Curiosity Gap Spotlight: Henua

Henua is a five product Finnish beauty brand that combines Scandinavian design aesthetic (when it comes to packaging) with skinimalism approach that targets pretty much all of skin types. I find minimalistic Scandinavian approach to skincare not only increasingly appealing, but also the antidote to the constant bombardment from many beauty brands that promise ‘miracles’, newness and encourage endless stream of consumption, cramming our bathroom shelves and overwhelming the skin.

HENUA face care trio – cleanse, moisturise, nourish

“We aim to enhance your inner balance, power and radiance every day by creating a haven in the midst of it all – helping you find the enchanting peace of mind when you know everything is and will be just fine.”

Jenni & Anu, sisters & HENUA founders
Henua founders, Jenni (left) and Anu (right) image courtesy of Henua

Henua offers a premium skincare line in the purest form & this month (perfectly timed for the festive season) the brand launches the most beautiful mini skincare set, which will allow customers to get to know the products first, before committing to a full-size purchase. Sisters and founders Jenni & Anu only source and use organic and active ingredients and the USP of the brand is the fact that Henua products don’t contain fillers & water.

HENUA Nourishing Oil Cleanser

The Nourishing Oil Cleanser is a game changer in skin cleansing routine, particularly if you like facial oils and use your oil cleanser to double up as the facial massage oil – be it with hands or face massage tools, like rollers or gua sha. It cleanses the skin effectively, but gently and has the most beautiful ‘slip’ factor. Even if you are wearing heavier make-up, this cleanser effectively removes it without the trace, leaving behind the skin that is nurtured, rather than stripped, and ready for the next step of the skincare routine. Interestingly Anu and Jenni recommend applying it with dry hands to dry skin, NOT mixing it with water, and then removing it from your skin with a warm cotton or muslin cloth.

I am particularly taken with how effectively it removes make-up and daily city grime that we city dwellers so seamlessly accumulate and that builds up unseen to the naked eye on our skin. So using this oil cleanser as part of my evening skincare routine not only gives a moment of grounding comfort, but leaves behind skin that is clean, nurtured and soft to the touch. ‘Like’ attracts ‘like’ and this cleansing oil ‘attracts’ excess sebum, make-up and pollutants and then you are left with the better version of the skin you are in.

Henua Recharging Moisturiser

Cosmoprof 2019 ‘Trendsetter’ Recharging Moisturiser not only promises, but delivers on boosting collagen production, as well as speeding up dermal cell regeneration within five weeks of my using it in the mornings only. It noticeably improved skin vitality, while also helping to calm any minor areas of redness or irritation. The consistency of this oil is somewhere in the middle between super light and rich and that suited my skin to a “T’ in early autumn when I received it from Finland for testing.

Exterior Luxury of Henua packaging

Henua’s Miracle Vitamin Oil is the product that Jenny Tuominen, brand’s co-founder, can’t live without. It allows the user to ‘retreat from a hectic crowd for a moment of silence and tranquility’ and that’s exactly how I prefer my evening skincare ritual to be. Calm reigning in my bathroom, with children seeing happy dreams and my day coming to a peaceful end as well. Carefully and thoughtfully formulated with 11 natural oils and plant extracts, this oil will deliver a multitude of antioxidant-rich nutrients to your skin when you most need it. The oil works beautifully in plumping up fine lines and wrinkles, addresses sensitive skin needs, including calming down the redness and inflammation that often flare up during colder months of the year and helps skin look (and feel) more supple and visibly brighter overall.

For a brand that only launched at the end of 2018, the confidence in the step is impressive (coupled with inner calm that Finns are known for externally). For Jenni and Anu EcoCert certification was equally important – not only to ‘impress’ the retailers specialising in natural beauty, but also the potential customers who place such credentials at a premium. It was also important to do it to satisfy their own internal convictions and to make sure their “modus operandi” and daily practises were sustainable and meaningful, rather than momentarily fleeting.

leaning into nature with Henua

The division of responsibilities between the sisters is not less important – Anu is the business brain of Henua, with her background in running businesses and a Master’s degree in Economic Sciences, while Jennni, who in the past had problems with her own skin, yet didn’t question the ingredients in the skincare she was using, studied dermatology and did several Formula Botanica courses (something I would recommend doing, if you are serious about formulation or want to start your own skin, body or haircare brand), including formulation and advanced skincare. With all the relevant skills and certified studies, Jenni focusses on cosmetology, organic ingredients and making sure that each product delivers the synergy of organic and wild-harvested ingredients and visible results. Both Anu and Jenni compliment each other’s knowledge and skill sets and work together in harmony, trusting each other implicitly.

An element that is integral to Henua is the absence of water in the ingredient list. Jenni told me that in her opinion water doesn’t do anything for the skin in terms of being an ingredients in skincare and instead the brand prefers to use birch sap or rose water. The brand’s products are aimed at customers from the age of 20 and are particularly efficacious for those who are 35+. The brand positioned itself in the luxury segment and the prices, which start at euros 69 for the body lotion and go up to euros 129 for the moisturiser, give a clear indication of where the brand stands in the marketplace. With the brand now sold in 16 European countries (and counting) and introduction of the minis set that I mentioned earlier is a helpful move for consumers willing to dip in the toe. Mini Discovery Kit contains all five products that look like the exact replicas of the full size, but at a fraction of a cost (euros 44.90).

