Scandi-style has dominated the street style scene lately—with their polished, minimalist outfits and Elsa Hosk-esque good looks, it’s no wonder. Beauty lines hailing from Nordic countries are also having a moment right now, thanks to a combination of their potent, native herb and plant-based ingredients, and the chic-as-hell and super-convenient packaging.
Sarah Kugelman is the founder of Skyn Iceland, one such natural line. She says the big difference between Nordic skin care brands and those hailing from the U.S. has to do with the customers’ differing needs that force her country’s offering to focus on nourishing, natural ingredients. “The winters can be cold and windy in Iceland and the Nordic region and the skin does not get exposed to much light. Therefore, the women in Iceland really need to replenish (think Vitamin D!) and hydrate with ingredients like essential fatty acids that actually help repair the lipid barrier function,” she told us, adding that Icelandic or Nordic brands tend to be more naturally-oriented. “Botanicals/herbs are such a part of the culture here!” she explained.
As for the minimalist packaging? That just comes with the territory, she says: “Nordic aesthetic is modern and clean, so brands tend to have this type of look and feel.”
Skyn Iceland swaps the nasties many beauty brands use, such as parabens, mineral oil, chemical sulfates, and phthalates for natural ingredients like antioxidant berries, algae, mineral-rich water, and replenishing mosses.
Products are derived from Iceland’s natural environment to help replenish stressed skin, explained the brand’s founder and president, Sarah Kugelman. “We offer skincare solutions to treat the damage caused by stress—starting with your eye area, where signs show up first. Skyn Iceland uses ‘The Icelandic Complex,’ our propriety natural blend that replenishes the nutrients that stress depletes. The core of the complex is the pollution-free Icelandic glacial water with six essential minerals to hydrate and detoxify skin.”
Be sure to check out the cooling gel face masks. They come in cute and convenient individual packages for different areas of your face, so there’s no mess.
We love: Skyn Iceland Hydro Cooling Firming Eye Gels, $39.30
The story behind Soley Organics is a good one. Sóley Elíasdóttir, the woman behind the brand, is an Icelandic actress who left the stage to return to her family’s tradition of harnessing her country’s native herbs to heal. Her great-great-grandmother was a famous healer and midwife who then past down her knowledge of herbs through the family.
Today, Soley’s body, hair, and face line is derived from natural products, including potent Icelandic herbs, and inspired by her ancestors’ knowledge. The products are all made in a small village of 300 people. So, if you’re a fan of herbal healing, you need to try this beauty line.
We love: Soley Eyglo, $54
For the uninitiated, Kjær Weis is a Danish cosmetics line derived from natural and organic ingredients. All materials are sourced from across the globe and made in Italy. Also, just about everything in the line is certified organic or certified natural, and, of course, the makeup contains no parabens, silicone, petrochemical emulsifiers, or synthetic fragrances.
They make lipstick, eye shadow, foundation, bronzer, and all your makeup basics in sleek, modern, and sustainable packaging. And don’t even get us started on the award-worthy lip tints—if you’re looking for a product to try, start there.
We love: Kjaer Weis Lip Tint in Romance, $49
Founder Pernilla Rönnberg was the CEO of a very different beauty brand until she became so against the chemicals being used in its products that she struck out on her own to create Estelle & Thild. Organic, all-natural, and hailing from Sweden, her newer line offers targeted products to address various skin conditions—like a gentle, aloe vera-packed cleanser for sensitive skin and a night cream for the first signs of aging with rose water and jojoba oil. Since launching in 2007, the brand’s expanded across 1,300 stores globally, and is also available online.
We love: Estelle & Thild Deep Cleansing Detox Mask, $59.55