Take a peek into the beauty cabinet of Norwegian-born model Sylvia Flote, as featured on the pages of Vogue Scandinavia's Issue 8, as she chats to us about the miracle of lash serums, retinol for acne and seasonal blusher
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What does beauty mean to you?
Beauty is something you can’t quite put your finger on and yet, for some reason, it pulls a little heartstring. You find it in nature, objects, moments, scents and memories. I love the little quirks that makes something unique.
Talk us though your morning beauty routine...
First thing in the morning I spray my face and neck with a face mist. While my skin is still damp, I massage in Mountainlife's Rosehip Oil as it's rich in antioxidants, minerals, plus vitamin C and vitamin A. Rosehip oil also contains vital essential fatty acids that can help boost skin hydration and elasticity. Just make sure it's cold-pressed and in a light tight container to avoid the oil becoming oxidised. I like storing mine in the refrigerator.
When the oil has absorbed, I put on my SPF50. I believe UVA protection is essential for maintaining good skin texture and looking youthful for longer. Your skin get exposed to UVA damage even on cloudy days and winter time, it’s not only about the protection from burns. When I just want a sheer one with no coverage, I use Frezyderm Sun Screen Velvet Face SPF50+. It's translucent, making it perfect for all skin tones as it doesn’t leave a white cast.
For a more even-looking skin, my go-to is No7 Protect & Perfect Intense Advanced BB Facial Sun Protection SPF50 in Fair.
I've used this combination without fail for the past 15 years, every day, all year round.
I also never cleanse my face in the morning. I know there are split opinions on this, but I believe your skin works hard to repair itself while you sleep, so by not cleansing in the morning, you protect the natural skin barrier. Before bed I'll apply the Pai Skincare Middlemist Seven Cream Face Cleanser to dry skin and wipe the cream away with a damp muslin cloth. It's super gentle!
What is your biggest skin concern?
I’ve struggled with acne in the past and twice been treated with very strong medication. Luckily my skin is very good at healing so you would never know I had spots looking at my skin today. However, I do maintain its clarity with a prescription cream called Differin at night. This is a strong retinol, which also has the added bonus of fighting fine wrinkles and maintaining even skin tone.
I have a streak of hyperpigmentation on my left cheek, which this cream also corrects. Retinol is truly a wonder product! I highly recommend talking to your doctor about this cream if you suffer with flare ups or hyperpigmentation. You can also find retinol in over-the-counter creams – it's especially important when you hit your 30s.
I don’t wear much makeup, but a little bit goes a long way and makes me feel like I’m ready to take on the world!
Which three products are always in your makeup bag and why have they earned a place there?
Makeup is a superpower for me. I always put it on before I start my day. I don’t wear much but a little bit goes a long way and makes me feel like I’m ready to take on the world! The day after I gave birth I went straight into the shower and whipped out my makeup bag. It was my way of saying that I was ready to go home.
Being a redhead, I have very fair lashes and brows. I sometimes dye them but, when I don’t, Benefit Gimme Brow+ Volumizing Eyebrow Gel in Warm Golden Blonde is a must for me.
I don’t use foundation but I do need a little concealer under my eyes. It’s hard to find the right shade because, even though I’m pale, I have freckles and my skin appears pinkish yet warm. All too often concealers look too white, too cool or too beige. L'Oreal Paris True Match The One Concealer in Vanilla is the best one I've found so far. It doesn’t cake and is the perfect balance of sheer but with enough coverage.
Lastly, you can never leave the house without blush. Chanel’s Joues Contraste powder blushes are all beautiful. Depending on time of year I'll use Brume D'Or in summer and Rose Pètale in winter. They blend in perfectly and both shades complement my skin tone beautifully.
How do you look after your hair?
I’m still figuring it out! I have what we call “Hulder Hår” in Norwegian: tight ringlets underneath, then wavy and kinky on top. It's also very fine and prone to breaking. With my job I really have to look after it – only a year into modelling my hair was completely wrecked. After I got pregnant, all my hair started to grow out again, and I went on a mission to restore it to its old glory days.
For three years now I have been sleeping in a silk bonnet every night, which has done wonders. Hard water doesn’t make it any easier but I now only wash my hair once or twice a week and I'll sleep in an oil mask the night before wash day. I’m currently using Nature Spell Natural Rosemary Oil. For shampoo and conditioner I love the Camilla Phil Extreme Repair range. For those days when I want my hair to look sleek, I use my Dyson Airwrap, as it smoothes everything out without excess heat damage.
What is your favourite fragrance?
I have a few that I alternate between. Jo Malone London Wild Bluebell Cologne is my travel perfume, as you can get it in handy 30ml bottles. It has a very clean and fresh smell.
My absolute favourite perfume, though, is Sarah Jessica Parker Lovely. A woman walked past me in London wearing it and I had to run after her to get the name. It immediately took me back to childhood and the smell of my mum. I miss her terribly as we have a very strong bond and growing up she would always wear white musk. Lovely is woody and warm, yet fresh and floral at the same time, and has that hint of musk that just fills me with love and comfort.
What is the best beauty advice you’ve ever been given?
I never felt beautiful growing up. I had freckles, red hair and pale lashes; I didn’t tan and I was stick thin. Usually redheads are portrayed as the geeky ugly girl or the mean one in movies and on TV. It wasn’t like today where you have loads of gorgeous redhead actresses.
My mum told me, “Sylvia, you don’t have to be the most beautiful woman in the room. People are drawn to those who make them feel good about themselves. So look for the good qualities in people and remember to acknowledge them for it. When you see the beauty in them, they will see the beauty in you. "
I still do this today. Whether it’s something about how they look that day, or how they are as a person, I don’t just think it and keep it to myself, I let them know.
What are the beauty practices you’ve learned from the women in your family?
This is a simple but very important one: don’t take up smoking! As a teenager you don’t pay much attention to the health side as you think you'll live forever. But eventually you do listen, especially when you see evidence of how smoking leads to premature skin ageing.
What was your greatest beauty discovery?
Lash serums! I was sent the Lash Maximizer from the Norwegian company IGlow and at first I didn’t think it was doing much. Then, after three weeks I began to see a major difference. After the sixth week I had lashes I would never have dreamt of. An added bonus is that I no longer have to curl my lashes as they automatically curl upward with the length.
What beauty advice would you give your younger self?
Stop focusing on what you don’t like about yourself and celebrate what you do like. Stop comparing yourself to others and be the best version of you instead.
Sylvia Flote's Products
Middlemist Seven Cream Face Cleanser and Cloth
Pro-Collagen Rose Hydro-Mist
Sun Screen Velvet Face SPF50+
Advanced BB Facial Sun Protection SPF50
True Match The One Concealer
Joues Contraste Powder Blush
Rosemary Oil For Hair & Skin
Extreme Repair Shampoo
Camilla Pihl Cosmetics
Wild Bluebell Cologne
Jo Malone London
Lash Maximizer Lash Serum