Brazil seems to be the center of the sports universe at present, what with the current World Cup and the upcoming 2016 Summer Olympic Games.
Beauty companies are taking note, launching products that capitalize on the attention as well as the country's reputation for sultry beauty.
Brazil isn't only about Rio and the finely feathered, headdress-wearing, scantily clad samba dancers at Carnival. Sure, makeup mavens are drawing inspiration from the upbeat colors these hip-swerving festivities conjure: joyful oranges, vivacious reds, daring pinks. But there's also Brazil's nature-loving, laid-back beachy side and modern sophistication.
"I think there is the more folkloric side of Brazil that people know internationally, that's more connected to Carnival and samba, but Brazil also has a different aesthetic. There's kind of our own very modern identity," says Brazilian fashion designer Pedro Lourenço, who grew up in São Paulo. "If you look in architecture or design, you have amazing names like [Pritzker Prize winner] Paulo Mendes da Rocha. I want to show this side of Brazil that's maybe not as well-known internationally but inside of Brazil is very respected."
To complement his spring 2014 clothing collection, Lourenço created a MAC Cosmetics line filled with saturated reds and sophisticated nudes. As he designed the beauty collection, he was mindful about creating makeup that would work for a wide range of skin tones.
"As we [Brazil] were colonized and have immigrants from all over the world, we have the mix of different races of people," says Lourenço. "That's something very beautiful about Brazil."
The country is, indeed, known for its gorgeous women — think of models Camila Alves McConaughey, Adriana Lima and Gisele Bundchen (the latter of whom reportedly has been tapped to present the World Cup trophy to the winning team).
Besides hitting the gene pool jackpot, McConaughey and Lima both say that locally grown fruit and nuts, applied topically or eaten, are among their Brazilian beauty secrets. And some of the cosmetics and skin care products on the market in the U.S. now incorporate ingredients from Brazil's Amazon rain forest or other areas. L'Occitane's Au Bresil Collection, for instance, features flower extracts sourced from local growers in Brazil, and package designs were created in collaboration with Brazilian artists.
But don't rule out those bright colors, sensuous reds and berry tones in makeup choices.
"I always find beauty in women when they respect what they want and desire," Lourenço says. "There is a beauty in people expressing themselves."
Some Brazil-inspired products to try:
L'Occitane au Brésil Collection, with extracts from Brazilian flowers. The collection includes L'Occitane Jenipapo Shower Oil ($25); L'Occitane Sun-Kissed Essentials Jenipapo Lip Balm and Vitória Régia Hand Cream set ($24); L'Occitane Vitória Régia Day & Night Fragrance Duo ($84). All available at usa.loccitane.com.
OPI Brazil Collection, made up of nail polishes named for iconic locations — Red Hot Rio, I Just Can't Cope-acabana, Taupe-less Beach among them. ($9 each, ulta.com).
Molton Brown Limited Edition Caju & Lime Eau de Toilette, a zesty spritz of citrus ($60, moltonbrown.com).
NYC New York Color Sun N' Bronze Bronzing Powder ($4.99, newyorkcolor.com).