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Style, innovation & equality

How this Swedish €2.50 skincare icon ended up at one of the world’s most prestigious retailers

Developed for the Swedish Army in the 1940s, the rumour says it can be used for almost anything – instead of frying fat, as shoe polish and ski wax.

Words: Johan Magnusson

The original purpose was to supply the Swedish army soldiers with a product that could protect the skin against cold and to prevent chafing.

In Sweden, the product is almost mythical. What makes it so special?

— Försvarets Hudsalva is very popular in broad circles and used by both men and women in Sweden, says Magnus Frisk, Head of Internal Communications at the owner, state-owned pharmacy Apoteket. It is effective and price worthy and has become a classic skincare item for many Swedes. The rumour says that it can be used for almost anything – to fry in, shoe polish and ski wax. We only recommend it for skincare though.

Försvarets Hudsalva has gained extra attention abroad thanks to Swedish actress Alicia Vikander. When asked about her favorite beauty product in different interviews she always mentions Försvarets Hudsalva. And news travelled fast, all the way to Dover Street Market Parfums in Paris.

— We got a request from their Project Manager, Anne-Florence Darras. She had discovered Försvarets Hudsalva through some Swedish colleagues and asked us if they could sell it at their new store in Paris.

Have you seen any feedback from their customers yet? And how will you move on from this?

— From what I understand it is very popular and the sales are increasing. We are always looking for ways to improve our product lines and today there are a number of products under the brand Försvarets. The bestseller is still Försvarets Hudsalva and that classic item will not be changed.