What Is G-Beauty (and Is It the Next Big Thing in Skin Care)?

First, it was the ten-step Korean routine. Then it was J-beauty from Japan. And we’d never forget our coveted French pharmacy-inspired routines. But word on the street is there’s a new skin-care trend in town: G-beauty. (That’s short for German beauty. We were confused, too.)

According to The New York Times, German beauty brands are on the rise, with sales up 19 percent in the last year. Here’s what you should know about the next “it” routine.

What’s the main difference between, say, K-beauty and G-beauty?

While K-beauty is very much about multistep routines, G-beauty is more about clean, efficient products. That’s partly because Europe has much stricter regulations on skin care than other countries. For example, EU law bans more than 1,000 chemicals that are known to have carcinogenic side effects, while the FDA has only banned 11 in the U.S. G-beauty is also big on sustainability, organic practices and plant-based ingredients.

TL;DR? If K-beauty is maximalist, G-beauty is the opposite—down to the packaging. Think targeted, research-backed treatments and transparent ingredient labeling.

What’s the most important step in a G-beauty skin-care routine?

It’s less about steps and more about choosing effective ingredients. Brands like Augustinus Bader, Dr. Barbara Sturm and Royal Fern are popular for their science-based formulations. Dr. Bader has a background in stem cell research, and Dr. Sturm even makes a cream infused with ingredients from her patients’ own blood at her Düsseldorf, Germany-based clinic. (You do you.)

That being said, these brands are also a lot more expensive than other products on the market. But there’s also Dr. Hauschka, Nivea and Weleda, which are more affordable and easily available. Yep, your favorite Weleda Skin Food is German and you don’t have to go to Germany for it (more like Whole Foods). And the good news is, with super-effective products, you don’t need to use, like, 20 of them at once.

Anything else?

Yep. Just because something is German doesn’t mean it's automatically toxin-free. Always scan your labels, friends.

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Senior Food Editor

Katherine Gillen is PureWow’s senior food editor. She’s a writer, recipe developer and food stylist with a degree in culinary arts and professional experience in New York City...