Long before we Brits craved the perfect night in, the Danish had a word for it. Hygge, pronounced ‘hoo-gah’ is a Scandinavian way of life that celebrates cosiness, shared meals and interactions with friends and family. The concept invaded our conservative British shores last year when what was essentially an authentic cultural existence transformed into a demented European craze. Whether intentional or not, we all became hygge mad, and found ourselves entangled in a woolly web of leg warmers, throw pillows and hourly cups of hot chocolate.
No longer ensconced in our hubs of intimacy, and too cynical to be duped twice by hygge’s band-wagon cousin ‘lagom’, we are free to wander the world again, casting just the occasional longing look at a group knitting session sat in the corner of a pub, alluringly close to a crackling open fire. But enough about that… The truth is that at least one daily ritual that blended seamlessly with the concept of hygge remains, and that is our morning beauty regime.
From velvety skincare to silky soft locks, there’s no denying that organic, ethical, sustainable beauty is unlocking the secret to more people’s happiness; last month we saw yet another hugely successful Natural Products Scandinavia event, where over 400 companies showcased thousands of natural and certified organic products including beauty innovations and exciting new releases. So, I thought it only fitting to offer a run-down of some of the best Nordic natural beauty brands out there to let your customers get a little hygge reminiscent when next stalking the skincare aisles:
Rudolph is an exclusive beauty product, embodying pure luxury and enhanced by active ingredients that help nurture and care for your skin. Developed and produced in Denmark, this eco-certified skincare collection contains açai for hydrating omega 6 and skin-plumping omega 9. Another bonus is that Rudolph Care is 100% free of the 26 allergenic perfumes advised by the EU to be avoided. Housed in pretty, soft pastel hued packaging it is an ode to Scandinavia’s subdued beauty.
Maria Åkerberg is an organic product line made only with organic cold-pressed vegetable oils by Dermanord in Sweden. The concept is based on aromatherapy and phytotherapy, with all colourants and scents in the products derived from essential oils and plant extracts. Thick, rich and slightly citrus scented, the core concept behind this brand is “deepskin organics”, which means the products work from deep within the inner layers of skin.
Stockholm-based Estelle & Thild’s products are made of super luxurious ingredients that are certified organic by EcoCert. Founded in 2007 by Pernilla Rönnberg, the brand draws from cutting edge scientific research and uses pure bioactive ingredients. As the former CEO of a skincare company, Rönnberg became uncomfortably aware of the harmful chemicals and unnatural ingredients liberally used by many skincare brands. Rönnberg began to reflect on the world in which her daughters, Estelle and Mathilde, would grow up. She wanted to develop an innovative beauty brand rooted in high impact results and organic ingredients.
Nordic men take just as good care of their beauty regime as the women, and former Norwegian model Alexander Sprekenhus has created an eponymous holistic handmade brand containing an exotic ingredient from Morocco. Argan oil is infused in all the products from the haircare to the skincare, thanks to its skin-nourishing, antioxidant rich vitamin E, and all products come housed in minimalist-glam, apothecary-inspired bottles.
With science as a starting point, Verso makes high-quality products with a low ingredient count. Located in the centre of a major scientific-research environment – with offices in the same building as the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences and close to the University of Stockholm’s campus at Frescati – it was new scientific insights about the rejuvenating properties of the vitamin A derivative Retinol 8 that propelled Verso into existence. In the early 2010s, Verso founder Lars Fredriksson arrived at a formulation that proved to be eight times as effective and half as irritating as traditional Retinol.
With such a list of dedicated, pioneering beauty brands, it’s unsurprising that once again, the Nordic countries have come out on top in 2017 as being the happiest countries in the world.
Julia Zaltzman is a freelance writer, and editor of Natural Beauty News