Sophie Qureshi discovers why Nordic beauty is causing a stir…
It’s not just insta-worthy interiors and minimalist fashion that our nordic neighbours excel at – they’re also famed for their fresh-faced complexions and effortless cool. Now a crop of brilliant new scandi-brands are gaining a fan base to rival all those nordic noirs.
‘Lagom’ is a Swedish word that translates as ‘just the right amount’, and this concept of balance and moderation informs the whole Scandinavian way of life, including the attitude to beauty. Heavy make-up doesn’t really feature in the Scandi beauty regime, which favours a more understated look, relying on great skin and a healthy glow. Refreshingly, this also means simplifying your beauty routine and paring it back to the essentials. After all, do you really need six different mascaras and four shades of red lipstick? Probably not.
One of our favourite Scandi-beauty exports is Stockholm brand Verso – a simple skincare line based around Retinol 8, which is eight times as effective as traditional retinol but without the usual irritation. These products give serious results with minimum faff. We love the Travel Kit, £48, which is great for cutting the clutter when you’re on the move.
One of the secrets behind that Scandi glow is the Arctic cloudberry, which grows in Nordic marshes and wet meadows. These berries are extremely high in glow-giving vitamin C (eating just 75g of them gives you your daily recommended intake) and are also rich in beta carotene, a precursor for vitamin A, which is proven to reduce wrinkles. What’s more, the oil from the cloudberry’s seeds is packed with essential fatty acids and vitamin E, which keep skin enviably plump and youthful.
Reap the cloudberry’s rewards by adding bestselling Finnish brand Lumene to your skincare arsenal. The Valo [Light] Arctic Berry Cocktail Brightening Hydra-Oil, £29.90 can keep skin glowing through a Nordic winter, so it can more than handle a British one. You’ll also find Arctic cloudberries in Skyn Iceland’s Nordic Skin Peel, £39 – exfoliating peel pads to give you luminous Scandi skin.
Once your skin looks healthy and glowing, why cover it up? Instead of applying foundation willy-nilly all over your face, use it more like concealer and dab a little strategically just where your need it – usually under your eyes and around your nose and chin. We recommend Kjaer Weis, a line of organic cosmetics created by Danish make-up artist Kirsten Kjaer Weis. The products come in super-luxe swivel compacts that are refillable to minimise waste, and all the colours are mineral-based so they won’t irritate sensitive skins. The Cream Foundation, £51 (refill £30) is brilliant and buttery soft, so it melts seamlessly into skin. The Cream Blush, £41 (refill £24) is the holy grail of blushers, blending beautifully to give your cheeks a wholesome, dewy flush. It doubles as a lip colour as well – our favourites are Blossoming, a gorgeous rosy shade that gives a fresh-faced look, and Precious, a warm peach that looks great with a tan.
You can’t have failed to notice the hygge obsession that hit our shores a couple of years ago, sparking hundreds of coffee- table books and a gazillion internet articles. It’s a Danish concept that basically means the art of being cosy. Think snuggling up under a blanket in your softest PJs, cradling a mug of hot chocolate while a storm rages outside. Admittedly, the trend has been overhyped, but adding some hygge to your beauty routine will undoubtedly help you feel less fraught and frazzled.
Once the kids are in bed, carve out time for an uninterrupted bath and set the scene with a Skandinavisk Hygge Scented Candle, £29.
With notes of tea, wild mint and baked strawberry cake, this is cosiness in slow-burning form. For bath products, try Swedish eco-luxe brand Björk & Berries. ‘Björk’ means ‘birch’ in Swedish and the products use this traditional ingredient for its healing, antiseptic and purifying properties. Dark Rain Body Wash, £18 has a woody amber scent inspired by the first rainy days of autumn, while White Forest Body Oil, £32 is devastatingly effective on scaly winter skin.
With its chic bottles and gender-neutral scents, Swedish perfume house Byredo tops the wish list of every fragrance connoisseur. We recommend sniffing out Seven Veils and Bibliotheque, 50ml, £105 each – pricey, admittedly, but nothing compares to Scandi cool.