Hair & Makeup

The best of Scandinavian beauty

When it comes to beauty innovations, all eyes are fixed firmly on Scandinavia. SHANNON PETER hunts out your new S-beauty heroes


You’ll have undoubtedly heard about K-beauty (Korean beauty) and, more recently, J-Beauty (Japanese beauty) however, there’s a new beauty hub stealing the industry limelight right now: Scandinavia, the home of a slew of impressive S-beauty brands. They may be instantly recognizable by their minimalist packaging and sleek design, but Scandi beauty brands offer much more than just an Instagram-worthy aesthetic. At its core, S-beauty is all about achieving that illustrious ‘glow’, which manifests in efficacious – and often all-natural – skincare lines that refine the complexion, purge pores and boost radiance. And S-beauty takes a holistic approach, too, spanning health-enhancing supplements, ‘clean’ makeup lines and fortifying haircare formulas. Sound good? Here are six ways to incorporate S-beauty into your beauty regime.

Smarter cleansing

The crux of truly glowing skin lies in proficient cleansing rituals, sturdy enough to peel back potential skin aggressors and prime the complexion for the serums, creams or oils that follow. As such, it’s little wonder that one of beauty’s greatest cleansing innovations hails from Scandinavia, the heartland of radiant skin. The silicone bristles of Foreo’s Luna 2 Facial Cleansing Brush harness sonic vibrations to gently nudge away dead skin cells and flush out pores as you cleanse. Consider it your fast-track pass to a fresh-faced glow.

Genderless fragrance

One of the most famous S-beauty exports, Swedish-born fragrance house Byredo heralded a new era in niche unisex scents. Rather than assigning certain notes to demographics, Byredo instead creates balanced yet surprising blends to make your own. Try the sweet and musky Mojave Ghost, which takes on a different persona depending on the wearer. Or, if you really want to embrace the Scandi way of life, light Byredo’s Cotton Poplin candle and indulge in some hygge.

Powerful, pared-back skincare

A welcome reprise from the 12-step routines currently taking over our mornings, the Scandinavian approach to skincare is far more refined. Case in point: Verso. Don’t be fooled by its minimalist packaging; powered by a revolutionary retinol complex, this Swedish line packs an anti-aging punch eight times more powerful than traditional retinol products, so you need only select a few steps. The Super Facial Serum is particularly effective at plumping collagen reserves and fading discoloration.

Makeup that doesn’t mask

In makeup terms, S-beauty champions subtle finishes in natural, earthy hues that meld with skin, rather than mask it. Kjaer Weis is the perfect example. Founded by a Danish makeup artist of the same name, this gluten-, silicone- and paraben-free line uses natural and organic ingredients, making it just as kind to skin as skincare. Make Cream Blush in Sun Touched your first port of call: pressed on to the apples of the cheeks, it adds a wind-bitten flush akin to that of a brisk walk in the outdoors.

Haircare inspired by skincare

Scandi haircare brands are known for adopting skincare-style practices, using high-grade ingredients and botanicals to inject strength, softness and shine from scalp to tip. Swedish line Sachajuan funnels proteins and minerals extracted from sea algae into its range of shampoos, conditioners and styling products that add lost elasticity and moisture into every strand. Ocean Mist Volume Shampoo, for example, is favored by pro hairstylists for its ability to lift hairs at the root, without inducing knots.

Beauty from the inside-out

An inside-out approach to beauty is fast becoming a global standard, but Scandinavia is undoubtedly leading the charge. Danish brand The Nue Co. creates prebiotic powder-based supplements designed to optimize levels of healthy bacteria in the gut, and teams them with beauty-boosting ingredients. Skin Food + Prebiotic, for example, utilizes organic lucuma, baobab and brown rice protein to dial up skin brightness.