As the ancient Chinese healing technique Gua Sha took over our beauty routines last year, we want to look into and share some traditional Nordic health and beauty routines too. One of the oldest traditions in the Nordics is the Sauna, which has been used for ages as a relaxation and beauty tradition to unwind and sweating out all the toxins from the body. Not only used for stress relief and natural beauty, the many benefits of taking a sauna regularly has to do with the increased blood flow – it’s good for your brain, your heart and your skin, it improves the mood as well as sleep and relaxation, and help the heart function properly and exercises the blood vessels. Not to talk about the community part, there’s something very unique and honest with sauna discussions.
Even though saunas are mostly associated with Finland, where the population is 5.5 million and there is about 3,3 million saunas, you can find pretty awesome and cozy alternatives around the Nordics. We’ve collected a few of the most interesting ones, as well as essential beauty products to bring with you to the sauna. Take a look below!
Image courtesy of CopenHot
All wired up after Copenhagen Fashion Week? Why not take a relaxing sauna session after all the fashion hustle. At CopenHot you can enjoy the beautiful view of Copenhagen and the most popular monuments as the Little Mermaid and the Marmor Church, whilst relaxing in the fire heated panoramic sauna. During the winter there’s also the opportunity to enjoy a refreshing saltwater shower available next to the sauna. CopenHot also offers the fun twist on your sauna experience by having floating jacuzzis to rent during the summer months, a fun idea worth trying out!
Image courtesy of Anders Blomqvist/ Arctic Bath
Up in the North, floating on the Lule River, the architecturally stunning Arctic Bath looks like a place from a fairytale. This natural spa retreat is built with respect for nature and inspired by the timber floating era, and seamlessly have integrated the elements of Northern Sweden’s nature into its architecture. Free-floating by summer and frozen into the ice during winters, the Arctic Bath provides visitors with a relaxing holistic wellness experience with different saunas, spa treatment rooms, and calm hotel complexes. A perfect getaway to relax one’s mind.
Image courtesy of SALT
Right by the fjord, in the heart of Oslo, you’ll find SALT, a complex providing visitors with four different sauna options, all from a comfortable morning sauna to steam sessions with DJs inviting bathers to sweat even more on the dance floor. You can also book the sky sauna, Himmelsauna, for a private group and enjoy the wonderful views over the fjord, relax by the fire – and for the brave who needs to cool down from all the steam, there are even cold water barrels to jump into.
Image courtesy of Löyly
In Helsinki, there are lots of saunas to visit, and even a day-long festival called Helsinki Sauna Day, where the doors of private Saunas open for the public. One of the most architecturally stunning ones is Löyly – the name comes from the word referring to the steam that comes when you throw water on hot stones in a sauna. This green construction, urban Sauna have three different unisex saunas that are all heated with wood: a continuously heated sauna, a once heated sauna (that is heated in the morning before the sauna is open and stays warm all evening) and a traditional smoke sauna, Sauna visitors can freely walk from room to room, and sit down to cool down in between steam-sessions in the fireplace room. The architecture of the building functions as blinds and gives the bathers privacy by blocking the views from the outside, but offers a great sea view for the ones on the inside. A stunning location for a couple of hours of relaxation.
Image courtesy of the Arctic Snow Hotel
Up in northern Finland, Rovaniemi, one can during the winter months enjoy the impressive experience of a snow sauna. Combining the two opposite elements the stove keeps the temperature high with its steam, even though the snow walls radiate cold. The 1,5 meters thick walls made of snow and ice melt about 3-5 mm with each sauna session, releasing steam into the room. Eventually, the sauna melts back into its surroundings, and another is built. Outside the snow sauna, there’s a jacuzzi where one can enjoy the beautiful snowy landscape, and with luck, you might even get a glimpse of the Northern Lights. The saunas can be found at the Arctic SnowHotel, which is also built out of snow and ice.
Traditionally sauna beauty consists of a birch whisk, that is slapped on to the skin to enhance blood circulation. Birch leaves are renowned for its ability to help clear your body from toxins, and for its beautifying properties; the extract of the leaves as well as birch water, which are used in cosmetics as well as refreshment, helps restore skin radiance as it is super hydrating, rich in vitamin C and minerals, and reduces inflammation.
Besides a bath whisk, which will make you highly popular in the sauna, we recommend these excellent products that work terrifically with the Nordic Sauna tradition and make you feel refreshed and deeply cleansed from head to toe.
Image courtesy of Ole Henriksen
Inspired by the traditional Scandinavian spas and saunas Ole Henriksen’s Pore-Balance Facial Sauna Scrub will make you rethink physical exfoliators. With ingredients such as volcanic sand, glycolic and lactic acids, active botanicals such as green tea, eucalyptus, algae and Irish moss extracts that contain natural antiseptic properties, this deeply purifying blend absorbs excess oils and helps unclog pores, and is a terrific option for oily and combination skin. The interesting part of the scrub is that it’ll warm up on your skin for 10 seconds or so, after which it’ll turn into a cooling sensation, reminiscing the hot sauna followed by and cold plunge into the sea. Promoting blood circulation and detoxification this facial scrub is a terrific product to bring with you for sauna sessions, or to bring a little sauna feel to your own bathroom.
Image courtesy of Viking Beauty Secrets
Inspired by Nordic beauty traditions, Viking Beauty Secrets’ oil-to-milk Exfoliating Face Scrub with volcanic Icelandic sand and the “Viking super antioxidant” rowan- and raspberries is a great option for the bather with dry or sensitive skin. Raspberry seed oil is antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and helps even the skin tone, where rowan berry extract stimulates blood circulation, detoxifies and is high in antioxidants. The blend of volcanic sand and oil turns into a gentle milky peeling when worked into skin providing you with a tender yet efficient peeling, leaving your skin soft and radiant.
Image courtesy of NIVEA
Boosted with white clay to provide a deep cleanse, NIVEAs new amazingly scented Clay Fresh Shower – shower-gels are perfect after Nordic Sauna sessions to make sure you get off all that sweat. Providing you with a more efficient cleanse than regular ones, the white clay does the work without drying the skin. The blend of the Clay Fresh Shower gels leaves a silky soft, squeaky fresh finish. The shower-gel comes with three different lovely scents: a refreshing green breeze of ginger & basil; a dreamy bouquet of Chinese rose & white salvia; and a deep scent of blue agave & lavender. Which one would you choose to rinse off with after the sauna?
Image courtesy of Pretty Athletic
Originally developed for caring for active women’s skin after frequent sweating, showering and exposed to the elements, we think that Pretty Athletics Gel Body Moisturizer is the perfect post-sauna buddy as well. Packed with nourishing ingredients such as Aloe Vera, Hyaluronic Acid, patented multi-mineral complex, zink and vitamin A, this fast-absorbing gel moisturizer has a comfortable cooling effect when stroked onto the skin. A lovely way to pamper your skin after hours of sweating, giving you an instant cooled down refreshed feeling, whilst deeply hydrating without any stickiness.
Eager to find out more Nordic culture tips? Head over here. >>>
Tags: nordic traditions, sauna
Mira is a freelance makeup artist from the sunniest city in Finland, with arts and traveling close to heart. Now days based in Helsinki, she loves to meet up and collaborate with creative people.
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