8 European Skincare Brands We're Obsessed With for Summer

by Ryan Leeds

EDGE Media Network Contributor

Wednesday June 16, 2021

"Alright, Mr. DeMille, I'm ready for my close-up," exclaimed a wild-eyed Gloria Swanson in "Sunset Boulevard."

The camera zooms in on the actress playing silent film star Norma Desmond, just as we've all stared into computer cameras, smartphones, and other digital devices over the past pandemic-laden year.

It's a pretty safe bet that video conferencing will still be popular long after COVID-19 passes. With that comes the vanity of extreme close-ups. To help maintain a fresh-faced complexion both virtually and in-person, EDGE leaps across the Atlantic to discover some of our favorite European skincare brands that can enhance your glow, boost confidence, and launch you back into the world of the living.

Recipe for men

Sebustop is the secret ingredient that gives this Scandinavian brand's facial cleanser ($25) an incredibly pleasant scent.

The blend of cinnamon, ginger, and burnet also reduces oily skin and protects against bacterial attacks. This line took years to become a reality by three Swedes who met in college. After a day on the slopes, the trio proposed the idea in a ski lodge and, in 2005, made it a reality.

Recipe for men has become a top Swedish men's skincare line and is sold in over 25 countries. We also love its citrus-laced ultra-clean shower gel. ($19)


Bertus "Rob" Rietveld and Lion "Leen" Bergmann are the renegades behind the newly launched Rotterdam-based skincare brand. Their goal? To craft the perfect haircut for every customer and offer a sense of community with their own barbershop and products.

The two now operate a grooming school and produce several products that cater to hirsute gentlemen. They've created affordable face products, including this cleverly designed solid face wash stick — great for traveling ($17). Simply run it over your dry face, add water, and feel refreshed. Also try this hydrating face moisturizer ($18).

Kerstin Florian

Sometimes getting pretty can be rather ugly. That's the case with Florian's rejuventating spirulina masque ($68). Chlorella, laminaria, spirulina algae and other anti-oxidants are packed into this 15-minute dark green masque that will temporarily leave one looking like a sea serpent.

Post-rinse, however, radiance emerges. Florian promotes four foundations of holistic skincare, inspired by her native land of Sweden: proper nutrition, regular exercise, peace of mind, and care of the face and body. Also, try their men's clarifying daily hydrator ($62), rich with raspberry cell culture, peptides, and botanicals.

Skyn Iceland

The Icelandic word "skyn" means "senses." This line employs sight, smell and touch by using fresh, arctic ingredients like cloudberry and cranberry seed oils, thyme and Icelandic kelp.

The sleek packaging suggests simplicity and purity. The pure cloud cream ($58) hydrates with sodium hyaluronate, oat extract, and a proprietary Icelandic complex that "delivers energy into skin's deepest layers to bring back a youthful glow."


Lars Fredriksson created this Swedish brand, which combines science with simplicity. Verso was the first brand to use the anti-aging Retinol 8, an offshoot of vitamin A, which is eight times as effective as regular retinol.

The Reviving eye mask (4-pack, $30) is a breeze to apply and remove and will noticeably improve elasticity. Pucker up and try the Number 9 lip serum ($65).

Claus Porto

Since 1887, this Portuguese soap maker has gone to great lengths to produce ornate, beautifully designed packaging for its fragrances, bar soaps and skincare products.

Try the best-selling spiced citrus soap on a rope ($28) with notes of lime, coriander, lemon and verbena. The gift set scent collection ($85) includes four 30ml bottles of Claus Porto's classic scent, oak moss, spiced citrus and orange amber.

Ole Henriksen

Babs. Cher. Katy. Kylie. Madonna. Shakira. These are but a few mega-star clients who have used products from openly gay Ole (pronounced "Ooh-Lah") Henriksen. The Danish-born, Los Angeles-based skincare specialist made waves in 2017 when he launched Banana Bright eye crème ($39), which soon became a top-seller at Sephora.

The crème, packed with collagen and vitamin C, helps reduce a luggage-lugging look beneath the eyes. Also, try the anti-aging truth serum ($50) and C-Rush brightening gel crème ($46) for a lightly tinted moisture boost.


Established in 1970, this Finnish brand quickly became a leading skincare line in Finland, and continues to dominate the market. Lumene was the first to use hand-picked berries in its products and, later, other northern European plants.

The Valo vitamin C arctic berry cocktail brightening hydra-oil ($28) harnesses the power of cloudberry and cranberry seed oils with a proprietary vitamin blend and pure arctic spring water.

Ryan Leeds is a freelance theater, food, and nightlife journalist who lives in Manhattan. He is the Chief Theater Critic for Manhattan Digest and a frequent contributor to Dramatics Magazine and The Broadway Blog. Follow him on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.