Packaging – both outer boxes and product bottles, are a testament to Nordic design expertise

Henua Packaging deserves separate praise. Exterior boxes wouldn’t look out of place on the mantelpiece, taking pride of place. Glass bottles house the products themselves and wooden caps ‘seal the deal’. The sourcing and manufacturing is done locally and that allows the brand to bring its environmental impact down with thought, care and intention. Having said that, Finns have been ahead of the curve when it comes to recycling and sustainable living, with even small children bringing the recycling into the supermarkets, where special machines take items in and give consumers receipts with money value to be used when shopping – win-win for consumer and the planet.

When it comes to certification, according to Jenni many consumers still don’t know what they are buying and rely on brand’s marketing and messaging, so by gaining EcoCert status Henua shows that it is trusty-worthy. Add to that a “bonus” that all main ingredients are rooted and sourced in Finland and you get the full overview of what the brand stands for, believes in and works for.

“Come home after a long day, sit on the edge of the bed and take off your high heals”

Henua Nourishing Oil Cleanser box cover

Now, a few more words on the products and the ingredients. Oat Oil and Lingonberry are the star ingredient in the Nourishing Oil Cleanser. Oat oil helps to sooth sensitive, damaged and mature skin and reduce the inflammation, while Lingonberry Seed Oil (lingonberries are harvested in autumn and this vitamin-rich berry is a staple in the Nordic diet, eaten fresh, added to dishes, dried up and used in tea – a natural remedy and nourishment in each berry) has been clinically shown to reduce wrinkle depth, increase skin hydration levels, as well as elasticity. Formulated with high quality organic oils that contain vitamins A, C, D & E, this oil cleanser will moisturise, protect and nourish the skin on your face, neck and around the eye area, while also helping to restore skin’s own moisture barrier with regular use. The product is non-irritating, exhiliratingly soothing on the skin and non-pore clogging (non-comedogenic). Personally I very much look forward to using it at night, closing my eyes and massaging my face with tender pleasure – a sensual pastime that allows me to re-connect with myself, examine the contours of my face for tension and release it, before going to bed in a calmer, more internally relaxed state which is conducive to better quality sleep.

“Jumping in the water and letting your feet touch the bottom, before kicking back up to the surface”

Recharging Moisturiser quotation

With Birch Sap, Seabuckthorn and Pine Bark, Henua’s Recharging Moisturiser is one of the brand’s most expensive products for a reason. Pine bark it itself is an expensive ingredient , but is quite unique as it helps to protect the skin from UVA radiation AND helps boost skin’s natural, but diminishing collagen production over time. A combination of natural and organic ingredients that are packed with minerals, vitamins and antioxidants that together help renew the skin, promote better moisture levels, as well as improve suppleness and radiance thanks to Birch sap. There is also Sea buckthorn Oil that is rich in Vitamin C, healing for the skin and helpful when it comes to improving skin’s own barrier function, especially when it is weakened by your lifestyle, environment or skincare that might be too harsh for your skin type.

Henua’s Miracle Vitamin Oil is also formulated with Oat, Lingonberry and Sea Buckthorn and it truly came into its own power after a family holiday in Turkey that resulted in significant sun exposure and sunburn. Jenni managed to craft something that reduced the redness and calmed the skin within a day and the strength of the performance of this product only grew stronger. Oat oil is known to be able to sooth sensitive, dry or damaged skin – a popular ingredient even in baby baths for decades. Add to that Rosehip seed oil that helps correct (read make them less noticeable) pigmentation and dark spots, while also hydrating dry and itchy skin, as well as reducing scars and skin discolouration at the same time. Quite a power punch in one glass bottle, but that’s not all. Evening Primrose Oil that is rich in GLA has age-proofing properties, so perfectly suited to more mature skin types, while Lingonberry seed oil has been clinically shown to reduce wrinkles and improve skin’s elasticity and Sea Buckthorn oil heals and rejuvenates. I would gently caution you to be careful with this oil around your eyes and use a different product around the eye area.

Having used Henua trio of products for almost two months, I can only say that the ‘less is more approach’ when it comes to skincare at any age is really one of the biggest secret’s to great skin. Paying attention to what you use on your skin daily and your skin response is vital, as is choosing the best possible ingredient that address your skin type and concerns. For me the feel of the products on the skin, upon application and after, are the testament to the talent and knowledge of the people who create them. Just the alone of Henua’s Cleansing Oil on my skin recreates the peacefulness that I feel when I explore Finland when visiting friends. The ragged landscape, the variety of nature and the innate wilderness that grounds you, like moss surrounding the stones, is an apt reminder that nature has all the answers, if only we slow down, listen and learn. Henua is female-led brand that is a testament to the beautiful efficacy of skinimalism in action, harnessing the best of ingredients that Finland has on offer abundantly, because Finns respect the places that they live in and their land.

To learn more about HENUA, please click here

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