Since the European Natural Beauty Awards platform 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 honours 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 and 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’ fourth part brings us to dive deeper into understanding berries.

Europe is full of berries, ranging from sweet to sour, but there is a vast difference between the species grown in the south of Europe to the ones up north. The conditions in nature directly affect, for example, growth, size, and sweetness. Many berries are considered superfoods and enjoyed for their health benefits, but they are popular sources of ingredients in cosmetics as well. Let’s explore a few species together and discover the wisdom behind their popularity.


Rubus allegheniensis and Rubus idaeus

Raspberries and blackberries are two powerful berries that share a distinctive feature called drupelets, which is when the fruit’s flesh is made up of individual drupes. Blackberries are deep black in colour and have bumpy, distinctively shaped and thin green stems with prickles. Raspberries are widely known for their beautiful pink shade instead, popularly copied in cosmetics. While blackberries are a blackened purple when ripe, they vary in a reddish shade during ripening and can easily be confused with raspberries.


Apart from various wellness benefits, raspberries and blackberries are also utilised in cosmetics. Raspberry seed oil is high in vitamins A and E and fatty acids such as omega-3 and omega-6, which makes it a great raw material for serums, oils and moisturisers. It is usually well-tolerated thanks to its high content of linoleic acid, suitable even for blemish-prone skin. Raspberry is known for its renewing but calming and soothing effect on the skin. Raspberry leaves are also used in skincare and wellness for their anti-inflammatory effect. Blackberry seed oil is packed with omega 3 and 6 fatty acids and anthocyanins, which support the skin barrier and healthy skin ageing.



Vaccinium myrtillus, Vaccinium corymbosum, and Vaccinium uliginosum

Blueberries and bilberries are often confused with each other or referred to generally as blueberries. However, there are differences between the two, though they do have a delicious taste and health benefits in common. Bilberry resembles blueberry (its’ garden cousin), but they differ in smaller size and have a sweeter taste. The garden blueberry is a plump, round berry and significantly bigger in size and lighter in colour. In contrast, the bilberries are deeper blue, sometimes even a blackened blue, in colour. When cut in half, the bilberry has reddish-purple pulp. The garden blueberry, however, is white on the inside.


Bog bilberry is in a category of its own, despite sharing many similarities with bilberries and blueberries. It shares the blue hue with bilberries and blueberries but withstands colder temperatures better. It is white on the inside but has a waxy coat on the outside.


Blueberries, bilberries and bog bilberries are all high in antioxidants. Antioxidants are powerful in helping repair skin damage and helping the skin age healthily, so it is no wonder that the seed oils from these berries are widely used in cosmetics. These blue berries have anti-inflammatory properties as well.

Blueberry and bilberry seed oils are great for protecting and strengthening the skin barrier, thanks to the omega-3 fatty acids. Both are excellent sources of vitamin E, vitamin C, and fibres. They also contain anthocyanins, natural pigments with scientifically proven health benefits. However, bilberries contain three to five times more anthocyanins than cultivated blueberries, also explaining the difference in colour. Bilberries and blueberries alike also contain tannins, which have an anti-inflammatory effect. In haircare, the purple pigments have been shown to correct yellow tones in light hair, with similar benefits to silver shampoo.



Vaccinium Vitis-idaea and Vaccinium oxycoccos

The bright red cranberries and lingonberries also belong in the genus Vaccinium, like the blueberries and bilberries mentioned above. Despite belonging to the same family, there is a huge difference in taste – cranberries and lingonberries are distinguishly sour. Lingonberries and cranberries are packed with antioxidants, which explains their popular use in cosmetics. Regarding comparison, though, lingonberries have a higher concentration of antioxidants than cranberries.

Lingonberry has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties with its content of vitamins A, C and E and phytochemicals. Since lingonberry seed oil and lingonberry extract are high in omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids, they support the skin’s natural barrier and keep the skin’s moisture from evaporating. Naturally found, vitamin E and arbutin are wonderful ingredients against hyperpigmentation. Lingonberries are also rich in anthocyanins, the pigments behind the bright red colour, which are a group of antioxidants.


The antioxidants in cranberries help combat redness and protect the skin from free radicals. Cranberries are also high in vitamin C, which helps the healthy ageing of the skin. Cranberry extract and cranberry seed oil could help combat acne and irritation in the skin since both are very calming. The omega-3, omega-6, and omega-9 fatty acids strengthen the skin’s natural protective barrier. Cranberries also contain vitamin E, which is fantastic for skin-healing properties. 


With all the benefits, it is no wonder that berries are a significant source of natural potency in wellness and cosmetics. We would love to hear your thoughts on berries; which ones are your favourites? Do you enjoy berries holistically or specifically in your skincare or diet? Join the conversation on our social media to discuss more >