Thursday, 18 December 2014

Nordic Beauty Style - Emma Coleman

I first became fascinated by the countries which dare to edge into the base of the Arctic Circle as a little girl when I went on a mini cruise to Denmark, Sweden and Norway with my family one Christmas. It was bitterly cold, the snow was thick and we were fed on a bottomless Smorgasbord of new and exciting foods for my young taste buds, including smoked herring, delicious Vörtbröd (malted bread), and Gravlax. I realised then that these countries had a tradition of using the natural produce which surrounds them in their diet, (hence their flawless skin - you cannot beat a good fish oil!!)

When I returned just over a year ago, it was on a slightly different mission; I was planning to research the botanical side of things in Norway and Finland; the types of plants, trees and flowers which grow wild across these landscapes, and if, as with their diet, the locals use these natural resources as part of their beauty regimes.

My sauna in Finland
Finland is the most densely forested country in Europe - first stop: Helsinki, October. It was dark, as if a black blanket had been thrown over the hills, and so very cold that the end of my nose went red and stayed that way for two whole days. I immediately understood when the cab driver explained the important role sauna plays in Finnish culture as a way of warming up, but what I also learned during my stay is that sauna is very much a social event, a place to relax and connect with friends and family. Finnish business meetings often end with a debrief inside a deep heat sauna. The scents used inside these little log cabins are generally tar-based, emitting an intensely warming, smokey, slightly masculine scent. The tar is derived from roots and wood of pine and spruce trees - which are everywhere exuding their fresh scent -  is thought to have anti-bacterial properties and was once used in sauna construction to make the logs more airtight and so is deep-rooted in Finnish history. One family I met explained how tar-based products are everywhere; they personally use only tar soap, and even eat tar ice cream. Personally, I grew to love this grounding scent and will always associate it with this time in my life. As the Finnish say: 'If booze, tar or the sauna won't help, the illness is fatal."

The beautiful Fjord beach at
Lakselv, Norway
Next stop: Lakselv, Norway, a beautiful village with a Fjord beach, supplying me with a wide variety of wildlife to observe. The first thing I noticed was how the outdoors life is embraced, and most people I met were either regular skiers or had a boat of some kind. 

Alf and Marianne
I was lucky enough on be taken under the wing of a local couple, Alf and Marianne, who included me in a trip on their little tug boat around the beautiful Fjord, where I saw fishermen hoping for one of the native gigantic crabs for their kveldsmat (supper). Marianne explained how the export of the naturally organic Kelp found on these shores creates big business for the village, known for its stabilising effects on the endocrine system and as a soother of muscle and joint pain when added to baths. They also prepared me a wonderful meal which included jam made from juniper berries and cranberries. A wide variety of Norwegian berries are found throughout the seasons of the year - whilst I was there, Arctic blueberries and Norwegian Raspberries were still in the hedges. The owner of the little guest house overlooking the lake where I stayed, told me that her mother used to crush the berries and put them directly onto her skin like a mask because of the naturally high Vitamin E and C content.

Common Norwegian Berries: Cow, Cloud,
Blue, Rasp, Juniper and Cranberries

I came away from my little tour with more inspiration and knowledge than I could 
 ever have hoped for, leading to the launch of Inner-Soul Organics' Nordic Range, including Scandinavian Decadence Bath and Body Salt Scrub, Shower Serum and Nordic Berry Bliss Hand and Body Salve. I was determined to pack these products with as many of the native ingredients as possible to make them nourishing and results-driven for skin and was lucky enough to find an England-based organic supplier who could get me everything I needed.

Today, Arctic Oat, Norwegian Kelp, Thistle, Juniper Berry and Birch - which has a woody scent, not dissimilar to tar - are all found in the Scandinavian Bath and Body Scrub as well as the Scandinavian Shower Serum, to soften, quench skin with Vitamins A,C,E and Omegas 3 and 6 whilst sealing moisture in.

Inner-Soul Organics' Bath and Body Salt Scrub contains
Arctic Oat, Norwegian Kelp and Juniper Berry

Those Norwegian Blueberries, Raspberries and Arctic Cranberries can be found in 20% volume in the new Nordic berry Bliss Hand and Body Salve, a rich, luxurious cream designed to deliver nourishment, hydration and softness to last. This has a heartwarming scent, with high notes of Pine and High Altitude Lavender, and grounding Nerol
91% Organic Inner-Soul Organics' Limited Edition
Nordic Berry Bliss Hand and Body Salve available until January 1st
Why not take a peek and let me know what you think! Emma xx

Inner-Soul Organics are official supporters of Katie Piper Foundation and the Burgess Autistic Trust