in Japan. The bristles are so, so soft, it’s ridiculous. I love that the detailing on the brushes is gold instead of your regular silver. Every detail has been considered carefully, as well as brush shapes of course. Each brush is meant to be multi-functional – there’s no rule to say that one brush is only meant for one particular purpose or part of the face. Considering they are Japanese brushes, they are a bargain compared to Suquu or Hakuhodo brushes. I’d put them at the same price point and quality as Wayne Goss brushes (that’s the closest comparison I can make). The Burgundy collection of brushes are particularly beautiful. This was meant to be a limited edition set but is now permanent from what I can tell 🙂 They are available in sets or individually. You can only get them from Minti Shop and they are seriously worth it!
Above: The Burgundy M Bruch Collection, look at the 24 karat gold detailing!
Buy: Available at Minti Shop.
Ziaja Skin Care
Ziaja is a super afforadble Polish skincare brand that’s been around for agggges. You can find it at pretty much any drugstore (for example, Rossman which is like Australia’s Priceline or Ulta in the US), supermarkets (Tesco) and chemists. They also have their own stores, which carry their Ziaja Pro lines. Two of my favourite products from Ziaja are their Foot Cream with 15% Urea (krem do stóp, nawilżający zmiękczający mocznik 15%) and the Pro Eye Cream-Mask with ceramides 1, 3 and 6. The foot cream is seriously hydrating. Urea is a seriously undervalued ingredient. What does it do? It is strongly hygroscopic (water-loving) and draws and retains water within skin cells. It also has keratolytic effects – which means that the urea softens dead skin cells, so they can be easily released from the surface of the skin. So in other words, urea is the perfect ingredient for a foot cream, if you want to hydrate your feet but also get rid of any hardened skin.
I mentioned the Ziaja Pro Eye Cream-Mask in my post on Stieva-A (tretinoin) & Differin, as I use it on top of Differin around my eye area. It’s perfect for this task as the simple hydrating ingredients, soothe my skin after the active Differin cream-gel. Any active form of vitamin A (whether its retinol or tretinoin) exfoliates the skin as well as repairing photo damage, so you need something that is hydrating and soothing. One of the main ingredients in the Ziaja Pro Eye Cream-Mask is mineral oil. Mineral oil is not the baddie everyone makes it out to be. Even ‘skincare cop’ Paula Begoun states on her website that “Cosmetics-grade mineral oil is [among those] considered the safest, most nonirritating, and effective moisturizing ingredients ever found.” A study from 1989 (in the Journal ‘Dermatitis‘) found found that mineral oil was more effective in preventing water loss from the skin than a solution with 15% linoleum acid a fatty acid.
Mineral oil has also been shown to be effective in wound healing, according to Futurederm. Further, mineral oil is an occlusive agent, which, according to the textbook Cosmetic Dermatology “functions by filling the spaces between desquamating corneocytes to create a smooth surface.” When filling those spaces, unfortunately, mineral traps other ingredients into the skin. If the other ingredients are comedogenic (pore-clogging), mineral oil can exacerbate their negative effect, as Gadberry notes, “Caution should be used when mineral oil is included in leave-on products containing pore-clogging ingredients — at least when these products are applied to clog-prone skin.” So it’s not mineral oil that is the problem, but potentially other ingredients found in your skincare. I’m not worried about using it around my eyes, because tretinoin (or adapalene, which is in Differing – a synthetic form of tretiinoin) is not comedogenic. It also hasn’t caused any milia to form around my eyes 🙂 On top of that, the eye-mask contains ceramics 1, 3 and 6. Ceramides are like the glue that holds cells together (cell membranes) and allows them to function like they should. Ceramides 1 and 3 work synergistically to hydrate skin and prevent trans-epidermal water loss, especially when skin has becomes irritated (PubMed). So its perfect for the under eye area and post retinol or tretinoin application. It also contains hyaluronic acid, cocoa seed butter, panthenol, and vitamins C & E. The packaging states you can use it after demo-cosmetic procedures (different types of laser treatments etc.) It is a thick white cream texture, but it goes a loooong way. It’s not oily or greasy at all. I apply it quite liberally, and the white colour of the cream disappears after a while. I’ve easily had my 50ml eye cream-mask for a year already and still have a quarter left in the tube! Even though it’s also described as a ‘mask’ I don’t wash it off (I don’t think you are meant to either). I think they’ve called it a mask because it is just so moisturising and soothing.
Ziaja products are ‘simple’, but they use dermatologically tested ingredients, which have lasted the test of time! A day cream comes in around the 10 zloty mark, which is just under the 4 Australian dollars at the moment – crazy! So so cheap!
Buy: ‘Ziaja Dla Ciebie’ (‘Ziaja For You’ stores, you can find an interactive map of all the stores locations here), Rossman, Chemists and other Drugstores. You may also find Ziaja products at Polish delis around the world. They won’t carry the full line, but may have a few products to choose from. There is a Ziaja US website and webshop in English here. I believe they only ship within the US, but you can read all the product descriptions and ingredient lists in English at least 🙂 I buy my Ziaja products from Apteka Slonik (English translation: Elephant Chemist lol! It sounds much cuter in Polish, trust me 😉 ). Apteka Slonik ships worldwide, but the website is only in Polish.
