Flow Cosmetics spreads nature from head to toe
These days, natural cosmetics aren’t just for hippies. Finland’s Flow Cosmetics has seen the change and been a trailblazer in the growing industry.
Riitta Jänkälä started to feel uncomfortable using chemicals on her skin and hair. How could she really know what’s in the bottles and what their possible long-term effects might be? As a hairdresser, she was dealing with all sorts of chemicals every day, and she began to feel frustrated.
At the time, in 2003, natural cosmetics weren’t as trendy as they are today, and thus their availability was much more limited. Jänkälä decided to study aromatherapy, which introduced her to the versatile uses of herbs and plants. Initially, her plan was to start offering treatment at the beauty salon she owned together with her sister, but a few bars of soap changed her course of action.
“I began to wonder how the ingredients used in aromatherapy could be applied to cosmetics, and I stumbled across a few recipes,” she recalls. “First, I made soaps and shared them with family and friends, and then I started attending Christmas markets and small handicraft events to sell them.”
In 2005, she started to find resellers across Finland. Her sister took over the salon and Jänkälä focused solely on Flow Cosmetics, a brand owned by her company Vihreä Kosmetiikka Finland.
A growing family business
The philosophy of Flow Cosmetics relies on being as natural as possible. If something can’t be done without synthetic ingredients, it won’t be done at all.
“We don’t compromise,” Jänkälä emphasises. “Everything we can we source from Finland and as locally as possible.”
The selection, including soaps, shampoos, oils, creams, makeup and the like, has been created from ingredients such as berry oils and herbs from Finnish Lapland and flowers and plants from nearby farms. All recipes are made by Jänkälä and her daughter Suvi Kunnari, and the entire ownership has remained in the family. The products are made by a 10-strong team in Riihimäki, Finland.
On top of Flow Cosmetics, the company also has a makeup brand known as Korento, the offering of which is rapidly growing. Together, the two brands provide pretty much all cosmetic products one could possibly need from head to toe, with a focus on women of all ages.
“Traditionally our customers have been pretty eco-conscious, but people who used to use synthetic chemicals are increasingly turning to natural alternatives,” Jänkälä notes. “Many have decided they don’t want to buy certain products if they don’t know what they’re actually made of.”
No to greenwashing
Finnish berries and herbs are helping to nourish faces and skins elsewhere in the world, too. Currently, Flow Cosmetics has distributors in Asia, the Netherlands, Austria and Iceland, and there are individual resellers in, for example, Norway, Germany and Sweden. Soon, a Spanish distributor is joining the gang, ensuring that the brand will become known in the Iberian Peninsula as well.
There are still many markets awaiting Flow Cosmetics. Jänkälä believes that Asia will continue to grow and upcoming visits to fairs will bring about new contacts and contracts. For example, an international event in London will be attended by buyers from all corners of the world.
Conquering the world isn’t the only thing on Flow Cosmetics’ to-do list. Jänkälä and her daughter are constantly creating new products, particularly for Korento, aiming for quality that’s good enough for professional makeup artists. The team has its hands full of work with product development, marketing and a recently completed brand renewal process.
As effective and gentle as all Flow Cosmetics products are, there’s one thing Flow won’t be washing – ever.
“The fact that we don’t compromise on being natural means that there’s no greenwashing, and never will be.”
Text: Anne Salomäki
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