Iceland is famous for its surreal beauty, but the country’s skincare rituals have long inspired beauty gurus worldwide. Although you might know about the Blue Lagoon, the renowned geothermal spa with the same-name skincare line, you might not know Iceland is also home to some of the world’s smartest skincare habits.
As a skincare and travel enthusiast, I’ve been fascinated by the world’s beauty rituals since childhood, and my life experiences have fueled this curiosity. For instance, I’ve met Icelandic women whose skin glowed well into their 50s, and I wondered how they maintained such flawless complexions. I even wondered if there was something in the water.
Whatever their secret was, I had to know. So, I did some research, and here is what I learned.
1. Icelandic skin care is a science.
Beautiful skin begins with healthy habits, but proper skin care is also rooted in science. For instance, consider Bioeffect, a top-selling Icelandic skincare line that uses the highest quality ingredients.
Developed by scientists, Bioeffect EGF serum transforms skin in a flash. For $165 per bottle, youthful skin can be yours in just two to three months. This award-winning serum isn’t cheap, but it’s packed with seven natural ingredients your skin will love.
Bioeffect serum contains Barley EGF, a potent compound that plumps skin, boosts collagen production, smooths wrinkles, and helps skin retain its moisture. In addition, this serum rewinds the clock, erasing up to five years from your face, some say.
Although this serum might strain your budget, long-time fans swear it’s worth the splurge.
“It’s worth every penny!” says Gina Sinclair, 45, a substitute teacher who first tried this serum after visiting Iceland. “Seeing how [Icelandic women] took care of their skin inspired me to take care of my own.”
Gina says her skin has reaped the benefits from months of daily use.
And for what it’s worth, Gina’s skin does look pretty amazing these days. Compared to six months ago, her skin looks more radiant and rested, like she just returned from a wellness retreat.
2. There really is something in the water. Icelandic skincare involves geothermal baths to rejuvenate the mind and skin.
Research shows that geothermal water heals the mind and body, which is one reason geothermal baths are so popular in Iceland. Geothermal water contains minerals that calm inflammation, eczema, psoriasis, and other skin ailments. Plus, sulfur and other minerals revive dull skin, improve texture and tone, smooth fine lines, and hydrate skin.
This combination of heat and minerals boosts circulation to produce an enviable glow. Another benefit? Geothermal baths improve sleep and reduce stress, which also helps skin, researchers say.
Two Icelandic geothermal spas, Blue Lagoon and Mývatn, also carry their own skincare lines, which have amassed cult followings worldwide. The Silica Mud Mask and Lava Scrub Mask are two top-sellers from the Blue Lagoon line that contain skin-healing minerals.
Unfortunately, both masks fly off shelves, so don’t be surprised if they’re out of stock.
Blue Lagoon Silica Mud Mask: Deep Cleanse and Strengthen, $49
The Blue Lagoon silica mask has become one of my favorites, and it’s safe for sensitive skin, so you can use it as often as you’d like. Some weeks, I use it daily, but I recommend following the instructions and waiting a few weeks to see how your skin responds.
But here’s one insider tip: Before applying the mask, steam your skin by draping a warm washcloth over your face for two or three minutes. The steam opens pores and helps your skin absorb the minerals.
Then, after you’ve steamed your skin, apply the silica mask and wait 20 to 30 minutes. Finally, rinse with warm water or a washcloth and, voilà — all done. Your skin will amaze you.
Afterward, follow with a dab of rose oil and a skin-plumping hyaluronic acid serum. Then wait five minutes before applying moisturizer and sunscreen.
Lava Scrub Mask: Exfoliate and Renew, $49
This Blue Lagoon lava scrub contains minerals straight from the Icelandic volcanoes, with gentle exfoliants to slough off dead skin and reveal a younger, fresher you.
To use, apply to damp skin once or twice per week. Massage the scrub into your skin and leave on for 10 minutes. Then, rinse with warm water and pat skin dry. Follow with serum.
Purity Herbs is another popular Icelandic skincare line that carries affordable products to suit all skin types. What began as a young boy’s fascination with herbs evolved into Iceland’s first all-natural skincare company in 1994, when founder André Raes teamed up with his pharmacist grandfather, who helped him turn his dream into a reality.
All product ingredients are grown in Akureyri, a small northern Icelandic town renowned for the purity of its air, land, and water.
However, the Herbal Wonder facial cream contains Icelandic herbs and minerals that moisturize skin, smooth fine lines, and even skin tone.
3. Icelandic skin care uses homegrown ingredients.
Homegrown ingredients are the third secret to any Icelandic skincare routine. For instance, Soley Organics and Skyn Iceland are two more skincare brands that use homegrown plants and herbs to improve skin clarity, texture, and radiance.
Soley Organics is a family-run operation whose recipes have been passed down for generations. These clean beauty products are all hand-picked and about as pure as you can get.
In the U.S., however, Skyn Iceland has gone mainstream, and the brand’s Hydro Cool Firming Eye Gels remain a best-seller. Made with hexapeptide technology, Hydro Cool Gels are easy to use and work best when chilled.
The cold perks up tired eyes, making you look fresh and alert no matter how little you slept.
So there you have it. Glowing skin comes from science, nature, and the Blue Lagoon. Better yet, geothermal spas heal the mind and body. If anyone has tried these products or visited a geothermal spa, feel free to share your experience.
Featured image credit: Anna_Om / iStockPhoto
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