From seaweed to elderflowers, nature drives innovation. Straightforward, organic formulations inspired by the port city’s two-hundred-year-old history of spa culture
L:A Bruket beauty brand
L:A Bruket is a natural and organic beauty brand inspired by the strengths of the region’s coastline, culture and traditions. It was born and produced in the small fisherman city of Varberg on the west coast of Sweden. A modern mindset applies to age-old thalassotherapy, or sea therapy practices of saltwater and seaweed bathing. The aim is to create innovative contemporary treatments with locally-sourced ingredients for the skin, hair and home in the long term in mind.
Its ingredients are organically produced with no artificial colors or fragrance agents. For this reason, they ensure that the beneficial properties and scents of all vegetable oils, essential oils and herbs come into their own. Its one-hundred-and-seventy-one products are free from parabens, sulphates, silicones and cruelty. They range from hand creams and body wash to candles and even dog shampoo.
L:A Bruket states that it does not export to mainland China and other countries requiring animal testing by law. Recycled and recyclable PET bottles and cans of food quality carry the products. Then, five-hundred points of sale worldwide feature them.
L:A Bruket’s foundation
In 2008, Mats Johansson and Monica Kylén founded the brand out of personal necessity and passion. Living near the sea, the skin and hair is susceptible to the harsh climates of Varberg’s coastline. Cold winds, constant rain, sun, sand, salt. Organic skin care was available in the domestic market. But, the husband and wife duo were searching for something more updated and relevant to the times.
They ended up finding inspiration and answers in nature itself. «Monica was walking the coastline and exploring the energy from the sea and wind», Johansson recalls. «It was almost like skincare in itself. Walking along the sea provided moisture, wind, oxygen, and even a little bit of an exfoliant experience. How could we capture this in daily products to use in a skincare concept?»
Valberg, two-hundred years of spa traditions
Valberg boasts two-hundred years of spa traditions. Rituals and remedies utilising natural ingredients native to Sweden still play a fundamental part in daily life and wellness today. On the beach, elderly women and men take seaweed and scrub themselves in the water.
Johansson explains that observations of the bathing culture sparked ideas that would further drive the concept of L:A Bruket and its blending of generational knowledge and contemporary relevance. «They would then use sea sand to scrub themselves and the saltwater to rinse everything off followed by a massage. We wanted to take those traditions and put them into a concept or products that were relevant today, presenting them in a simple and straightforward way. We wanted to challenge and maximise the effects of natural ingredients into more ambitious products and more competitive levels, compared to traditional skincare», he says.
The minimalism of L:A Bruket’s formulations
The minimalism of L:A Bruket’s formulations mirrors the couple’s ambition. They, in fact, want to explore and make use of the few raw materials already growing in the cold climates of Sweden. The company acknowledges that defining organic is not simple. Once a raw material is processed, it is no longer organic. This includes plants harvested in the wild, as they are not controlled through farming.
For this reason, they use both organic raw materials that have been processed in addition to certified organic ingredients. The soy wax candles are made from organic soy, but processed. While, the Petitgrain face oil has a content of more than ninety percent certified organic ingredients, such as shea butter and jojoba oil. They are backed by substantial knowledge of natural skincare. The aim is to understand how ingredients were traditionally used, and how they could then be used with maximal effect for modern lifestyles.
One of the first ingredients they looked into was seasalt and its use in exfoliants. Today, seasalt remains one of the brand’s key ingredients. It manifests mainly in face and body scrubs with nut and flower oil variations. Seaweed is also a key active ingredient across L:A Bruket’s products. Detox baths or boosting benefits as an extract in tonics, masks and more. Harvested from the coastline along the Kattegat which, Johansson says is «one–and–a-half kilometers outside our kitchen where I’m sitting right now». Head seaweed harvester Bo Albrektsson leads the eco-friendly process. His family has been in the trade for generations.
Lampoon review: L:A Bruket’s current product range
Three core groups characterize L:A Bruket’s product range. Skincare «to challenge the industry and what you can reach with natural ingredients», bodycare which is «the heart of the brand due to the bathing culture», and home which include candles, diffusers, dog shampoo and other lifestyle references «to set the mood and make you feel good», Johansson explains.
He says that the brand’s philosophy evolves around questions they ask themselves and the corresponding solutions related to lifestyle and health as a natural way to beauty. In 2019, L:A Bruket developed and launched a natural, non-toxic tattoo care line, after Sweden was reported as one of the top three most tattooed countries in the world. With only three products, the comprehensive line tackled cleansing, disinfecting, and moisturizing freshly inked skin while replacing any go-to aftercare products through a fun, relevant and holistic approach for their audience.
L:A Bruket’s mission: natural beauty
All products have their own challenges during development. Nevertheless, the broccoli seed serum is particularly noteworthy as broccoli extract was not available at the time. Natural beauty is the mission of the brand. The idea is that if it’s a superfood for the diet, then it can also be a superfood for the skin. After one-and-a-half years of working together with the supplier, the launch of the product paved the way towards L:A BRUKET’s professional skincare range which has continued to expand since.
«Everything should be about health. It is the way to beauty, since natural beauty comes from health. As long as they feel necessary and needed for today, then we’ll use our understanding from twelve years of working with natural ingredients. We want to create solutions for what is then popular. The ambition we have is to learn more, be better and make sure that we can challenge the common understanding today with our more simple and natural Swedish approach».
L:A Bruket COSMOS’s certification
Also taking around one-and-a-half years to develop, L:A Bruket’s newest and latest summer collection celebrates the company’s Swedish heritage. It emphasizes Sweden’s best-loved blossom, the elderberry, through the brand’s first COSMOS-certified assortment of hair and body care products.
The elderflower is a prominent symbol in Swedish culture. The annual emergence of the blossom marks the arrival of summer in Sweden. Baking activities and lemonade also feature it. A childhood tradition for Kylén who had fond memories of making the elderberry beverage with her grandmother when she was nine years old. Due to its strong antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, it was also a target for superstition in folklore. As was every other plant with beneficial health properties in the past.
Johansson explains that all these different dimensions of the plant made it the ideal ingredient for a range that would strengthen the skin and prepare consumers for the summer season. The elderflower line includes hand cream, a shea butter body lotion with added aloe vera and a sea salt scrub. It is also a moisturising and mild body wash. «A symbolic L:A Bruket product in many ways with the antioxidant ingredient in the elderflower».
They didn’t use fragrances. Only the extract of elderflower combined with a hint of citrus or lemon. A nod to the recipe of Monica’s elderflower lemonade. «What you then experience is Monica’s aromatic sensation when she was nine. That is the spirit of the range», he concludes.
Future development at L:A Bruket
On the COSMOS certification, Johansson adds that the full remaining range of products at L:A Bruket will also be confirmed with the label, without any change to its current recipes. The idea is to keep up with a market practice that guides and informs consumers. «We have been always working with the ingredients and measures that all the certifications organisations use. It’s a confirmation of what we’ve always been doing and for consumers to have that third party confirmation too».
In the past year, the company opened two flagships in Paris and Berlin. It also sets its sights on more openings around the world as they gain more international attention. Their goal is to continue developing and exploring the culture, nature and lifestyle of Sweden through their products with time and meaning.
Natural and organic skincare made on the west coast of Sweden with a simple philosophy. Innovation driven by nature, not chemicals.