Have We Been Sleeping On Italian Beauty? Meet The Brands You Need To Know

The French have some serious competition

Much ado has been made about ‘French girl’ beauty in recent years.

From their wispy fringes to their penchant for minimalism, it would seem that all things Francophile have long dominated global beauty trends… until now. Prepare for the resurgence of all things Italiano.

And while Italy isn’t a great distance from France (and the two together present a rather delightful pairing for a European escapade… Amalfi Coast and Côte d’Azur, anyone?), their beauty preferences couldn’t be further apart.

Where France favours the restrained and refined, the homeland of Sophia Loren and Monica Bellucci celebrates smouldering decadence and unapologetic boldness, much like the country’s beloved espresso quotidiano.

Eleonora Carisi
(Credit: @eleonoracarisi)

In what might be the only shared commonality with their Francese sisters, Italian women also prefer to do their beauty shopping from their local farmacia or ‘pharmacy’.

Luckily for them, the country boasts several popular skincare brands with apothecary roots, many of which date back to the start of the 1900s and earlier, that continue to garner international acclaim.

Thinking of giving your skincare a European holiday? Read on for all the Italian beauty brands you need to know about.

Santa Maria Novella

Santa Maria Novella Relax Body Wash

Founded in 1612, the Officina Profuma-Farmaceutica di Santa Maria Novella is one of the oldest pharmacy and cosmetics shops in the world. A must-visit when in Tuscany, the pharmacy is situated in the heart of Florence and the cult Italian beauty brand has spent the last 600 years developing a range of skincare and fragrances using the highest quality ingredients.

Santa Maria Novella Crema Fluida Relax, $63.00 AUD, from Peony Haute Perfumerie Melbourne.

Kiko Milano

Kiko Milano

Commonly dubbed the “MAC of Italy”, Kiko Milano is a favourite among high street and high end shoppers alike. Founded in 1997, the affordable brand boasts a range of popular products across makeup, skincare and cosmetics accessories.

Kiko Milano Color Fever Eyeshadow Palette, approx. $21.17 AUD, from Kiko Milano



Founded in Milan in 1983, Collistar continues to be one of the foremost leaders in Italian beauty. And given Italian women’s famous devotion to bold eyes and lush lashes, it seems fitting that one of their best-selling products is an ultra-volumising, jet-black mascara that conditions and strengthens the lashes with each use, promising 41% thicker lashes in just two weeks. Bonus? Every product is made in Italy.

Collistar Mascara Volume Unico® Thickening ‘Tailor-Made’ Shaping, approx. $25.75 AUD, from All Beauty


Borghese Roma

With a name stemming from the Princess Marcella Borghese, an Italian royal from the ’30s whose thorough beauty regime and love of spa culture was widely renowned, it’s no surprise that Roman brand Borghese is one of the leaders in Italian luxury cosmetics. According to the brand, “self-care isn’t a luxury in Italian culture, it’s a necessity”, and one that nourishes the soul and spirit alike.

Borghese Advanced Fango Active, $65.34 AUD, from House of Beauty


Carthusia perfume

Craving a sun-kissed sojourn to Capri? Renowned Italian profumeria Carthusia will take you there. Easily one of the most beloved fragrance brands in the country, Carthusia sources the purest natural ingredients from Capri itself to create the most authentic aromas possible.

‘Fiori di Capri’, one of their top-selling perfumes, is a fragrance like no other, boasting artfully layered notes of wild carnation hand-picked from Capri’s Mount Solaro, lily of the valley, amber and sandalwood to capture the essence of the island through an original Medieval recipe from 1380.

Carthusia Fiori Di Capri Eau De Parfum – 100ML, $175.00 AUD, from Saison

Manetti Roberts of Florence

Manetti Roberts of Florence

Originally created in 1867 by Manetti Roberts’ herbalists, their rose tonic ‘Aqua alle Rose’ has been a favourite of Florentine women since it first came into existence. Arguably the brand’s most famous product, the century-old formula delivers a dewy freshness to the face thanks to its combination of pure centifolia rose essence and distilled spring water.

Manetti Roberts Florentine Rose Water, $29.95 AUD, from Saison

Skin & Co Roma

Skin & Co Umbrian Truffle Hand Cream

While one can never go past a little tagliatelle con tartufo when a pasta craving strikes, truffles have become equally at home in Italian skincare, with Umbrian brand Skin & Co leading the charge since 1911. A family-owned business, the brand continues to use their nonna’s original “truffle formula”, which became a favourite amongst the 1950s Italian film stars, in many of their sought-after products today.

Skin & Co Roma Umbrian Truffle Hand Cream, approx. $16.60 AUD, from Skin & Co Roma


Davines Oi Absolute Beautifying Shampoo

Founded in Parma, Italy in 1983 by the Bollati family, Davines commenced as a research laboratory in the high-end haircare sector for cosmetics brands worldwide. After a decade of developing its expertise for other brands, the company created its own brand and has been a front-runner in Italian haircare ever since.

Davines Oi Absolute Beautifying Shampoo 280 ML, $44.95 AUD, from Salon Style

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