Illustration of beauty industry innovations
These five Finnish innovators are taking a fresh look at the beauty industry. Image: Julia Helminen

FIVE FROM FINLAND: Beauty industry innovations

Finnish companies keep on redefining the global beauty industry with their innovations.

Zhanna Koiviola

24.10.2022

Today, the beauty industry is seeing exciting changes driven by a notable shift towards eco-friendly packaging, highly personalised customer experience, sustainable raw materials, ingredient traceability and the emergence of new product categories.

Read on to discover how Finns are leading by example.

Sulapac

wood-based jars for cosmetic products

With its sustainable packaging materials, Sulapac encourages more beauty industry companies to fight the global plastic waste problem together. Image: Facebook / Sulapac

The global beauty and personal care industry produces more than 120 billion units of packaging annually, most of which are not truly recyclable. Finnish biochemists Suvi Haimi and Laura Tirkkonen-Rajasalo decided to address the plastic challenge by creating Sulapac, a disruptive wood-based material that biodegrades fully without leaving permanent microplastics behind.

“We need to replace conventional plastics with truly sustainable alternatives as much as possible,” Haimi said in an interview with Forbes. “Sulapac material doesn’t accumulate in the atmosphere or the environment.”

The multi-award-winning innovation, suitable for both oil- and water-based cosmetics, has appealed to the world’s leading beauty brands. The Helsinki-based company has collaborated, among others, with CHANEL, Lumene and Shiseido. More recently, global makeup supplier Schwan Cosmetics and Sulapac combined their expertise to create lip- and eye liner pencils with an eco-friendly barrel material capable of containing the volatile makeup product.

“Our collaboration with Sulapac is a perfect match because they embody the values of preserving nature without sacrificing performance and flexibility in design,” commented Sandra Lossau, vice president for global category management at Schwan Cosmetics.

Revieve

a screenshot of Revieve digital platform

Revieve has proven that AI and AR can provide a wide range of solutions to meet the needs of beauty brands and their customers. Image: Revieve

Beauty brands are continuously on the lookout for new ways to keep consumers engaged and connected to their products, as well as to provide a personalised and highly relevant customer experience. Revieve is there to help. Powered by artificial intelligence (AI), augmented reality (AR) and computer vision, Revieve’s digital platform matches consumers with the perfect beauty products, routines and treatments.

With headquarters in Helsinki and Chicago, Revieve now has partners across five continents, including Samsung, Shiseido and Unilever. The company recently released The Complete Metaverse Playbook for Beauty Brands and Retailers: What You Can Do Now And Next, a report providing insights into the opportunities that the metaverse offers to beauty industry players.

“AI-powered technologies in a traditional industry like beauty and skin care will help guide brands in understanding their consumers and leveraging their needs to market and promote their products in the most tailored way possible,” noted co-founder and CEO Sampo Parkkinen.

Wondering what it is like to build a career in computer vision in Finland? Read our interview with Thiyagarajan Manihatty Bojan, senior computer vision scientist at Revieve.

Innomost

birch stub and birch powder-based ingredients

Innomost turns forest industry side streams into valuable ingredients with potential to yield new product innovations in cosmetics. Image: Innomost

In recent years, consumers have been showing a growing interest in beauty brands and products that are kind to both people and the planet. While demand for natural, renewable and sustainable cosmetics is increasing, many of the raw materials used today are still associated with environmental and ethical issues. Innomost was founded in 2016 to address the problem.

The Kokkola-based startup develops and produces high-value bioactive ingredients from forest industry side streams for the needs of the cosmetic and pharmaceutical industries, offering a sustainable alternative to fossil-based ingredients. Birch bark, for example, can be developed into a powder to replace problematic microplastics in deep-cleansing skin and hair products.

After raising five million euros last year, Innomost announced in August that it has closed an additional funding round worth one million euros for its pilot production facility in Kokkola. Scheduled for completion by the end of 2022, the facility will be able to churn out 20 tonnes of birch bark products annually.

“The market potential, particularly in cosmetics, is very sizeable, and Innomost’s new technology can revolutionise market offerings on a global scale,” stated CEO Sami Selkälä. “By using renewable, fully usable raw materials for value processing, we are at the top of production trends in the beauty industry and in other industries.”

CosmEthics

woman holding a smartphone with the CosmEthics app open

CosmEthics is an easy-to-use tool helping consumers to eliminate the guesswork when reading cosmetic product labels. Image: CosmEthics

Understanding exactly what is in a beauty product is now more important to consumers than ever before. However, it’s not always easy to read the product label as the list of ingredients can appear unclear and confusing. CosmEthics has been helping people to decipher the various beauty formulations and make educated choices since 2013.

With CosmEthics’s namesake mobile application, users can scan the product barcode to access in-depth information about its ingredients. The app sends an alert if any toxic or potentially harmful ingredient is detected. Moreover, one can personalise the app by listing the ingredients one wants to avoid, for example, due to individual allergies or being vegan.

“I wanted to make it so that you don’t need to have a biochemistry degree to understand what you are buying,” explained founder and CEO Katariina Rantanen.

Currently, CosmEthics has a database of thousands of products based on information from manufacturers, retailers and – most importantly – users. Putting formulation transparency and product safety first, CosmEthics believes in creating a positive industry impact with consumer empowerment.

“Clean beauty and sustainability go hand in hand, and our legacy is created today,” Rantanen summarised.

Niki Newd

woman holding cosmetics products

The raw ingredients used by Niki Newd are of food-grade quality, with over half of them sourced from Finland. Image: Niki Newd

Finns love natural cosmetics. But there’s one Finnish brand that has taken natural cosmetics to a whole new level by creating and pioneering what it calls the “fresh skin care” product category, Niki Newd. According to co-founder Kirsi Kaukonen, the fresh cosmetics meet four main criteria.

“Fresh skincare is freshly blended of 100 per cent traceable, 100 per cent natural ingredients without any additives, preservatives or alcohol. And on top of that, we focus on using food-grade ingredients instead of cosmetic-grade ones.”

“We believe that principles applied to healthy food and nutrition should also be applied to skin care,” she added.

Staying fresh also means that all products are manufactured by hand in the brand’s own laboratory in Espoo in at least 12 batches per year, by order. This way, Niki Newd ensures it leaves no leftovers and is mindful about Mother Nature’s resources. The production methods are gentle so that the delicate and versatile nutrients are always preserved in the best possible way.

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