As I've observed the beauty world's growing obsession with Scandinavia, the parallels to the industry's undying Francophilia seem obvious. Both trends center around a sense of devil-may-care cool. Both have infiltrated all corners of the market, from drugstore makeup to skincare to wellness. And both operate on a very narrow definition of "beauty" in the first place (tousled bangs and an effortlessly waifish figure in France; blue eyes, blonde hair, and a translucent complexion in the Nordic circle).
Martine and Gunnhild Chioko Johansen are living proof of how misguided these stereotypes tend to be (as is just about everyone we featured in our 31 Days, 31 Perspective series last month, if you happened to catch it). The 19-year-old Norwegian-Tanzanian twins, who currently live in Oslo, have already made quite the splash in the fashion industry after being discovered—where else?—on Instagram last year. (In addition to making the rounds during fashion month, they also recently covered Elle Norway.)
Speaking of Instagram, we dare you to scroll through each of the sisters' feeds without feeling compelled to learn anything and everything about their beauty routines. Fortunately, the pair was happy to give us an inside look: You'll find their covetable blend of active self-care, top-notch product recommendations, and Norwegian tradition below.
On DIY skincare:
"One skin product that we cant live without is our homemade body/face/lip scrub. We make it with coconut butter, sugar, and a little bit of cinnamon."
On their must-have makeup products:
"Bobbi Brown's Foundation Stick ($46), in whatever shade our skin is in at the moment, since it changes through the whole year. The highlighter duo Killawatt ($34) from Fenty Beauty, of course—I mean, we already hit the pan ages ago. MAC's Prep and Prime Fix + ($26), because the lavender scent is so good. Our Ben Nye Banana Powder ($18), because we have to set the face! Nyx's Sculpt & Highlight ($11) to brighten under the eyes and sculpt the face. And last but not forgotten, our beloved MAC Bronzing Powder ($28), just to complete the sculpted look."
On where they score new beauty finds:
"We buy most of our products from the beauty supply stores in Oslo. When it comes to hair products, we like to buy our products from Afro hair salons."
On how they each define "self-care":
Martine: "[I see it] as a way of taking care of yourself on both the outside and on the inside. There is no point in taking care of your skin if you're not also taking care of what's going in your body. I practice self-care by making sure that I am taking care of the inside first: by going outside, doing active things with friends and family, and after that comes all of the beauty care for my skin and so on."
Gunnhild: "How I define self-care is by doing things that make me happy. It makes me happy to know I am taking care of my skin and body but sometimes people forget the bigger picture: doing things like going outside, going on a hike, meeting up friends, or going on a girls trip to the cottage. Like Martine said, it's not only important to take care of yourself on the outside but on the inside as well."
On their favorite way to stay active:
"Our favorite way to stay active is to go on hikes and walks with our dog, going swimming, and horseback riding. These are three things that we enjoy a lot because we get to go outside, have fun, and just forget about everything else that is going on in our lives. It's kind of like a healthy escape."
On eating healthy… most of the time:
"Is it cliché to say we love fried salmon since we are Norwegian? We like to eat it with boiled broccoli and carrots, chopped up paprika, and oven-baked asparagus. It's easy to make, healthy, and gives us lots of energy we need for our active lifestyles. But 'healthy living' also means being able to enjoy yourself once in a while with some sweet goodies or salty snacks."
On Norway's refreshingly simple approach to health:
"People don't acknowledge that it is a trend, but going skiing, hiking, walking, and doing active things in general is [the norm] in Norway. A lot of people love the outside and being in nature—a vital part of a healthy life."