We Talk Sustainable Beauty With the Eponymous Founder of Skin Care Brand Maria Åkerberg
MARIA ÅKERBERG is one of the leading brands for natural and organic skin care in Scandinavia, and one of our all-time favorites. We asked the eponymous founder of the extensive beauty line for a mid-summer chat.
Back in the mid ‘90s, Maria Åkerberg was planning to open up a skin care salon, and therefor in search of products that met her personal needs and preferences. However, failing to find good, natural skin care free from things like mineral oils and synthetic ingredients, Åkerberg – who is also a chemist – decided to make and launch her own line of all-natural and organic beauty (originally known by the name Dermanord). Keeping true to her original idea, the ever-growing range – now including skin, body, hair care and makeup products – is still made with 100% organic, plant-based ingredients and locally produced in Frillesås, Sweden.
The sustainable beauty line, made complete and perfect by a yummy ingredient list, bioplastic packaging and surprisingly affordable pricing, is one of our all-time favorites. We asked its founder, creative director and CEO for a mid-summer beauty chat and deeper introduction to the brand.
How are you, and what is going on in your life and work right now?
– I am doing well and am enjoying the Swedish summer with all the beauty it brings. At the moment we are closed for summer vacation to provide our staff with well needed rest. We will have an upcoming eventful fall, with many expos and new product launches. There is a lot going on, and we are all loving it. We are very thankful to all who are involved in our business!
Your brand is one of our all-time favorites. What’s the story behind it?
– Well, in the mid ‘90s, I lost my job as a construction engineer and decided to do something else. I had a very specific interest – to create and blend my own creams and ointments. I never knew I could turn that interest into a career, but thanks to my coach at Arbetsförmedlingen [the labor office] and people who believed in me, I started my own company to manufacture natural, organic beauty products.
Was it a given for you to start a beauty line with natural and organic products, and how has it evolved over the years?
– With a background in chemistry and with abundant knowledge of what nature can provide, products with natural ingredients was always the answer. The line has in many ways been the same – we create products the same way we always have. The ingredients do not change, nature is what it is. But, last year we launched about 50 new products, including shades of makeup, so of course it looks different today than what it did 20 years ago.
What kind of ingredients do you favor for your products, and how do you source them?
– I favor organic ingredients that can be cultivated as close to home as possible, and I always have the environment in mind in every decision I make. Quality and locally produced is much more important than price. I have a well established network when it comes to suppliers.
“I favor organic ingredients that can be cultivated as close to home as possible, and I always have the environment in mind in every decision I make”
Would you care to share your production process?
– All products from MARIA ÅKERBERG are produced in Frillesås, Sweden. We do not work with middle men, and get our raw materials straight from the suppliers. We mix the ingredients to create different products, all done by professionals with specific knowledge on how to handle organic ingredients. It differs from synthetic ingredients since the organic ingredients may vary depending on the harvest. Both color, texture and scent can differ from one harvest to another.
How would you describe your commitment towards sustainability, and how is this visible in your product line?
– Sustainability is very important to us, and a part of every decision we make. It can be seen in the organic products that will only do good for us and the nature; it can be seen in the containers we use, made out of bioplastic; it can be seen in the raw materials; it can be seen in our office and factory, where all materials are carefully chosen.
What will be your personal beauty routine for this summer?
– In the summer, it is important to exfoliate and moisturise a lot to keep the skin supple. It is also of course very important to use natural sunscreen. I also take very good care of my hair, and our new hair care product for the summer, Hair Detangler Energy, is amazing!
What is the secret to healthy summer hair?
– The key to healthy and beautiful hair is to take well care of your scalp. It is important to exfoliate the scalp and use a nutritional spray that provides moisture and nutrients. And, of course, it is important to use shampoos that hydrate instead of dehydrate. We have both conditioners and a hair treatment that is very beneficent for this.
Why is it important to choose “the right kind of sunscreen”, and what is great about yours?
– It is important to use a natural, physical sunscreen that reflects the damaging sun rays off the skin instead of absorbing them. Our sun products contain titanium dioxide, which is an excellent substance to use – both for humans and the environment. We have also chosen to use Beta Carotene in our sun products to give that warm, beautiful, long-lasting tan. One advantage with our products is also that they can be used by everyone in the family, even the youngest children. However, children under the age of 3 should avoid direct sunlight as much as possible, since their skin has a hard time repairing itself from sun damage.
Finally: If you have to pick three must-have products for summer, what would they be?
– The first one is Aloe Vera Barbadensis, which relieves anything from bug bites to sunburns. I always carry it with me since I have two younger children – somehow they always need it.
– Then it is Sun Protecting Oil SPF 15, which is perfect to use for the whole family on summer vacation as it is waterproof.
– The third product is Serum C, which is a repairing nightly serum that helps with sun damage.
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