Swedish Defence Force Balm – best product ever!

This is one of Sweden’s most popular skin products (almost 1 million of these salves are sold annually), and one of my all-time favourite beauty products. I buy it in bulk.  It is called Försvarets hudsalva or The Swedish Defence Forces Skin Salve. It was created by the former state-owned Swedish Pharmacy (Apoteket) for the Swedish Army in the 1940s as a blister balm for chafing caused by army boots, and to protect the skin against the cold.

It contains tallow and peanut oil among other things. Because it is water-free, it is suitable for preventing and treating frostbite and chapped skin. It is so pure you can actually fry food with it and spread it on your sandwiches (I kid you not!). You can use it as a ski wax or to treat leather.

I use it as a lip balm or on my knees, elbows, hands and face if it is really dry. In an emergency I use it to tame my hair. It has a gorgeous subtle vanilla scent and taste that is mildly addictive. The last thing I do at night is put some of this on my lips. I never use anything else as a lip balm. I have two next to the bed and one in each of my handbags!

It used to come in a small plain military green plastic tube with a white lid (see above). You just push the stick up from the bottom. Nowadays there are small (9ml) and large (23 ml) pink and jungle camouflage tubes and also yellow ones which have sun protection factor in them. There is also an extra-moisturising one (see below). There is even a paw balm for dog paws which need TLC after walking on snow and ice in winter.

Colette in Paris used to sell it (not sure if they still do), Dover Street Parfums Market Paris sells it (at the same price as in Sweden – about €2). Below are the displays from Dover Street Market.

— and you can find it here and there in the USA. Many companies are keen on selling it so I have heard the Swedish Defence Force receives many enquiries about it, ha ha. Whenever I go to South Africa I take about 20 of them with me because everyone wants one! It is a real cult product and I think it should be available everywhere.

Author: Janet Carr

Fashion, beauty and animal loving language consultant from South Africa living in Stockholm, Sweden.

8 thoughts

  1. So have you stopped using Féret, Oriflame and all the other balms you have talked about along the years? I’m getting a bit confused as each time you say it’s your favourite and most used lip saver.

    1. This is not a balm and the only one I use on my lips daily because it can go under lipstick during the day and is not sticky on my lips at night. I use all the other balms on my face in the winter and on my lips if they become scaly. In addition to Oriflame etc, the other balms I use on my face are Lucas PawPaw, Trilogy, Egyptian Magic, Lanolips, 8 hour cream 8. This little tube is always in my bag so I do sometimes use it on my face during the day when I have nothing else. I really love this product! One of the few things I stay true to over the years. I fall in love with so many products but this one really is a holy grail.

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