Without sounding too preachy – and we’re not sponsored by anyone – Scandinavian beauty brands are thriving on the idea that beauty starts from within. And from within it works its way to the surface. Those may sound like empty words, but thankfully they’re not.
And loads of Scandi beauty practitioners understand that there is a huge need for something other than the latest “in” mascara or clip-on eyebrow (joke!). Recently, I spotted a pamphlet by a beauty company called Happy Heart on a trip to Denmark.
Accepting the ugly bits
Aromatherapeutic company Happy Heart supports body, mind and soul. They make their vitamin packed products by hand. The two friends behind the label say their guiding principle is accepting the funny and successful as well as the vulnerable and the UGLY.
Now what glossy beauty brochure ever mentions the word ‘ugly’? The four-letter word is a big beauty taboo and we spend huge amounts of money every year trying to avoid looking ugly. But to us Scandis, there is beauty in what some people may think is ugly.
The “faults” we all have such as unaligned teeth, uneven eyebrows, a mark on our face or a patch of white in our hair just to mention a few things are really not faults at all. They add a certain charm and off-set our best features. We’re constantly told how beauty starts from within.
How stress and self-esteem affect our looks
But also our emotional wellbeing is key to beauty. Stress affects our skin, causing it to produce excessive amounts of oil, clogging up the pores. Hence spots, as well as rashes. And lack of self-esteem can make us inward-looking and crunch up, giving us bad posture. Whereas, a happy person stands tall and sparkles.
Another Scandi beauty brand was born out of stress and desperation. Tina Søgaard, set up skincare brand Ecooking from her kitchen table in Denmark. Her divorce had taken its toll on her skin. “Anyone who’s been through a personal crisis knows it shows up somehow. In my case it affected my skin,” says Søgaard. “Suddenly it looked more tired drawn than ever before. I lost weight and my skin simply collapsed.”
Surveying the shelves in Danish beauty stores, there is row upon row of white or pastel coloured boxes. So distinctly white is the packaging that it reminds me of the famously white Scandi interior style. The minimalist packaging is doubtless driven by the beauty ethos which is: less is more, clean and fresh. But how glorious it is to see shelves packed with stylish boxes of nature-based, sustainable products.
The Nordic beauty industry has boomed in the last 10 years
And how reassuring it is also to see models which are natural looking: it’s the most persuasive way to show the new generation how beauty starts from within. And refreshing not to see impossibly beautiful supermodel types who may well use more beauty enhancing methods than just the moisturiser they advertise.
There’s a different message on beauty and what it looks like coming out of Scandinavian than the ones coming out of Great Britain and the USA for instance. The Scandis are promoting a healthier, more natural look. It’s a look that’s based not on perfection, but on naturalness and appreciation of individuality.
But that doesn’t mean that we should just let go and not use any products at all to stay looking our best or even enhance our best features. And we’re hugely excited that the Nordic beauty industry and its innovators have boomed in the last 10 years.
They’ve introduced a string of class products using high quality ingredients and most of all sent out the message that you don’t have to have designer eyebrows, a surgically enhanced nose and lips injected with “stuff” to look beautiful.