A beauty haul is waiting to be swatched and reviewed: und Gretel, a new, Berlin-based organic make-up brand. Ladies, you’ll love. (Ladies AND Gentlemen, it’s 10 weeks till Christmas.)
Berlin is a green place.
And I don’t mean for all them parks and rivers and canals.
Berlin’s home to the first ever organic and vegan skincare brand in Germany: i+m cosmetics; the “greenest” place to do groceries (four organic super market chains, plus indie stores); the most vegan-friendly place in Germany with all the restaurants, shops and of course, those awe-inspiring Veganz markets; it’s now also home to the latest, swish addition to the savvy green buyer’s beauty bag – und Gretel organic make-up.
From left to right, my und Gretel haul:
lip gloss, eye pencils, mascara, eye shadow and a gift with purchase, in retail marketing parlance, a branded pen sharpened.
With und Gretel, founders Christina Roth (make-up artist) and Stephanie Dettmann (marketing specialist) have created a range of BDIH-certified, made-in-Europe makeup for discerning fashionistas: well-crafted formulas, modern textures, carefully selected colours, a lot of attention to the green’n’clean detail, quality packaging, and a clever name.
Now, as a communications professional and former editor there are many good reasons why I’m always somewhat sceptical at first when the packaging is so chic, the price range is premium, and the buzz is so heavy (and Berlin was abuzz, plus und Gretel‘s sleek POS columns kept popping up literally everywhere I went), so I’ve been admittedly ogling them for a while and looking closely at the ingredients lists before I decided to test drive.
First and foremost, the BDIH certification checks off one major pet peeve – it signals that there’s no conflict palm oil.
Then, the ingredients are well chosen for the best texture possible with the cleanest formulation in mind.
Most products and most shades are suitable for vegans; less than a half does contain organic beeswax and/or lanolin and/or carmine.
Even though the eye shadow contains talcum which I have completely avoided so far, it was the brand’s FAQ, a glorious example of B2C transparency, that really did the trick: I was ready to get hooked!
But it wasn’t, in the matter of fact, until after a beauty journalist friend (who has the highest expectations to how the products deliver) raved about some products she had tested, that I actually went to two shops looking for those products I had pre-selected online – and shopped!
The complete und Gretel range consists of 11 products:
LIETH Foundation, €48, available in five shades;
TUNKAL Concealer, €38, 3 shades;
ILGE Powder, €42;
SUNNE Lifting Modellage Powder, €78, three 2-tone palettes;
HOLT Eye Pencil, €18, available in eight colours;
WINT Mascara, €33, available in 2 shades;
SPRUSSE Eye Brow Pencil, €24, availabe in 3 colours;
TAGAROT Lipstick, €39, available in 6 shades;
KNUTZEN Lipgloss, €34, available in 8 colours;
IMBE Eye Shadow, €29, 8 colours;
LUK Creme Eye Stick, €34, 1 colour.
Review & Swatches
und Gretel, Eyes & Lips
WINT Mascara in ‘1 Chestnut’, a gorgeous cool dark brown;
HOLT Eye Pencils in ‘6 Gold’ (pure gold, not too warm, metallic shimmer) and ‘4 Blue’ (blue ink, ultra saturated, best for tightlining, no shimmer);
KNUTZEN Lip Gloss in ‘3 Matte Nude’;
IMBE Eye Shadow in ‘6 Patina’, a sublime, complex bronze-silver shade, very neutral, very flattering, with metallic shimmer.
And now: swatches and reviews.
‘Chestnut’ is the first ever brown mascara that I’m actually happy with. The texture is silky and light, very smooth. As you can see in the swatch above, it doesn’t even form lumps when pressed against paper: it just stays there, and doesn’t move.
That’s exactly what happens on my lashes: WINT glides root to tip and stays put until I remove it in the evening. No smudging, no panda eyes. Definitely the best mascara I’ve had for years – my Holy Grail Mascara. No cons. Maybe adding a colour? Deep violet, or burgundy, or forest green? 😉 Now on to the Eye Pencils:
HOLT Eye Pencils have very good colour payoff and an even better staying power.
Smudge them for a smoky look or layer eye shadow on top – looks good, lasts for a day.
I use ‘Gold’ to create a golden eyeliner on my upper lid or to just highlight the inner corners of my eyes. Looks a million dollars and makes my green eyes sparkle.
The ‘Blue’ colour is rich, dark, great for tightlining.
Generally speaking here’s my best advice for anyone out there who tightlines: there’s more than black or brown for eye contour! Well of course you can use whatever you want, but do try a very deep, saturated colour. Dark forest green will do Magic on black and brown eyes; dark plum makes green and blue eyes mesmerising; dark blue is amazing for brown, black and blue eyes. It looks almost as dark as black would, but just the subtlest hint of colour can make your eye colour look insane.
How can a gloss be matt? No idea. That’s what the bottle says. The gloss has less shimmer than the “just” ‘Nude’, maybe it’s that? A lovely colour that looks very warm but is in fact quite neutral, flattering. The texture is opaque on lips, covering your natural lip colour and turning your pout into a peachy-loukum-candy delight.
Not too sticky, not runny – I wear my KNUTZEN gloss with no lip contour.
Can we just admire this rich and complex colour for a moment? The silky texture? The perfect balance of saturated-but-not-too-much? Here’s another one:
Do you can see how much control you get?
Flawed and failed smoky eyes? Ancient history!
The colour has enough transparency to let your skin shimmer through for a natural, very elegant effect.
Bottom Line und Gretel
Okay, disclaimer: I can’t review complexion products here because I’ve chosen lip and eye products only.
I chose them for a reason: all complexion colours looked too pink when swatched (in the shops), and I had no time to actually try them all on. There are no sample sachets either: that would be a point of criticism, for €38-78 is not quite the price range for possible colour mistakes.
Other than that I’m very impressed; und Gretel is going to become my green beauty staple.
For those of you who kept wondering what “und Gretel” might mean, that’s obvisously a pun, as in “Hänsel und Gretel”, the famous German fairy tale. Only here Gretel is the star in her own right – as well as a clever, not at the least tongue-twisting hint at the origins of the brand.
And do the product names sound strangely familiar to you? Riiiiiight? Oh, my linguist heart is aflutter because these are actual Old High German words: HOLT means beautiful, ILGE means lily, SUNNE means sun… and you can probably guess WINT. (Mum, see? See!? Learning Old High German’s pretty useful in life!)
Now let’s wrap it up and give und Gretel some link love, shall we?
As always, no affiliates:
UND GRETEL – English language – website and online shop
I’ll have the chance to meet the founders for an interview soon, to ask them all the green-beauty-geeky Qs, grill them about colours, range creation, entrepreneurship, the (green) beauty industry, and much, much more, so if you have questions you want to ask Christina and Stephanie, let me hear in the comments below!