The Beauty Oscar award highlights the best from Nordic skincare
We speak to one of Scandinavia’s leading beauty editors on her special annual award — and recent progress and the main remaining challenges to create a sustainable industry.
26 Apr 2021

Today, Denmark celebrates the Oscar for Best International Feature 2021 at last night’s gala, awarded to director Thomas Vinterberg for Druk (Another Round). And this is also the day when journalist and one of Scandinavia’s leading beauty editors at Sweden’s leading daily Aftonbladet, Agneta Elmegård, announces the first winners at her blog Skönhetsredaktörerna’s (The Beauty Editor’s) annual Beauty Oscar award.

— I started this, very nerdy, digital award six years ago in a very bold way and raised attention to good performance in beauty products from the whole world, Elmegård tells. Over the years, we found out that many of the good stuff actually either came from Scandinavia or was invented by Scandinavian minds, so we decided to give full attention to Scandinavian brands. There is a lot of good stuff going on in the beauty industry in the Nordic countries and we wanted to highlight that. This year I decided that I want to highlight inventions that have an extra dimension when it comes to sustainability and inclusion with a special award, because there has been such a boom in these segments over the past year. The beauty industry is the new fashion industry and also needs to change in order to prevent a planetary collapse in the future.

If you were about to highlight a few particular recent winning products, which ones would you choose?

— Last year there was a couple of products standing out, winning awards. Like Kudo Cosmetics, invented by Angelica Wessel. We were the first media in Sweden that paid attention to her and her job in South Africa. Now, she is selling her unique oils at &Other Stories. Another brand that’s interesting is True Organics who won Best organic body cream. They work with Swedish Algae Factory, which found a specific algae from the Arctic region that, in studies, has shown to rejecting UV-rays in a natural way. Danish Hair Lust is another interesting brand that won last year. They are very innovative and have a good sustainable program that they work on. Finnish brand Havu Cosmetics won the category of Best eco-lipstick for their innovative green approach to lipstick formula and packaging in wood. Swedish brand Palina won Best innovation for their powder Prowder that could change the whole powder industry in the future. Swedish Ztirl won the Best sustainable cosmetics oscars. Making glitter out of biomass, this could also change the whole mica industry that is a dirty mining industry involving child labour.

One of the winners in 2021, for Best launch: Beauty Act by Kicks.

Yes, in 2019, you were awarded Who’s Who in Green Beauty Scandinavia by Diversified Communication UK and for those of us who follow you, you are a strong voice when it comes to sustainability in the beauty industry. Why is it so important for you to, tirelessly, write, cover, and highlight this issue? 

— I never get tired of this subject. Sustainability and circular inventions are the future. We already see this changing revolution in the fashion industry because they had to face reality in order to survive. Also, the consumers demand changes. The beauty industry is facing the same problems that fashion did a couple of years ago with unethical production, child labour, chemical and raw material issues, and transportation infarcts. We have to talk seriously about beauty at different levels in order to stay relevant in the future. Also, the way how we treat animals in laboratories in order to stay chic and fanzy. Animal welfare is also a sustainability question. I will constantly raise my hand and remind people about how consumption is linked to planetary boundaries and diversity. We need to have the full picture. A lot of improvement is going on indeed. Last week, Coty Inc. released the news that, by 2023, the main part of their perfumes will be made of ethanol captured from carbon dioxide and processed out of the atmosphere. Almost like science fiction.

As of today, what’s the biggest sustainability problem in the beauty industry?

— As I mentioned before, the mica mining industry in north India is a big problem. Human rights organizations estimate that over 50,000 children are involved in the industry. Mica is used in eye shadows, powder, and foundations. Over-sourcing raw materials in the perfume industry also needs attention and the petroleum-driven industry needs alternatives as well as the packaging industry.