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ABBA, lingonberries, Ikea—these are what most people think of when it comes to Sweden. But look a little deeper, and you’ll find the Scandinavian country is also a pioneer of the modern, clean living movement: perfecting healthy dishes and evolving ideal skin care regimes over centuries. From beloved traditional Scandinavian soaps, like egg white and sea salt blends, to upstart indie brands like L:A Bruket and Maria Akerberg, there’s a reason why so many are clamoring for a fresh, Nordic glow.
To get our skin ready through the dog days of mid-summer, we tapped Lars Fredriksson, creator of popular cult line Verso, now available at SpaceNK, for his tips on how to translate the valuable lessons of Swedish skincare into our everyday life.
What is “traditional” Swedish skincare?
"Generally, Swedish people use fewer products compared to many other nationalities. I shave and cleanse my face with Verso Foaming Cleanser and use Verso Super Facial Serum both morning and evening. This product is perfect as it hydrates, heals and strengthens my skin, all in one. I also always use sunscreen when exposed to the sun."
Does Sweden have a specific legacy of skincare and skincare products?
"Swedish people care more about functionality than beauty. They look for evidence and credibility versus a product with just beautiful packaging, wonderful images, and a great story. Swedes can be very practical and moderate, to the point where we almost become boring, ha. Vanity is not something that we see a lot."
What defines Swedish wellness?
"Healthy living, outdoor activities and everything in moderation. Sweden is a clean country and pollution is very low. People tend to take a bike instead of a car to work. We eat more home cooked meals rather than fast-food. I bike to work (10km each way), and always bring my jogging shoes when traveling. I love to take a run in the neighborhood, especially after a long flight."
What have you learned since leaving Sweden about international wellness and skin rituals?
"Swedish people see that a healthy lifestyle does wonders for your skin. The sun is Sweden is not strong, so fewer people have photo-damaged skin. I personally only use one product every day (plus cleanser), the Verso Super Facial Serum. This product is very advanced: It's a cream, not a traditional emulsion, formulated and structured just like skin. This is an outstanding product that will give all the benefits you need, both short and long-term.
In other countries, it's not uncommon to use 10 or more skin care products every day. If you look at a typical ingredients list, you find about 50 ingredients. If you use ten products every day, you expose your skin to 500 ingredients. I am not sure that is necessarily a good thing. Certainly, there are some fantastic products on the market but I lean towards 'less is more.'"
How did you celebrate Swedish midsummer? (The traditional period in June when Swedes celebrate life, nature, and community.)
"I spent it with friends and family enjoying herring and schnapps; and a traditional Swedish herb flavored liquor!"