Yope Tea & Peppermint Natural Hand Cream and Salvia & Green Caviar Natural Hand Cream
A ‘green’ beauty brand, that specialises hand washes, cleansers and hand creams. The hand creams are SO delicious smelling and SO nourishing, you will fall in love with their products! The products are also well designed – I love hand creams that are housed in metal tubes and the illustrations on the products are cute to boot! Each hand cream is made from 98% naturally derived ingredients. The Tea and Peppermint hand cream smells so fresh, but it’s not OTT. Salvia & Green Caviar is more herbal smelling but still fresh. The scents aren’t artificial, which is important to me. I find a lot of hand creams ‘disappear’ from my hands after sinking in, leaving my hands feeling dry again. I don’t have that problem with these hand creams (I also have the Salvia & Green Caviar hand cream). I’d compare these to L’Occitane Shea hand creams in terms of texture and hydration, but they work out to be much cheaper 😉
Tea & Peppermint Natural Hand Cream
Herbal, refreshing, cooling.
What nourishes your hands?
We supplemented the refreshingly scented cream with 100% natural extract from green tea and peppermint. We created a product for dry and weakened skin. The key ingredients of
the cream are natural and organic plant oils, shea butter and vitamin E. Argan oil, coconut oil and olive oil strengthen and nourish the skin. The green tea extract fights free radicals and stimulates the production of collagen fibres. The peppermint extract soothes skin irritations and stimulates natural regeneration of skin cells, and vitamin E delays the signs of aging. Shea butter prevents rapid evaporation of water from the epidermis.
What is the product free from?
Mineral oils, parabens, PEGs, silicones and artificial dyes.
Salvia & Green Caviar Natural Hand Cream
Herbal, delicate, fresh.
What nourishes your hands?
We supplemented the herb-scented cream with 100% natural extract from sage and exotic marine algae (also known as green caviar). We created a product for dry skin prone
to irritations which quickly moisturizes and soothes it. The key ingredients of the cream are natural and organic plant oils, shea butter and vitamin E. Argan oil, coconut oil
and olive oil strengthen and nourish the skin. Sage extract has anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties. Green caviar smoothes the skin and vitamin E delays the signs of aging and protects skin from free radicals. Shea butter prevents rapid evaporation of water from the upper layers of the skin.
What is the product free from?
Mineral oils, parabens, PEGs, silicones and artificial dyes.
Buy: There is an English website (here) and if you are located in Europe, there is a list of stockists on their website 🙂 Their products are also available via Minti Shop, who ship worldwide, but the website is only in Polish (so Google translate is a must, or send them an email).
Inglot Beautifier Tinted Cream
I don’t own a lot of Inglot products, despite being a makeup lover. I’m not really sure why. Maybe because most of their ‘colour makeup’ comes in singles and sooooo many colours, I get overwhelmed. At the same time, the products are rather ‘simple, so it’s not all that exciting. In saying that, I’m sure there are brilliant gems waiting to be discovered, just like the Beautifier Tinted Cream. It’s a tinted moisturiser as you may have guessed, but it has a thicker consistency than your usual run of the mill tinted moisturiser. This could be because it also has a little more pigment and hydrating ingredients in its formula. Think of it like a BB cream on steroids 🙂 The colour I have, 102, was a little to light for me to use during summer, but I will be reaching for it in Winter. The packaging is also super minimalistic, a little 30ml tube. No over-sized, wasteful packaging here! PERFECT for travel. It comes in 8 shades, including some gorgeous deep shades. They’ve done such a good job with the shade range – tinted moisturises tend to be limited to 3 or 4 shades, which can be really problematic. Thankfully Inglot have stepped outside onto the street and have seen how many beautiful girls of all skin tones want to buy makeup!
In addition to its rich moisturizing properties, this product adds subtle colour and evens out the skin tone. Enriched with Coenzyme Q10, saffron extract, and vitamins C, E, and F. HD pigments ensure an illuminating and soft focus effect. Perfect for those who are looking for a very natural effect of healthy, glowing, and hydrated skin.
Comes in a wide range of shades to match any skin tone. Suitable for sensitive skin.
Buy: Online (there is an Australian web shop, hooray!) or at Inglot counters. It’s a brand that is becoming known around the world, so if you do some Googling, you will probably find a counter near you 🙂 In Poland, there are of course stand alone stores all over the country.
The “Green Laboratory” is a – you guessed it – a green and eco cosmetic brand that specialises in skincare products. I probably shouldn’t have included it in this particular line-up, because it used to be easily accessible via Minti Shop, but they seem to have dropped the brand 🙁 They also don’t have their own stationary shop, but rather, sell through their products via their website, other websites and a few stationary stores (i.e. Reset, a shop in Warsaw full of homewares and niche beauty brands like Zielone Laboratories, but also an online shop). However, I assume that 99.9% of the online shops only ship orders within Poland, so your best bet would be to find a stationary store in Warsaw or Krakow, that sell the brand. Sorry Beauties 🙁 In saying that, it is worth mentioning this product, Olejek do Ciała Ujędrniająco-Wygładzający (Firming and Smoothing Body Oil). I bought it because of it’s ingredient list – jojoba oil, sweet almond oil, carrot seed oil, sunflower seed oil and orange peel. Carrots contain beta-carotene and vitamins E and A. Beta-carotene deepens your tan and gives your skin a gorgeous healthy colour, so I really wanted to see how it would work ‘topically’. You can see that the oil is orange in the bottle, so I thought to myself that it must work in the same way as if you were drinking carrot juice haha 🙂 I do think it helped moisturise my skin, but also keep my summer tan for longer. It has the most delicious warm scent – something similar to a carrot cake baking in the oven and the scent drifting through the house… it’s so unique and there’s no ‘filler ingredients’ – you can tell they have been purposefully chosen.
Buy: It’s a gorgeous product and I hope I will be able to get my hands on it somehow in the future. A full list of stationary stores and online stores you can pick up the products can be found here.
That’s it Beauties! I hope you enjoyed this slightly different post, and maybe you will find a Polish gem to add to your collection! Let me know what product you would like to try in the comments below 🙂
Catch ya next time,