9 European organic skincare pioneers
It all started with rosehip seed oil … and the pandemic. Once I settled into hibernation last spring, and the realization that my small fitness studio may never again open for in-person classes, I decided my morning makeup ritual was as unnecessary as my daily trip to the coffee shop. Who needs makeup when your face never leaves the house? Moreover, once our faces were routinely covered, the lone workhorse of the makeup bag became my trusty black mascara.
And then we all discovered the ultimate virtual connector — Zoom. Suddenly, skincare seemed of the utmost importance. If makeup was relegated to the back of the vanity cabinet, the answer to putting my best face forward seemed to lie in a healthy skin regimen. And that’s when I discovered Pai’s Rosehip Bioregenerate facial oil. Just a couple of drops brightened and smoothed my complexion. I was hooked.
Sara Brown founded Pai, her London-based skincare company, after her usually calm skin suddenly became irritated and hyper-sensitive. She had a cupboard full of products claiming to be “hypoallergenic” and “organic,” but with ingredient lists full of synthetics and irritants.
“I just wanted effective skincare I could trust and depend on, and creating Pai was my way of taking back control,” she says. The hero of the Pai product line is the multi-tasking face oil that really does tackle blemishes, dryness, dullness, redness and fine lines — all from the rosehip’s seeds and fruit.
Over the year, I added the Avocado & Jojoba Day Cream, the Back to Life Hydration Serum (more jojoba) and the System D Cooling Eye Serum with schisandra (a berry containing tons of antioxidants) to my arsenal.
2021 is the year of the natural, glowing, un-made-up face. Check out a few of our favorite European organic skincare pioneers below, with today’s focus on serums and oils for that insta-glow appeal.
Camille, Laure and Marie-Claire, the three friends who founded Medene, came together with one shared purpose — to develop healthier and more natural products for their daily routine. Their products revolve around essential oils, and they each have their favorites. Camille loves Cute Crocodile (palmarosa, bigarade), for Laure it’s Boom Boom Power (peppermint, black spruce, Scots pine), and Marie-Claire is a Lion Queen devotee (ylang ylang, lemon,rosemary). All three are scientists, and their expertise lies in composing essential and vegetable oils. Our pick of their products is Moonlight Botanique, a regenerative face serum with carrot, immortelle, bergamot and shiu essential oils.
Made in: France
Mylo is a hand-made cosmetics company inspired by purity, simplicity and nature. Its founder, Barb, began her skincare journey by making soaps the old-fashioned way, “like our grandmothers did.” Using local, organic and fair trade raw materials, including seed oils like macadamia, kiwi, cranberry and acai, Mylo products aim to restore, soften and reduce fine lines. Flora, for dry and sensitive skin, is our serum pick.
Mathilde Lacombe created Aime to offer an alternative that worked for people, like her, who suffered from rosacea and other skin problems. From Provence to Normandy, all her products are proudly made in France, and all promote a healthy skin biome that starts from the inside. Sleep & Glow is an award-winning product that enhances sleep and promotes overall skin health thanks to Ashwagandha, an ayurvedic medicinal plant known for its regenerative properties.
Made in: France
Björk and Berries
Björk and Berries began as a small local project in northern Sweden to preserve the magic of the area’s nature and healing properties. Owners Isabelle Lewenhaupt and her family took to the woods surrounding their family farm to handpick leaves and berries to capture the essence of the Swedish flora in their first natural perfume, and thus set the foundation for what Björk and Berries is today. Björk, the Swedish word for birch, also known as the life-giving tree, is the signature ingredient in their products, along with sea buckthorn and blueberries. We love Sea Buckthorn + Algae Instant Glow Face Oil.
Made in: Sweden
Paradisi in Sole
Botanical genius John Parkinson completed the largest catalog of botanical plants to date in 1629. He titled it Paradisi in Sole. “We believe that the earth provides us with everything we need to care for our skin. That is why we handcraft small batches of healthy cosmetic products with floral waters and vegetable oils,” write Cristina and Blanca, the mother/daughter duo behind Paradisi in Sole. The 100 percent natural and organic cosmetic brand uses essences of lavender and rosemary, grown and distilled in the village of Puebla de Alcolea, their “small paradise on earth.” Their Organic Regenerating Elixir is a blend of nine plant and essential oils. The reviews are stellar.
Made in: Spain
Supermood is a holistic beauty brand from Finland. When your face needs a quick fix, Supermood’s Egoboost products come to the rescue. They feature hand-collected Chaga mushrooms that grow on birch trees and contain massive amounts of antioxidants. These mushrooms have been used for centuries as a folk remedy for rejuvenating skin and curing pigment flaws. The One Minute Facelift Serum might just be the morning boost that helps you face the day’s challenges.
Made in: Finland
arbū founder Violeta Malinova is a self-proclaimed dreamer who believes that beauty is a way of life. While working as a television producer, she researched a story on ancient beauty rituals, and fell in love with the incomparable Bulgarian Rosa Damascena oil. She quit her TV career and launched arbū, with organic rose oil as the brand’s foundational ingredient. Bulgarian rose oil contains more than 300 compounds and is one of the most complex natural substances on Earth. The process of hand-collecting the rose blossoms and extracting the oil is fascinating reading on arbū’s website. Rose, green tea and patchouli infuse the Plentiful Hydration Cream with deep hydration and antioxidant protection. Sounds delightful!
Made in: Bulgaria
Per Purr was created by Brazilian Tahone Jacobs, whose philosophy is simple — back to basics. She substitutes synthetic compounds with hand-made formulas, created from scratch in her Madrid laboratory. All Per Purr products are organic, made with pure and natural ingredients. She invites you to pause, take a moment, reconnect and enjoy your daily skincare routine. We love the Orange & Ginger Facial Oil-Serum. Yummy!