Phthalates. Kind of fun to say, but no fun to put on your skin. Plus, they’re so last decade. The beauty regimen for the 2020s (and beyond one hopes) takes a minimalist approach, with products to detox your skin and reduce some of the chemicals and toxic ingredients we have been slathering on ourselves and washing into the environment every day. Fortunately, for newly-reformed beauty addicts, Barcelona offers a wide range of alternative, natural, vegan, and organic stores and spas to kick start a new beauty detox routine and enter the new era of clean.
The Beauty Detox
Mariona Vilanova’s is a bit of a facialist celebrity in Spain, given the many actors, influencers, and VIPs who choose her (all kept very hush-hush, of course). Her signature combination of Kobido Japanese lifting facial massage, Chinese Gua Sha techniques, crystals, reiki, aromatherapy, and energy work is unlike any other. To achieve her stunning results, Mariona uses the organic and vegan Le Pure products and a “lifting cup” she personally designed to be able to apply gentle suction to your face, stimulating blood flow and lymphatic drainage. Lymphatic drainage is medical speak for helping all of the toxins and extra fluid drain from your face, hopefully leaving you with healthy, glowing skin, smaller under-eye circles, and less of a double chin (so you can lower that selfie angle). She incorporates energy and chakra work into her facials, explaining, “Balancing the chakras seems very important because beauty is health and emotional well-being is reflected in the face through both the expression and the brightness of the skin or eyes.”
Most popular treatment: The 30 minute Flash Glow Facial, 50€
Most popular product: The Lifting Cup, 130€
To do: Daily auto facial massage. Mariona’s instructional YouTube video and step-by-step sketches walk you through the process. You’ve got three minutes for your face, don’t you?
Address: Gran Via, 617, 3-1
After two years of training in makeup and hair styling and six years as the manager of Spain’s second stand-alone MAC makeup store, Gala Mendez Sevilla set out to create her own vegan makeup studio. “Not all vegans are dirty hippies… they want to wear make-up and look good too,” she says. Today, her boutique Vegala — a combination of her name and vegan — sells her personally curated collection of vegan and organic makeup. She also offers instructional individual and group makeup application workshops for 3-8 people.
Most popular product: Camaleon Color-Changing Matte Colorstick in Rojo, made in Zaragoza, Spain
To try: LilyLolo Big Lash Black Mascara. 19.50€
To do: Makeup application workshop. 35€/person for a two hour workshop.
Address: Calle Santa Eugénia 16, Gracia
For Lilin Yang, the Tawainese founder of international K-beauty brand Miin Cosmetics, it’s all about the packaging and the brand. Lilian wrapped South Korea’s best offerings in customizable, cute pink packages and bundles product based upon your skin type, needs (i.e. travel), or beauty addiction (hello sheet masks). She even sells a boxed collection of six animal-designed face masks that prove irresistible whether you’re a practical mom or girls at a sleepover party.
Most popular product: Pink Blur Hydrogel Eye Patch from G9 Skin, 29.99 euros for 100g.
To try: Mochi BB Cushion compact for the busy lady. SPF 40, mattifying effect and redness-covering, adaptable apricot-beige color, all in an adorable package (of course). 36€ for 15g.
Address: Pau Claris, 110
A recent addition to Barcelona’s K-beauty club, the relatively small Mi-Mo was started just a year ago by entrepreneur Tamara Kovkel. Despite a smaller storefront and online presence, Mi-Mo delivers a more affordable collection (sheet masks for only 1.50€) of unique Korean beauty treatments combined with one-on-one instruction about how to use Harry-Potter-potion style products, such as soothing placenta face masks, snail mucin serums, and spider web toners. A second location is coming at Calvet, 44.
Most popular product: Secret Key Lemon Sparkling Peel Gel (13.60€)
To Try: Gel-consistency toners that don’t require a cotton ball or swab. The folks at Mi-Mo have strong feelings about adhering to toner use, despite it being an extra step shoehorned between post-cleansing and pre-moisturizing. The delicious smelling Hyaluronic Moisture Toner from It’s Skin (16.99€) makes it easier to add it to your routine.
Address: Calle Roger de Llúria 123, Eixample
Signature Spa at the Yurbban Passage Hotel
Jose Calderón created their winning combination of slow beauty spa and high-quality vegan beauty treatments only two years ago. “I didn’t even know that we were the first vegan organic spa in Spain. I only found out after reporters and journalists writing about our spa did their research and told me,” explains Jose. Today, Signature Spa continues to grow. Jose, who reluctantly became vegan, has obviously since embraced it, having just opened his second vegan organic spa at the Seventy Hotel. Last year, the spa’s Eternal Signature Lifting Experience won the prestigious VIDAESTETIC Award in 2018 for Spain’s best beauty treatment.
Most popular beauty treatment: Eternal Signature Lifting Experience. 145€ for the 90 minute treatment using the Japanese Kobido Lifting Technique. Includes body and facial massage and two Scens face masks.
Most popular product: Scens Le Gel Cleansing and Revitzalizing Gel (36€ for 100ml).
To Try: anything with dragons’s blood — aka nature’s Botox — listed as the first ingredient (Crema Ultra Hydrante, Le Gel, Creme Ideal, and Le Regal Eye Cream)
Yurbban Passage Hotel and Spa
Address: Trafalgar, 26
Strip away the chemicals to protect your beauty and the environment. The ‘less is better’ era is here.