Who? Laura Loukola is a Photographer, Illustrator, and Beauty Content Creator based in Helsinki, Finland. Laura’s trademark is combining her “nerdy” passion for beauty with aesthetic, inspiring imagery. She loves good coffee, cats, and makeup brushes. From time to time, Laura will write her industry insights also here, in the Nordic Natural Beauty Awards’ blog.
Hi! Welcome to read my first post for the Nordic Natural Beauty Awards’ blog. I’m so excited for today’s post as talking about ingredients is one of my favorite beauty topics. I’m a beauty enthusiast (not a skin therapist or biologist) who really enjoys learning about INCI lists and doing my own research when it comes to skincare, haircare, and makeup. In today’s post, I’m sharing some interesting Nordic natural ingredients and their potential beauty benefits.
Call me biased, but I find Nordic nature pretty magical. We experience all four seasons and pretty extreme weather conditions, which requires lots of resilience from flora and fauna. Many of our native plants are small powerhouses that pack a lot of nutrition, no wonder many of them are labeled as “superfoods”. The other thing I’d love to point out is that we have a fairly small or/and spread out population in the Nordic, which allows our ecosystem to flourish. Nordic springs and lakes are generally considered clean, and according to WHO, Nordic countries are among the top 10 countries with the cleanest air.
Today’s feature ingredients are not in any particular order. I hope you enjoy reading!
Bilberry – aka European blueberries that are smaller and darker in color than traditional blueberries. As a rule of thumb – the deeper in color, the more powerful antioxidant content the plant has. Not surprisingly, bilberries are packed with vitamins and antioxidants. If you’re ever handled bilberries with bare hands they stain your fingers for hours! Bilberry fruit extract is known to have calming properties and its seed oil can strengthen and protect the skin.
Sea buckthorn – one of my favorite skincare ingredients as it’s another Arctic antioxidant-rich ingredient that’s also packed vitamins (Vitamin A, C, and E) with skin nourishing oils. Sea buckthorn provides great protection against environmental aggressors, pollution, and free radicals to slow down premature skin aging. It’s also excellent for deeply hydrating and plumping the skin.
Cranberry – another rich source of polyphenols (compounds that offer antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties), Vitamin A, E, and C, as well as essential fatty acids. Cranberry seeds can also be used in face masks and physical exfoliants to gently buff away dead skin cells and impurities.
Honey – one of nature’s most popular skin remedies that have been used for civilizations. Honey is a powerhouse with proteins, amino acids, vitamins, enzymes, and minerals with natural antibacterial and antiseptic abilities. Honey soothes and acts as a natural humectant, which is beneficial for all skin types from dry to oily, but especially good ointment for those who are prone to acne or rashes. Honey also has hair conditioning effects.
Roseroot – aka Rhodiola, also called ‘ginseng of the North’. It’s traditionally consumed in tea or as a supplement, however, the adaptogenic (stress fighting) properties are claimed to be impressive as well. Roseroot stores a lot of nourishment in its roots to survive long, icy Arctic winters. It’s high in antioxidants such as salidroside and flavonoids. Again, excellent against free radical damage caused by environmental pollutants, etc. stressors. Roseroot extract can be also beneficial against hyperpigmentation thanks to its skin-lightening properties.
Chaga – a potent fungus found in the Nordics that has been used in traditional medicine. Potentially Chaga mushrooms can help to protect from UV rays, reduce dark spots, slow aging, and overall skin health by fighting free radicals and help to restore skin elasticity.
Spruce resin – Nature’s own antiseptic balm that has been used in traditional skincare. Spruce uses its resin to protect itself against bacteria and microbes, and it can be similarly applied on the skin to support natural healing. Thanks to its regenerating and repairing qualities, the spruce resin is especially great for treating dry or damaged skin areas, such as cuticles and cracked heels, scratches, insect bites, burns, abrasions.
I hope this post gave you some new information and inspiration on what to look for in beauty products! These were my personal highlights, but there are plenty of other Nordic plants, such as wild herbs, flowers, tree bark extracts, etc., but also spring water and clays or even peat can be beneficial for our skin and hair. I highly suggest that you check out the Nordic Natural Beauty Awards 2020 winner products, take a look at the ingredients lists and see what you can find!
PS: I got the privilege to be a guest on the latest episode of the Nordic Natural Beauty Podcast! We’ll talk more about beauty, Nordic ingredients, and future trends. Please give it a listen! You can also find me on Instagram (come say hi!) and more natural beauty articles, reviews and chat on my blog.