Beauty | Life in Germany

German Skincare: An Expat’s First Impression

February 11, 2018

Before moving to Germany, the first thing I worried about was how to have access to the plethora of Asian skincare and makeup products that swarm the malls and local online shopping sites in the Philippines.

It is difficult to associate Germany with beauty, especially for its culture known to value practicality and efficiency. Most, if not all, aspects of life in Germany is designed to be efficient: the traffic system, household maintenance, making appointments, and even waste segregation. A year in and I also noticed how Germans prefer to be dressed ready for any changes in weather. For my eyes used to seeing jolly tropical clothes, the German way of clothing looked a tad less jovial. That German men and women dress not too differently is not far from the truth either. With that, I wondered if there is a place for beauty in Germany. Turns out I’m in for a sweet surprise.

A year hence and my worries have dissipated. In fact, I think the Germans are on to something.


No Non-Sense

Don’t expect to find cute, colorful, and eye-catching packaging (sometimes) with a beautiful smiling woman that scream PICK ME UP or CHOOSE ME for skincare products here. If I didn’t know any better, I could very well mistake them for your regular cough medicine. What you are expected to do instead is to read the packaging (see cough medicine reference) and buy based on whether you are convinced by the content and skin issue addressed. If product packaging is an indication of German beauty standard, then I daresay they find subtlety and substance beautiful.

Individualized per Skin Type

Especially for the organic skincare brands, they offer different formulations per skin type. There are products available for those with normal, combination, dry, sensitive, and mature skin. Back in the Philippines, it was a struggle finding a product for my combination skin. This has resulted to more breakouts as I ended up doing trial-and-error on the products I apply on my face. It could just be because of the climate here in Germany, but I also think I had less breakouts because I am now using products apt for my skin type.


A quick scan of drugstore skincare products showed that most boast of essential oils, natural ingredients, and being vegan and cruelty-free on their boxes. They gave me the impression that they are after harnessing the power of nature to deliver desired results for every skin type. If the selling point of Philippine skincare is the promise of fair skin, the German skincare is all about highlighting the natural ingredients in the product.

Value for Money

For all its emphasis on the natural formulation, I expected the products to be on the costlier side. However, I am pleased that they are still reasonably priced. To illustrate a few: moisturizing creams, serums, and beauty oils are within the 10 to 20 Euro range and beauty masks are at the 0,50 to 2,00 Euro range. The likes of Weleda, Lavera, and Dr. Scheller all have products at this price point. The in-house lines by Germany’s two big drugstores, DM (Alverde) and Rossmann (Alterra), sell skincare products at even lower prices.

The best value for me is finding out that these brands, common in any drugstore, are trustworthy based on the many tests that were undergone to ensure that they meet standards of quality. What more can you ask for, really? Not only are they kind to your skin but also to your pocket.

A Hidden Gem?

A quick look on Google trends and you will see how German skincare is overlooked. As a non-skincare expert and non-German, who has sampled German skincare products for a year, I think it has a lot to offer. Never have my skin been this clear and supple and never have I had the least breakouts (so far). I probably have the weather to thank. And Germany for producing such unassuming yet effective skincare products.

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