What Is G-Beauty & Why Are These German Products Just So Clean?
If you read any content about skin care and self-care routines, you might have heard of K-beauty and J-beauty—and now G-beauty, the newest alphabetical beauty “trend.” K-beauty, also known as Korean beauty, is famous for its multistep regimen, and J-beauty, Japanese beauty, is all about simplification and paring back to skin care essentials. Both sets of Japanese and Korean beauty practices are derived from ancient, traditional principles; they’ve popped into mainstream beauty consciousness in the last few years. G-beauty, or German beauty, is emerging as a category to watch, especially in the clean beauty space. “The consumer is recognizing the value proposition of clean ingredients and is seeking clean, sustainable, and responsible products,” said Martina Joseph, CEO of G-beauty brand Dr. Hauschka.
Simply by virtue of being manufactured in Europe, German beauty has an edge up on clean formulations—the E.U. bans more than 1,300 questionable ingredients while the United States bans fewer than 20. But there’s more that sets it apart. German beauty has its roots in marrying well-sourced ingredients (think: biodynamic and heritage farming) with a new wave of medical research behind the scenes. Every German brand below has a dermatologist or doctor associated with it. (The only one from the list that doesn’t is Susanne Kaufmann, which is actually based in Austria.) “It is what the brand has been doing for almost 100 years, and we love that consumers are becoming more aware of what they are putting in and on their bodies,” said Robert Keen, CEO of German beauty brand, Weleda. “Many also are aware that the term ‘natural’ is not regulated here in the United States. So it comes as no surprise that they are increasingly searching for brands like Weleda who are actually certified natural by Natrue, Europe’s leading certification body,” he said.
“I think G-beauty is a bit different; they have not really had any of their own beauty companies except Dr. Haushka, so to see brands like Dr. Sturm really come out of the gate swinging with passion, science, and creativity together is something really special,” said Jessica Richards, founder of SHEN Beauty in Brooklyn, a purveyor of clean beauty brands with special niche and expertise of European ones.
“I first heard the concept ‘G-Beauty’ in early 2019, and to me, it means that German skin care companies have come up with a marketing slogan,” said Dr. Barbara Sturm, a self-proclaimed G-beauty skeptic. “The most substantive aspects to ‘Made in Germany’ skin care, in my opinion, are that Germany has banned the barbaric and unnecessary practice of testing on animals, has good academic science institutions, has a particularly strict list of ingredients it deems safe and a well-deserved reputation for manufacturing excellence,” she said. These are the best G-beauty brands on the market right now:
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