A Moment with Jasmi Bonnén

The Nuori founder on why freshness matters in skincare and the reason she’ll never have a complicated routine. In conversation with Jamie Rosen.

Beyond bacterial stability concerns, Bonnén soon realized there was another equally important metric no one was talking about: efficacy.

The idea for Nuori came to Finnish entrepreneur Jasmi Bonnén while working at L’Oreal in Denmark.

The European Union was updating its label requirements for all cosmetics, focusing on how long a jar of moisturizer or a tube of mascara could be on shelves before it became unsafe to use. But beyond bacterial stability concerns, Bonnén soon realized there was another equally important metric no one was talking about: efficacy.

“There was no requirement there,” she says from Copenhagen, where Nuori is based. “My mom had just given me a really expensive eye cream. I was saving it, but it occurred to me, ‘Wait, these expire. These things actually have a shelf life.’” Active ingredients like vitamins and peptides can break down quickly, decreasing in efficacy over the span of a few months. If there’s water in the formula, the process starts even before a bottle is opened. “I got bugged as a consumer,” she says. “I have no way of knowing when this product was made and no one is measuring the active state when I get my hands on it.”

Fast forward several years to 2015 and the idea for a completely freshly-made skincare line that looks and feels like a luxury product was put into motion. “No one is drinking juice from concentrate,” she says, but she didn’t find anything that spoke to that idea in skincare. She named it Nuori, Finnish for young, and made a commitment to small batches produced every 10 to 12 weeks with only naturally-derived ingredients. The creamy textures offered an alternative to the oil-rich clean beauty market at the time, and the active materials were focused on clinically-proven skincare building blocks like ferulic acid and niacinamide, as well as fruit enzymes and plant extracts.

All of it is intended for streamlined, busy routines.

Initially the products were only in stores for 12 weeks at a time, a concept fashion boutiques like Colette in Paris, used to clothing cycling in and out seasonal clothing, understood immediately. But over time, the products have evolved and been tested so that they can be available for 18 months. There is a clear expiration date on each product, so you always know that what you are using is as stable and effective as it was intended to be on the day it was made.

In addition to formulas stacked with traceable bioactives, there is an emphasis on satisfying textures, from the creamy, sudsy Vital Foaming Cleanser to the non-irritating Clarity Mask, which Bonnen calls “mother-daughter” because of its ability to be used by all ages. The Supreme Moisture Mask grew out of Bonnén’s frequent trips between Copenhagen, where the company is based, and New York, where she and her family live. It’s a transparent creamy mask that hydrates without obviously signalling that you’re wearing a face mask of the cosmetic variety to your fellow travelers. Sleek accessories are a newer addition to the line, each with an Scandanavian aesthetic, from handmade combs to sleek vegan leather travel cases.

All of it is intended for streamlined, busy routines. “In Scandinavia, women are going to laugh you out of the room if you propose 15 steps,” she says. But that doesn’t mean the experience, however brief, cannot be deeply pleasurable. “We deserve something that’s beautiful and that smells good sometimes.”