Early June is the perfect time to go to Greece. It's warm enough to swim, cool enough to hike, and the sour cherries are ripe. When I went last month, I flew into Athens and stayed two nights there, then spent eight days in Naxos, followed by one in Santorini.
But you don't care about any of that—you're here for the beauty haul, and I'm happy to deliver. I should start by admitting that I spent 200 euros at a pharmacy when I first arrived. Yes, jaws were dropped, but the stuff looked really good? Plus I had packed pretty light, so it was necessary. First on my list: Solidan Gel and Tiger Balm. The Solidan was to treat the cuts I'd gotten on an earlier hike. It's somewhat of a Greek Neosporin, but better because it has arnica in it. Just know that every tiny cut I put this on healed overnight. Tiger Balm (a pharmacy staple, but less Greek and more so a product of the world) also saved me quite a bit. I put some under my nose, and its sharp scent distracted me from a case of mild seasickness (blame it on the long ferry rides). I also slathered it over every bug bite I got. That stuff is magic.
Masks were the most exciting Greek pharmacy find. There were SO many. I wanted to buy them all, and they were mostly travel-sized, so I did! The two big brands you see in Greek pharmacies are Apivita and Korres, and both make a lot of the same stuff—Apivita is maybe just slightly less expensive, and Korres has fancier things. When I travel is when I really want to have a small mud mask handy—it's my go-to for resetting my skin, and it's just the icing on the cake that all of these Greek ones were so good. I also picked up a few moisturizing gel masks to luxuriate in after a long day hiking. Inside they had cooling cucumber, aloe, and even propolis, to fight bacteria.
Sun care was plentiful in Greek pharmacies as well. The first SPF I got was the Frezyderm Active Sunscreen. It comes out gray, has charcoal in it, and on top of it not breaking me out, it also made my skin feel super smooth. I hated the packaging, but I also checked my luggage in order to bring it home with me... After the first couple days though, I wanted less coverage. Sue me—I wanted to leave with a tan! So, for the rest of the trip, I used the Shiseido Clear Stick on just the bridge of my nose and the back of my neck, while putting the Apivita tanning oil with SPF 30 everywhere else. This served me well, except for a few days when I needed the Apivita After Sun Gel for my arms.
Some other things I picked up: a Korres deodorant with aluminum that actually worked. A charcoal toothpaste, a few Korres lip balms because they were cute, and a jasmine body wash from Apivita because I LOVE the smell of jasmine—it was sweet, not sour. And I got an olive oil body lotion from Korres to put in my hair when it got frizzy. I’ll admit I bought a lot, but it set me up for success the rest of the trip. And even now that I'm back, all I have to do is go into my medicine cabinet for a quick reminder of my great Greek beauty adventure.
Photographed by Tom Newton.