Skincare Secrets Learned from the Nordic Region
Posted On Nov 10, 2016
From the land of the northern lights comes the latest glacial shift in cutting-edge skin care.
When Sarah Kugelman, founder of Skyn Iceland, first traveled to the Nordic region, she was stunned by the glowing, youthful aura of its residents. “I was amazed at how beautiful everyone’s skin was,’’ she recalls.
How did these northern beauties manage to freeze time in such an unforgiving climate? By mining their natural resources, of course.
“When ice melts from glaciers, it runs underground, picks up trace elements, and deposits them into thermal springs,’’ notes Kugelman. “When you turn on the shower there, it is thermal water. You can absolutely smell the sulfur.’’
Kugelman dug deep to learn more, and found through her research that the plants growing in Iceland—fed from this nutrient-rich soil and water—were also particularly robust. “The soil is rich in volcanic minerals, so the plants have incredible potency,’’ she explains. Wouldn’t it be great, she dreamt, to bottle it all and apply those resilient qualities to the skin? Kugelman wasn’t alone.
Julie Macklowe, wife of real estate scion Billy Macklowe, had a similar epiphany when she traveled to Switzerland. “I saw the Swiss Alpine rose, which blossoms for four weeks but keeps regenerating and lives for over a hundred years,’’ explains Macklowe in awe. “The rose’s stem cells are super active and great collagen stimulators.’’ It inspired her to launch Vbeauté, a skin-care company that uses the rose to great effect in its myriad products, along with seven other potent plants from Nordic lands.
Sharon Garment, a prominent product development consultant and former executive at Estée Lauder, points out that this Norse-bound swing is driven in no small measure by the greater inclination toward chemical-free cosmetics. “More brands are embracing the value of these northern-sourced ingredients because they are natural, not synthetic,’’ she notes. “People are demanding more performance from their products, and these ingredients are concentrated, pure, and efficacious. The theory is that if they can stave off environmental onslaught, they can protect human skin, as well.’’
Indeed, Skyn Iceland, which also employs angelica archangelica, among other hearty plants, and Vbeauté are among the many in-vogue lines harvesting northern plants, flowers, and berries in pursuit of more perfect skin. These include Lumene, which uses wild ingredients grown in extreme conditions, including extracts from cloudberries, blueberries, lingonberries, spruce, pine, and peat, Face Stockholm, Cuvget, and La Prairie’s Cellular Swiss Ice Crystal Collection.
“There is a breed of ingredients that grow in snowy regions,’’ explains Kugelman. “Because they have to grow in such a short amount of time, they are hearty and potent.”
Soak It In
Skyn Iceland and others also make good, hydrating use of the area’s clean, pure alpine water.
“Water is essential for skin and an important component in most of the skin-care products,’’ explains Tiina Isohanni, vice president of Innovations and Development at Lumene. “Here in Finland, we do have the purest water available on Earth. It is shown in several studies in different universities and research centers.”
What’s Old Renews
Top Manhattan cosmetic dermatologist Paul Jarrod Frank says that while further testing needs to be done to actually prove the products’ efficacy on humans, “These ingredients support the heartiness of living things in tough environments, and contain concentrated forms of antioxidants and peptides with powerful anti-ageing benefits.’’
Perhaps the romantic association with the beauty of alpine and arctic countries—as well as the people who inhabit them—is based on more fact than fancy.
Now, if we can only harvest their genetics…