Since the European Natural Beauty Awards is all about showcasing the best natural cosmetics found within our diverse continent of Europe, we created this blog series, Treasures of European Nature. The series plans to honour the knowledge and wisdom of natural beauty practices and broaden the horizons of the potency of natural ingredients found in Europe.

From the mild seashores of the Mediterranean to the deep forests in Eastern Europe and the Arctic climate of the North, countless potent herbs, crops, plants, and other greenery have been discovered and used for centuries, if not longer. 

By acknowledging and highlighting the benefits of these natural resources, we wish to empower you to understand more about the natural ingredients in your care and beauty products. Join us in exploring ingredients found in European nature – their origins, use and benefits in skincare. This blog series’s second part is all about Nordic forests and the precious harvest hidden within their trees – birch and birch sap, Chaga, spruce resin, and forest microbial extract.


When writing this post (in March), the northern forests are covered with snow, though under those white layers, countless potent ingredients are waiting for the warm and light summer to bloom again. Northern forests provide a bountiful supply of powerful plants and greenery, well-suited for skincare. Berries, especially well-known species like blueberries, are some of the most loved skincare ingredients found in the forests.

While berries have wonderful skin-caring properties, that doesn’t mean other ingredients or greenery should be overlooked. The Nordic forests have much to offer, and we have decided to shift our focus to a perhaps unexpected section of nature; the trees and the forest itself.


Birch is a large family of trees under the name of Bendula, with wide varieties that thrive in slightly different conditions. In the Arctic, the fell birch survives in harsher conditions, while the silver birch prospers in the temperate climate throughout Scandinavia. 

Birch and birch sap are perhaps some of the most versatile ingredients in the Nordic forests. The outer layer of the birch trunk, a.k.a. the bark, can be shredded and used as an exfoliant. Birch sap can be found in skin cleansers and hydrating products, but it is also a popular ingredient in hair care since it adds shine and softness to the hair. Birch sap makes skin cells regenerate faster and contains antioxidant properties and minerals. It suits most skin types but is especially useful to dry skin. Birch sap is also a popular ingredient in wellness products.

Perhaps one of the most popular benefits of birch is the birch sugar, or xylitol, which is used as a sweetener and in dental care. Further benefits of xylitol are its ability to bind moisture in the skin, which makes it an excellent ingredient for dried-out skin. As if these are not enough uses for birch, it also has a calming yet sweet scent. A traditional Nordic way to enjoy the scent is in the sauna – either through dried birch branches with the leaves intact or in soaps and popular sauna aromas. 



Chaga is a fungus found on trees, especially on birch. Chaga might be an uninvited guest to the tree, but it’s also a traditional ingredient in skincare and wellness. It is a pitch-black mushroom with visible parts around the tree trunk. Chaga grows mostly on downy and silver birch and thrives near wetlands and lakes. 

In skincare products, Chaga is often added to serums and moisturisers, and the reason behind all the hype around this ingredient is its content of antioxidants and betaine. It might look intimidating, but it’s also well-known in the wellness scene, especially as tea and seasoning.



Spruce comes in many different species, but the European spruce, also called the Norwegian spruce, is native to northern Europe. Spruce resin, or “liquid forest gold”, is a traditional ingredient in wellness and skincare, loved for its anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties. In its natural form, the spruce resin has a beautiful yellow-orange tone and is very sticky.

Spruce resin is often implemented in balms or thick ointments and can be layered to calm irritated skin. It is an ancient yet continuously popular natural remedy for burns and bug bites, but also wonderful for dry and cracked skin. Depending on the formulation, a spruce resin-based product can be mildly scented, but spruce has a naturally distinct scent, which is also popular in aromatics.



As a relatively new ingredient in the skincare market, a Finnish innovation – forest microbial extract, is still widely unknown to the large public. Also called forest dust, it is a mixture of unique components that support the skin’s natural functions. The components are carefully combined to replicate the rich diversity of hundreds of species found in Finnish nature.

The extract is scientifically proven to stimulate the immune system and recreate a more natural balance. It promotes skin integrity for enhanced barrier function, faster regeneration and repair. It also reduces skin redness and irritation and increases levels of age-defying collagen.

This innovative extract supports the skin’s overall health and can be used in various formulations, such as cleansers and hydrating products.


The magic of a deep forest cannot be replicated, but we can do our best to include it in our everyday routine. Forest’s benefits can be enjoyed at home through scents and boosting ingredients, such as the ones mentioned above. How do you preserve the magic of the forest at home? How do you include forests and nature in your daily life? Join the conversation on our social media and share your thoughts on the subject >