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Products from Far-Flung Corners of the World

In the Birchbox universe there are certain products that we like to think of as the exchange students of our world—quietly intriguing and effortlessly chic, they come from remarkable (and unexpected) locales.

Get Thee from a Nunnery

Le Couvent Des Minimes Gardener's Hand Healer

If you believe that a hand cream can have good karma (and we do), you’ll want to stash this one in your purse. It all began back in 1613, when a group of green-thumbed monks—the Minim Brothers—moved into a convent in the South of France. There, the monks began a tradition that would continue for centuries: cultivating the gardens on the premises. The convent was later used as a hospice, and in 1909, the Franciscan Missionaries of Mary moved in. The sisters took the botany up a notch, opening their doors to the sick and needy while growing health-promoting plants on-site. The present-day Le Couvent Des Minimes is a stunning hotel and spa, as well as a font of healing skin and haircare products. Their salves are still inspired by those original caregivers—and work for the tired hands of ardent gardeners and smartphone addicts alike.

A Nutty Concept

Ojon Restorative Lash Treatment and Mascara Duo

Yet another reason to preserve the rainforest: It harbors a miraculous hair savior. After Denis Simioni received a jar of Ojon oil from a relative, he headed deep into the Central American rainforest to learn more. Simioni found that the nut oil, used by the indigenous peoples of the area for 500 years, had unparalleled reparative qualities—especially when applied to damaged hair. In collaboration with the Miskito tribe (the traditional caretakers of Ojon trees), Simioni has been churning out products under the Ojon label with this golden elixir ever since.

Ingredient Safari

Shea Terra Organics Authentic African Black Soap

Tammie Umbel, the founder of Shea Terra Organics, has a two-pronged plan for aiding native African tribes: create global markets for indigenous ingredients, and help preserve local wildlife through eco-friendly sourcing. That’s where her Authentic African Black Soap comes in. The formula adheres closely to the traditional black soap recipe of West Africa, mixing the ash of local plants with natural oils. The result is a natural exfoliator and blemish-buster that also helps local African tribes achieve greater economic stability.

Skimming the Surface

Algenist Complete Eye Renewal Balm

At last, an ingredient from our own backyard…if our backyard happened to host a reflecting pond. Algae—that slippery green sea matter—turns out to be an antiaging powerhouse. In 2003, the San Francisco-based biotech team at Algenist discovered that microalgae gives off a compound that promotes cell regeneration. Translation: It can help your skin renew itself faster. The compound, alguronic acid, powers all of their antiaging products—like this game-changing eye cream.

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