10 Beauty Lessons I Learned While Traveling Abroad

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The view from my balcony at The Dolder Grand in Zurich.

I'm just back from 6 days of traveling in Germany and Switzerland with natural beauty brands Amala and Primavera. This wasn't your average trip, for many reasons. First, I traveled at 25 weeks pregnant— a bit of an adventure on its own. Second, this trip was 100% focused on natural beauty, including a tour of the remote (and amazing!) eco-friendly German headquarters of Amala and Primavera (look for my coverage in Organic Spa mag), and a peek at Amala products in action at one of the world's most luxurious hotel spas, The Dolder Grand in Zurich. The third thing that stood out about this trip was the location— the German Alps and Switzerland, which had a fairytale feel that made it easy to find beauty everywhere.

You know how leaving your comfort zone to have a fresh experience can truly inspire you? That's exactly how this trip felt. Traveling reminded me of some of the universal truths about beauty and health— truths that apply to your lives as well.

Here are ten simple lessons gleaned from a few magical days abroad...

1. You're guaranteed to find new beauty foods when you leave home. In Switzerland I discovered perfect little Mirabelle plums (high in skin-strengthening polyphenols), feasted on chestnuts (rich in protein, the building blocks of your hair and nails), and sipped the juice of red currants (packed with collagen-building vitamin C). On my last trip, to Ireland, I found a new veggie love: iodine-rich (and great for metabolism) sea asparagus. Trying local foods (the whole, unprocessed kind!) has major benefits for your beauty and body.

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Not a new beauty food discovery, but still gorgeous...a flower-topped salad in Germany.

2. Natural beauty is global, and it's poised to take over the world. From the Primavera and Amala headquarters in Germany, to natural beauty stores in Switzerland and Hong Kong, to Irish natural beauty brand Voya and British natural beauty brand Pevonia, I've discovered some organic and natural beauty gems in my travels. Make no mistake, safe beauty is sweeping the globe!

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Primavera's natural beauty partners around the globe.

3. Plane travel is even more drying than you think it will be. You've heard that you should drink water (not dehydrating colas or coffee) on planes, and spritz your skin with moisture mist during a flight, but it's hard to overstate just how parched you will be after a plane trip. Pure water, healthy fats in the form of raw nuts and seeds, and a rich moisturizer and hand cream are must-haves for your carry-on.

4. Safe, nontoxic skincare is the ultimate luxury— and it's not just natural beauty buffs that think so! When you can get can book a luxury organic facial at a spa in NYC's Mandarin Oriental, California's Rancho la Puerta, or Zurich's breathtaking Dolder Grand (among many, many other spots around the world), you know that natural beauty has officially gone from crunchy to cool.

5. Nothing cures jet lag like a massage. I've never found a better cure for a night of lost sleep or a wacky body clock post-plane travel. Schedule a massage for the day you arrive in a new destination and you'll be amazed at the benefits (which include major immunity and mood boosts).

6. Your beauty routine is even more important away from home. You're in a foreign place, eating new foods, sleeping on an odd schedule— your skin needs its routine! Make sure that this routine is based in natural products and you will help it recover faster, deeper and more completely.

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Sticking with my routine (and trying some natural newbies from Amala) while traveling.

7. Travel increases inflammation and compromises digestion, especially in those who are already sensitive. It's a fact: plane travel messes with sensitive digestive systems. You could see red skin, breakouts, fine lines, and have digestive discomfort and difficulty eliminating properly during your trip. To help your body return to normal, travel with a good probiotic and digestive enzyme supplement, an omega 3 supplement to calm inflammation, and try to choose whole, unprocessed beauty foods as the center of your meals.

8. Spa showers are a breed of their own. Seriously, no matter where you travel, there's something about showering in a spa that's ultra-pampering. The robe, the plush towels, the slippers and spa teas...don't miss the opportunity to indulge!

9. Aromatherapy is a forgotten travel secret. When you can't get to sleep at 2am, or you need an energizing boost to get you through an afternoon of sightseeing (or meetings), turn to aromatherapy before you turn to a pharmacy. You'll be surprised what lavender and rosemary and grapefruit and peppermint do to reset your mind. Amala shared their Lavender Room and Linen Mist with us on the trip, and it won't be leaving my bedside for quite awhile. Sweet dreams indeed.

10. Seeing new places energizes you— and your beauty. The radiance of your skin has ties to your mood and emotions, and there are few better ways to boost both at once than by experiencing a new place, a new work of art, or a new cuisine. Take trips that inspire you and you will glow from the inside out!

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When you work at Primavera and Amala HQ in Germany, this is the view from your office window...

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Sightseeing in Zurich with the lovely SELF magazine beauty editor April Franzino (l).

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Heaven...shelves of natural and organic Amala skin and body products in Germany.