Why Russian Beauty Is The Next Global Skincare Craze

From French beauty secrets to cutesy K-beauty to cutting-edge skincare from Japan, beauty traditions and products from all over the globe have made it into our makeup bags and medicine cabinets stateside. But Maria Karr knew there was one country missing: Russia. “I worked in the beauty industry for quite some time and during all these years, I got to experience unique brands from all over the world, from Asia and Europe and Australia, and everywhere else in between,” says Karr. “At one point, I realized that brands from my home country, Russia, had been missing and it made me wonder why. At that point, I hadn’t been to Russia in more than 10 years. I decided to take a personal trip to Russia and see for myself was going on there. When I went in the fall of 2019, I discovered so many incredible beauty brands that I’d never tried myself. I didn’t know about them. It made me so confused and curious, because I’ve tried every single thing that exists, but I’d never crossed one of these brands.”

Karr had an aha moment and realized it was the perfect opportunity to bridge her passion for and experience in the beauty world with her Russian background. She launched Rumore Beauty a year ago, along with her husband, Max Karr, introducing Russian brands and products that had never been seen in the US before. “It’s an intersection of bringing new things to the industry and giving people an opportunity to try products that are really good for their skin because of the ingredients in the formulations,” Karr says.

Oksana Sannikova and Olga Kovaleva noticed the same gap in the market. After moving to New York from Russia—Sannikova was born in Siberia and Kovaleva in the Ural Mountains—they both worked in corporate environments but dreamed of having their own business. “During our work in the office we, like millions of other women, discovered that living this crazily busy lifestyle took away from our ability to take care of ourselves and have time for our daily self-care rituals,” Sannikova says. “We also noticed that traditional Russian ingredients and recipes were not represented in the beauty products in the US market. So, we decided to create an effective line of products that can be used on-the-go.”

Together they co-founded Ona New York, a clean, vegan skincare line inspired by their roots and unique Russian skincare ingredients that have been used for centuries. “In Russian beauty culture, there are a few staple botanical ingredients that have been known since ancient times,” Sannikova says. “Birch tree juice, a natural sap that’s brimming with vitamins B6 and B12, has a long history of being consumed as a rejuvenating tonic, and it was also used for washing the face. Aloe vera is on a windowsill of every household and is used for cuts, burns, scars and pigmentation. Cornflower and chamomile infusions have been used to firm and soothe the skin. That’s why we included these and other adaptogenic ingredients (like hawthorn, magnolia berry and peony) in our products. We rounded out the formula with niacinamide, hyaluronic acid, vitamins and peptides.”

Rumore Beauty exclusively carries products that have a focus on natural and organic ingredients. “In Russia, natural beauty and nature is truly a part of our DNA,” Karr says. “If you were to go back even 30 years, people did not have a lot of access to manufactured beauty products. What people relied upon mostly were natural remedies, different concoctions, herbs and tinctures and whatever people could find and source from the garden, even venturing out into the forest. Now a lot of modern brands are incorporating those natural traditional recipes into their formulas. That’s what makes Russian beauty quite different, because for us it’s really a part of who we are. It’s not a buzzword or cool trends—it’s what has been for generations.”

Growing up in Siberia, Karr frequented banyas, which are traditional Russian steam baths, to sweat out toxins and boost her circulation. Her grandparents even had a banya in their backyard. “Going to the banya was like a family affair,” she recalls. “You go in and do some beauty treatments.”

Since Sannikova and Kovaleva didn’t have access to modern beauty products when they were growing up, their mothers and grandmothers taught them to take care of our skin using traditional remedies with local herbs and plants. Kovaleva recalls spending every summer of her childhood in a small village where her grandparents lived. “I remember going to the forest with my grandmother to pick wild herbs and berries: raspberry, cornflower, hyssop, to name a few,” she says. “We used them to prepare extracts for our skin and hair. Cornflower, for example, is one of the preferred ingredients in eye care products in Russia; it helps with blood circulation, pigmentation, dark circles, and puffiness. My grandmother taught me to use cornflower extract on a cotton pad for the area under my eyes. This recipe inspired us to create our All Eyes On Me eye gels where cornflower extract is one of the main ingredients.”

Karr says one of the biggest differences between Russian and American beauty is that Russians place more value on ingredients than brand names. “People read the labels; they are very, very educated and knowledgeable,” she says. “They know exactly what they want and what it does.” In Russia, there are many sites where people can plug in ingredients lists and get a detailed explanation, with good and potentially harmful ingredients highlighted.   

Carefully curated, Rumore Beauty started with just six brands, honing on ones with an authentic and deep story, whose mission they share. They focus on brands that practice sustainability and natural ingredients that nourish skin. “We spent a lot of time doing research, speaking with lots of experts, and also consumers to get their feedback and get their opinions,” Karr says. “I was combing through all the Russian websites and news sources to really understand what are the brands that are making a difference in that space. And then, of course, looking into social media, product reviews and various platforms there. I took a deep dive to see which brands could offer something new and innovative here to US consumers.”

Next month Rumore Beauty will expand into hair care and body care, introducing 22 new products from four brands. They’ll join Karr’s favorites like the Botavikos Anti Stress Serum, which taps seabuck thorn, cotton extract, and mint and tangerine essential oils to calm and brighten skin, minimizing signs of fatigue, redness and stress. Another go-to is the mi&ko Aqua Balance Overnight Mask for its hydrating and plumping powers. Like all of Rumore Beauty’s offerings, products are under $32.

“Historically, for Russian women, it’s been very important to for the products to be multitaskers and deliver great value without breaking the bank or taking up time because Russians work, they take care of the family, so they have to juggle lots of things. It’s not necessarily about the vanity, it’s really more about products that do the work. Our mission is to give people good skincare without a crazy price tag and to make it accessible to anyone—whoever would benefit from it.” That’s one thing Russian and American beauty have in common!

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By Betty C. Giordano

Welcome to my site. My name is Betty C. Giordano and I am a blogger of everything related to mobile, news, events and reality in general. I hope you enjoy reading my content.

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