Five From Finland
Finland has a lot on offer for those considering switching from conventional to natural cosmetics and skin care.Credits: : VectorMine / Adobe
These five Finnish brands bring the best out of what nature has to offer and create high-performance cosmetics that are kind to both the skin and the planet.
Finns have a long tradition of living in harmony with the natural environment and know first-hand that nature can provide people everything needed to stay beautiful and healthy. That’s why Finland is home to a growing number of companies and brands offering a wide range of skin care products made with the purest natural ingredients.
This Finnish quintet will help you to enhance your natural beauty in the most natural way.
Founded in 2018 by an enterprising trio of women, Luonkos inspires people to make more responsible choices and lead an eco-friendlier everyday lifestyle with its natural cleansing and care products for the face, body and hair. Packaged in an instantly recognisable hexagonal shape, the oil bars (or “cakes” as the company prefers to call them) are handmade in Naantali and the stylish packaging is plastic-free and biodegradable.
Luonkos finds itself at the forefront of using sustainable raw materials, such as Finnish birch bark, oats and barley, and is open to innovation. In 2020, Luonkos became the first cosmetics company in the world to utilise Reconnecting Nature, a forest microbial extract that supports and strengthens the body’s immune system. The invention was developed by fellow Finnish company Uute Scientific. These unique “forest-powered” beauty cakes haven’t gone unnoticed and were recently recognised at the international 2022 Beauty Shortlist Awards.
“I am very optimistic about the future,” said Piritta Fors, co-founder and CEO of Luonkos. “We create our products and the entire company based on future values. We are a leading-edge value-based startup here in Finland. We want to inspire change.”
Inspired by “Finland’s cool waters, silent woods, untouched blankets of snow and a clear morning’s sky”, Lumi Maunuvaara and Tatu Fontell founded HAVU Cosmetics with a purpose of making quality beauty products without harming the natural environment. Specialised in lipsticks and lip care products, such as lip balms, masks and scrubs, the brand is leading by example to spark a positive change in the global beauty industry.
“A huge part of our work being a conscious brand is that that we produce our cosmetics in Finland with only natural and renewable ingredients, in our own lab,” Maunuvaara explained. “They include natural oils, waxes, and inorganic pigments — we want the formulations to be easy to use, fun, and light.”
With plastic waste plaguing the cosmetics industry globally, HAVU takes its packaging seriously. The lipsticks come in elegant wooden containers with inner mechanisms made from biodegradable polylactide (PLA). The lip care products, in turn, are packaged using eco-friendly Sulapac materials, free of harmful microplastics. This means that all HAVU products can be disposed of as biowaste after use.
“When it comes to sustainability, you have to look at the whole lifecycle of the product,” summorised Maunuvaara.
When beauty professional Jenni Tuominen developed skin problems caused by some of the ingredients found in regular cosmetics, she started looking for a solution and decided to broaden her expertise by studying organic skin care. Joined by her sister, Anu Nurmela, Tuominen founded Henua Organics in 2017 and set out to create an efficient skin care formula that would celebrate the Finnish nature and guarantee maximum transparency of ingredients.
The duo opted for active natural and organic ingredients while shunning raw materials that have no effect or put a strain on the environment. For example, Henua products don’t contain water or fillers but loads of birch sap known to Finns for hundreds of years for its healing properties. Among the other Nordic raw materials used by Henua are oats, sea buckthorn, lingonberry and pine bark.
“The time for synthetic cosmetics is beginning to be over,” predicted Tuominen, who is the company’s director of product development. “I want to believe that people want to use more organic products that do good to the skin and do not burden the environment.”
Finnish forest has always been the biggest source of inspiration for Hetkinen and its founder and CEO, Mona Isotupa. The story of the natural cosmetics brand began after Isotupa won in 2017 the FDS Award, a design competition organised by Finnish Design Shop. Her winning entry presented a unique entity: a lip balm containing pine essential oil and packed in a container made of pine.
Now sold in over 40 countries, Hetkinen’s natural cosmetic line consists of lip balms, hand balms, body butters, deodorants, soaps and more. Targeting all senses, Hetkinen also offers scent diffusers and candles, as well as perfumes formulated using tree leaves, needles, bark and resin.
Keeping its products as minimalistic as possible in terms of ingredients, Hetkinen also focuses on practical and sustainable packaging materials. The wooden jars for cosmetics are manufactured from Finnish pine heartwood, which has high rot resistance and natural antibacterial properties. In the design, one can feel some influences of Japanese culture, which the Hetkinen team admires.
“The Finnish soul has always been linked with the forest,” Isotupa highlighted. “Finns feel good in the forest. Not alone, not lost – the forest provides protection and peace. We want to share this feeling with all who use Hetkinen products.”
If you’re into Finnish culture, you surely have heard of Elias Lönnrot (1802-1884) who is best known for compiling the Finnish national epic, Kalevala. However, it might be a less known fact that Lönnrot was a physician and a pioneer of natural sciences who built profound knowledge of the most potent natural ingredients and their healing properties during his journeys across Finland.
Iittala-based HAVUKA is on a mission to introduce Lönnrot’s recipes for natural remedies to modern eco-conscious consumers. The artisan cosmetics company uses genuine natural ingredients, such as spruce resin, beeswax, wild herbs and rapeseed oil, for its handmade creams, balms and soaps.
HAVUKA’s flagship product, 30-per cent spruce resin balm, became the winner of the Nordic Natural Beauty Awards 2020, a yearly contest celebrating the best natural cosmetics made in the Nordic and Scandinavian countries. The jury took note of the all-purpose balm’s regenerating, repairing and naturally antiseptic properties.
Originally published in May 2022, updated in June 2022.