Have you ever wondered how the townspeople with a rather harsh climate manage to maintain youth and naturally healthy skin without buying a ton of trendy cosmetics? We tried to figure out how they do it and why the Nordic beauty philosophy has been declared one of the main trends in grooming this year.
We are accustomed to Scandinavian design and a cozy lifestyle, like the hygge and free-living, the secrets of which the Nordic countries share with us. But it turns out that in the regions that are happy according to world statistics, there is a lot to learn in matters of beauty.
Unlike Scandinavian, the term “Nordic” covers not only Denmark, Norway, and Sweden, but also Finland, Iceland, Greenland, the Faroe, and Aland Islands. However, Nordic beauty brands still rely on the Scandinavian style: clear lines and minimalism in design, laconicism, and naturalness in the composition of products. “Nordic women want everything to be fast, easy and efficient,” local cosmetology experts explain.
The concept of Nordic beauty is mainly based on the philosophy of less is more, which includes simple treatments for the skin, healthy eating, the balance between work and leisure, and an overall level of happiness. There is even a saying in Finland: if you are happy, then your face radiates a radiance that no makeup can ever achieve.
Eha Urbsalu, the founder of the Viking Beauty Secrets brand, realized her love for Nordic skincare as a child. “Growing up in Northern Europe, we never thought about the concept of organic or ‘pure’ beauty — as if it was a natural and normal phenomenon,” says the expert. “We have always used local health and beauty products made from local plants such as antioxidant berries in our care in our region.”
Among them are the main ones:
There is a scientific explanation for the fact that these plants have become indispensable in care: this is a unique Arctic light cycle in the region, which provides 19-24 hours of light per day in summer and scanty 0-6 hours of light per day in winter (plus extreme weather conditions). Thanks to this, the northern plants have built self-defense strategies in order to survive and flourish.
This is what endowed them with more antioxidants than plants of the same species that grow further south. When used in skincare, they provide powerful protection against free radicals that cause the signs of skin aging.
Nordic beauty is built on three pillars: skincare, haircare, and make-up.
Despite the harsh climate, Scandinavians manage to maintain a healthy glow because they always prioritize hydration. The focus is on maintaining hydration levels and protecting the skin from external factors with antioxidant-rich products.
This is where face serums are more popular than creams or gels. Perhaps because Scandinavians are geographically surrounded by water, they especially love to feel the freshness of the water when choosing a treatment. But, oddly enough, they do not always include sunscreen in their beauty routine. Such skepticism about SPF is again due to the fact that there are not many sunny days here.
Although Scandinavian women wear makeup, it is mainly about improving the skin, not masking it. Therefore, for example, make-up bases and primers are more in demand here than foundation or powder. You will not see any contouring or caramel lipsticks for visual lip augmentation. But blush is an obligatory stage in the make-up.
The girls here also use mascara, but they do it very delicately. And they definitely refuse eyeshadow. Instead, they apply the same blush to the eyes or accentuate the lash line with a thin pencil for a clear look.
“Nordic beauty focuses on what you have, not what you don’t, so it is about balancing and beautifying natural features without creating overkill,” adds Sasha Mitic, Swedish hairdresser and co-founder of the haircare brand.
Hair health is just as important as scalp health. The same Sasha Mitich says that Nordic hair care is considered utilitarian.
“It’s important for us that every product we make really has a positive effect on both the hair and the scalp,” he explains, noting that cosmetics development focuses on solving hair problems, not creating cosmetics that match the latest trends. One of the special ingredients in Nordic hair care is sea buckthorn oil, which many brands use to stimulate hair growth and provide amazing shine.